Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Great Loss: Our Story

I have wrestled with the decision to share our story or hold it in, because it is immensely personal.  Lately though, the Lord had laid it on my heart to get rid of my fear and tell it.  One of the reasons I felt led to share it is because as I was going through our loss alone in France, I found comfort in reading other people's stories (some I knew, some I had never met).  It helped me find support and encouragement knowing that other girls had gone through a similar experience and made it through.  So here we go... probably the most vulnerable and personal I have ever been on this blog. 


We had a miscarriage in February of this year.  


It doesn't feel real even typing those words.  To be honest, January and February were some of the highest highs and deepest lows I have ever experienced.  A roller coaster of emotions, unmatched by any other experience in my life thus far.  Now looking back, they almost feel like a bad dream that I sleepwalked through.  I like to think God gave me some sort of spiritual amnesia to help me forget how painful it was walking through the whole thing, so far removed from everything and everyone familiar to me.  So here is our story, I hope it reaches someone that needs the same encouragement I needed walking through this a few months ago. 


On January 21st, much to our surprise, Logan and I found out we were pregnant! We were shocked, elated, excited, and grateful.  Infertility is something I always feared and for some reason I truly felt it would take me months or years to get pregnant.   The timing seemed ordained since I already had a planned trip home in June of this year which would be right around my 6 month mark... we started daydreaming of a gender reveal party with my family and a possible baby shower this summer.  We also had plans of coming home for Christmas of this year for 3 weeks and were so elated to think our October baby would make his/ her debut in Dallas over Christmas break with some good, solid, family time.  Within the first few weeks, I started having some complications and scares that led our doctor to thinking I may be having an ectopic pregnancy (outside the uterus).  We had to rush to the hospital to get an emergency sonogram and it turns out everything was fine and the doctor told us there may be 2 sacks, not just 1! Twins? Seriously? We were not expecting that!  It was still very early on so we were told to come back the next week to confirm 1 or 2 babies.  We bounced into the next week's sonogram and when I saw the look on Logan's face as the doctor started talking during our sonogram, I knew something was terribly wrong. I have never been so frustrated by the language barrier. What was the doctor saying? Logan looked at me and told me that 1 sack was empty and the doctor was 95% sure the other baby was in the process of miscarriage.  He offered to "take care of it" that night, but we were hoping and praying for that 5% chance that everything was okay.  He gave us one week to see if I could pass it naturally and if not, we were told to come back in.  His matter-of-factness and apathy infuriated me: "1 in 4 women have a miscarriage." "At least you know you can get pregnant." "This is nature's way of letting you know something was wrong with your baby." "You can always try again." - NOT the things you want to hear from your doctor after receiving this news. I did not want or need a dress rehearsal for getting pregnant. 


Every single day of that week was a struggle to get out of bed. I didn't want to do anything. I lived in fear of passing the baby naturally and feeling an emptiness inside knowing that the baby could already be gone.  Gradually, Logan pulled me out of it and we started praying BIG BOLD prayers for a MIRACLE. We had no physical proof that the baby had been miscarried, so we prayed that the doctor was wrong. That tiny 5% shred of hope is what got me through the longest week of my life. 


We went back the next Thursday and our fears were confirmed.  It was not a progressing pregnancy and I had to go in the next morning for my surgical procedure.  Talk about nightmares... Logan was not able to be with me, no one was speaking English, I was surrounded by tons of doctors and nurses speaking French and I couldn't understand a thing they were saying. The last thing I remember is getting poked by the IV needle, a mask put on my face, and the huge light above me going blurry.  I woke up crying with terrible cramps, asking for my baby.  It was my rock bottom. I felt totally empty.  Logan and I spoke very few words that day.  There was nothing to say.  I was sent home at 4pm and went straight to bed.  


That following week I barely left our apartment... or rather my bed.  I cried, I prayed, I yelled. I was angry, hurt, defeated, upset.  As I shared our story with a few close friends and family,  I literally felt the heaviness start to release.  I know it was the supernatural strength God was giving me and the prayers from all over the world that He was answering.  


I told Logan one day that I didn't think I was okay letting the procedure be my closure, I needed something more. I needed a place to put our memories- the letters I wrote to our baby almost daily, the photo shoot we had when we found out we were pregnant, the 4 sonograms we had.  After reading "Heaven is for Real" a sense of purpose, relief, and peace washed over my soul.  I know that sounds dramatic, but I am not kidding - the healing tears I shed reading that book washed over my entire being.  I read the book in one sitting and when I was done, I knew I wanted to make an Art Journal for our angel baby. 


I know everyone heals in different ways and the thought of doing a scrapbook could stress some people out...but it was therapeutic for me.  I painted, wrote, journaled, found a place for all the memories I had cherished.  This baby was real.  This was our FIRST BABY, maybe not our first BORN, but our very first baby.  I have full and complete confidence that I will meet him/ her someday at the Pearly Gates. I cannot wait for that day.  After this epiphany, I no longer felt I was doing this journal in vain, it felt very real and tangible.  The best kind of closure and the least I could do in order to be a good Mommy and give this baby the love and respect it deserved.  We did pick out a girl name and a boy name and I finally finished the book before our healing trip to Italy.  Finishing it was an emotional afternoon, but I knew I needed to do it in order to move forward.  My Dad told me something that I will hold onto for the rest of my life, he said "I don't like the word closure.  That implies that something has ended permanently.  I think the term acceptance is more appropriate." I LOVED that.  I will never know why God took this baby away almost as fast as he gave it to us, but I will tell you this- being in France with none of my support group around forced Logan and I to bond closer together than ever before. Our marriage grew, our love and respect for each other grew, and our desire to become parents blossomed into a reality.  We have come out of this experience, deeper in love and stronger in our faith. 


My amazingly supportive and encouraging friend Nicki had this bracelet made for me and I truly feel like the Lord gave her these words to help me express what I wasn't able to say.  I love it and I love her.  


"Until I hold you in heaven, I carry you in my heart." 


I hope my story has somehow been shared with someone that needed to hear it.  To relate. To know that there is another girl in this world who has walked this very difficult, sad, unfair, heartbroken path. Please know you are not alone and you WILL laugh again and when you do...you do not need to feel guilty about it.  I would also encourage you to talk to people when you are ready.  It really helps to share the burden and I so appreciate my friends and family who stepped up to the plate to show us their support from an ocean away- emails, cards, phone calls, thoughtful gifts.  We felt so loved and supported even with an ocean standing between all of us.  Most of all, I REALLY appreciate the girls who supported me who had gone through a similar experience. They didn't owe me anything, but their stories, their answers to some of my crazy questions, and their support meant the most.  Knowing they truly understood where I was coming from and were able to move forward and (most) have children was such an encouragement to me. 


Thank you for reading my story and thanks to those who have supported us and continue to encourage us through this journey abroad.  It was a rocky start, but 2012 is already looking brighter.  


Bisous!
Abby

13 comments:

  1. Abby,
    Thank you so much for sharing that. I know that couldn't have been easy to write and I really admire you for putting it out there in hopes that it will help other people going through the same thing. I love your perspective on this and I am praying for you and Logan.
    Love, Becky

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing your heartbreak, Abby. I am terribly sorry for your pain but encouraged by the way God has shown that he is faithful to walk with you through the worst. And reading what your father said about preferring the word acceptance over closure gave me a sense of release with something I have been lacking closure over. Acceptance just takes it out of my hands. Rather than feeling like a door slammed in my face, it sounds more like something God has chosen to give that I can choose to accept with gladness, even in pain. I will be praying for you and Logan.

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  3. My heart goes out to you. Yet you found the strength to share your deepest hurt. I know this will help someone else in the midst of their pain. I admire your faith & how you chose to trust in the Lord. Many times, only HE understands the depth of our crying soul. I myself, am thankful He is bigger than my heart!
    God bless you & your husband.

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  4. I think it's times like these when we find out how strong we really are. You're so brave for sharing your story and I love your journal idea... that is actually something I've thought about and felt a need to start but hadn't ever been able to bring myself to do. Thinking about you lots and I'm here anytime you need to talk. Lots of hugs from Texas.
    -Brett

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  5. girl, so so glad you shared. I am proud of you and thankful for the impact your story and words is already having on others. My heart continues to grieve with you and pray for you..and believe God for His plan and timing to bring more little ones. I pray today that you will feel His closeness like your little one in Heaven does. love you sweet girl!!

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  6. Abby... what a journey that was for you. I haven't experienced what you have experienced but I have been at rock bottom feeling alone, like no one else understands. There are times where I have no idea why things are part of my plan, questioning why God would want me to go through so much pain. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Melissa

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  7. I have tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart but rejoice in the fact we will all be together rocking Angel baby one day in our eternal home. I love you and admire your bravery and trust in God. XOXO, Mom

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  8. I don't often check my Facebook account and reading blogs is even more of a rarity for me, but when I logged into my account today your post caught my eye. I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear about the loss you and Logan have endured. I know you never planned on a dress rehearsal for getting pregnant, but rest assured that because of the incredible foundation you and Logan have built as a result of this hardship, when God does finally grace you with your first born that is going to be one spectacularly blessed child! I will definitely keep you guys in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your story. :)

    Ryan

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  9. Abby, I saw this yesterday and tried unsuccessfully to comment like three times from my phone. I am so sorry for you and your loss, and can only imagine how you must feel. :( Ugh. So thankful to hear how God has strengthened you, and I will keep you guys in my prayers. Thanks for being raw with us.

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  10. Oh Abby, I know I don't 'know' you, but the thought of you going through that procedure here without anyone speaking any comforting words of English to you absolutely breaks my heart.
    Thank you for sharing this with all of us, I hope that somehow it was cathartic for you and I pray that everyday here in France is a brighter one for you xo

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  11. My sweet abby... i will forever be grateful that the lord shared those words with me for you. i will also forever be in awe of your strength - found in being incredibly honest and moved by the reality of situations - and of your faith, and of your tenderness. your crackled voice saying, "does that do not disturb sign apply to me" will forever stick in my mind...with both terrible pain and such sweetness. i thought that next hour would be spent alone in my office begging for the lord to show mercy. but instead he allowed for me to be with you (an ocean away but yet with you) - crying with you, praying with you ... and somehow laughing with you (a strength of our friendship in the darkest of times). i am still selfishly praying for front row seats to see you holding that sweet soul for the first time!!! my heart bursts with joy (and my eyes with tears) just to think about it. what a wonderfully loving mother you are to your angel baby. thank you for allowing us to be witnesses of that. i love you (and my angel niecphew :)

    side note: your ability to find strength and offer encouragement through your writing has never been more apparent. so proud of you. and thankful that you are using your gifts in such powerful ways. you are one talented french girl.

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  12. Abby, I just stumbled upon your blog post today and searched to find this post. You are so incredibly brave for sharing this story, and I'm so sorry you and Logan had to go through this experience. The yearning to be a mommy and daddy is one that tugs at your heart on a daily basis, and I can't imagine the emotions you are feeling. You guys are definitely in our prayers for the planning of your future family members. But as you know, you already have one sweet baby. He or she is just living in heaven with all of the other angels. :)

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