I left you last night with myself laying on the couch Friday night and waiting for my body to miscarry my baby. Waiting for my body to dispel the little body that it had homed for the past 4 months. I had seen my baby the night before on the monitor and though I had some doubt, I was pretty confident that I would deliver the baby whole.
I asked my husband "If it comes out whole, do you want to see it? Do we take it out of the toilet? What do we do with it?". These are questions we never imagined asking each other, and we felt pressed for time to have an answer. Last week we were discussing baby items and planning our birth, and today we had to decide what to do with our baby if we were able to see it.
At 9pm, I started to feel my body tighten. After a few minutes, I realized that I was having contractions, and they were close together. I felt as if I was beginning labor. Without my knowledge, my husband started timing them. I had done this before, I could do it again. I started to breath and hum a little bit through them. My husband reminded me to let my mind release this, to not fight against this. I tried to focus on letting go.
A few minutes later, I felt something trickle up my back (I was laying down) and immediately swiped at it, thinking that I had started bleeding everywhere. I jumped up and said "Is that water? Is my back sweating? My back isn't sweating". My husband's eyes got big and he said "I think your water just broke". I didn't believe him, but he said that he had read it could happen. My water broke. With Piper, I had to have it punctured. I hadn't experienced this. I now knew that this was happening tonight. Terrified, I took some of the pain meds that they had prescribed me and went to bed, hoping to wake before it started and I ruined my bedding.
I slept on and off for the next 4 hours. At about 2am, I rolled onto my back to breathe through a contraction. Then I felt a strong "pop" in my belly that made me jump and gasp. I said "Oh my gosh. I think the baby just detached. Or the placenta. Something just pulled away from the wall". Of course, I started to cry. I just kept repeating "I can't believe this is happening". My husband kept telling me to breathe through it, relax, and let it go. I had no control over this and I needed to let my body work it out for my safety and health.
When I couldn't stand it anymore, I went into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet and let the contractions wash over me. They were so strong that they were reaching up to my shoulder and locking it up. I had my arm all the up the wall just trying to catch a breath. Just trying to breathe. I felt some things pass out of me, so I looked down to see that it was just water and very little blood. I wondered how long this would take. My husband came in and asked to look. Now, we have been married for 6 years and he has seen worse. And I know that he was also concerned about the miscarriage and wanted to have knowledge of what I passed so he could monitor me for any emergency.
He asked me if I felt something hanging out of me. I looked down, a little horrified to see tissue hanging there. I didn't feel it. I am sorry for the graphic detail, but this is real stuff. I tried to push it out but nothing happened. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed some tissue and reached down to pull it out. I lifted it up and we both looked at it as I said "What is it? Is it my placenta?".
And then I saw it. A little tiny hand. Resting on a face. I screamed "Oh my God, it's our baby! Take it! Take it!". My husband took it and walked away a bit. I freaked out, more than I have ever done before. I just kept saying "that's my baby". My husband asked if I wanted to see it, and I wasn't ready. I was also still on the toilet, in lots of pain. I watched my husband as he studied our tiny baby and got a container to put it in. After a few minutes, I got up and said I was ready to see. That was the most difficult moment of my life. Peeking over to see the little life that my body had sustained for 4 months, and trying not to be afraid that it wasn't alive. After a few minutes, we realized that neither of us could take our eyes off of it.
I took a moment to text my sisters and mom and just wrote "Oh my God... I just delivered a baby. A perfect little baby with no blood on it. It has fingers and toes and eyelids!" It was 2:30am, but my Mom called me immediately. She asked me questions; comforted me. I can't remember what we talked about. By now I was back on the toilet, the phone in one hand, the other hand up the wall to help me breathe, contracting HARD. Trying to relax. As I spoke to my mom, I felt what I think was the placenta come out of me. Weirdest feeling EVER. After a few minutes, It was over. No more contractions. No more pain. But blood. Lots of blood. The first blood I had really had since all of this started. It was over. I was done. I have delivered my baby at home.
I moved back towards my husband who was with the baby. He was struggling. I have no right to describe his feelings here or guess what he was thinking here. I just know what I saw. I saw a man meeting his baby for the first time. A man so full of agony and awe at the same time. The man I love, the man I made this baby with, holding the little life we shared. Holding some of our lost hopes and dreams. Grieving over who this baby would have been, and how we could have raised it. It was both beautiful and completely heart wrenching.
For the next hour or so, Daniel and I stood in our bathroom talking to our baby, each other, crying, laughing a little, holding each other, and taking pictures of our little newborn. I told the baby how much I loved it and how much Jesus loved it. But it already knew- it was already in Jesus's arms. I told the baby how I just wanted to hold and kiss it and nurse it. I wanted to keep it so badly. To raise it. In the deep quiet of the night, Daniel and I grieved and rejoiced, as we realized that one of our children has surpassed us and gone to heaven before us. We felt incredible joy and sorrow at the same time- it is so hard to explain. We started this together, and we ended it together. We had played the part that God had wanted us to, and he took our baby home. But not before giving us a glimpse of his incredible handiwork.
We couldn't stop staring at the incredible detail in this tiny body. My husband kept saying how he felt like he was witnessing God's creation in the making. In the secret place.
I wholeheartedly believe that God allowed our experience to be this way to heal my heart. After having a difficult delivery with Piper and later having reconstructive surgery, I was left with only the option of c-section deliveries from now on. My longing to have a beautiful home birth slipped right through my fingers. I also believed that my body was broken and couldn't do what it was made to do. And although my body did not hold this pregnancy, I do not believe my body was the issue. I miscarried so well. No, I BIRTHED so well. My body was not broken, it did exactly what God intended it to do.
I realize that I am still grieving and still grasping for some hope here, but I believe that this was the beautiful home birth that I never believed I could have. It could have been so different and so medical, but it wasn't. I expected my baby to be lost somewhere in blood and clots, but it came out on it's own and first. My body followed a normal birthing protocol. I was awestruck.
In the days to follow, I have been grieving. Grieving hard. I miss my baby. I miss who it would have been. I can't believe we lost it. Yet I also feel peace and overwhelming love. I don't feel anger or regret, I am not passing blame or asking for answers. I am content that this was God's plan all along. Nothing surprises him. But that doesn't stop my heart from longing that things were different. That I was sitting here right now feeling my baby move within me, and dreaming about who it was.
This is the hardest thing I have ever done. I think it will be one of the hardest things we ever do. But we stared death in the face and said "We are not afraid". We accepted what was given to us, and thankful that I got to be the vessel to give that baby a little body before it met Jesus. For a few weeks, I feel like I shared my baby with God. He held the soul, but I still held the body. What a connection.
Every day I feel differently. I have already woken up broken, somber, and calloused. I have found that talking about it pulls me out of my sorrow and even brings me some laughter. And lots and lots of lessons. I have found that others have questions and thoughts, and are afraid to ask. But I am not afraid to answer. I want to talk about my baby. And my amazing body. And my amazing God who created my child. I have heard stories of how my experience and my baby has inspired, encouraged, and caused spiritual growth for others. In a mere five days.
This was not about me. Yes I experienced this and I am the one who lost, but we all lost. I feel like just a small part of the plan. This baby was loved by many already. It's birth has already touched so many lives. I love hearing these stories and realizing "Wow, God was working here, and not just in me. He had such bigger plans". I feel honored to be a part of that plan and to see the fruit that comes from it.
I wonder how many days will pass before I have a day when I don't cry. When I don't think about my baby, or rub my tummy, or look at the pictures. How long before my heartache does not feel suffocating? How long? I don't have these answers and I am just at the beginning of this process, trying to take my grief step by step and hour by hour, knowing that it changes constantly. Trying to feel every bit of it so I can move on stronger, with no regrets or bitterness. I am talking about it, accepting help, and letting myself rest. I am just being.
Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to our sweet second born. We do not know for sure, but we feel as if it was a boy. We didn't have any names picked out or plan on naming it once it came. But as the hours passed, I had to call my baby something. I had to know that I would see him in Heaven and call him by name. The word "Shalom" came to my mind which I knew meant peace, but I wanted to look it up. Among other things, it also means wholeness, perfectness, rest. And most importantly it is also the jewish greeting for "hello" and "goodbye". It was everything our baby was, all wrapped into one.