We're all kinds of crazy!!!

Tuesday, April 26

Peter

For the one that was and always will be; although he can't share this life with me...

I mentioned in an earlier post that I would share the story of Charlie's twin. I'm not sure I can properly put it into words, but I will do my best.

We lost a child. Because we never had actual 'proof' of the sex of this child, we rarely use a name. We didn't want to deal with people asking us how we know, but we do know. We know we lost a son. We know his name was Peter. And I think about him every day.

I was 7 weeks along when I had some spotting and went in for an ultrasound. I was told that I was having twins. Immediately some part of me recognized that I already knew this before they told me. It was right. It made sense. Jarom, on the other hand, was completely blown away by this news. We were nervous, but excited. We saw this as a blessing for following the promptings of the Lord.

From the very beginning there was some concern that Peter's amniotic sac was rather small. I went in for an ultrasound every one to two weeks so we could monitor his growth and the sac around him. Everything seemed to be going well. The sac was consistently small, but it also was growing proportionately to his body and to Charlie's sac. The sac grew as he grew. At the beginning of the second trimester, my doctor felt concerned that the sac may have stopped growing. The only cause of this that they could come up with was that if the babies were sharing a placenta (which would make them identical twins), Charlie could have been getting the bulk of the nutrition and Peter wasn't getting much of anything. There was some dispute as to whether the babies were actually sharing a placenta or not. So I was sent to a specialist who would be able to tell if this was the problem. It could be fixed if we went to California for a rare, but effective surgery. We went to our appointment and the doctor was confident that the babies did not share a placenta so this could not be a problem. He also said that both babies had sufficient amniotic fluid and that they both looked healthy. We were relieved to hear such great news.

Less than a week later, on July 27, we went in for my regular appointment. I remember while we were waiting for my nurse to come in I told Jarom, "I just feel like this is the pregnancy when something will go wrong. I'll have high blood pressure or toxemia or something." I was half-right. I wish I'd been completely right. High blood pressure isn't all that bad. My nurse came in and listened for the heartbeats. She had a hard time finding either one. She moved me into a room with an old ulrasound machine and looked for the heartbeats. She found one, but something about the other one looked strange to her. She could see surrounding blood, but no blood-flow. She asked us to wait for the newer ultrasound machine to be available. Amazingly enough, it didn't occur to me at this point that something was really wrong. I thought everything would be fine once we did the actual ultrasound.

The technician came in and looked at my babies. She started by showing us Charlie, that he was healthy and doing well. Then she moved on to Peter, and even my untrained eyes could see...there was no heartbeat. There was, in fact, no amniotic fluid surrounding him at all. Just his lifeless little body. That little spirit, that life, was gone. Words cannot describe what I felt in that moment, what I still feel today when I think about it. Watching them search for a heartbeat they won't find...desperately seeking a life that's not there. This was somewhere around my 6th or 7th ultrasound. I had been given the gift of knowing this child. I watched him grow from a little blob into a person. I knew his face. I had seen him kick, and bounce, and play, and even have the hiccups. At that point in the pregnancy many women would not even know that there were 2 babies. I was so blessed to be given the opportunity to know this child, but it made the loss so much harder.

There was never an explanation for what happened. Nobody knew. It is common to lose a twin in early pregnancy, but not in the second trimester. It was a fluke. Something weird. That's all we know.

The array of emotions I've had to deal with since is unfathomable. I recognized many blessings that came with the short life of this child. I recognized the fact that although I was overwhelmingly sad, I was not angry or resentful. I had to deal with the obstacle of telling people and how I would respond to their questions.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with, was what would happen to Peter's little body. His body was compressed, essentially crushed, and absorbed by the surrounding tissue. This was a very hard thing for me to visualize. And I expected that it would take some time, but when I went in for an ultrasound two weeks after the loss, it was already as if he had never been there. That was very difficult for me. Already there was no evidence of him left.

I also had to figure out how to feel two completely opposite emotions at the same time. I had just lost a child. I was grieving and mourning that loss. But I was still expecting a child. And I was so happy that he was still there and looked forward to him joining us. But how do I feel those two things together, at the same time? I'm still not sure I've figured that out. Some days it works better than others.

I have had a number of experiences that have helped me in my process of healing, the greatest of which came after I offered the most sincere prayer I have ever offered in my life, asking the Lord to take this burden from me and help me find comfort and healing through the power of His atonement. This is why He suffered, so I would not have to...and though I still have sadness, He kept my loss from taking over my life. It did not break me, because I didn't have to carry it alone. Having said that, there are still nights when I wait for Jarom to fall asleep. I leave my bedroom...I hold that ultrasound photo close to my heart...and I cry...I cry hard...and I cry for a long time.

There are other things that have affected me. Other things that have hurt. Other lessons I've learned. I won't share them here. But these are the basics. One of the greatest blessings I will ever recognize in my life is that I have an eternal family. I will be with Peter one day. I will always be his mother, he will always be my son. I will always have that meeting to look forward to, and I will try my hardest to live my life in a way that makes me worthy of that blessing.

For the one that was and always will be; although he can't share this life with me...

4 comments:

GrumpyJaxMomOf3 said...

Amazing.. that is all I can think to say

nateandmel said...

:( That was hard to read, but you are so strong!

The Girls' Mom said...

"This is why He suffered, so I would not have to..." Thank you for this important and much needed perspective!
Beautiful post!

becki_80 said...

Leave it to you to make me cry. Love you sis. (Andrew)