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Saturday July 1, 2006 9:04 am

Finding Hope and Healing After Heartache

Posted by Monica Edwards Categories: Family, Personal

Dear Family and close friends,

Please do not continue to read if you are sensitive to the details of our loss—

I am writing this to let you all know, about something that Andru and I have experienced these last few days, and I guess in some ways, still experiencing. Also, maybe it is a way for me to self-heal. We have not contacted anyone I think because we are still trying to get a grasp on how we feel about things, and also because I don’t think I can say the same thing over to so many people. So I hope that you will all understand why we chose to write about it rather than talking about it face to face or on the phone.

I will start from the beginning:

Andru and I found out that we were pregnant about a month and half ago. To our surprise—I was pregnant. As you all know, it was recommended, by the last Dr. that treated me after Alijah’s birth, that we do not have any more children due to my history of preeclampsia and with Alijah, HELLP syndrome. So, in knowing this, we did not plan to have any more children. We were cautious and took the steps to prevent from becoming pregnant again, (i.e. contraception) but as we all know, contraceptives are not 100% foolproof. I somehow found myself in the 8-10% bracket of women who become pregnant while using contraceptives.

So, when I took my first test, I doubted the results, I took another one, positive again. Not knowing how it could be possible, and still doubting, I took a third test. Still positive. Andru says the first words out of my mouth after the first one was “Great” (sarcastic tone).

I didn’t know what to feel. I was scared, nervous, anxious, felt foolish for not taking more extreme measures to insure that we wouldn’t get pregnant again. But yet, I was a little excited inside, knowing that maybe we would have a little girl, as special as our two kids, and just as beautiful. A little girl that we could name after Andru mother that passed away, as a tribute, as a reminder of where this little girl came from.

I think though that the feeling I had with me all the time was uncertainty. What would this mean for us? Would this mean that my life, as well as our future child’s, be in danger? Did I have a chance of dying during childbirth this time? Would this child be so premature that he or she would not live? If I passed on who would be a mother to Alijah and Tommy? Was I being selfish to my kids to go ahead with this pregnancy even if a doctor advised us against it?
Would God forgive me if I was told that we had to terminate the pregnancy in order for me to be safe? Why did I not have faith in God to keep my life out of danger if we did go ahead? How can I take that chance when I have two kids that need a mother?
So many questions, I felt like I couldn’t take a moment to be happy about a new life growing inside me. And looking back, I wish that I would have taken more time to be happy.

So, after the three home tests, I made an appt. at Planned Parenthood, just to confirm the three previous test results. And of course that was positive also. I was confirmed to be about 10 weeks pregnant.

I decided that I did not want to tell anyone about the pregnancy just yet until we spoke to a specialist, a perinatoligist, to see how the pregnancy was going- what we needed to do to prepare for the worst case scenario, what their recommendations would be and so on. Andru wanted to tell family and friends as soon as we found out as he has wanted a daughter and was so happy that this might mean the chance for that. Of course he would be elated no matter what sex the baby was but still…

Begrudgingly, for me, he agreed to wait, till we met with a doctor. Andru had more faith than I in believing that God would not have allowed this pregnancy if He was not going to see us through it. I struggled with my faith and with wanting to control my own destiny. I heard in my heart God telling me, “have faith, I am here, I will not have you endure more than you can bear” but my head wanted to figure this out myself. I know that Andru was hurt by my lack of being able to show joy and I was disappointed in myself for not being able to.

I made an appointment with an OB that specializes in high-risk pregnancies. My first prenatal exam was to be Weds. the 28th. I would be 11 weeks pregnant.

Each day I felt more at ease with the fact that I was pregnant even if I had high insecurities about it. I found myself dreaming of this little child to be. Who would he or she resemble? Would she be shy and sweet as Tommy is, or so independent and stubborn but loving as Alijah is? Would it be a girl with bouncy curls, maybe blond? Blue eyed or brown like Mom and Dad?
Would she or he dance to any type of music that played like her older brother Alijah or would she/he sit back and laugh like her eldest brother Tommy?

When I found myself daring to wonder these things in a pregnancy that was so full of uncertainty I stopped myself and reverted to having as little emotional attachment as possible to avoid heartache later.

I started to have some spot bleeding Saturday the 17th. I didn’t worry too much because all the websites I read and all the baby books I have say that its normal to spot bleed in early pregnancy. I felt fine, just a little tired. The bleeding subsided in about 24 hours and for the next day or so I felt fine as usual. Wednesday I started to get a crampy feeling but not uncomfortably unbearable, just bothersome. By that night, the cramping was continuous, I was more anxious that something was wrong, and decided that I would call the Dr. in the morning to see if they could move my first visit up.
I awoke that morning to more spot bleeding.

I talked to a nurse, she reassured me that during early pregnancy it was normal to have cramping and some spot bleeding as long as it was not heavy bleeding and cramping to the point that I couldn’t stand.
She told me that there didn’t seem any reason to move our appt up. That if it got worse, to call back. Andru was gone in Vancouver for work all day. It gradually became worse and I barely got off the couch that day, not because of the pain, but because I was afraid that if I moved around too much that it I would be tempting fate, like some ridiculous game, (If I don’t move, nothing bad will happen).
Andru got home around 430pm, I told him that I felt worse but didn’t have the symptoms the nurse described as critical. So I tried to relax and keep my feet up, but by 530 pm I decided to call the Dr. back. I talked to another nurse, she advised that since my cramping was continuous, even if there was scant blood that I should go to the Emergency Room.

After getting the kids ready, I arrived at 6:35pm, was not seen until 7:45pm, only to be told that I had to wait for an OB room to open up. Andru took the kids to their Aunt and Uncle’s, without them knowing the full reason for my visit to the ER.
I was given a room while he was gone but waited for another hour before a Dr. came in to see me. Andru sat with me while I rode the waves of cramps. I didn’t realize until I was methodically rocking back and forth for 2 hours that my cramps had a rhythm to them. It was a constant pain then a sharp, intense pain for about a minute or two, then constant again-it went on like this for what seemed an eternity before I realized, “Its like I’m in labor, my body is trying to push this tiny baby out…God, please don’t let this happen.”

I did not vocalize this to Andru, I didn’t want to worry him. A nurse came in to check my vitals, asked me if the Doctor had come in yet, “no” she said he will be in soon to discuss what is happening. The Doctor finally came in to see me. He did not exam me yet, just told me very curtly after checking my vitals that I was most possibly miscarrying.

He was so forthright, no beating around the bush, no letting us down easy, just, you are miscarrying, all we can do is wait it out and see if your body will naturally expel the fetus or we can do a D&C. And with that, he was out the door.

That’s it? They don’t do anything to stop this? He made it seem like it was a routine thing that happens, it was not routine to me…what was I supposed to do? I know he was uncomfortable, he was a ER Dr. not an OB. and maybe that was his way of distancing himself from his patients so he would not get emotionally involved. I understood that, but now, I was scared.

I prayed right then, after so many prayers before, this was a prayer of desperation. Please God, I know this child was a blessing you gave to us, and I know that your Will will be done in our lives, and I know that the fact that Satan exists is the reason for this pain, for this loss about to happen, and I will accept whatever Plan you have for us, but please can I ask that you work another miracle in me and make this NOT a miscarriage? I know that I had little faith, please forgive me. I know that you will not have me endure more than I can bear, please make this pain go away. I was so confused.

There’s nothing they could do?

While he was gone, we waited. The pain became unbearable, my body was continuing the process, I was told I could be given some painkillers now, after about 4 1/2 hours in the ER. Thank God, I just wanted to be numb. I had lost it earlier when I saw what the effects of all the cramping was doing. I sobbed uncontrollably for about 15 minutes with Andru and the nurse rubbing my back.
I didn’t know that I would feel such a great sense of loss, I did not know that I would grieve this baby that I did not know. I thought that I had kept my emotional attachment under control. Why was I crying? I was in control.

I did not know that I would already love this child that I was losing. I did not think that I would miscarry, I was not prepared for this. We had not even told our family that we were expecting another child, how do I now tell them that we have lost one? How do you grieve for someone you didn’t even know existed?

They wanted to do an ultrasound. It seemed so futile to me, why? Why are you not trying to stop this? What am I supposed to do, just lie there while my body is wanting me to push this tiny being out of me? We all know what is happening, why in the middle of all this an ultrasound? I cried through the whole thing.

Andru wanted to see if they could tell us the sex of the baby. I told him it was too soon to tell. He said the OB had told him that they would be examining the fetus afterwards, so maybe they could run tests to find out the sex, so that it would become real, so that we would not forget. I did not want to know, it was too much to even fathom.

Afterwards, we waited for another 30 minutes or so before the Dr. came in and told us, they could not find a heartbeat, that the fetus had died. He needed to examine me,
I don’t know why…Andru held my hand through it and I tried to disappear, it was pain on top of pain. The drugs barely numbed me. I thought, wow, this is supposed to be some heavy drug and I still feel everything, what would I be like without it?

He said he would call for a referral to the on-call OB because I was losing a lot of blood, it might be safer to do a D&C and not wait for the natural course. He actually said, they can do a D&C and empty your uterus. So matter-of-fact. Wow. That’s it. I will be empty. Then he was gone again.

Andru and I waited for someone to come in and humanly explain what was going on, or maybe we didn’t ask because we didn’t want to know.

The on-call OB finally arrived, she confirmed the miscarriage, said my blood pressure was extremely low and was worried about the blood loss so they wanted to do a D&C. I was operated on at around 1:45am, after almost 7 1/2 hours in the ER.
I woke up groggy and empty. So empty.

I stayed in the hospital till that Friday afternoon, I just wanted to go home. I did not sleep much because Andru could not stay with me, and also because I felt like it was all a dream. How could I be pregnant one minute and not the next? Where did that little life go? The OB finally came in and said we will probably never know the reason for the miscarriage. That 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I felt at fault.

Over this week I have been tired, short-tempered, and now I know, depressed. But I have realized this, that God was ever faithful, He did not have us endure more than we could bear. We got through this. I don’t believe that God makes bad things happen. I believe that God gets us through those things that we feel will overcome us.

I learned that I had faith all along, but that I got in the way of my faith by wanting to control my own destiny. God had a plan for us, not to lose our child, but to be there to hold us in His arms when we wept, when we felt so lost. And I believe that He will reward us so immensely when we go Home and are able to see our beautiful child that we were not able to hold in our arms, because he/or she was not meant for this world but meant for a world that we will dwell in with our Father one day.

This is God’s Promise that we hold claim to. And this is what brings us peace when our hearts are breaking.

We were given a pamphlet at my discharge that stated, “miscarriage is often not recognized by friends and family as a loss in a woman or couple’s life. Therefore, the comfort and sympathy you need may not be forthcoming”. A life that you cannot hold is so intangible.

So, in my way, I guess I am writing this partly because of reading that. Because I have friends that have suffered miscarriages and I did not know what to say or feel because it was hard to feel the loss of something so intangible. I am writing this so that everyone who questions why there is so much grieving for an embryo or fetus that never was, will know that we grieve because we saw an altogether different picture.
We saw a life, our child, with a glowing smile, running around, chasing their older brothers, calling “mama”,“dada”, our child who we never got to say “hello” to, never got to kiss goodnight, we saw that child in our dreams, in our hopes.
That is why we grieve. And then, you will get a glimpse of how we feel.

I don’t know if my sharing all of this will anger some people or make some people say “why is she sharing something so intimate?”

I have thought about this for days now, I started writing this to be a quick note to friends and family, then it became this enormous minute-by-minute blow. I don’t know how it happened, the words just came out and here they are.

I’ve thought about it and have to believe that I want to share this because it has helped me—to heal, to be able to lift myself out of bed, to begin another day. I am sharing this for anyone who has felt that their grief did not matter because they did not have a baby in their arms when that life was taken from them, because it does matter.
I am sharing this for the family and friends who I know care more than the “pamphlet” says they do. Because I know that they also feel a loss because their loved ones feel that loss.
I don’t believe that I will regret sharing this, so I hope it will bring some reassurance rather than sadness.

I’m sorry that we did not share the news with you sooner. Andru and I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable talking to us about this. We just wanted to share with you, our loved ones, the loss that I’m sure we will all feel. We love you all and want you to know that we are ok. It is ok to say “I’m sorry” if all other words fail you. We know what is in your hearts.

Thank you all so much for your inspiring words and your unconditional love.

If it is in God’s Will for us, we look forward to being able to adopt one day, to have a little girl we can call Annabella, after her late grandmother Anne.

In all this, I give Glory to Jesus Christ my Savior and God my Father for the strength to carry on and for the hope He gives us that one day we will be reunited with our little angel.

Sleep well my love.



As usual, you inspire me to seek the wisdom to look to God for answers

Thank you Edwin for your words, but I can only be grateful to God for giving me the strength to be able to inspire others rather than turning that pain and anger into something that is self-destructive. God Bless.

Oscar, your comments touched my heart and reaffirmed my reason for publishing this post, with God as our rock and the kind of friend like you who can reassure me with an understanding that is so kindhearted, I know that my reason for reaching out was so that people in similar situations can offer each other the support they need. I am sorry for your loss as well and hope that you have been able to heal with that Eternal hope to hold onto.

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