I haven't written in so long. In mid-April we had a confusing ultrasound, but my OB didn't seem concerned, so we didn't let ourselves worry either. Then, at the end of April, another ultrasound confirmed that not only was the baby measuring small but also that the baby simply wasn't growing. We began seeing a group of perinatal specialists and each one told us the same diagnosis: our baby would most likely die in the womb within days or weeks. They had zero idea of what was causing the IUGR. It was horrible and devastating and confusing and sad. I wanted to curl up in a ball and never leave my room, but I fought that temptation as hard as I could and tried to smile and laugh and hang on to my personality. As the days passed I chose to adopt an attitude of thankfulness and focused on being grateful for the time left that I had being my baby's mother. Then June came, and my grief hit full force. I didn't feel grateful anymore. I was angry. If God wasn't going to give us a baby, then why couldn't He make it easier on us and just take the baby already? I hated myself for wanting it to all be over, but it was so hard to feel the baby move and know that all of my baby dreams were being dashed. I was terrified by the idea of delivering a dead baby. I didn't think I wanted to hold a dead baby. I didn't think I wanted to know the gender. I wanted this horrible chapter of my life to be closed shut and for a new chapter to begin.
Living in a state of pre-grief was unimaginable and I know we only survived it by the grace of God and the encouragement of our friends and family. I have more to say about the last few months, but I'll save those stories for another time.
By the beginning of July I was resigned to the idea of making it all the way to my due date (the doctors said if that happened then the baby would only live for seconds or minutes). I couldn't believe our baby was still hanging on! I had no amount of extra amniotic fluid for the baby to move around and grow in, but our little one seemed content to chill out all scrunched up in my uterus. I couldn't help but fall in love with our baby with every passing day, even though a part of me tried to put walls up to keep me from getting too attached. I began fervently asking God to surprise us all and give us a perfectly healthy baby. I had visions of us needing to run to Target after my delivery to buy a crib and diapers and all of the things that we registered for but never received.
This time last week I was being prepped for an emergency c-section to deliver our stillborn baby. I had arrived at the hospital at 11:30 p.m. the night before due to excessive bleeding, and in the early hours of Saturday morning I heard my baby's heartbeat slow down until it didn't exist anymore. I was 34 weeks pregnant carrying a baby who was only measuring around 20 weeks.
We had a boy, and we named him John Andrew. John means "God is gracious/generous." Andrew means "man" and "strong."
It's been one week since we lost our son and his name seems more fitting than ever. God is gracious, and we are being carried by Him right now as we learn to live without the presence of our precious baby.
More to come when I am able.