Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goodbye, Sprout.

This is one blog post I had never imagined having to make. I knew there was always the possibility that this situation would occur, but of course, I had hoped and prayed it would be avoidable.

Alas, what do I really know?

Seeing as how the Oxycodone I took two and a half hours ago did not make me fall asleep like I was told it probably would, and I cannot turn off my mind, I decided maybe I would share what was on it, and hope to find some peace... or at least wear myself out enough to fall asleep. Heck, at this point, I'd give for falling asleep in our computer chair....

On Monday evening, I started spotting. It was light, and when I called the doctor the next morning, they said it was normal and okay. So, I tried not to think about it.

Tuesday afternoon, though, it became suddenly heavy, and I started with light cramping. I called the doctor back on the way home from work, and she was more concerned. I was told to go home, rest, put my feet up, and do as little as possible. If it got worse, go to the ER.

Well, it got gradually a little worse, but come bedtime, it was starting to get better. Jake and I had been enlisting prayers all night, and I thought that perhaps, they were working.

Right before our scheduled ultrasound appointment on Wednesday morning, the spotting started returning again. I looked out the bathroom door at Jake, and simply said, "It's back." Right then, in the pit of my stomach, I felt like I knew what it meant, but I tried to remain positive, anyway.

One of the worst moments of my life came at about 10:40 on Wednesday morning. As soon as the ultrasound images showed up on the television screen, I knew. Before the ultrasound technician said anything about it, or even "looked" at Sprout, I knew. There was no movement at all. There was no pulsating little heartbeat. Just stillness.

And Jake knew it too, I think.

After she looked around at other things, she zoomed in. After a few moments, she uttered, "I'm sorry guys." Tears flowed freely from my eyes. I was right. Sprout was gone.

She asked if we wanted a printout of the image, and I said yes. Now, I have no idea why I did. I can still, very clearly, see the most haunting image in my mind. It's burned there. I don't need or want a photo of it to commemorate that saddest moment.

We cried in the room for a while before moving to the next, where they explained that at about 7 weeks, 6 days, Sprout's heart stopped beating and he/she stopped growing. There was nothing they could have done to prevent it, and it was most likely because there was something "wrong" with the fetus, chromosomes and the like. It was nature's way of protecting us and the baby, basically.

They explained options, and sent us on our way. I bawled all the way to my chiropractic appointment, and then somehow made it through, but on the way home, I broke down again. I laid in the bed, sobbing. Our baby died. The heart stopped beating. I thought I was going to throw up all over myself.

Then, I realized I was lying there with our dead child inside of me. They told me they wanted me to try to "pass it on my own" over the next week, but if I hadn't, they'd do the D&C surgery to remove the tissues. I decided, after talking with Jake, that I didn't know if I could go a week with the constant reminder of what was going on, and then maybe still carrying around our child, no longer living or growing, inside of me. And what if I didn't pass the tissues and have to have the surgery in a week anyway?

Emotionally, I just didn't think I could handle it. So, we called, and scheduled the D&C surgery.

I spent the majority of the day on Wednesday crying uncontrollably. I kept apologizing to Jake. I KNOW it's not my fault, and I was not in any way blaming myself (though, sometimes I feel it would be easier if it were my fault and I had someone to blame), but I was apologizing because I was genuinely sorry for him that his child was no longer growing inside of me, either. Sprout was not just my baby, after all.

I did have a few moments of happiness, of course, where I was not sobbing. Undoubtedly the best part of my day was when I was sitting in the chair by the window, crying so hard, and Spencer was on my lap eating a snack. He peeked his head around to face me, smiled, and shoved a puff snack straight into my mouth, then laughed. I couldn't help but laugh. And then, he kept doing it. It was the first time he willingly shared and allowed me to keep something without taking it back to be funny. It was the sweetest moment.

By the end of the night, I was terrified for today to come. I knew that Wednesday was hard, perhaps the hardest day of my life to date, but the next day was to be the procedure that really finalized our loss.

And to make matters worse, while at first, Jake thought he could/would be there for the procedure, by the end of the night, that wasn't the case. He couldn't switch his route days, and he didn't think he could wait until the middle of the afternoon to get going. So, we settled for him being there until I went in for the procedure.

I hugged him goodnight, and cried some more, letting him know how sorry I was that he lost a child. I couldn't stop crying, I didn't know how. Thankfully, he held me in bed so I was not alone.

This morning, I had a hard time getting out of bed. I prayed it could still be night. I didn't want to wake up, because I knew that in waking up, the nightmare would still be my living reality and there was really no escaping it. To make matters worse, I knew that I would be going through the procedure alone.

Not totally alone, of course. I had God with me. And my mother-in-law, Angela, was also there, as Jake asked her to come to be my support. And while I appreciate it greatly, of course, it wasn't the same as having my husband with me.

Angela and I left for the hospital, as I fought back feelings of being abandoned and alone, and Jake took Spencer to stay with some dear friends, because post surgery, I would not be able to care for him.

The ultrasound I had this morning to confirm wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, initially. But, tonight, I can see it again in my mind. I laid there, eyes transfixed on the screen, seeing the image of Sprout, even more lifeless looking than the day before. And no one was there to hold my hand. Following, the doctors and nurses went through the procedures with me, then I went to the lab for a blood draw, and then it was off to surgery.

Around noon, they took me through the freezing cold hallways into the even colder operating room, where, after a few agonizing and terrifying minutes, they finally put me to sleep.

The worst part of my day was what happened next. I woke up, cold, in pain, and alone, in a sterile, noisy, hospital recovery room with a bunch of medical personnel I did not know. I couldnt' even ask for my husband, because he was not there. I was there. No Jake. No Spencer. No Sprout. I began crying somewhat hysterically as the situation hit me. The nurse gave me oxygen and wiped away my tears as I tried to deal with the fact that indeed, I was no longer pregnant, and Sprout had gone to meet our Maker, instead of waiting to meet us in April of next year.

I don't know that I'd ever felt so lonely. It was truly overwhelming.

When I finally calmed down, they had me recover before meeting Angela back in my personal recovery room.

Seeing her helped me regain my calm. I was able to talk, to smile, to laugh again. We talked about our loss and the heartbreak, but we talked about the good things too. She reassured me that it wasn't my fault, and that these things, as sad as they are, happen.

When I was finally released, we came home, to find the door was locked. I had forgotten my key, so we ended up having to drive to meet Jake to get his. The car ride was a challenge. I felt very sick to my stomach and was fighting back emotions that I just did not want to deal with at the time. Angela was very helpful company then, too.

It wasn't until after she left for home that it started to hit me. I had been relatively numb for the majority of the day. But, I sat down on the couch, next to Wendell, and looked at the toys across the room. Spencer wasn't here, and he wouldn't be having a little brother or sister any time in the next 7 months, after all. I cried.

To cope, I went online and chatted with our friend who he is staying with, so I could hear how he was doing. That helped subside the tears a while. It was a nice break.

At 9pm I took the Oxycodone that they said would most likely make me dizzy and drowsy, and I went to lay in bed. I called Jake. He didn't answer. I waited and called again. No answer. Eventually, he called me back, but it's his busiest night on the route, so he didn't really have time to talk.

Needless to say, I felt abandoned and lonely again. I know, of course, that wasn't his intention, but with the huge loss of the day, the terrifying procedure, and all of the emotions I have been trying to deal with, I just felt... dejected.

I sobbed even harder than I had since finding out about our loss. I tried to call my dad a few times, to no avail.

I know that sometimes, it's easier for some people to cope or to deal by removing or distancing themselves from a situation. Unfortunately, it's really hard for someone who needs the person closest to them to be with them to deal with their own emotions. It's a huge conflict, really.

I can't sleep. When I close my eyes, I see the haunting image of Sprout's lifeless body on the screen. When I open my eyes, my husband and my son are gone. It's just me. When I wake up tomorrow morning, it'll be just me.

I just hope it's not just me for long. I don't know how to handle that.

I will admit though, that the countless prayers, the condolences, the kind words and sweet messages, on Facebook, in my email, and on my phone, truly are immeasurable in worth. I cherish every single one of them, even if I haven't the words or the energy to respond right away. I have never had to deal with something like this, and I'm just living moment by moment as I go along.

I know that it's not the same as losing a child you've given birth to, held in your arms, and watched grow. But, we loved Sprout from the very moment we knew of his or her existence. We were already planning for the future, shaping hopes and dreams. Sprout was definitely a part of us, and a part of our family. And while we did not get to hold Sprout in our arms, he or she definitely took up strong residence in our hearts. In that way, we very much lost our child.

And, I can't say that it'd be easier or harder to go through a miscarriage after struggling with infertility and the invasive and ruthless battle that it takes to conceive a child. I wouldn't know. I have been trying not to think about it. But, when it does cross my mind, I do feel like it is a double heartbreak for me. The rounds of assistance where you get a negative result are harder than I can describe. But then to have that positive result taken away from you... I just don't know how to deal.

I wish it made it "so much easier" to know that I'm not alone in this, and that many of the women I know have miscarried a child also. But, it doesn't. Well, it does, but it also breaks my heart. No one should ever have to lose a child, before or after they are born. It's a heartbreak I never would wish upon anyone.

I wish I knew a way to find closure in all of this. There's no funeral for a child lost before birth, really. It feels absolutely surreal at times. Did this all really happen? Surely it did, as I have the physical evidence and hospital discharge paper to prove it.

But don't worry. I am not angry with God. I refuse to lose my faith. God's what will really pull us through this. God, and the support we find in each other and in our friends and family. And of course, this doesn't mean that I do not appreciate the miracle child that I already have. Of course I do. I may even love him more now.

I am sorry that this was so long and disjointed. But, if you've read all the way through, I thank you, sincerely, from the bottom of my broken heart.


  1. My heart is broken for you Nicole. I can't even imagine the pain and sadness you are going through right now. I can only hope and pray that it gets easier for you to deal with. Stay strong and don't lose faith. It isn't always easy to understand the plan God has for us, you just need to trust and believe that there is a reason for things and things will fall into place when the time is right. Prayers, thoughts and hugs are being sent your way. I am so truly sorry for your loss.

  2. I wish I felt there was more I could say other than "I love you". But I'll leave it at that.

    Have you thought about making your own personal memorial for sprout? A tree or some other kind of plant?

    I do love you so much. And I'm praying for you and your family every day.

  3. A loss is a loss no matter the age. I wish I had words of comfort but I'm left speechless and I can't imagine, despite your entry, the amount of pain and heartache you are going through. You are in my thoughts.

  4. Wow, that seems to be almost exactly the same process we went through all the way down to waking up post op crying... :( As a memorial to our little one, we planted a weeping willow tree in my Mom and Dad's yard. Maybe that's an idea? Still thinking of you dear...

    Amber and Sean

  5. Nicole, I have tears streaming down my face just reading this. While the topic at hand is sad beyond words, you have done a beautiful job at putting your words and your feelings down on paper. You are such a talented writer and artist! Your faith is such an inspiration to many. I pray that you will continue to keep the faith and cherish each moment with your family. Your little sprout will anxiously be waiting to meet you one day up above... until then, you have an extra special gaurdian angel keeping close watch on your family!

    My prayers continue for you, Nicole. God Bless. Bridget

  6. I'm so sorry, Nicole. You put down your thoughts & feelings so eloquently, it makes me cry as I try to understand what you're going through. I'm so sorry that Jake couldn't be there with you the day of the procedure, but it's so nice that Angela could come to care for you. Keep lovin' on Spencer, he can't get enough of it!!

  7. Thank you for this post. I'm going through this myself at the moment-was 7 weeks pregnant with our first baby, but have just miscarried. I feel your pain and am so sorry for your loss