Matt and I aren’t big “sharers” when it comes to our private lives. I’m convinced it’s boring enough that most people won’t care, but in the past ten or so days, Matt and I have been through a roller coaster of emotions that’s often followed by silence.
This is my attempt to break that silence and help others. So, please read on if you’re interested. If not, I won’t take it personally.
That’s part of the reason I’m putting this story on my very good friend Jessica’s blog—so those who want to read can, for others, they can keep scrolling. The other reason being I wanted this to live somewhere more permanent than a Facebook post. That, and Jessica is a fantastic writer with a huge following, and I’m simply blessed to have her in my life. So, thank you, Jess for letting me take over your blog today.
So, here goes nothing…
Just shy of three months ago Matt and I found out (rather unexpectedly) that we were expecting baby Benes #3. Many of those close to us knew this, others might not have. This time along we chose to share our wonderful news with close friends and family right away for a couple of reasons:
1. I simply can’t keep my mouth shut.
2. While it would have been “safer” to wait until 13 weeks, we knew from the moment we found out about the baby that we wanted to celebrate every moment of this child’s life because the pregnancy journey is so blessed and so special.
We also chose to share the news very early on with our four and three year olds Jackson and Hannah. Again, a personal decision but one we knew we wanted them to be a part of from the instant we knew.
And so three months of excitement, some planning and constant testing began.
I’ve delivered two healthy, full term babies and had no reason to expect this would be any different; however, my levels were “off” from the moment my doctor first started drawing them weekly.
We made it through several weeks with prayer and support, and I wondered (several times in fact and somewhat jokingly) if we were having twins. I was constantly nauseous, dizzy and just not myself—something I didn’t experience with either of my pregnancies before. By eight weeks, my levels “leveled” off and we felt a bit more confident as did my wonderful, wonderful doctor. He told us to come in at 10 weeks to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
So, that’s just what we did, except we couldn’t find it—not a terrible cause for alarm since we were still early, but I knew, even then, something wasn’t quite right.
That Sunday, at 10 weeks 4 days I started to bleed. Again, in most cases it’s nothing major to spot, but I knew, and so did my doctor, that things weren’t ok. We proceeded with an ultrasound with almost certainty we were miscarrying. After a confusing and heartbreaking visit with the neonatologist, we learned we were carrying twins (two wonderful, beautiful babies) with no heartbeats who had most likely stopped developing weeks prior.
We were devastated. How would we tell our family? How would we tell our kids? So, we offered it to God. We decided, after speaking with my doctor and the specialist to wait and see if I would miscarry naturally, then after a week we would check progress again and move forward. That week, or so I thought at the time, was one of the hardest we had ever endured personally and as a married couple.
Emotionally, I was terrified to even begin processing what was happening. And having another baby added an unexpected, blessed and absolutely heartbreaking element to our emotional roller coaster.
But, we invited our friends, family and children into our suffering. And that, let me tell you, is THE support that is getting us through this.
A week later we hit repeat and again visited the neonatologist and learned that the pregnancies were not viable, and so we moved forward with miscarrying. I was wrong—this week has been the hardest, suckiest (I know, it’s not a word, but it’s the only thing that accurately depicts what we are going through), and most challenging week (and beyond) we have faced together.
That’s our story. Heartbreaking, but hopeful for a few reasons—these reasons are also why I wanted to share our story so publicly.
First, so many women (and men even) in our lives stepped forward to share their stories with us—to break the silence that so often exists after miscarriage. This is my attempt to pay it forward. For those of you who have suffered the loss or death of a child or children, you. are. not. alone.
Let me repeat that: you are not alone. There are so many women and couples who have suffered (sometimes silently) without this support and I’m here to tell you: I’m here for you as is God, Mary our Mother, and millions of women and families.
Another reason I share our story is to praise my doctor. I won’t share his name here but know if you are ever looking for a new doctor, I’m happy to pass along his name personally. There are doctors out there who care deeply and profoundly for the women and families they serve. Believe me—I’m not dismissing doctors here. I previously had a doctor who didn’t take much interest in my emotional well fare, so I moved on—and am so, so glad I did.
My doctor held my hand (figuratively and literally) through the last three weeks of our pregnancy and even more so during the last two weeks. He called, he texted, he reached out almost every day to make sure I was ok and to let us know we were not alone. He prayed with me, he added our name to prayer chains and told us about a resource I didn’t even know existed (one I’ll share here in a moment). I’m not saying everyone wants or needs a doctor like this, but know they DO exist. This man helped me stay sane and joined in our suffering because he cared. I appreciate him more than he will ever know.
Next, I share this story because, as grieving parents, where do you turn? There are so many resources and counsellors available, but my doctor shared with me a place that I didn’t know existed but has given us so much comfort. Families who lose babies can bring the remains of their children to St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln. They place these children in a special vault at Calvary Cemetery—a special place where families and others can visit and pray for their angels. Our babies will have a place of rest, one where we will take Jackson and Hannah to ensure our babies live on in them.
I loved these babies from the moment God gave them to us. They are important. They lived. They will continue to live in our hearts.
As common as miscarriage is, it affects every family, every individual differently. Not only are we grieving, our family and friends are as well. Our babies were so loved, and we are so blessed to have been their parents –no matter their short time here on earth.
Again, you are not alone. If nothing else, know that I am here for you and will pray every day for families who have lost children. Know you don’t have to remain silent—we can break it. Our children were here, they were loved and they continue to profoundly impact so many, many people.
Lastly, my husband is my rock. Thank you, Matt, for all you’ve done and continue to do to support our family. I can’t imagine going through this without your support.
And I think, because we’ve offered our suffering to God, our marriage is stronger for it. Our babies did that—I truly believe that was part of God’s plan. Our children are shaping so many lives in ways we cannot even fathom. So, thank you, Matt for being my everything. And thank you Heavenly Father for the many blessings you have given us—we may not understand His plan for us, but we place all trust in Him.