Thursday, December 1, 2016

Saying Good-bye

Back in August (on the 2nd to be exact), Kevin and I discovered we were pregnant. To say we were overjoyed would be a bit much. We were shocked but after the shock wore down, we became excited. The baby would be due mid-April when we were scheduled for furlough. We knew a great missionary midwife/OB-GYN locally who could do my prenatal care until we got to the US to deliver. We told Adah and began talking about the baby in my tummy. We planned our pregnancy announcement. Everything was beginning to feel comfortable. We could do this, we could be a family of 5!

Unfortunately, this was not to be. Friday, September 9th, I began experiencing contractions. They were rhythmic, every 3 minutes, and were definitely ones that required concentration. I began to fear every bathroom trip, expecting blood. The cramping/contractions lasted for half the night before they tapered off and I fell asleep. I woke feeling fatigued but better because there had been no blood. Perhaps it was a stomach bug? Either way, we messaged the missionary OB-GYN and began discussing a trip soon. All during that week, I rested as much as possible. I told our worker so that she could step up to help more with the kids. The week passed and I began to hope - hope the baby was growing, hope that I was not going to lose the baby, hope that all was okay.

On September 16th, my 35th birthday, I began spotting. I called Kevin in tears. I knew what was happening. We tried to plan a trip to Vanga where the midwife was located. It is a 1 1/2 hour flight or 14 hour drive. But Monday, the 19th was going to be a day of planned protest/civil unrest. We were grounded and could not leave the city. Traffic was worse than usual that Friday with people preparing for the upcoming day of civil unrest. The following morning Kevin and the other guys had to go to work to get the airplanes inside and locked up. But he and the program manager hurried home right after and took me to a hospital. He happened to know an expat OB-GYN who recommended a doctor that met us there.

At 3:00 PM our ultrasound revealed our lost baby. Instead of a 10 week and 3 day old baby, we saw the uterus measuring barely measuring 6 weeks and 3 days and a baby even smaller. The baby had died a while ago but my body was having difficulties letting go. When we lost our first baby, my body also had difficulties letting go. I lost the baby on a Wednesday evening but the placenta did not detach completely and for 4 days I suffered labor before going to the ER for an emergency D&C. As the realization hit the baby was gone, along with our dreams and plans for this baby, we quickly realized we had to make a decision.

We called our friend Shannon, missionary OB-GYN and told her what we discovered and she gave us our options. We could take a pill that would induce labor, to speed up the miscarriage process. If the pill does not work the first time, a second dose can be administered. Knowing what I experienced the first time, I could not accept birthing at home or risk bleeding out knowing that all hospitals would be inaccessible in a few days. The other option was an emergency D&C, like before. Without hesitation, I chose the D&C. I had no time to think as we all (including the doctor) piled into our truck and drove across town to another facility to do a surgery. Within an hour after arriving, everything was over and I was recovering (I will not go into details about surgery since it is a bit too much information). We were home by bedtime.

When we lost our first baby, the loss felt greater. I came home with an empty womb and empty arms. This time, I came home to hugs, kisses, and a baby/toddler asking to be nursed. Yes my womb was empty and my heart hurt, but my arms were full.

Over the next few days, we were blessed by so many people. Families brought us food, offered to watch our kids so I could rest, and I had counseling from so many women who have gone through this before. One of the things that I have learned to help mourn a lost child is to give the child a name. We named our first child Madeline. She was loved dearly for the little time we had her. This child's name was Peter and he was loved during his time with us.

As time went by, some days were easier than others. The hard days were the days Adah asked why Peter died or when I will have a new baby in my tummy. They say talking is supposed to help but some days it hurt too much to explain these things to my child. Other days were miserable seeing pregnant friends and new babies on Facebook.  But now, I feel that enough time has gone by that I can say that I have mourned. I have said my good-byes.

I want to personally thank each and every person who helped us. The people who cooked, the people who called, the people who watched the kids, the people who did Facetime with us, the people who sent private messages and emails, the people who counseled us (medically and mentally), the people who cried with us, the people who prayed for us and with us, and the people who comforted us.

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