(please excuse the typos and the grammar)
This year the anniversary of losing our 4th child has hit me especially hard. I'm thinking it's because of all the stress of the year. For some reason I have had a strong desire to put my experience down on paper. So this blog with have to do, for I do not dare post anything on FaceBook for fear of people thinking I'm a downer.
This is not a story I have shared with many people only a handful of my closets friends who held my hand at the time know the full extent of my experience.
First off It's not something you work into a conversation. um hey 7 years ago I lost a baby! (Okay crazy lady.. would be the reaction)
Before I start I just want to say...I truly believe our Heavenly Father knows what burdens we are capable of bearing, and what sorrows we can overcome.
4 of our 5 pregnancies have been surprises! The anxiety oh the anxiety of a surprise pregnancy... "can I do this?" "Can I handle one more?" "Can I afford another mouth to feed?" This only lasts for a few weeks then we are good to go and can't wait to meet our new member of the Family.
7 yrs ago Mike and I had a STRONG desire to add a new member to our Family, child #4. We went to the temple, we prayed about it and made the decision to try to get pregnant, surprisingly it took a couple of months. (never seemed to be a problem before) When we found out we were pregnant we were so excited, we could not wait to welcome this new child to our Family. Never in my life have I wanted something so much. I was ex tactic to be pregnant (I usually do not enjoy being pregnant) Sure I had the same issues as my past pregnancies, morning sickness, anxiety. But I was so much more tired with this pregnancy, but hey I had 3 young children at home.
I will never forget the day all that happiness came crashing down. Dec. 16,2004 I sat on the table, answering questions... "have you been taking your Prenatal Vitamins?" "Have you felt the baby move yet?" and to this question I was so eager to give my answer... YES!!!! I had been feeling movement for about a week off and on. You all know how exciting this time is. The first movements... the pure joy of having a baby.
I lay on the table as the nurse was know trying to find the baby's heartbeat... 30 seconds pass, silence, a minute still silence. I was a little nervous, but I know sometimes it's not easy to find the baby (I've heard it at every other check up.) When the nurse called the Dr into the room and she came in with an ultrasound machine. That when I officially was concerned. I lay there desperately pleading with the Lord. "Please", "PLEASE". Then after a few minutes came the words, with tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry but we can not find a Heart beat you are going to miss carry this baby." Never in my life have I felt such sorrow, sobbing uncontrollably. While in the midst of all of the initial shock, they needed me to make a decision. I could be admitted and enduse my labor. I could go home and wait until my body naturally gets rid of the baby. (that could take weeks) Or I could go to "another facility" to have a D&E done by a qualified Dr. after I somewhat pulled my self together I decided to go home and discuss my options with Mike.
After much prayer we decided to got to "another facility" and have the procedure done. Mike and I did not feel I could go through the labor, we feared the long lasting emotional scars from that.
When we showed up to the "other facility" (we have Kaiser Insurance... it's not uncommon to be referred to another Kaiser facility) The sign said.. "planned parenthood" um my jaw hit the ground. I was so embarrassed, how could we have been so naive?? I at one point had walked out of the clinic. I just could not sit in there. I don't even remember walking in I was so shocked.
After phone calls from my Dr. and from Kaisers mental health dept.( threatening to have me committed because to them I was not in my right mind.Um yes I am it's Planned Parenthood!) Mike and I quickly said a Prayer and again we felt have the D&E was the "best" option, so we walked back in.
At Planned Parenthood everything is anonymous no names used at all. My procedure required two visits. The first the nurse was to confirm that the baby was dead, through ultra sound and then they inserted sea weed into my cervix to help me to dilate, so they could remove the baby the next day. I had made it through the first part, I felt incredibly guilty, sad, broken. That night we consulted with our Bishop, and family... if we should go back. And we were once again given the answer that we should, if that's what we feel is the best for me. Day two was not nearly as easy as day one. Day two required us to go to another "clinic" because of the holidays. This "clinic" was located right off the street. As we walked in we were met by a lady who yelled at me for choosing to kill my baby. I think this is the only time in my life I did not hold my tongue, I quickly told her my baby has already passed. But I think I yelled, not sure... I was kind of surprised to have her attack me like she did. I walked in and waited for the elevator and someone else had walked in the door by then... great I have to ride up a floor with someone else. Someone who choose to kill her baby. She and her friends were laughing about the lady in the parking Lot and some choice words were used. Mike held my hand as we rode up the elevator listening to her and her friends laugh about how "mom was not going to know she was pregnant" "I get to go home for the holidays and know one will know." I held my tongue and jumped out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened.
As I said be fore everything is anonymous no names, nothing to make it feel personal. I'm now laying on a bed and they roll me into a sterile room. The nurse had told me it would be quick, they put you under for about 7 mins and the procedure will take 5. The last thing I remember before going under is how the Dr. smelled of cigarettes. I woke up remembering labor, I wanted to hold my baby... I was in pain... Then I realized where I was and what had happened. I kept falling to sleep, but then would be woken up by the feel of the curtain sweeping across my body. Every 5 mins they moved you to the next curtained area, simply by pushing you through the curtain. I felt like I was on an assembly line, every 5 mins moved to the next space. After two sweeps across the face. (or 10 mins)I finally was aware of my pain... so much pain physical and emotional. I called out for help, the nurse kept saying I know it hurts, you'll be fine. It's just like bad menstrual cramps honey. Finally I yelled at her and said "this is not my fist delivery I'm having sever after birth pains." Then she listened and read my chart and saw I was not like every one else who was there that day. I was the exception, she did not know how to treat me, not in the medical sense but the personal sense.
At this point all I desperately wanted was for someone to acknowledge what I just went through, to sit by my bed and hold my hand and tell me "it will be okay." Later I sat in a recovery room with 8- 10 other women. Most of them sat quietly, heads down, not making eye contact. A few... including the girl from the elevator sat chatting on their cell phones as if nothing had happened. If I could even describe the evil I felt in this room, there are no words for it. I sat quietly crying waiting to be released. Watching everyone in the room, making eye contact and giving a smile to those who I could tell needed it and glaring at those who had no regard for life. I sat there thinking why? Why would Heavenly Father want me to sit in this room with these women. I just lost my baby, they so easily threw theirs away? It was then that I felt my Saviors arm around me in that room of darkness, and evil. I clung to that warmth I felt knowing I would one day be able to meet my baby, raise my baby... hold my baby!
I have no idea and my never know why I was put in those circumstances. I choose just like those women choose. BUT I choose to listen to what My Heavenly Father had advised me and Mike to do. I will never understand, I only can have faith that I was meant to experience that. I now have complete empathy for any woman who has lost a baby. No matter how they lost it, the lord as given me the ability to understand and have compassion for them. My testimony has been strengthened. I now have a complete understanding of the plan of salvation. I know my Heavenly Father loves me, ME!
I did not write this down to get sympathy. I put this in my blog to acknowledge what did not get to be on Dec. 23, 2004 I lost my 4th child Riley Noel Smith. This child was never held, never blessed, nor ever received a name. I have no tombstone to visit or place flowers next to. Just my memories of the Joy I felt of being pregnant, and the sorrow of loosing something I wanted to have so deeply.