Saturday, May 23, 2009


eight months ago our whole world changed.

8 weeks later it all came crashing down.

tomorrow was our due date.

i’ll never forget the joy james and i shared as i came home that weekend in september, thinking our lives were going to change forever; him handing me a test, and the feelings that came a mere 3 minutes later. we were shocked and thrilled. this was all God’s plan. sure a little earlier than our own plan, but thinking back to when we first talked about children (you know, way back when we were still kids ourselves and had no business discussing such things) i just couldn’t believe it was finally here. we were going to be parents!

of course i dove into every pregnancy book written, even passed a few on to james. each sunday i’d read him the update of what was happening with our baby. it was precious time. time i never thought would end. little did we know what would come of that routine appointment in november, the only appointment james had to miss because of work.

it was just a normal appointment. my last one before i jumped into the second trimester. i was so happy to be in the safe zone. dr. french cheated and said “let’s just see if we can hear the heartbeat.” i replied, “okay, but don’t tell james!” still laughing and joking, unaware of what was about to happen.

no heartbeat, try another doppler, that ultrasound picture burned in my head, drive to the emergency ultrasound place, a quiet room, hearing the nurse say it over the phone, sending me back to my doctor, the news.

i was in awe that the baby stopped growing at 8 weeks, and here 4 weeks later, my body still didn’t recognize the loss. that baffled me. we had appointments in the between time and were clueless that anything was wrong.

afterwards, i remember sitting in the office, clutching my phone, hating that i just switched phones and this one wasn’t my razr. the one that kept me connected to him all throughout the deployment. the one i slept with every night for 15 months, our life line. (funny the things you think about in moments like that) i just wanted the security of my old phone, the security of my husband, who i couldn’t get a hold of, thanks to the mountains in georgia that obstruct any signal.

he had a competition that day, i was supposed to meet him at the finish line at 4pm. i had to be there, i didn’t want him to worry, and i just wanted to tell him in person. i waited until it was time to leave, calling other army wives, trying to figure out what to do. little did i know just how many people were trying to reach him too. i am so thankful for them. this life was all new to me, and i didn’t know who i needed to talk to, or what i needed to say, i just knew i needed james.

i still drove up to camp and by chance he saw my car on his way out. someone had gotten through to him, and he was coming home. i didn’t even have to tell him. he already knew.we just melted into each other's arms.

the next few hours and eventually days, were spent in the comfort of our bed, just curled up, holding each other, crying, in disbelief.

then came the guilt. "what did i do wrong. this was my body. i should have protected our baby better." it's so hard to jump out of those thoughts. too easy to blame yourself.

family came to be with us, drove here as fast as they could. it was nice to be around others, instead of in our quiet house. we tried to keep busy. driving around town, visiting a winery, but later getting upset because “i shouldn’t be drinking now. not for the next several months.” it was so hard knowing the baby was still there, but already gone.

another few days and we were at the hospital. they warned me that it would probably say “abortion” on the chart, since it hadn’t fully happened. once i saw that i just got so mad. i remember the few minutes before wheeling me back for surgery, i just couldn’t understand why they couldn’t do anything. didn’t anyone care, wasn’t there something that could be done? i knew the answer, but it was still hard to believe.

the blankets were so warm that day, james was by my side, and our old friend and new pastor came to sit with us. to sit and stay with james in the waiting room. it was nice to have someone there with a clearer head to say some prayers, and share some kind words. i am so thankful for that.

we were never alone.

james later said he wished someone would have told us from the beginning how often this happens. after we found out and shared with everyone it seemed like every other person could relate in some way or another. how can this happen so often? why does this happen so often?

someone once said the innocence of pregnancy is lost after a miscarriage. it’s true. when we got pregnant again, it wasn’t the same. sure we were happy and excited, but we were a bit more reserved. we didn’t want to get burned again. we were aware of what could happen.

it took a long time for me to get back into reading the books and getting excited each week about what is going on with bean. i was mad at myself for not giving bean a fair chance, but i couldn’t help but be worried. each time i go to the doctor, even now, it’s not filled with just excitement. i still fear “this is the week that they are going to give us bad news.” as many ultrasounds we have had, and all the times i’ve heard the heartbeat, i still get anxious. as we leave the doctor i think “okay, pregnant for at least a few more weeks!”

it’s such a sad thought. it makes me mad that i think that way, but i don’t know how not to. it’s like i won’t believe it’s real until we are holding bean in our arms. i’m afraid to get too excited.

it wasn’t until after we left our last ultrasound, and were reassured over and over that everything looked good that i finally had a bit of peace. i got a huge smile on my face, and these soft little kicks i’m feeling now are a nice reminder too. bean knows just what i need.

i am comforted by the fact that no matter where i go i have two little babies with me. when i flew down to texas, i was so scared to be by myself on the flight. that was a new and weird feeling. i’ve done this plenty of times, but this time was different. this time i had a bean to take care of. i just wanted to protect it. i guess that mothering instinct comes on pretty early. i caught myself looking down at my tattoo many times, and just saying a quick prayer. comfort.

while the situation is something i hope and pray we never have to experience again, it did a lot for our marriage. we were newlyweds, and that was a test that came way too quick. we grew even closer, and leaned on each other. it made me so thankful for our love.

so as we think about what could have been this day, we remember what was, that precious time with our baby, and what’s to come exactly one year after we found out we were pregnant, a new bean.

all the while…still singing “lullaby.”


Vanessa said...

Thinking of you. You are a strong woman.

Blondiesaur said...

I just want you to know how much your story helped me with everything I was going through. Just knowing someone who'd come through the other side and was successful gave me such hope. Thank you so much for your courage!

4kids4 said...

you make me cry. I wish we were closer and knew each other better:)
I love you:)

Heather said...

we love you sweetie.

Dyan said...

Shel...your strength amazes me whether you believe you have any or not! Bean is one lucky child to have you as a mother to love and protect her. Sending you & James lots of love and prayers today!!!

Mo said...

Awww merv...
You are so strong. Thinking of you guys today. <3

Patty said...

I've read this twice, and both times I cry. I can't tell you how much you mean to me and you have been a great friend. I really hope to meet you one day. I hate that we share this tragic bond, but a bond nonetheless.

Nicolasa said...

My heart aches for you but I know you have a good thing coming your way. You're such a strong person. Love.

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