There were some gentle warnings along the way. I hesitate in sharing these because they are extremely gentle. One in and of itself is no reason to cause alarm. In fact, my midwife was completely surprised that we lost the baby. Since this is part of our story, I’m still going to write it, though.
Soon after we returned from the beach, I realized that I hadn’t felt the baby move consistently. There was a point when I was about 16 weeks that I vividly remember feeling those first pop-pops of little kicks. But, it was just one night. And I never felt them again. I was almost 20 weeks when we arrived home from the beach. I got in touch with my midwife and she wasn’t concerned. She gave me many reasons for this – placenta placement, this being my 6th child, being very busy, etc. I definitely thought it was strange, though. She offered me to have an ultrasound that Friday, but I just had a peace about it. I didn’t want to come in because I would have to cancel my counseling appointment. It was also the Friday before Mother’s Day, and I knew I didn’t want that holiday to be marked by finding out anything bad – IF there was anything bad to find out. I seriously didn’t think there was ANYTHING bad.
Another thing I noticed was I had been gaining weight at warp speed. It was crazy. My midwife encouraged me by saying my body just knew what it was doing (pregnancy and weight gain) and embraced it. She told me how to eat (choosing better foods/ good water intake, lower carbs, but with a big cheat meal weekly), and I had been doing my best to follow her instructions. I thought it was working because I had stopped gaining weight. My belly wasn’t growing nearly as fast. But it did make me raise an eyebrow. “Chris, I think my belly hasn’t grown in a few weeks,” was one of the comments I told him before going into the ultrasound that morning.
Before you think I need to get another midwife, here is another amazing ‘God cushion.’ This precious midwife is apparently “THE” midwife in our practice. She has been in practice for over 30 years. Many women want her as their midwife, and can’t get in to see her. I just ‘happened’ to be paired with her after my first appointment was rescheduled due to the ice storms in February- I think God knew I would look back to find the holes, to place the blame. There was no blame to place. And what good would that do anyway?
When I was about 16 weeks, the kids came down with a brutal stomach bug. This is the week I also remember feeling faint little pops/ beginning baby movement- or what I thought may have been little pops. Those first few movements are always so questionable. I was really busy taking care of all my people. Everyone got this bug except for me and my mom. Harper had it for like 6 days. I didn’t think it would ever go away. Chris was so kind because he really tried to protect me from getting it. He took care of a lot of the clean up so I could remain healthy. And I did. I’m so grateful for this.
We think this is the week the baby passed away.
We aren’t completely sure of the exact day – however, I do know I heard the baby’s heart beat at the midwife’s office at 16 weeks. I will always remember and treasure hearing it on April 14. On April 17 (our 11 year anniversary) was when the stomach bug came to visit.
One of the last warning signs happened the weekend before we went in for our ultrasound when I began to faintly spot and have very mild cramps. Nothing heart-stopping or dramatic. I called the midwife, and since I was coming in the next morning, we agreed that I would just rest and take it easy that day.
That day (Sunday) proved to be one of the sweetest days. Chris took all the kids to church. I had some precious time with Jesus. I prayed, I read my Bible, I worshiped Him – and during this time I was able to surrender my plans for this sweet baby. I am not a theologian by any means, but I know prayer is a two way street. I believe God prepared my heart in the best way possible by bringing me to a place of surrender through prayer. I was willing to come to that place and offer my desires for this baby up to Him. It was us working together through the Holy Spirit – Him reshaping and reforming, me handing over and releasing. All of this worked to prepare my heart for loss (even though I didn’t know that was what He was doing). God’s miracles are intangible. Now, I did not know I would get the news I would get the next morning. But He knew. And He went before me, He ushered me to and through this very difficult season that would begin the next day, Monday, May 18.