Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The Inside Story
Miscarriage - Tami le Roux
When Drs like OBGYNs ask how many times have you been pregnant, I have to answer 6 times. You see, I am 3 live births for 3 lost ... I have had 2 miscarriages and 1 burst ectopic. This is a subject that is often not talked about because of the pain and awkwardness it carries. The statistics for miscarriage are: 20% of all pregnancies are lost before the 20th week of gestation, that is about 1 in 4 pregnancies. So chances are high that you know of someone who has had this happen or have experienced this yourself. What do you say or do for someone who has experienced this?
Let's walk thru my experience... A year or so after our wedding, I went off of birth control and got pregnant about a month later. My husband, being so excited and proud shared the news from the pulpit. Everyone was excited for us and congratulated us and gave lots of advice. Things progressed normally and we were really happy, I must tell you that we did not have a Dr yet.... But were not worried as the due date was only Oct 22, 2001.
On a regular Sabbath afternoon in March, everything fell apart.... At 11 wks I started bleeding and cramping and that was scary. Darrel had to do a wedding on Sunday and we were to leave early in the morning to drive 7 hours one way for that special event. Because of that, Darrel left and I miscarried alone.
That was extreme pain and I did not know who to call or ask for help, neither of our mothers had experienced this. On the following Monday we found a Dr and he did and ultrasound and saw the sac with no heartbeat. He confirmed that I was miscarrying and asked if I wanted a DNC. I declined the DNC as I did not see the need - if my body was already doing what I'd needed to, I would let it.
After all the physical pain was gone, 8 or 9 days later, I was stuck with all the emotions! I identified that I was going through the grief stages, anger, hurt, denial, blame (on my self), but I was also dealing with anger and resentment towards God. I was angry and resentful that He did answered our prayer for a baby and then took it away. I was sure I was being punished or that I had done something wrong. Rationally, I knew that I had not... But the hurt and anger were still there. And my arms were still empty and ached for what they would never hold.
I began to doubt God's plan for my life - the plan of children and being a homemaker... That maybe I should look into doing something else with my life. The Bible verse that describes this best is "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: " (Proverbs 13:12 KJV) And never getting the rest of the verse ever.
My sweet husband did not know what to do with me, and I did not feel like I could talk to anyone as no one said they understood or cared enough to try... So I went looking for help. I could not stay hurt and angry forever, and I really wanted a baby. But I had so much doubt too, could I even carry a baby to term? We're there other problems causing this?
So, I did lots of research on fertility, miscarriages, prowled the Internet for someone who understood what I was going through. I found a well rated book on Amazon called, "I Can't Find a Heartbeat" which is SDA and gives a good Biblical view of pregnancy loss and which Bible verses to hold on to. I found that because I felt barren - like a wasteland - that "For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband." (Galatians 4:27 KJV) was more comforting then any other. Because I started to believe God still had a plan for me to mother someone, somehow. It was then that I found the website called "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" and it's forums, the ladies there were knowledgeable and kind. A lot of them had gone through more losses then I have and we were able to support each other in the grief stages and in the trying again too.
A little over 8 agonizing months later I finally got pregnant again... And with meds and bed rest, my baby made it. And is now 10! So, God does remember the Barren Women, and He is always faithful to give us the rest of Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12 KJV)
Oh, if you ask Darrel which of the 3 losses were hardest for him. He will always answer, "the ectopic", because it was the most traumatic for him. Zachary, our youngest, was 8 months old and was still nursing. I had had the most trouble with him and nursing strikes he had teethed at a "normal age" of 6 months and I just attributed the strikes to that. I had terrible insomnia and was up and down to the bathroom all the time... But was nursing so did not think anything of it.
Darrel was part time ministerial director for our conference in South Africa and we were going to visit and preach in a church near where his brother stays in Bethlehem - where the main language is Afrikaans, a good 9 or so hours from our home, and were due to stay for a week. The Thursday night after we arrived, I had a terrible stomached ache that would not go away... All night I was awake in pain and in the morning I could not lay down or sit or stand. I could not stand the pain anymore. Painkillers were not helping, nothing was. So, Darrel's brother suggested we go to a Dr and see what the matter was... He looked after our 2 bigger boys and we took Zach with us. After a quick exam they did a pregnancy test and it was positive! I was shocked, Darrel was shocked! The Dr then started running around like crazy and said we needed to see a OBGYN NOW! But she would not tell us why.
The OB bumped all his other patients and got us in in less then 15 mins, and after a quick ultrasound told us that I was indeed pregnant and it was an ectopic and the pain was from the blood of the BURST ectopic pooling in my abdomen, causing pressure and causing my shortness of breath and pain. And that if he did not operate now, I would die.
Note that all this info came at us in less then 30 mins. We did not have time to build hopes or dreams about this baby or even think a few times about what all this meant.
Long story, made short.... We rushed to the ER, I said 'goodbye' (fearing i would not live) to my kids, my baby and my sweet husband and they wheeled me away. I was in hospital almost a week, 4 days of that not being allowed up out if bed because of the lack of blood supply as the Dr removed 4 liters of blood from my abdomen. I was on morphine for 2 days for the pain, can tell you what that does through breastfeeding to a baby. And I have a c-section scar now, after 3 natural deliveries. It all happened so quickly... And I know that I was preserved by God for His Glory.
Only He can take our pain and use it as a tool to help others, only He can take our loneliness and use it as a reminder to help others we see as lonely.
Tips for what to do for a friend in this situation:
- pray for them and offer to pray with them.
- acknowledge their loss... It was a baby, it is grief.
- give them a safe place to share their anger or frustration, without condemnation or trying to fix it, they just need a friend to be there.
- respect their wish for space and time, but send a card, about a week later to remind them you are there for them.
- write the date of their loss down and send a card on that date a yr later...
- if you are able, talk about your loss and educate others on what is appropriate to say.
These things are just a few ways we can break down fears and awkwardness.