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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Life Worth Acknowledging

I was all geared up Monday, April 23rd, to meet our little secret 7 week old baby. Only some family and a few friends knew about me being pregnant.






This is how I told Roger he was a daddy to 3. The sausage roll bag says,
 "If I'm going to get fat, so are you. Congrats Dad to THREE!"
The girls were equally excited...they celebrated with donuts.

We planned to announce that week that we were having a new addition to the Howell home.  Childcare did not work out for our girls, so we just brought them with us to my appointment.  How fun to see their baby brother or sister on TV! We made the most of it.  They called my name and we headed back for the room.  The sonographer asked me the normal questions..."When was the first day of your last period?  How far along do you think you are?" I answered all of her questions.  She began the ultrasound and looked a little puzzled.  She said, "Are you sure about your calculations?" I said, "Yes, I'm positive."

You see, we were actually planning for this baby, so I knew all of the dates like the back of my hand! I had been through pregnancy twice before and was experiencing the exact same symptoms as my previous pregnancies. She then said, "Well, maybe your calculations are off.  Your baby is only measuring at 5 weeks." "Gestational?" I said.

There is a difference.

For those unfamiliar with that term, gestational, it counts your cycle before the baby is actually conceived. Most doctors go by that protocol, though not all do. My thought was, if it's not gestational, then I'm good....the baby is technically only 5 weeks old, so everything is ok.

She answered quietly, "Yes."

My mind immediately started worrying.  I knew without a doubt I was  7 weeks gestationally. There should be no reason the baby wasn't measuring right, if everything was ok.  I told myself to chill out and just wait for the heartbeat.  Our sonographer said, "Now, don't worry, if the baby is truly 5 weeks, this heartbeat is normal."  So, I watched my baby's heart beat very slowly.  I asked her, "What is the heart rate?" "70.", she said. I looked over at Roger and he continued staring at the screen.

Then, I heard its little heart beating.

It was not the quick, healthy sounding heartbeat I was expecting.
It was slower than mine.  My heart broke.

I still remained hopeful...well, let's see what Dr. Beal says about this.  He will just tell me that my baby is petite and has some catching up to do.  Nothing could really be wrong with my baby.  The whole family took the elevator up to the 8th floor to my doctor's office.  I was called back and then explained everything to my nurse, Sylvia. She couldn't even take a reading on my blood pressure because I was literally falling apart as I told her something could be wrong with our baby.  She said, "We'll worry about taking your blood pressure later.  I'll go get Dr. Beal."

I sat and waited....

Shaking

Crying

Stressing

Roger looked at me and said, "You are no good to yourself or the baby if you don't calm down."

He was right.

Meanwhile, he was managing our then, wild acting kids. It was obvious they sensed we weren't in good spirits.  Mckyla came over to me and asked me what was wrong.  I just said, "Mommy will be ok. I'm just sad right now." She stepped up on the exam table step and just leaned into me so that she could hug and comfort me.  Of course,
I cried some more...
About that time, Dr. Beal knocked on the door.  He came in with a somber face...usually, he is grinning ear to ear.  He came right to me and gave me a big hug and said, "You're having a rough day, aren't ya, girl?" He gave Roger a hug as well.  He stood across from me and started explaining what the plan was and what we could expect.  He said, "I want you to come back next week to do another ultrasound.  By next week, that heart rate should definitely be at least 100. Let's just assume your calculations are off, ok, if that's the case, we will just adjust your due date."

"And if it's under 100?" I asked.

"Then, you will likely miscarry."

 He continued on by saying how sorry he was and how much it sucked.  Yes, my doctor said, "It sucks."

I like him.

He assured me that he was available to me if I needed him, told me what to look out for over the next week, and told us we could go.  He gave Roger and I another hug and left.
I got ready and composed myself...really, I looked like a wreck.  Red, splotchy face, and a bright red nose like my momma when we cry.
The receptionist was so sweet.  She could obviously tell I was upset.  She encouraged me by saying she would pray for me.  She said, "You have 2 beautiful girls, and I know you will have more.  You hang in there, sweetheart."  Well, you all know me...I'm quite "leaky", and let's just say I leaked some more.

The walk from the receptionist to the door took forever.  I had to walk through a room of happy pregnant women with absolute despair on my face.  We made calls and sent texts to those who knew and asked for prayer.  I remained pretty much hopeless the rest of the day.  I was mourning the life that hadn't even been lost.  The next few days got better.  I still remained realistic, but was incredibly hopeful.  I began praying over my baby so earnestly, asking God to please heal my baby, to make its little heart beat faster, and to miraculously make my baby grow.  I learned a lot those few days.

Looking back now, I'm very glad our girls were with us at the appointment, because that was the most they would see their baby brother or sister in this life.

We didn't make it to our next appointment.

April 30th, our sweet baby went from my womb, straight into the arms of Jesus. Sort of ironic, considering our baby was already in His Hands as He was knitting our child together.
God does not make any knitting mistakes. The moment the baby was taken to heaven, it received a new body. Psalm 139 says that all of our days are ordained for us before one of them came to be....even those inside the womb.

Don't make any mistakes...God did heal our baby.  He just chose to heal him in Glory...in His presence...in the perfection of Heaven.

Roger and I felt from the beginning that we were having a baby boy. So, when we refer to the baby, we do so as, 'he, him, his, etc'.

Here is the only picture we have of him.
I cherish it.

My baby never breathed fresh air, he breathed Jesus instead.

My baby never felt me hold him in my arms, he went to Jesus' arms instead.

My baby never heard my voice, the first one he heard was Jesus' voice instead.

My baby remained unnamed, yet he received a name the moment he entered God's prescence instead.

My baby didn't get to meet his momma, daddy, or his sisters here, instead, he met our family already in Heaven.
-His Nana, his cousins, his aunts, his uncles, his great grandpa's and his great grandma's.

We plan to name him here, though he already has his Heaven name. We have not decided on one yet. Just wait...we'll get to Heaven and lo and behold, there will be a cute girl there waiting to greet us after we went through our life believing she was a boy!  ;)
One night, I went to turn off my Scentsy, and noticed something incredible.
My pregnant figurine has remained.
Then, notice the figurine holding the baby.
(This figurine is actually called, "Grandmother").
Next, notice the picture of Roger with his momma...
Do you see the beautiful picture God allowed me to see?
Keta now holds my baby in Heaven.









So, here we are now in June, and I am finally physically better. My body took a long time...over 6 weeks... to realize it wasn't pregnant anymore. My pregnancy hormone levels are coming back down, though they are not completely gone. Emotionally, I am still dealing with the loss of our baby. I felt I was doing better, but as it turns out, I'm really not. My girls are suffering the consequences of this. I am physically there for them, providing them shelter, food, love, protection, though I have emotionally checked out. I am trying desperately to check back in, because they need me for more than physical needs. They need my attention...they need their mom back. No other time have I felt like a failure as a mom, than right now. I know, I know....I am not a failure. I am a good mom. I won't listen to the lies of the enemy. It's just my temporary circumstances have me so invested, that it is hard to think about much else. But, I cling to My Father and His Word.

 A big thank you to my friends and family who have prayed for us, called and checked on us, loved on us, held us when we cried, listened when we didn't make sense, made us meals, invited us into your homes, sent cards, helped out with our girls, helped me clean my house...the list goes on.  Your service to our family has not gone un-noticed and I am forever grateful.

Though the ache will never go away and I will be forever changed, I will be more normal one day.

It's just not today.

Though, this is the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life, I know God is carrying me through every step. It is undeniable!  When people ask me how many children I have, I will no longer answer, "Two."  I will answer, "Three.  Two live with me, and one lives with Jesus." Maybe you have lost a baby.  I encourage you to mourn in your own way.  I don't fault you for not telling others if you don't want to. Life begins at conception, which means you are a momma at conception.  You are a daddy at conception.  You are a momma and daddy, even if you never got to give birth to, or hold your precious baby. Don't let anyone tell you differently.  I decided before I ever lost this baby that this is a life worth acknowledging.

Bless each of you who has lost a child, whether inside the womb, or out.