Monday, December 8, 2014

Our First Loss

(Bringing this out of the archives to join with Susan Mead and #DanceWithJesus Friday linkup)

*Trigger warning for miscarriage trauma.

That first year in New Jersey produced mostly happy memories, but the one I will share today is hard. It was probably late during the fall of 1980 when I realized I was pregnant. I don't remember the actual dates, because I was not keeping a journal at the time.  Most of these memoir stories come from what I can pull out of my memories. 

We really had not planned for another child yet, as we had recently moved into this new place, but it didn't take us long to get excited about adding a new family member. I remember having the usual tiredness and morning sickness, but things seemed to be going very well. One day as I was nearing my twelfth week of the pregnancy I noticed I was bleeding a little. I called the doctor and he wanted to see me. He told me there was a 50/50 chance of the baby surviving. Needless to say, I was a very upset young mother.

My husband and I did a lot of praying during that time, but things got worse and we did lose our baby. This was one of the hardest things as a mother that I have had to go through. Because it happened at home, the doctor instructed us to save whatever tissue was there. I guess he wanted to be able to make sure I was actually having a miscarriage. There was no need for that, because we were able to see the tiny body that was definitely recognizable as a baby. That made it even more traumatic for me, and I remember shedding a lot of tears. I was young and this was the first real tragedy that I remember in my life. 

My doctor was compassionate, but he had no explanation except that it happens sometimes, and that it usually meant there was something wrong with the baby. I accepted what the doctor said and tried to understand.  I don't know that I actually took the time to grieve fully. Some people don't realize that having a miscarriage is more than just having a pregnancy terminated unexpectedly. It was the life of my child that ended. I don't even know if I fully comprehended that at the time. 

The doctor wanted me to come to the hospital outpatient to have a D & C. While lying on the hospital bed unsure of what was to come, I remember praying, asking God to be with me, to give me strength. He did bring peace to my heart even though it was still a difficult time. I was pretty weak, and my blood pressure was very low, but I made it through without any more complications.

When we returned home a close friend brought us a meal, washed all the dirty dishes and thoroughly cleaned my kitchen. She also took care of our daughters when we were at the hospital. I don't remember too much more about who all helped us out but I know we were shown much kindness.

Our pastor came to visit me and was very tender and compassionate, like a father. He noticed I was very pale and told me to be careful and take it easy. He talked about receiving comfort from God. Then he wrote a scripture passage in my Bible.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any afflictions with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 
(II Corinthians 1:3,4)

He wanted it to comfort me and also to show me how I might be able to comfort someone else later because of the experience. My opportunity came the very next year when one of our close friends had a miscarriage. When I went to visit her I didn't really have much to say, but she told me she knew I understood because I had been through it myself. (About eight years later I had two more miscarriages fairly close together, so I am no stranger to that type of loss.)

During the time of my miscarriage, which was probably around January or February of 1981, a friend of mine was also pregnant. When her son was born it was actually healing for me to be able to hold him. It was a good feeling to have a baby in my arms. I could never hold him very long, though, because my two year old would cry and want me to hold her. I don't think she liked sharing her mommy with others.

This loss for us was hard, but God provided for our needs giving comfort, strength and loving friends. We were still a family of four, and we still had love for each other. 

Here we are a little later that year on Easter. 

(Sara was 4)
(Jamie was 2)

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