Friday, January 30, 2015

Loss, Part 4: That Day

The night before Asher's birth I barely slept. I was wide awake and frantically doing laundry, cleaning the house, and working on the rainbow blanket with yarn a friend had given to me to knit for
Asher's rainbow blanket in progress
our rainbow baby. My goal was to use the yarn for a blanket for our couch for the whole family to share, instead of the baby clothes it'd originally been intended for. Eventually my body gave out and I collapsed in bed at 3am with the alarm set for three hours later.
   When the alarm went off I leaped out of bed, somehow full of energy, and picked up where I'd left off, making everyone breakfast, packing snacks, writing allergy and care information for the toddler whom we were leaving for only the second time ever, and baking muffins for everyone but myself because I needed to fast from midnight the night before. The Type-A in me went insane, keeping my hands busy so my mind could not think. Every time I stopped moving my mind immediately thought, "And today I will be unpregnant." I don't know why I thought that, but it is the exact phrase that kept entering my mind.
   We dropped the kids off and headed to the hospital, arriving exactly on time and checking in quickly. Within minutes I was separated from my husband and taken back to pre-op for the IVs, the gown, and the whole works. It took forever, and yet it was a blur. The questions, the idle conversation avoiding why I was actually there, the sweet nurse Latasha talking to me about my kids, my church, why we moved here, and more. I kept remarkably cool until the anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself. He shook my hand, told me his name(which I cannot for the life of me remember), then looked at my chart then looked at me, took my hand, and with the saddest, most genuine eyes said, "You're having a D&E? Oh, I am so sorry. How far along are you?" That was the crack in my huge wall of denial and I barely choked out, "14 weeks." He continued explaining how things would work, that I'd see him next in the operating room, and how everything would happen, then asked if I had any questions. I just shook my head. After that the huge stack of paperwork and signature consents began. Phrases like, "Life-saving measures," "Blood transfusions," and "Organ donation," floated in front of me and it had no impact on me. Nothing phased me until I got to the last paper, the one that needed my check at 'yes' or 'no' and signature confirmation for whether we wanted our baby's remains to be "respectfully disposed of" or to be returned to the hospital for burial in The Garden of Angels, a service we would be notified of and invited to. All I could do was choke out that I wanted my husband, and Latasha nodded and hurried from the room to get him. When she returned with him she said she would give us some time, and closed the door behind her. I handed the paper to my husband, watched him read it, and for the first time in all of this watched my strong man collapse in sobs, shaking as he gripped the side of my bed and tears rolled down his face. The very thought of disposing of our baby's body- literally throwing him away- broke us down to our very lowest.
   After that, there was no keeping it together. Dr. M came in and talked us through the procedure, best case scenarios, etc, others were milling in and out, checking papers, collecting blood from my IV line, introducing themselves and explaining their roles, and I heard almost none of it. I nodded and looked at my husband for almost everything, clutching his arm with one hand, and in the other a wad of tissues I occasionally wiped my nose with in an attempt to- Oh I don't know. Just because not letting snot run down my face seemed like something I should do, but I really didn't care. Soon the student anesthesiologist came back, held up a small syringe and explained that it would make the ride to the OR "more tolerable." I nodded and stared at my husband. Within 30 seconds the room was spinning and he appeared to be swaying side to side. I don't remember much after that. I remember the bed moving, my husband suddenly being gone from my side, and beginning to whimper as we went through double doors and soon my arms were being strapped down, my hand still clutching a wad of boogery tissues. The anesthesiologist put a mask on my face and said, "This is just oxygen," and my immediate thought was, 'This oxygen fracking stinks.'
   My next moment of coherency was hearing a woman's voice say, "You can wake up now, Megan. It's all over." I don't know what happened, but in that instant everything clicked: he was gone. I was unpregnant. I immediately began to wail, loud, uncontrollable sobs, and scream so loud I could feel my chest vibrate with the hot air being forced out, "I WANT MY BABY! I WANT MY BABY! I WANT MY BABY!" I couldn't stop. I didn't try to stop. I felt like I was outside my body just listening to myself scream over and over and over again. I never opened my eyes, but I was aware of several women around me, some moving, some just standing and stroking my face and my arms, saying with choked-up voices, "I know, honey. I'm so sorry. I know." After what seemed like an hour but may very well have been thirty seconds, someone asked for something-ml's of something or other, then shortly after I felt calm. I still cried, but I was suddenly aware that I somehow felt less like screaming. I just laid still, refusing to open my eyes, just crying quietly, apologizing to the nurses for being disruptive, and telling them how much I love ALL my kids, including my four at home. The nurse replied that I was perfect, that no one cared how loud I'd been, that it was all okay, and she knew I loved ALL my children so-so much and was an incredible mama.
    After what seemed like ten minutes(but according to my husband was an hour and a half) I was moved to another room where I was dressed in my clothes I'd worn in, and the nurse talked gently to me about support groups, post partum depression, and before bringing my husband in she said in a tear-filled voice, "Really, really, it's okay to feel this way and it's okay to need help. I'm not saying this as a nurse, I'm saying this as a mom who's been there."
   The rest of the day was kind of a blur. There was pain, there were tears, there was emotionally-void conversation with friends when we picked up our children to bring them home. There was sleep, more tears, there was a meal- the first in 18 hours- and snuggles with my kids. There were questions about Asher that I don't remember how I answered, and there were hours spent laying in bed beside my husband, weeping until the bed shook so much it woke him up, so he pulled me close and we snuggled until he was back asleep and I was back out of bed, unable to quiet my mind. So I started to write. All of this. While it's fresh in my mind, while I can remember the details and pour out my heart in a place where it might help some one some day, or maybe it will just be my own memoirs that I come back and read on his birthday, January 29th, every year, to relive the joys and struggles of his short life, and cherish ever day of the 14 weeks we had with our boy, our Asher Joel.
   God gave me his name in a dream before he was even conceived. When I told the name to my husband he said, "Oh yeah, that's a nice name," not fully expecting we'd even have another baby to consider naming. When we found out we were pregnant he said, "Yeah, I still like it." Asher is a Hebrew name that means "Blessed and Happy." We are so blessed and happy to have our Asher, no matter the pain we have endured during his life and and death. He is a blessing to have in our hearts and we are happy to have had him for that snippet of time. Joel is Hebrew and means "YAHWEH is God." This is of utmost truth. YAHWEH IS God. He is the Almighty. He is the same God that has kept us every moment of our lives. He is the God who has saved us from ourselves. He is the God who gave us each and every one of our children, including our very early miscarriage in December 2013, and our Asher. He is the same God regardless of the struggle in our lives. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is God.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Still I will praise the name of the Lord. -Job 1:21b


  1. I read this through holding back tears. You are an amazing woman. I'm sure that God is walking with you, will never leave your side in this difficult time, and I pray that this transition period is bonding between you and your family. Hugs.

  2. I wish I could hug you in person rather then offering my condolences across the web... I am heartbroken for you and your family. I am so sorry that this is the path chosen for you to walk.

  3. So heartbroken for you. I don't even know you, but I feel for you and your family.
    You are so brave and so strong. You are a wonderful mama. <3