Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembering Malachi

Did you know that today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day?

I didn't know either until I read about it on Michelle's blog. Michelle has become a dear friend to me through the world of blogging and emailing, and I was heavy-hearted to hear of Michelle's unexpected pregnancy and miscarriage this past weekend. You can read about her loss here.

Michelle has encouraged her readers to share about any babies they've lost through miscarriage or after birth on their blogs today and then link back to her blog. I thought about it, but was really not planning to participate, even though I've had two miscarriages myself. I didn't really want to bring those memories back up, and I didn't want to take the time to write a blog post about it, and I just resisted the idea, even though I thought it was a good one.

Then, I read the story of Lynette Kraft, who has been required to give three of her precious children back to God. Her testimony of What Can be Gained through Heartache was so sad, yet, at the same time, such a Blessing! Reading it inspired me to share about one of my miscarriages, even though my story is NOTHING compared to hers!

Because it happened so long ago, I didn't think I could recall enough details to write a blog post. Then, unexpectedly, I found a folder that contained the story of my first miscarriage. Honestly, I don't even remember writing this all out! But, finding it sure makes it easy to create a blog post now! So, here is my story of "Malachi."

September 19, 1994

I was eleven weeks into my sixth pregnancy and we were all excited about the addition of a new little baby to our family. However, in the early evening, I discovered that I was spotting. Alan was out of town, and when he called to check in, I revealed the alarming news to him with a heavy heart.

September 20, 1994

The bleeding continued, despite my efforts to take it easy. Alan came home and put me to bed. Lovingly, he cared for me and the children and kept the household running. I read and reread the IBLP Basic Care Bulletin on Miscarriage, which was informative and inspirational.

September 21, 1994

I was still bleeding even though I had been staying in bed, so we decided to call our family physician. He arranged for us to have an ultrasound that afternoon. There was no time for us make arrangements for the children, so we all trooped over to the hospital.

The ultrasound was performed, but unlike previous ultrasounds, the technician was not friendly, did not tell me anything, and turned the screen so I could not see the baby. She would not answer any of my questions, either. Finally, she called the Radiologist into the room to view the ultrasound. I thought surely he would answer my questions and either confirm or calm my fears, but he never even acknowledged my presence in the room! He stared at the screen for a few moments, and then grunted and left!! The technician told me to call my doctor's office the next day for the results!!!! Can you believe it? At this point, I lost it! I burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably. Finally, someone had compassion on me and asked the radiologist to page my physician. After they conversed privately, he gave me the phone and I was able to talk to my family doctor, who told me the bad news -- the sac was appropriate in size for eleven weeks gestation, but there was no hearbeat and the baby had apparently died at eight weeks gestation.

Everyone at the hospital had been cold and heartless, but our doctor was extremely kind and compassionate, promising to request prayer for us that night at church. A father of five himself, he valued life and his compassion and understanding were a bright light in a very dark place. We felt it was a gift from God at that difficult moment.

As soon as the children saw my face, they knew the bad news. Tiffany (9) burst into sobs. It was so hard on her to let go of that precious baby! Taylor (4) kept asking why God took our baby to heaven to live with Him. I tried to explain that God knew what was best. Finally, he said, "Oh well, Mommy, now you can nurse Joseph again! :) (My milk had dried up when I got pregnant and poor Joseph received the shortest amount of breastfeeding of any of my babies.) Wasn't that sweet?

September 22, 1994

We saw our family doctor and communicated our desire to miscarry at home rather than have a D&C. He was very compassionate and graciously granted our request, even though it was against the "accepted medical practice" in our area at that time.

My Mom took the children home with her for the night and told us to go out to eat and enjoy a break. She even slipped me some money, and told me to go buy something new to wear. She was so gracious and so wise, because it was good for Alan and me to be alone and begin to deal with our grief. Plus, going out together was much better than just sitting at home waiting for something to happen.

September 23, 1994

It was a quiet (too quiet) day at home with all of the children at my Mom's and Alan back to work. My bleeding and cramping increased, but nothing more happened. Knowing that my precious baby had died and waiting for my body to go into labor were very hard. Yet, I didn't want to have an invasive procedure like a D&C with its many possible side effects, unless medically necessary.

I knew the Lord was in control and was using the waiting time to teach me something (patience again, Lord??), but I sure struggled with the restlessness as I waited.

My pastor and his wife drove over to visit us that evening, and I began to receive cards, phone calls, and meals from thoughtful friends.

September 24, 1994

Alan and I drove over to my parent's house to pick up the children. We decided to run a few errands on the way. I was having some signs of "early labor" and was feeling very weepy, but I didn't know how long it would be before my body kicked in and began the process.

We pulled into my parent's driveway; I got out of the van, and immediately, I felt a GUSH! I ran to the bathroom, where I was greeted by lots of blood and large clots. I continued to experience uterine contractions and heavy bleeding for quite awhile, and then suddenly, I felt very sick. Everything turned gray and fuzzy and my head felt very strange. I knew I was passing out . . . I tried to call for help. . . . Finally, Alan heard my calls for help and he and my Mom came to my rescue, reviving me and helping me into the guest room bed.

What I thought was going to be a quick event turned into a four hour labor!! The contractions were regular and intense and I went through all three stages of labor, even transition! This was not at all what I had expected! I lost a lot of blood and alternated between feeling hot and sweaty and cold and shivering. We became fearful, and wondered if we should transport; however, a call to the doctor encouraged us to hang in there a little bit longer, which we did. Just a few minutes later, I passed the placenta and baby, and it was over. Immediately, I felt much better and the bleeding nearly stopped, while an unexpected peace came over me, just like I usually experienced after giving birth.

After a few moments of basking in the realization that it was all over and I was OK, my arms began to feel agonizingly empty and I yearned to hold a precious baby. At that moment, my 9-month old baby, Joseph, woke up from his nap and I was blessed to be able to cuddle him and love on him! Wasn't that a special gift from God??

Soon, the older children were back from picking apples with their PaPa and I was able to comfort them and reassure them that I was FINE. My Dad had wisely taken them on an excursion, so that they missed all the "excitement" and were kept busy during those tense hours! Although I hated that I brought all the drama to my Mom's house, it did turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as my Dad was able to care for the children, while my Mom and Alan cared for me.

September 25, 1994

I was very weak and tired and stayed in bed. Alan stayed home from work and cared for the children. A dear friend brought supper for the family.

September 26, 1994

While Alan took me to have some blood work and my Rhogam injection, my dear friend, HappyBusyMama, took care of my five children (plus her four!). Thank you Lori!! :)

Later that afternoon, we had a memorial service for our baby. Alan named the baby "Malachi," partly because of Malachi 4:6, which says, "And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers . . . " Alan prayed and read from the Psalms, and Tiffany read a poem that she had written for the baby. Then, Alan buried "Malachi" in a box in the woods behind our house. It was very pretty and peaceful with the sun shining through the leaves,, while we all stood in a circle holding hands. then, we all placed stones and flowers on top of the tiny grave, and said our good-byes to a member of our family that we never got to meet. While a time of sadness and grieving, it was also a time for celebrating the closeness and love of our family of seven, and for rejoicing in the fact that we could all be reunited some day, because God willingly gave up His only Son for us! (I had a new understanding of what a sacrifice that was!)

September 27, 1994

My 32nd birthday. Birthdays have no sense of whether this is an appropriate time for a celebration -- they just arrive anyway! And life goes on . . .
Here is the poem that Tiffany wrote.

Our Baby

The mother's pride and joy,
The children's plaything and toy.
Easing the strife
of the Christian life.
One day in heaven to meet
Our little baby ever so sweet.
Our little baby whom we never got to meet,
As he went to heaven to live with Thee.

Tiffany, age 9
September 25, 1994

"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 2:21


Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I'm sorry for your loss. It is so hard to let go. I think for me having the DNC made it easier, but the people in the Mexican hospital were very cold and indifferent, not understanding any of my sobbing and grief.

Noel said...

What a precious story. My mom lost two, one was pretty far along in the pregnancy. I'm glad you can remember good things about those hard times.

Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

Elizabeth!!! Thank you for sharing that! I am honored to know have read your story. I can totally relate to the empty/aching arms feeling. After our second 17 week miscarriage, Ephraim, my arms physically and literally ached! I actually felt this feeling in a milder form a couple of weeks ago before I even knew I was pregnant when Brian and I were praying/wondering if we would ever have another baby. I didn't even know I was carrying one at the time. My heart does long for more, but I also trust God and His plans.

Thank you again, dear friend. Love you bunches!

J said...

I am touched to read your story. I am so thankful for you that you got to deliver at home and have the opportunity to bury your baby and grieve like that. We did not have that opportunity and how I have longed for something like that. Thank you for sharing.

Raisingarrows said...

Remembering Malachi with you today.
Amy @ Raising Arrows

Jules said...

Elizabeth, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story. I threatened to miscarry twice with my first son (we've wondered if I was actually carrying twins and did lose one because of the results of my bloodwork but we'll never know for sure) so I understand that hoping and fearing when the spotting starts. My mother had several miscarriages plus her firstborn died only a few short hours after birth and even though I was only young at the time, I remember the pain she went through - and the rest of the family too.

I'm convinced that you'll see your two children that you never knew on earth in heaven. Again, thanks for sharing. Blessings, Jules

Martha said...

Aw, I became teary when I read this post. I had no idea what today represented until I read your post, thank you for educating AND inspiring your readers about the importance of this day. Your testimony will be a blessing to all the women who are confronted with the same tragedy. Love you!

Tania @ Larger Family Life said...

As someone who has suffered eight losses your daughter's poem was so touching to me. It is such a hard thing to go through.

God bless your babies.

Neide Colson said...

I just finished reading your story and was touched by it. Although I have never experienced the loss of a baby, I could "feel" your pain and empathize with you. Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca's Refining said...

We were already in Ohio when you had this miscarriage, but I remember the sadness I felt for you, and the "guilt" that I was still pregnant...I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you in this time of sorrow. I was thinking I was pregnant with Ben at the time, but it must have been Abigail by the dates you listed.
Thanks for sharing such an intimate part of your is truly a blessing to see God's grace and mercy in the lives of others...even through difficult times. It is so neat how these testimonies are such an encouragement to our own lives.
I think of my spiritual immaturity when I miscarried Amber's twin....all I could think of at the time was me, what I wanted....the thought of allowing God to take this baby "home" was out of the question. I am ashamed that I had such a fleshly response then...yet God in His mercy gave me the desire of my heart and though I "lost" an unknown baby, I still had Amber.
Thanks for bringing these memories to my mind today....though sad, they are a good reminder that I need to always let God have His perfect will and way in my life, and I need to quit thinking of me,but surrender to Him in all circumstances! They are also a great reminder of the goodness,mercy and grace of God! I love you! :)

kristilea said...

I know that had to be very hard to share. What a great story though, of how you leaned upon the Lord for strength and guidance. And all the little blessings the Lord gave to you in the midst of it all, shows that He truly will never leave you nor forsake you!

mommyx12 said...

What a beautiful poem. I am so sorry for your loss.

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