October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. I wrote my story as part of my healing process and thought I would share it with the hope that it will help someone else during their grieving process. I wrote this about 2 weeks after my loss. This is our story.
It’s hard. I cry everyday. Although now I feel like I can move forward and begin the healing process. Losing a loved one is hard, but losing a child seems to be the hardest. This isn’t my first, I experienced a miscarriage at 13 weeks gestation with my third pregnancy. This, was my fifth pregnancy. I heard the heart beat loud and strong several times. We were so excited to see our family growing again, and I was already making sure things were in order for our postpartum experience. But at 19 weeks, the ultrasound showed no movement and no fluttering heartbeat.
I think I was numb at first. And it felt like I was expecting to hear this awful news. I guess I really was, or I should say that I wasn’t surprised. I had an ominous feeling walking into the ultrasound that day – I actually felt it for a few weeks. (It’s the same intuitive feeling I had when I miscarried my third pregnancy, and the same feeling I had before my son was diagnosed with hydrocephalus). So I whispered several prayers that morning – for peace, comfort, guidance, and as always, for a healthy baby and good news. My prayers were answered in a way. It definitely wasn’t the answer that I wanted. I wanted a living baby to hold, to smell, to snuggle, to kiss, to mother. But I do have peace and comfort knowing that this baby was loved dearly by many already, and whatever the cause, at least the babe was safe in my womb, never to experience heart ache, pain, or suffering – only love.
I made the heart wrenching phone call to my husband. I could barely form the words as tears streamed down my face. I’m so lucky to have him as my partner in life. He’s weathered many storms with me and is always unwavering, stoic and calm. He came home early from work to grieve with the kids and I. Explaining this to them has not been easy. We’re open with them about life and death and we have a firm foundation in Jesus, Christ, which has made these transitions easier it seems. My 7 year old understood and accepted it. She and I wept for several minutes as she embraced me so tightly. She’s such a trooper. But, how do you explain this to a five year old boy who continues to ask to kiss and talk to the baby and was so hopeful for a baby brother? We did our best. It wasn’t until after I birthed the baby that he truly understood though. Our youngest didn’t quite understand that I was pregnant, so its been an easy transition for her.
I had to wait a week. It was such an emotional week, filled with anxiety and uncertainty. The risk of infection increases as each day passes and there is a greater risk for hemorrhage at this late stage of miscarriage. I didn’t know what to expect or where to go. I choose to birth out of hospital under the care and guidance of a licensed midwife. My birth team was extremely helpful during this time, however, this was out of their scope of practice. So I called around to a few local OB providers, my midwives and their staff called around too and we couldn’t get the answers and help we were needing. Everyone simply recommended that I head to the ER once I experienced abdominal pain or bleeding. So, I waited. I was told that at 20 weeks I could walk into the hospital Obstetrics Emergency Care Center for help, regardless of pain or bleeding. It just so happened that at the 20 week mark, I began experiencing light cramping as well as a slightly elevated temperature (which turned out to be of no concern, I was probably overheated from the afternoon sun and just a little paranoid about infection, because my temperature was normal at the hospital).
After dropping our three kids off at a very dear friends house, my husband and I headed to the hospital on a Thursday evening, still not fully knowing what to expect. The doctor and nurse gave me two choices, to stay and get induced that night, or leave and come back another day – either way, I would be birthing the baby. My anxiety immediately deflated and my pride beamed. The first thing I thought was ‘I know labor and birth. I can do that. That’s no big deal.’ But then the doctor started talking about induction with meds and the various pain medicine that they can give me, and my anxiety returned, tears streamed down my face. I tried to explain to them that I have no fear about an unmedicated birth, but medical intervention scares me. I started thinking about all of the herbal and homeopathic remedies that could help promote induction and thought about going home to start those and coming back another day. But then, if I ended up needed medical intervention, how would they effect each other? I took a deep breath, prayed silently, and looked at my husband. After a few minutes of discussion, we decided to stay for induction. The doctor and nurse explained what could happen – so that I felt better prepared and aware of what my body would experience, both emotional and physical.
I was able to sleep for the 5 hours after the Cervidil was placed. And I awoke to the nurse coming to check on me around 6am. I was only experiencing mild cramping. Luckily, that’s all I ever felt during this labor and there were no complications. I birthed my baby, en caul, at 7:30am on Friday, September 1, 2017. It was silent and quick. We were unable to determine the sex at this stage of development, although I’m pretty sure the baby was a boy. We decided on the name Kyrie Conrad Sexton. Kyrie is greek and means ‘Lord, have mercy’ and Conrad is my maiden name which means ‘brave counsel.’
My husband had to leave to get our other three kids, so I was able to spend some quiet time alone, just me, God, and my baby. I saw how intricately developed he already was. Everything was formed just perfectly. Psalms 139 was on my heart “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” And I wept.
I feel at peace. I have closure. I am healing. There will always be a place in my heart for both of my heavenly babies. I will always remember them.
Motherhood is raw and real. There are so many ups and downs on this journey. It’s important to me to be present, optimistic, and accepting. Right now I’m mourning. And it’s okay. I’ll stay here as long as I need to. I’m trying to be optimistic, but it’s hard. I already had so many hopes and dreams for this little one and our family. I have no choice but to accept this and continue to be present for my husband and children who need me and love me unconditionally. God is on my side and walking with me every step of the way. I don’t have to bear the weight of this alone, and that is comforting. I know others are supporting us and we all mourn together.