Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mom to Eveline
Born August 30th, 2010 at 4:57 a.m.
Died August 30th, 2010 at 9:45 a.m.
Turpin, OK

When I was a little girl and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my reply was always “A Mommy”.  Years later my answer is still the same, although I am no longer that innocent child who doesn’t know of all the injustices in the world.  For I was once a mother and I suppose in all accounts I still am, although I have no child to call me “Mommy”.  This is my story, my journey through infertility and the loss of my daughter, Evie.  
When I was twenty I was diagnosed with PCOS and Endometriosis.  Either can cause infertility on their own, combined infertility dwindles even more.  A pap smear would later come back to reveal that I also had precancerous cells on my cervix.  In a five year span I had 5 laps to remove endometriosis; my right ovary removed, a colposcopy, a cone biopsy and was also diagnosed with a unicornuate uterus. When I was faced with these diagnoses I grieved for the children that I wanted but could not conceive, now I grieve for the child that I did conceive.

I spent several years trying my hand at oral fertility medications, peeing on pregnancy tests, and crying when my period started.  Infertility is a lonely road and it seems like everyone around you is pregnant.  I have never wanted anything as bad as I wanted a child and each month I was forced to face yet another dream, smashed.  Everyone would tell me “Just relax, you are young” and I am young.  However that didn’t help me fill the gaping hole that only a child could fill.

Last April my period was late and to my surprise a pregnancy test finally revealed those two pink lines that I had sought after for so long.  I cannot put into words the emotions I felt as the reality of what was to come washed over me.  Joy beyond belief, shock, and happiness overwhelmed me.  Sadly almost as quickly as the smile came to my face, fear washed in.  I started bleeding heavily and was diagnosed with a SCH.  Being told that the pregnancy you have wanted for so very long has 50% chance of ending in miscarriage is devastating.  I choose to push those fears aside and too enjoy this precious gift inside of me and amazingly the SCH cleared up on its own.

I now faced two other major hurdles: My shrinking cervical length and not knowing just how far my unicornuate uterus would stretch.  Having a unicornuate uterus basically means that I have half the uterus that I am supposed to, I was only born with the left side.  Since I had the colposcopy and cone biopsy it put my cervix in jeopardy.  I was being seen as a high risk patient and although my cervix had varying lengths, it was doing its job.  I had prepared myself for preterm labor and some NICU time, I could handle that.  I felt great and everyday counted my blessings. 

When I was 20 weeks and 4 days pregnant my world crashed down around me.  I was at the movies and while using the bathroom (something I had to do quite often at this stage) I noticed that something was bulging from my vagina.  My first thought was that my bladder had prolapsed and honestly I was embarrassed.  I didn’t have a single sign of preterm labor and it never crossed my mind that this could be my membranes.  After arriving to the hospital, I had a vag exam done, and an inconsiderate doctor told me that I had “Crazy woman syndrome” and that nothing was wrong.  A speculum exam minutes later would reveal that indeed something was wrong, very very wrong.  45 minutes later I was being life flighted to a larger hospital, in hopes that they could place an emergency cerclage. 

At this time I was in shock, this couldn’t be happening.  Not to me, not to my child, everything was going to be fine.  When I get to the hospital I am told that there isn’t anything left to stitch, I had already dilated too far.   Survival kicked in for me at this point, as long as I could make it to 24 weeks my child would have a chance.  Surely I could do this with a little help from God we would make it.  A chance was all I desperately wanted.  I knew the card of hands I was holding were more than horrible, but I was determined to reach viability. 

The next day I started feeling the contractions and I mean really feeling them, they were painful.  I knew with every contraction my body was becoming my unborn child’s worst enemy.  I begged for medicine to stop them and although I understood why I wasn’t given them, it didn’t stop me from yearning for them.  Later that evening my placenta abrupted, and when they tell you that is the worst pain of your life- it is.  I thought I was dying and at that time death would have been a comfort to me.  I screamed none stop for roughly an hour and a half.  Two bolus’s of fluid, a CBC, and two epidurals later I finally had relief.  I spent the rest of the night dozing off and on, not really thinking about what I knew was to come. 

The next morning I felt down and could feel more of my membranes bulging.  I pushed my call light, woke Doug up, and the rest of my daughters delivery I do not remember.  The first thing I do recall is holding a precious little girl.  Her heart was beating so strongly we could see it beating through her chest.  I remember thinking to myself “Most people just want ten fingers and ten toes.  God, we could have lived without a finger and dealt with only nine toes, but how do I deal with this?” I cried tears that only a mother who loses who child can cry, and I felt my world shatter. This was not supposed to happen, I wasn’t prepared for this. Evie lived for four hours and forty eight minutes, and I held her until she died.  All the while pleading with God to take me instead of her. 

Later that day we were faced with having to leave the hospital with our daughter, to deliver her to the funeral home ourselves as it was two and half hours away.  I remember as I left thinking that I never once would have thought that my child would be leaving in a bag instead of a car seat.  Thankfully my family helped us get her to the funeral home as it was the one thing that neither Doug nor myself could bring ourselves to do.  The following days up to her funeral are a blur, planning a funeral was not part of my pregnancy plans. 

It has now been four weeks since Evie died. Grief is a horrible place to be and I would not wish this upon anyone.  A mother’s arms should not be empty and babies are not supposed to die.  She was supposed to have my funeral when I was old.  Now I am forced to grieve the loss of the child that I did conceive.  I know there will come a day when the thought of her brings a soft smile upon my face rather than tears to my eyes, but I am not there yet.  My days are consumed now knowing that I once was a mother…


Dana said...

Oh Jessica, you are still a Mommy. That is something that I really struggled with after losing Jacob....I carried a baby and gave birth to him, but am I a Mom since I don't have a baby to take care of? I hate that you can't take care of Eveline physically, but you are taking care of her mentally and emotionally. You are mothering her memory now and making sure that others know about her and don't forget her.

I was 20 weeks and 4 days pregnant when I found that out that Jacob had died., just something that we have in common.

You lost Evie so recently and the grief is so fresh. I know that it seems like it will never get better, that there will never be any light in your life again. There will be. It will be 4 months for me in a few days and I never thought that I would be as good as I am now. I still cry almost everyday, I still feel sad more often than not, but I can function and you will be able too as well. And the smiles will come when you think of Evie. It started for me a few weeks ago. I'd remember something about holding Jacob, or something about the pregnancy and I would smile. It was shocking at first, but it feels good.

I will be thinking of you and Evie always. Your story is heartbreaking and has brought me to tears.

Here is a poem you might like:

What Makes a Mother

I thought of you and closed my eyes.
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a mother and
I know I heard him say,
A mother has a baby.
This we know is true.
But God, can you be a mother
when your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can, He replied
with confidence in His voice.
I give many women babies.
When they leave is not their choice.

Some I send for a lifetime
and others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb
but there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this God,
I want my baby here.
He took a breath and cleared His throat
and then I saw a tear.

I wish I could show you
what your child is doing today.
If you could see your child smile
with other children and say,
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of life and love and fear.

My Mommy loved me, Oh so much,
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a Mom
who had so much love for me,
I learned my lesson very quickly.
My Mommy set me free.

I miss my Mommy, Oh so much,
but I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
on her pillow's where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
and whisper in her ear,
'Mommy don't be sad today,
I'm your baby and I'm here.'"

So you see, my dear sweet one,
your children are okay.
Your babies are here in MY home
and this is where they'll stay.

They'll wait for you with ME
until your lesson is through.
And on the day that you come home,
they'll be at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother—
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of,
right from the very start.

Though some on earth may not realize you are a Mother,
until their time is done.
They'll be up here with ME one day,
and know you're the best one.

Jessica said...

Thank you so much. I am sure Jacob and Evie are playing together right now, watching over us. Thank you for sharing the poem, it expresses many of the feelings I am experiencing right now.

Nana said...

Jessica, I've never experienced the pain of losing a child and I can't even imagine the pain you are feeling. You are in my thoughts and prayers a lot now as I ask God to comfort you as only He can. I do know the pain of infertility as I've been through that with Donielle. I can only offer you my prayers as you and Doug go through this horrible loss. You do need to remember that you most certainly ARE a Mommy! You carried your beautiful angel and loved her with the unconditional love that only a mother can have toward a child. She has blessed your lives in a way that only a child can, from the first time you felt her move to holding her lovingly in your arms. That is a feeling you will never forget. My hope is that the pain you are both feeling will lessen over time and that you will feel God's love as a big hug when your pain is the worst to help you get through each day. Thank you for sharing your love of your wonderful Evie!! I know that it is hard for others to understand that you do need to talk about her and I hope you find some good listeners! Cheryl McGown

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