It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and like I’ve said in past posts, it in no way indicates that I’m feeling better and don’t need to write. The past few weeks have been hard for us and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I need to get it out. So I am…
On Saturday, March 26th we caught our rainbow. Nervous, scared, relieved, worried were all thoughts that entered my mind when I found out. We went to visit Sofia that morning and that’s when I let Tim know the news. We talked to Sofia, cried, and talked about how scary it was. Good, but scary.
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We quietly told those closest to us. This time we decided to forget about the silly idea that someone made up about “waiting until it was ‘safe’ to tell”. No such thing. We know that first hand. We figured our families could use some good news with all we’ve dealt with in the past 5+ months. I was only 4 weeks along but we didn’t care. Of course everyone was happy to hear such news. We were holding on telling the extended family – and the world – until it felt right.
I pulled out the old pregnancy book, updated my calendar so I knew which day of the week would mark each milestone and scheduled a Dr. appt with a new OB. Given my history, I’m now considered high risk so they offered to see me before 6 weeks (which I thought was amazing!).
On Friday, April 1st we attended the first day of a two-day child loss conference here in Omaha. It was The Compassionate Friends regional conference and people from Omaha & surrounding cities came in to attend workshops, etc. (I’ll elaborate more on the conference in a separate post) The first night was emotional and we were there past 11:00 pm. The next morning we got up and got ready to go for the second day of the conference. As we pulled out of the driveway, Tim pointed out two little birds sitting on the overhang on the front porch. One was on each slope. We have a window in our bedroom that overlooks the front porch overhang, and when we first lost Sofia, he had an experience with a lone bird sitting at the top of the overhang, looking into the bedroom while he stood by the window. It stayed for a long time and he took it as a sign from Sofia and it made him feel better. As we drove away that morning heading to the conference, and Tim pointed out the two birds, he said, “Sofia has a friend”.
We went to the conference and to our disappointment one of the workshops we really wanted to attend was cancelled because the presenter couldn’t make it. So we chose two separate workshops – his was for men only. My workshop ended early so I went looking for Tim. I didn’t see him in the crowd of people in the lobby so I called his cell thinking he might be looking for me. He didn’t answer, so I used the time to go to the restroom.
That’s when I started spotting. I had a pit in my stomach because I didn’t think it was good. Even though that is somewhat common throughout pregnancy I never experienced that with Sofia, so it had me worried. I waited out in the hallway for Tim and when he came out from his workshop he had the biggest grin on his face. At the end of the workshop the presenter said he was going to play a meaningful song by Kenny Chesney. He hit play – right about the time I had tried calling Tim’s cell phone. Well apparently Tim recently changed his ring tone on his phone to the theme of “The Godfather”. So as the music started, Tim said they all looked puzzled (including him) at why they’d play the theme song to The Godfather – until Tim realized it was his phone! He got a kick out of that. Apparently I timed it just right.
He was so smiley and in a good mood and all I could think was how scared I was and how we needed to get out of there asap. I didn’t want to tell him of my concern but needed to. I just kept thinking in a few minutes, his cheery face is going to change and I hated that.
I gave it a few minutes until we were alone then told him I was worried and we decided it was best to leave the conference, go home and rest. So that’s what we did. I was bummed about leaving the conference early. We met some great people, some who were holding a place for us in the dining room for lunch, but our priority was my well-being and that of the baby so we left. It really felt “unfinished” leaving early though.
On Sunday, April 3rd we knew for certain that we lost another baby. I miscarried. It was only a partial rainbow, the storm is still here.
This baby’s due date was Dec. 2nd 2011 (which Tim’s mom pointed out was the day her mother died-a bit unnerving) but when we did the math and counted back to when I would likely be induced, the date was 11-11-11. That alone should have been our first clue something wasn’t right. In a way it was a sign, because the thought did cross our minds and we agreed we did not want a unique birth date for this baby. Sofia died on her due date of 10-10-10 (delivered 10-12-10) and that was a little too eerie for us. We’d be ok with just any old random date – it would be special because of the baby, not the date itself. Turns out it doesn't matter now anyway because that baby is gone.
I hate hearing the words, “something wasn’t right” (great, two for two...) or “maybe you were too stressed” (like it was my fault or something) or “miscarriage happens all the time” (am I supposed to feel good about that?). Those are not comforting or helpful words. The fact is, it wasn't that baby's time; he or she went straight to heaven before we ever had a chance to meet them. Even though this baby was extremely tiny in comparison to Sofia, it was a baby. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.
I went to the new OB office to have blood drawn to check my hcg levels (pregnancy hormone) and they confirmed what I already knew. My number was ‘8’. (Anything in the 5-0 range is considered not pregnant. At 5-6 weeks normal number for pregnancy is around 7,000) My body was almost completely ‘not pregnant’ anymore. Again.
We of course will never know if it was a girl or a boy, but we feel every child deserves a name. (I once heard a sad story about a baby who passed and how the spirit was sad their parents never named them because they were a miscarried child. True or not, it made me sad to think of it.) We decided to call our second baby “SAM”. It fits for a girl or a boy and it is our Second Angel Missed. It fits. Plus, at the exact moment we were discussing the name Sam a rainbow displayed on TV so it seemed logical in our minds that this was it.
It’s very hard to understand why we have had to deal with this kind of grief for the past 6 months. It was 6 months ago today that we said hello and good-bye to Sofia. Truthfully we thought we might be expecting another one now because we were ready the second we found out we lost our first. And now the grief is cycled all over again because we lost our second. The grief for Sofia never stopped, but it is more magnified now. We’re out of that ‘shocked’ state. Anyone who has grieved for someone knows the stages of grief don’t actually fall in chronological order as once believed by psychologists. You might start with shock, denial & isolation but your mind & body skip around to anger, bargaining, depression & acceptance. Case in point is our situation. The past two weeks I think I’ve been in the ‘anger’ stage. I know this will fluctuate and grief has no timeline. It’s not like “6 moths are up, now you’re done, yeah!”. Hopefully people/family/friends will get this too.
While I was miscarrying Tim & I talked again about the two birds we saw that morning of the conference. He said a thought had crossed his mind that morning just as he said “Sofia has a friend”. He had a gut feeling that I was going to miscarry just from seeing those two birds. He said he didn’t say anything at the time for obvious reasons – he didn’t want to scare me. Sadly, he was right. Maybe that was a sign, and they just wanted us to know they are together, and they are OK.
Even though it is heartbreaking that we lost Sofia and now another baby, we’re starting to feel more & more that this didn’t happen “to us” but that it was some sort of life lesson or growing for our souls and for others as well. Good things have (and will likely continue to) come out of this and even though some days we’re angry, there are times where we accept it. That weekend we went outside in the backyard to brush the dogs and get some fresh air. Sitting there, sad, talking with Tim all of a sudden I noticed a ladybug on Tim's leg. I quickly grabbed my phone & snapped a photo. I was still sad, but it took my mind off the sadness for a little while.
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We’re grateful to the few people who continue to ask (and actually care to hear the response) about how we are doing, and for not turning their backs when the answer is “not good”. We understand that most people don’t know what to say, so they say nothing. I know people just don’t know what to say or do. The only thing that could be done would be to bring us back our children but that can’t happen, so the next best thing is just to let us know you’re thinking of us. What we’ve gone through is a very lonely, isolated feeling, and ignoring what happened does us no good.
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This second loss has taken a toll on me mentally/emotionally. I was worried about another loss and that’s exactly what happened. Tim was worried too, and the loss hurts him as well, but he's trying to not let it consume him. I'm having a harder time with that but doing a little better now than at first. So we’ve lost a baby at the very end and now at the very beginning. We are hanging on a thread of hope that third time will be the charm, and we will have that full rainbow – our take-home baby – someday soon. Prayers needed & welcomed by all!
I’ll end this post with another Dr. Seuss quote. While it’s sometimes hard to accept, I do think it’s true in our losses: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”