A letter to our baby

30 Sep

Dear Gabriel Michael,

I still remember the morning I found out I was pregnant with you.   It was a warm summer day in June—five years ago.  We had just moved back to Michigan to be closer to friends and family.  Our new house was in a bit of disarray as we were going to begin renovations on it.  It was making me edgy and weepy at the same time having so many things out of order.

In the midst of all the moving and crazy, my motherly intuition began to nudge me–am I pregnant?  So on that June morning after daddy went to work, I took a pregnancy test.  It was positive.  Very Positive.  But I talked myself out of it being accurate because it was an expired test.

So I got in the car with your sister, Annie, and we drove to the nearest drug store and picked up 3 more tests.  I came home, and I tried again.  Ok, I tried three more times.  Yes, I needed to see it on all three of them.  Positive.  Positive.  Positive.

What in the world?

I was giddy and dumbfounded.  It took 2 aggressive surgeries and 8,000 blood draws to get my hormones just right to get pregnant with your sister.  And, you?  You were a bit of a surprise, to say the least.

Immediately I was struck by the reality that, “OH MY Goodness, we don’t have a doctor in Michigan yet!”  And given that we had lost our first daughter, your sister Elizabeth Ann, to a miscarriage and knowing that my pregnancy with Annie was rocky and needed to be closely monitored, I panicked a bit.

I remember trying to play it cool when I called your daddy at work to find out how I could get a list of doctors who were under our new insurance.  I made up some story about how I just thought we should get some of this stuff set up—you know a family doctor, OB, dentist.  I didn’t want to tell your daddy at work about this special news.  I wanted to see his face and hug him and thank God for you together.

And so he got those list of names and phone numbers for me, and I got to calling.  I found an OB who I thought could handle our pregnancies, one that supposedly specialized in progesterone support during pregnancy.  I gave the receptionist a quick run down of my history and asked if I could have an early first appointment.  I just wasn’t comfortable waiting until 12 weeks to be seen.  I also asked to have my progesterone levels checked, to which they agreed.  And so they scheduled me for an appointment the following week.

When your daddy got home that afternoon, I immediately spilled the beans.  We were both overjoyed!  We were going to have two little ones before Annie was even 2 years old!  Who would have guessed a pregnancy would be achieved that easily?

We happened to be heading to a get together that night and we were able to see my parents and some of our closest friends.  We were so excited to share the news.  Everyone was thrilled.  Praise God for this new life!  Praise God for you, sweet Gabriel.

The following week came, and I was a bundle of nervous.  I knew we were scheduled for an ultrasound, so your daddy came with me to hold my hand—like he always does.  While I was so excited, the heartbreak of seeing no heartbeat from our first miscarriage was always a subconscious reminder of the uncertainty of our pregnancies going smoothly.

But, praise God, there you were on the screen with a strong and steady heartbeat.  Relief.

The doctor told me that the results from my blood work indicated that my progesterone levels were good and that I didn’t need to take any supplements this pregnancy.  I asked if we could check the levels again in a week or two because I had always had low progesterone in the past.  In fact, they had tanked with Annie in the first trimester and we almost lost her.  She assured me that it wasn’t necessary.  I explained to her that I had some spotting (I had even called her over the weekend when she was on call to ask about it).  She brushed it off as being related to implantation.

She said everything was going to be fine.

This was a different pregnancy.

There was simply no need to worry.

But, to appease me, she offered to let us come back in 2 weeks to check in on you again.  And so we left.  We were stoked.  And nervous.  And prayerful.  We were cautiously optimistic.

When it came time for the next ultrasound, daddy wasn’t able to come with me, and so I arranged to drop your sister off at Auntie Leah’s house.  Everything was fine just two weeks prior, right?  There was no need to be worried. Yet, I still remember clearly a conversation from earlier that day in which I was telling a dear friend that I was anxious for the ultrasound because I just didn’t’ feel pregnant anymore.

And, so I made the hour drive to Ann Arbor alone, praying the entire way that all would be fine, just as the doctor had promised.

Once at the office, the doctor began the ultrasound and within just a few minutes made a funny face and declared, “Huh, your uterus is shaped funny.”  I asked why that would be, and before she answered, she zoomed in on the baby, and without skipping a beat, callously and insensitively pronounced, “Huh.  Look at that.  There isn’t a heartbeat anymore.”

There isn’t a heartbeat anymore?  What?!

I remember turning flush.  My entire body felt hot and shaky.  I felt like the room was spinning, as I mumbled, “What?  Really!?”  The nurse in the room was clearly agitated by the doctor’s lack of compassion, and she reached over and squeezed my hand, lovingly expressing her sympathy, “I’m so sorry.”  The doctor, who was clearly in her own world, mumbled something about how the baby measured seven weeks which meant that it must have passed last week….blah blah blah.

She finally looked over at me and saw that I was fighting back tears.  To this she coldly said, “I’m sorry” and then proceeded to list my option—pass the baby naturally at home, have a D&C and have the “tissue” sent to pathology, or have a D&C and have the baby buried in the Catholic cemetery that was associated with the hospital.

I told her that I needed to discuss it with my husband and that I would call them in the morning.

I remember keeping myself together as I checked out and then in a daze stumbled through the long building and out to the car.   I felt numb.  My heart was racing, my mouth was dry, and my palms were sweaty.   I kept telling myself, don’t cry.  I knew that when the tears started, they wouldn’t stop.

When I got to the car, I fumbled around until I could steady my hands enough to dial your daddy’s number.  Before he could even say, “hello,” I began sobbing.  Heavy, heavy sobbing.  When he answered, I cry-mumbled, “the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat anymore.”  And with that, I felt like our world had come crashing down.  The weight of that declaration was more than I thought my tender heart could handle.

Gabriel, just as your heart beat was no longer, I felt like my heart had been pierced and broken and shattered into 1000 tiny, painful pieces.

It was such an awful day, my dear Gabriel.  I wanted so very badly for you to join our family here on Earth.  I had already begun dreaming about you and the ways that you would fit into our family unit.  Your daddy and I talked and wondered about what your personality would be like and what you might look like.  We loved you so very much already and we just knew that love would grow with each passing day.

And you know what, I still find my heart and mind drifting to those same questions now five years later.  I wonder how our lives might be different had you made it—had that doctor listened to my pleas to keep a closer eye on my progesterone levels.  I wonder if I should have been more persistent.

But in the end, I am left with peace in knowing that you are our special angel in Heaven.  You are waiting there with your sister, and I just know that you are praying for all of us.  You give me even more reason to want to get to Heaven—because only there will all of our family finally be united.

So on this feast day of the Archangels, we remember you, Gabriel Michael.  We love you and cherish the little time we did have with you.  Please pray for us.  This momma heart, I’m not sure it will ever completely heal.

I love you.

I miss you.

Love,

Mommy

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5 Responses to “A letter to our baby”

  1. Katie October 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    I know you posted this awhile ago, but because of the crazy of my life, I am just getting to it. And you know I know this pain. This is a beautiful post and I love that you named your two little ones so you could call them by name.

  2. Rita Johnson January 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Not sure how I eneded up reading this post today but You moved me to tears. What a beautiful letter. I’m so glad I’ve met you Amanda!

  3. Kari September 29, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    I am in tears. The beauty of the love you are expressing in this letter leaves me without words. I can’t imagine this earthly loss and I thank God we have a Mother in Heaven who holds these little Saints until you meet again. Thank you for sharing this part of your soul.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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