Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness- Hahna's Story

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

October 15th, 2015 was also our first baby’s due date.

The pain of miscarriage was unreal. The only place I was comfortable was in the shower. 
Every night. All night. For a week straight. 

Dallas and I got married when we were 18 and 19 and moved to Okinawa, Japan shortly after with the military. We got pregnant when we had been married for a year and a half and after “not preventing” for 7 months. We were so excited and yet nervous to make that change in our lives when we were so far from family.

At 9 weeks I started spotting. My husband was in Korea at the time, so he asked me to go to the ER to ease our minds. I was at the ER for six and a half hours. They told me that the baby was only measuring 6 weeks but they didn’t think I would miscarry, just that I found out I was pregnant very early. That was great news! The night after my visit to the ER is when my sister, Aubrey, also went to the ER and found out that she was miscarrying. She was 16 weeks along.  I didn’t think that it would happen to me also, although I had many people tell me that miscarriages are hereditary (which is not helpful).  

 At 11 weeks my husband and I had our first real appointment and we were so excited to see the baby since my husband did not get to see the baby when I was at the ER. The doctor said the baby was measuring 8 weeks, but the ultrasound looked like an empty womb to me. I couldn’t tell what he was measuring. There was no heartbeat. He said it was likely that we would miscarry, but they would do bloodwork to see where my HCG levels were. I remember the doctor saying things like “it should feel like a light period” and “you can start trying again when you stop bleeding”. We left in a daze, but hopeful that maybe we weren’t going to miscarry, because the information seemed so inconclusive. A week later I got a call while I was at work saying that my blood tests had gone through and we had lost the baby. I called my husband and texted my sisters and mom. At 14 weeks, we lost the baby. 

It started at 10pm on April 19th. I started having contractions. I had never been in labor before but I knew that this was labor. I passed one clot and thought that was it, so I went back to sleep. At 3am my water broke and the contractions were coming about 1 minute apart. It was the worst pain I have ever felt. My husband and I ended up in the shower -me on all fours with the hot water hitting my lower back while I lay my head in his lap while he rubbed my back. I fell asleep between every contraction. This happened every night, all night, for an entire week. We both had to take the week off of work. 

It was not at all like I had expected it to be. It wasn’t a light period, it was labor. It wasn’t fast, it lasted 7 days. We were exhausted emotionally and physically. I was mad at God and started falling into depression. My husband was such a light for me in that dark time. He continually pointed me back to Christ even when I kicked and screamed about praying or going to church. He always looked at the good that would come from this, but I was so deep in the bad that I couldn’t see it. Over time my heart softened, I came out of the depression, and I could see the blessings that came from that experience. 

God’s plan is always better than mine. I have never had anything terrible happen in my life, therefore I have never felt like I really needed God that much. He used this experience to prove me wrong. I needed to go through this to realize that I don’t make the plans, He does. His timing is always perfect.

It’s okay to be mad at God. He can handle it. He needed to break me completely to get me to come back to him.

It’s okay to not try for another baby right away. It’s been a year and a half since our miscarriage and we probably aren’t going to try for another baby anytime soon. We are happy where we are.

Our marriage has really been strengthened. It was such a blessing in disguise for my husband and I to see each other in such a real and raw state. Miscarriages are painful and ugly, yet my husband told me he has never been more proud of my strength and bravery. I was for grateful for his love and encouragement through it. We have come out stronger.

It’s okay to be grateful. We are grateful that it happened to us. That doesn’t take away from how much we loved and wanted our baby. And how we wish he was here now. We are grateful that we get to share our story and that our baby brought use closer to each other and God. We are grateful for the 14 weeks I was able to carry our baby and we were able to love him. We are grateful that because we know God, we will meet our little guy one day.

It’s possible to praise God during the joy AND the trials. He is still good. He knows exactly what we need. He uses broken people.

It’s okay to let it change you. Embrace the time you have left with your baby and cherish it. Feel every emotion so you can fully heal. And let it change you into a better person.

My husband is the best man for me. I never doubted that before, but through our experience I know 100% that he is exactly what I need. There is no one I’d rather go through the good and the bad with.

Miscarriage is extremely hard. It sucks. A LOT. That’s that only way to put it. If you know someone going through one, the best thing to say is “Wow this really sucks, how can I help?”. Maybe take over a cupcake. It’s messy and ugly and it hurts. There is no prize when it’s over. But be encouraged that you are strong enough and you will get through it. It will change you. Let it strengthen your marriage and walk with God. Let it hurt. Let yourself love your baby even if you know you don’t get to keep it. Let yourself listen to what God is teaching you. Even if you don’t understand, he is still good.

A few weeks later, we decided to name our baby to help with the healing process. We thought if we had something to call him that it would be easier when we talked about him or told our future children. My husband was convinced that we were having a boy. One night he told me that he thought our baby’s name starts with a J. I thought that was weird but I went with it. I researched ‘J’ names for days and nothing seemed right. While on facetime with my mom she told me to type into the search engine exactly what I felt. I typed “the Lord has taken away”. The verse Job 1:21 popped up. It says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” I didn’t think it could be more perfect. I told my husband and he said “I couldn’t imagine naming him anything else.” So we named him Job.

A year and half later we are still healing. Some days are harder than others. We don’t cry or think about our baby every day anymore. It still hurts but the hurt has changed. We are happy that we got to spend 14 weeks with our baby. We are so excited to meet him in Heaven one day and see how God forms our family in the future. 

-Hahna Cannon