Quite the Year for Our Family

We know that we haven’t been around lately, and while we’ve missed everyone, life has dealt us some tough blows that we’ve needed to deal with as a family.

2017 has been one heck of a year. It seems that life just gets harder as time wears on, and while we never expected it to get any easier (we have three young kids after all!), we did expect it to level off some since our year from hell back in 2015. What you’re about to read is deeply personal and probably not what you were expecting from our blog. In all honesty, however, I’m hoping that by writing this, it will help the healing process if nothing else.

Some Background

When I was pregnant with our third, I swore that this was going to be our last child. Pregnancy and the births of our children got harder and scarier with each one. I wanted to quit while we were ahead. We loved having babies, but we decided it was time to move on to another stage of life.

Getting the Itch

Gaby started to get the itch for another when Hunter was about 5 months old. Four children had been our plan from the beginning, and it felt like our family still wasn’t complete. We were just starting to plan our move to Manitoba and I knew that we were going to have a stress filled and busy second half of 2016. Just the thought of being pregnant again threw me into a state of anxiety. It was a definite no.  I was happy where we were. I was starting to get my life back, everyone was sleeping through the night, and we were in a good place together in our marriage.

When Gaby came home for good last November, things started to change. With him home, life together with our kids was fantastic. I was putting some of Hunter’s baby clothes away just before Christmas, and it dawned on me. Was this really it, was Hunter really our last child? Could I put these clothes away and know that they would never again be worn by another of our children?

The conversation we had that night was quick. We were excited at the prospect of adding another to our brood, and a month later I was pregnant with baby number 4. True to form, the illness, depression and anxiety kicked in at 5 ½ weeks, and it was the worst it had ever been. It was all I could do to just keep living day by day, knowing that this wouldn’t last forever and that the 12-week mark was just around the corner.

Confirming Our Worst Fears

My first OBGYN appointment came, and it was then that I heard the words that I’d been dreading. In my heart of hearts, I knew all along that something wasn’t quite right, but just chalked it up to anxiety and this being my first pregnancy in Manitoba, where the health system was quite different than what I was used to back in Calgary. “I’m so sorry, but I can’t find a heartbeat.” Those words were burned into my brain that day. After an emergency ultrasound to confirm the doctor’s suspicions, we found out that our little angel had stopped growing at 11 ½ weeks.

Decisions to Make

As previously mentioned, our birth experiences tended to be scary, so knowing that we opted to do surgery instead of waiting for the miscarriage to happen naturally. At the hospital the next morning we learned that if we so chose, our baby’s remains could be cremated and laid to rest with all of the other lost little ones at the hospital’s memorial. We attended the ceremony last May, and it was such a lovely way to be able to say goodbye to our little angel.

Our Family’s Healing

Before we found out that our little one was gone, we had already sworn that this would absolutely be the last pregnancy. We would not put our family through this again. However, after my body had healed, and our hearts, some time to grieve, we began to feel that we had been cheated. We had made plans, there was supposed to be a baby. So, I started to do some research, and learned that for most women who have had a miscarriage, it’s a one-time experience. Fertility is up after a miscarriage, and though the chances of a loss are still there, chances are greater that the next pregnancy will result in a healthy baby.

So, with those statistics in mind, we thought, let’s give it one more go. I didn’t want to be having babies after 37, so it had to be now. Amazingly, we got pregnant again right away. This was the first time that I was going through a first trimester in the late spring/early summer, and I found that the depression and anxiety stayed away with all the extra warmth and sunshine I was able to take in. With those gone, I found that the sickness was a lot easier to deal with. 9 weeks came along, and my OBGYN sent me for an early ultrasound. Our little rainbow baby had a heartbeat! We were so exited – the chance of a miscarriage goes down significantly if there’s a heartbeat at 9 weeks.

Getting to the Second Trimester

Everything was going according to plan. My pregnancy symptoms hadn’t diminished, so that meant that the hormones keeping our little one alive were still going strong. 12 weeks came, and two days later, I had another ultrasound to check up on how baby was doing. I knew that something was wrong as soon as I looked at the picture on the monitor. There was no flickering where the heart should be. I closed my eyes and waited for the bad news from the technician. A couple of minutes later I heard the words that I never thought I’d have to hear again. “I’m so sorry, but it looks like the baby has died.” It measured 11 weeks, 5 days.

Reliving a Bad Dream

The staff at the hospital who took care of our first little angel were the same to work with us with our second loss. We opted for surgery again, and said good bye to our little baby on July 29, 2017. The ceremony and funeral through the hospital is scheduled for September.

Feeling Lost

Our life has not turned out like we had planned. I don’t think anyone’s ever really does, but I never imagined that our plan would fall apart twice in so short a time. We’re grieving, and I’m feeling lost. All I’ve ever wanted to be is a mother, and I feel like that purpose is gone. (I do realize how ridiculous that sounds. With three kids ranging in ages from 1 to 5 years, my job as a mother is far from over.) God has answered our question as to whether our family should be expanded. As much as I pray that God will have other plans, it just doesn’t seem to be a possibility.

Thank you to our family and friends who have supported us on this rough ride. I am hopeful that the second half of the year will be one of healing, that we can move past this sorrowful time in our lives, and that we can find peace in our family as we are.

Until then, and on a bit of a lighter note… maybe it’s time we get a puppy?

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