Monday, November 28

our baby boy

i lost my blogging groove. and honestly, the only reason why i am picking it back up is for our kids. they adore our blog books and this is the only journal we have. so onward we go! we have been able to experience so many amazing and fun things over the past few months and i feel the need to do a brief recap of them all, but before we get there i need to write the story of a little one we lost this summer so that we can have that in our journal too. it's part of our story. he is part of our family. i need to include him here.

at the end of march i found out i was pregnant. it was kind of a surprise, kind of not. we had been trying to decide if we were supposed to add another one to our family. we had prayed. i had been fasting. i felt like we were supposed to, even though i was not super excited about it. so naturally i kept hesitating and putting it off. but, like most things, when you're trying to avoid something it has a way of appearing whether you're ready for it or not. so i wasn't super surprised when we discovered the pregnancy even though we weren't planning on it happening. ironically, i took the test and walked in to show the results to chris while he was assembling owen's crib (the first crib we've ever purchased haha!). 
fast forward a few months. i went to the OB twice (once for some spotting, but the ultrasound showed a healthy babe) and once for my initial visit, again we heard a strong heartbeat. because of our previous miscarriage, we wanted to be positive things were ok before telling the kids. feeling like we were in the clear, we told the kids around week 13. of course they were thrilled! ellie had her fingers crossed it was a girl and so did jack. he said "maybe i'll get a nice sister this time" haha. we decided that we would wait to find out the gender, like we had with owen, because its just so fun! 

we enjoyed an awesome visit from bo and larissa's family mid-june which was so fun, especially since larissa and i were both expecting around the same time. i feel like that has been such a blessing to us over the years... not only having cousins born so close together to be the best of buddies, but experiencing our pregnancies simultaneously. after that, we went to idaho for 2 weeks and had the absolute best time! this baby would have been grand baby number 30 on the brower side! wow!
while in idaho i said to chris one evening, "i don't really FEEL pregnant. i just feel bloated and fat right now." he assured me it was because i was out of that first trimester yuckiness and into that second trimester awkwardness. by this point, we were finally beginning to accept that this was actually happening and we started to get kind of excited about all those fun things you experience with a baby: their soft chubby cheeks, the smell of their milky breath, and all the teeny tiny clothes!
once home, i had another appointment at the OB at 19 weeks. the kids all wanted to come along so they could hear the baby's heartbeat. because we knew this was our last pregnancy, i pushed aside my anguish thinking of taking 4 kids to the busy dr's office, and decided to let them enjoy this pregnancy process as much as possible. there was a physician's assistant training with my OB that day and she decided to test out the doppler. the kids were all sitting there waiting to hear those muffled dub-dub sounds of the heart. the second she put the doppler on my belly and i heard the empty static, i knew. i looked at the OB and shook my head and he mouthed "don't worry", but i already knew. after she fished around a bit, he took over and tried to find the heartbeat. but there wasn't one. just empty static. he said not to worry again, this happens all the time, but i went ahead and told the kids that the dr was having a hard time finding the heartbeat and that it could be good or bad. jack and ellie are smart enough to figure out something isn't quite right. so he got me back for a quick ultrasound, which ended up being a huge blessing because the kids got to see there baby, even if he was not alive, and they have told me a few times that they are so happy they got to see the baby. after taking some  measurements the ultrasound tech flipped on the heartbeat. again, empty static. she looked at me and mouthed "I'm sorry" because the kids were in the room. i decided not to tell them in that moment until chris was with us. jack knew something was up and was pretty quiet the rest of the day until dad got home, when we told them what the dr's visit had meant. it was a hard moment, but it was one of those moments when you have so much love for those people around you that no matter whats going on, all you feel is gratitude. having kids old enough to understand, even slightly, that families are eternal, that we have a savior that has made that possible, is an amazing thing. in that moment you realize nothing else matters. nothing. we had a good cry together that night, and it was hard to see how upset the kids were. they had already invested so much love into their relationship with this baby. but we also had a great testimony building talk that i hope they never forget.
because i was 17-18 weeks when the baby died, i had to deliver at the hospital, and soon. luckily my mom was able to drop everything in florida and come be with us. i was admitted on july 13th at 9pm and they started inducing me at midnight. 

they put a capsule of meds on my cervix every 4 hours. nothing seemed to be happening, just some minor cramping, until about 12 the next afternoon. it was sort of a surreal experience being at the hospital to deliver a baby that wouldn't be coming home with us. i had packed my bag, but there was no newborn onsie to bring our baby home in, no nursing bra to wear, no blanket for a carseat. my room was big and empty. no warming table with a dusty pink water bowl for that first sponge bath. rather than bringing in papers that tell you how to deal with a colicky baby or how to properly swaddle your little one, the nurses were bringing us papers on how to grieve, where your baby will be buried, and how to help your other children to cope with losing a loved one. it was a very different experience. but it truly wasn't a bad one. not for me. it was weird. and it was different. but it wasn't bad. chris and i were able to talk and connect in a way that i don't think couples usually do until they are placed in a situation like this. we even laughed quite a bit. it was like a long over due date where we were able to really connect. 
around 12 i asked for some iv pain meds so i could sleep for a little bit because i was only dilated to a 3 or 4 at that point. i ended up falling into a light sleep. about 30 minutes into my restless nap i had an experience that i will forever hold close to my heart. i have hesitated including this because it was a sacred moment for me. but i want jack, ellie, charlie, and owen to always know that never in my life have i been more sure about anything. as i was resting i started to wake up but i felt myself be sucked into a dream. it sounds crazy and i know I'm not describing it well, but i felt drawn back into sleep to have this dream. it was very short, but it was so extremely real. everything was very light and i was sitting down holding the hand of a boy that seemed to be about 3-4 years old. as i held his hand he looked up and started to smile a huge, loving smile. his face seemed to light from within. i followed his line of vision to see a man waving to him. he also had that same loving, huge smile. he was so full of light, its hard to describe. the little boy let go of my hand and ran to this man. he jumped into his arms and they hugged and they cried, but it was in happiness. and that was it. the dream was over. but  as a realized the dream was over i had such an overwhelming understanding of what i had seen. this little boy of ours was home. he had come to do what he needed (which i think had a lot to do with what i needed as well). he was so excited to be home with our father in heaven, and i know Heavenly Father was waiting for him to come home too. the love they have for one another is so true and so real and i feel so lucky to have experienced and witnessed a small part of that. the world has argued about when a baby is truly alive or when its spirit enters its body, and i don't claim to have the answer to that. i don't even know if our first miscarriage had a spirit attached to it and i have always been fine not knowing that. but i do know that this baby had a spirit. i do know that this baby is part of our family and that he is waiting for us. i know now more than i ever have that we are children of a Heavenly Father. He is always waiting for us. i will do whatever it takes to make sure my family is worthy to be in His presence again, along with our boy. families are forever. i know that.
after this experience and after i laid in my hospital bed trying to hold on to the peaceful and truly joyful feelings it gave me, i realized it was time.
i told chris i thought it was time and he called the nurse. she came in and wasn't sure if i was really ready because i hadn't been acting like i was in a lot of pain, but sure enough, i was fully dialated and ready to push. she called in dr woods, my OB, and he came up from his office. as they set up their equipment and chris held my hand, i felt for the first time what a sad thing this was. they gave me a moment to feel these feelings and when i had gathered my self and my emotions, i began to push. it happened very quickly and our baby was born on July 14th. it was a boy. before the delivery i wasn't sure if i even wanted to see the baby. i felt so bad that i didn't really want to see it. but in my mind, i didn't want to remember my baby looking so strange. they laid him on a blanket and asked if i wanted to see him. for whatever reason i said yes. the nurse brought him to us and then all the crew left the room. we took about 20 minutes admiring this miracle and marveling at the amazing gift of life. he had perfect tiny fingers and toes! he even came out with his little hand tucked under his cheek and chin! that chin! it was so itty bitty and so adorable. it was incredible. we weren't sad. not at all. it was the exact opposite. i am so thankful for the decision i made to hold him. i kept thinking "i should be sad right now, why am i not upset?". but with chris holding me with that baby in my hands, i realized my life is so, so good.
we called home to check in and tell everyone that it was a boy. we told ellie first and she couldn't believe it was another boy! after an hour or two and a quick shower, i was ready to leave. on our way home we picked up some cupcakes so we could have a birthday party for our baby boy with the family. we came home to a happy family! grandma had done such a great job with the kids! 
chris and i decided not to have a burial for him. we also decided not to name him. our hospital buries all of the babies at a local cemetery and we felt peace in that decision. the nurses were able to get a tiny little footprint and that is what we will treasure.
we have all been able to deal with this really well. jack has only asked a couple times if its time to have another sibling yet :) besides the long recovery time (just the same as a normal delivery), i have done just fine. my emotions havent been as crazy as i worried they might be... of course it has been almost 4.5 months, so maybe chris would say i was crazy for a while those first few weeks after ;) at times i have felt sad, but more often than not i have felt relief.... and sometimes i have felt guilt because i was feeling relief. owen has been hard. he is not an easy baby. we were ready to deal with a hard toddler and a newborn since that was what was coming, but now that it's not, i feel relief. and in a strange way, i know thats ok. 


Carolina said...

This touched me in so many ways. It was so beautifully written. I know you and your family will be so glad to have this to read.

Larissa said...

Your baby has a beautiful story. I'm grateful you wrote it out for you, your kids, and for all of us who love you all and love that little baby boy. Everything you felt and feel is okay and good, you experienced it in your own way and you still are, it's so helpful to recognize how you are feeling and to write it down. Good for you Lis! You and Chris are wonderful parents and your baby is blessed to have you and you are blessed to have him.

Melissa said...

Thank you for writing this and sharing it. It is so beautiful! You and your family are so amazing.