Monday, January 16, 2012

A Pain Like No Other

September 6, 2011...the birthday of my precious baby girl, Adalyn fourth baby born, my youngest, my second little girl. I had such hopes for her, for our family, our future together. I had already planned out her room, the love she'd get from Tristan, the hope of Asher stepping up and being the protective big brother, and Rhi, the fights she'd have with Rhi. I worried. I worried about how we'd find the time, money, attention, patience, and space we'd need for a fourth child. I knew, though, that it would all work out, it always had.

Thing is, none of these things would come to fruition. On Tuesday, August 30, 2011, Channing, the kids and I eagerly anticipated an exciting day. It was ultrasound day! We were finally going to find out if our family would be blessed with a sweet baby girl or a precious baby boy. We spent the night before making our predictions. We spent the morning of preparing our baby reveal game. We were all so excited! We had friends anxiously awaiting the news. It was finally time!

Cut to our appointment. Channing and I walked into the ultrasound room. We excitedly explained our baby reveal game and how we wanted her to hide the special piece of the game. We thanked her for performing our ultrasound at 17 weeks and 5 days (rather than the suggested 20 weeks). I got on the table. Everything was perfect and ready.

The tech, such a sweet and amazing lady, started with the wand over my belly. I quickly figured out something was wrong. I mean, this was baby #4. I knew what was happening wasn't normal. She moved the wand...and moved it again...and again... She was quiet. Channing was so busy looking away (he really wanted to be totally surprised during the gender reveal game) he didn't notice. I finally said it, "You can't find it, can you?". She confirmed my suspicions. There was no heartbeat.

What happened next is somewhat of a blur. I cried, Channing was upset, the tech offered words of comfort. Finally, I gathered myself and said, "It's ok. It's ok. It's going to be ok." Channing and I were ushered to an exam room to wait for our dr. My nurse came in, hugged me, but I was numb. I couldn't believe it. It couldn't be right. We had THREE HEALTHY KIDS. Three healthy pregnancies. One of my babies was born in the car for crying out loud! How could this be happening? I was numb.

My doctor came in. He told us how the baby was measuring where it should be and how whatever took the baby's life must've just happened. He tried to comfort us. He said all the things that doctors say, I guess. I know he felt bad for us. He told us the next steps...basically they consisted of me immediately being checked into the hospital and delivering my baby that wouldn't breathe at birth. I was in shock. I was heartbroken. I was numb.

Channing and I opted to wait a week before going through with the delivery. Deep down, we just didn't accept the diagnosis. We wanted time to pray for a miracle. We left the office with broken hearts. We called our parents and let them know. I knew a lot of my friends, teachers at my kids' schools, etc knew it was the day we were finding out the gender, so that made things harder. We knew people would ask. Channing went in to get our little kids, while I waited in the car. Teachers asked, heard the news, and cried.

Thankfully, Channing was able to cancel patients for the rest of the day, so we could go home together to explain things to the kids. The hardest part of our afternoon, after finding out we'd lost the baby, was picking up Tristan. He was SO excited! From the time his feet hit the back of our van, he couldn't stop talking about how excited he was to find out about the baby. "Daddy, you took off?! Are we going to do the game right away?! I think it's a boy!". It went on and on.

Finally, we arrived home, sat on the couch together and prepared to share our heartbreaking news. Tristan, of course, didn't understand why we were sitting down. He was talking a mile a minute about our game. He was pumped! Finally, we broke in and told them what we'd found out; that they didn't find a heartbeat. What was amazing to me was how quickly my seven year old Tristan picked up on what that meant, "It died? The baby died?". "Yes, baby. The baby died. He or she is in Heaven with Jesus." He broke down. He cried and cried. He was so sad.

Asher didn't quite understand. For some reason, beyond our understanding, he thought that our baby lost it's head, went to Heaven to get another from Jesus, and would come back. A wild imagination, that one has. It took a little more explaining for him, but we finally got it explained.

The next couple of days were harder than anything I've ever gone through. I was totally and completely heartbroken. I felt hopeless. I was so blessed, though, with amazing friends who quickly organized meals, prayers, and encouraging words for me. Looking back, I never could have made it through without them. Finally, on day three, I decided to fight. I wanted to fight for our family and the life of our baby. So that's what Channing, our friends, our pastors, and I did. We prayed. We were prayed over. We believed that our baby would be healed. I even felt guilty during that week because I had friends bringing us dinner, and I thought it was completely unnecessary. I would go back the next Tuesday, and we'd find out that our baby was totally fine. I was so sure in my faith.

Let me insert here, briefly, that I have never felt so loved. I had family, friends, neighbors, pastors, etc bringing us food, books, prayer cards, anointing oil, gift cards, flowers, encouraging words. I can never share and put into words how amazing that was, how blessed we were, how loved we felt.

Well, we went back to our doctor's office, Channing, my mom, and me. It was kind of a crazy day. Power was out all over Birmingham. The tech was late because of traffic. Our doctor was late. It was a messy day. Finally, it was time. Our doctor took us to the ultrasound room. Once again, I was on the table. Once again, no heartbeat. Our baby was really gone. No miracle. I would be delivering a stillborn baby that day.

I was devastated. I was shocked. I was broken. We three got up, left the room and headed to the hospital. I had to face what was happening. I just couldn't believe it. As sad, confused, and distressed as I was, God showed me that He had never and would never leave my side, even if I was in the middle of wondering how He could withhold a miracle from us, one that we'd prayed so hard for; one that we'd whole-heartedly believed would happen.

He made His presence known immediately when we met the nurse who would spend the day with us. Her name was Pamela. As we were sitting in the room with her, and she was taking our information, she began to ask about our plans for the baby after birth. It was more than I could handle. I broke down, and she immediately said we could discuss that later. That's when she said something along these lines, "I don't normally share things about my private life, but yesterday at church, as I was praying, I felt God tell me that I needed to step up for _____ patients ( I can't remember what she called patients like me, patients who'd lost their babies), so as soon as they said someone was coming over, I volunteered." That was proof to me that God had known exactly where I'd be that day, at that time. I was humbled that He'd cared enough about me to prepare the perfect nurse for me. It was incredible and exactly what I needed to hear when my faith was on shaky ground.

Nurse Pam was amazing. She walked me through my fears, through the pain, through everything. She wasn't there when Adalyn was born but was back the next morning. She was a bright light in a dark time. Thank you, Lord.

Adalyn Grace was born on September 6, 2011 at 9:00 pm. She was so so tiny. I couldn't believe how tiny she was. She was 5 inches long. As tiny as she was, we immediately recongnized that she had her Daddy's feet and hands...long skinny feet. Ha! Even baby #4 looked like him! I have some seriously recessive genes! But that's beside the point.

A lot happened in between the time I entered the hospital and the time she was born, a lot of odd and incredible things. I won't share them all. I'll keep some things specifically for our family, but it was a unique and humbling time.

It's been exactly four months and 10 days since our precious baby girl was born. It's been a rough four months, though it is getting easier. Times were hardest in the two months after we lost her. Now, I'm finally out of the fog and in a place of gratitude. I'm so grateful that the first face she saw was the face of Jesus. I'm so grateful that I'll never have to worry that she'll be hurt, that someone will break her heart, that she'll be sick...she is healed and with Jesus. Though I'm grateful that God has my precious baby, I still have days where I cry, where I miss her, where I am reminded that on her original due date, February 2, 2012, she won't be born. I won't be holding a perfect baby girl. Tristan won't hold her, guide her, love her like he does Rhi. I won't get to see Asher step up and be the protective big brother. Rhi will never yell at her for stealing her babies or clothes (as teenagers). I will never know if she'd have grown up with curls like our other three.

That being said, what greater glory is there than to be with our Lord and Savior? Our little girl is in perfect peace. Thank you, Lord, that we have hope in You. I don't know how people survive loss without Jesus; without hope of seeing their loved ones again. I know that one day, I will hug Adalyn, and I will be able to pour out my love on her. What a great day that'll be.

In the meantime, I'm so thankful for my husband, such an amazing man, partner, and father, for my kids, my friends, and one amazing church. I am blessed beyond measure!

A great verse that saw me through: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2

If you don't know Jesus, DON'T WAIT! Our time here is so short. Don't put off finding Him. Hope and salvation can only be found in Him.


The Greenfields said...

oh annie. thank you for telling this story. we were standing behind you in prayer through the whole thing as we received updates from leslie. i am crying as i read this and so appreciate your honesty. i am so glad you are blogging again, i have missed you.

Ole Miss Mom said...

wow, thanks for opening up annie. I cannot imagine what it was like to go through this. another friend of mine lost her baby last week and it always hurts my heart. and yes, one day you will get to hug on her all you want! :)

mjs said...

i can only imagine the pain of losing your baby. i am so sorry, annie. i'm so thankful for your faith.

~k said...

Oh Annie. You are amazing.Our God is amazing. What an amazing verse. I have a very dear friend who leans on the same verse. Love to you and yours. I will continue to pray for you all.

holly said...

Love you and your sweet family! we continue to remember you all in our prayers

Rachael said...

Been praying for you Annie. I can't imagine. I have no idea what you are feeling, but I know God does and I know He loves you all soooo much!! Your faith is such an encouragement, you are an amazing woman.

Much Love!

Donna said...

Glad you are back Annie- I've wondered what all you have been up to. I'm so sorry about your loss. We lost a little boy at 12 weeks pregnant on December 10. I held him and thought he looked like he was smiling- I like to think he saw something more beautiful than I can imagine. These moments when heaven and earth come so close together I thank God that He has called me to be one of His own- I can't imagine dealing with these things without eyes of faith. God bless you friend.

Grethel said...

you have been in my thoughts and prayers every day since I heard the news... you are an amazing mommy! thank you for sharing your story. Addy has touched so many lives.

Amber said...

Annie, I am so glad I came across your story today. You are an amazing woman of faith and I am so glad that I get the chance to get to know you a little more. You have been so receptive to our prayer requests and have given me such encouraging words over the past few weeks through the pain I have endured. Thank you.

morgan823 said...

Annie, when you sent me your friend request on facebook I found your blog. I had no idea, I'm so sorry for yours and Channing's and the rest of your family's loss. You are an amazing woman and I am so glad we joined your small group. Me and Ben talk about you and Channing all the time and how we are so glad we joined! Sending you hugs!

annieck said...

Y'all are all such blessings to me! You have NO idea! God has walked me through all of this with such amazing friends. I am so fortunate and thankful! Love you all.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your blog after Googling Disney vacation planning search terms for my 3 year old.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my first born child four years ago. Four years later and I can still remember every second of that ultrasound appointment and every minute in the hospital that night.

A piece of me will always be missing however insulating that void with as much love and hope that will fit has made all the difference.