This week, our family has been through one of the most heartbreaking and terrible things that a family could ever go through. The loss of a baby. It's hard for me to even say the words out loud. We lost our baby. I struggled over whether to write about this. I don't know if anyone will even read it. But for me, I have to write it down. I have to talk it through without actually saying anything that I'm feeling. Talking just feels like someone is pouring salt on a wound that is never going to heal. But writing gives me clarity, and it helps me to think. So to my family, this is for you.
For the past 11 weeks we have been planning, and dreaming, and wondering what our new baby was going to be like. Boy or girl? Would she be funny like her brother? Would she be a Daddy's girl? How would we decorate the nursery? What would it be like having double the cuteness and double the cuddles in our growing family? But all of those "what if's" are gone, and it's the most gutwrenching pain I've ever experienced in my life. We were one week away from the second trimester, the point when you're supposed to be safe, the point when you know you've made it and everything is going to be fine.
On Wednesday August 8th, a day that I hate, a day that I will never forget, we were scheduled for a dating ultrasound at UNC Women's hospital. I got up like usual, went to work that morning, kissed Cameron on the forehead on the way out the door, and told Nathan to be ready when I got home so we could go to our appointment. I was sick that morning, which gave me hope. A positive sign that our baby was growing. I felt nervous all morning though, and I couldn't explain why. I couldn't get anything done at work, and the morning just seemed to drag on. Finally 12:30 arrived and I could leave to get my family.
It took us forever to find a parking space at UNC. We drove around and around and I became more and more anxious. We finally made it to ultrasound, filled out some paperwork and waited. Cameron was all grins wearing his "Big Brother" t-shirt, and yelling at everyone who walked by.
They called us back and I remember feeling so excited to walk into the room. I laid down on the table, while talking to the ultrasound tech about how far along I thought we were. I turned and looked at the monitor, ready to see my baby and finally hear that beautiful "swoosh swoosh swoosh" letting me know the heart was strong and healthy.
But that wasn't what happened...
The tech began asking me tons of questions, wondering if I had any problems. She kept searching around, and there was no movement, no heartbeat. She tried moving me around to wake the baby and there was simply nothing. Questions kept coming and I could hear my heart throbbing so loudly that I'm not even sure what she said. My heart was sinking. I knew what was happening, and yet she couldn't say anything to us. I couldn't speak, I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe.
She told us to wait in the room. The doctor wasn't there and we would have to wait for her to come and talk to us. The tech left the room, the ultrasound pictures left on the screen. Every ounce of energy, and hope, and promise was sucked out of the room, and I swear I thought the walls were going to crash down.
The doctor finally arrived and the only thing she said is, "It appears that the fetus has died. We don't know when it happened. It was nothing that you did. Let's talk about your options." It was so stoic, and cold, and rational, and absolutely the worst thing I could ever imagine happening. We didn't even have two minutes as a family to process the words before we were told what our options were.
The next few hours were a blur. It was like living in the absolute worst nightmare you could ever imagine with no chance of waking up. One of those dreams where you are running, and yet you feel like you aren't moving. Like drowning with no way to reach the surface of the water.
We lost our baby...
I've had friends who have been through it, and who have come out strong and survived. But I know now that's all that it is. Surviving. They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And maybe that's true. But right now, it simply feels like whatever doesn't kill you, just beats the hell out of you and then leaves you to fend for yourself. A miscarriage is horrible. It's painful. It's the most horrific thing I've ever experienced. It results in pure emptiness, and no matter how much support you have around you, you feel completely and utterly alone.
We LOST our baby. I can type it, but I still can't say it out loud.
I would not be surviving if it wasn't for Nathan, and for Cameron. Plain and simple. Nathan holds my hand, and lets me cry and talk as much as I want to, and he has been so strong even though I know he's falling apart too. Cameron is my reason that I know I have to press on, the reason I know I have to survive.
After a lot of crying, Nathan reminded me of the words of the Psalmist, "You created me in my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb." God knows our baby. God is holding our baby, and one day, we will too. I have to remind myself that as much as we loved our child, God loved her just as much. Those are tough words for me to say, because right now I just want to be pissed off, and I want someone to blame, and God seems to be an easy target. But I know it's not God's fault. It's not my fault, it's not Nathan's fault. But it sucks, and it hurts like hell.
People keep asking if there is anything I want or need, but all I want is my baby. MY baby. The one that I carried, the one that I loved.
We gave her a name...
It's hard to find a gender neutral name. I really felt that we were having a girl. I knew what we were having when I was pregnant for Cameron, and I felt just as strongly this time around. But being that we have no confirmation, I didn't want to do some horrible injustice to our child if I was wrong.
Taylor Ashley Wittman...
Taylor means cut or stitched into, and Ashley means tree. Taylor Ashley Wittman is stitched into our family tree. She will forever be a part of us, a part of our story, a part of who we are. I will always love her and I will always remember the joy that she brought to me, the hope that she gave us, even if it was for just a short time in our lives.
I'm surviving. We are surviving. But it's because I owe it to my children. I owe it to Cameron to still be his mom, to still smile when he does something silly, to still laugh when he stuffs too many french fries in his mouth at once, and to hold him when he gets those occasional boo-boos. And I owe it to Taylor, to be strong, and to carry on so that her life wasn't in vain.
To someone who has never been through this, it may just seem like something small, something that shouldn't be so difficult to move on from. But that's certainly not the case. This pain is REAL, this loss is REAL. I lost a part of me, someone I love, someone I dreamed about, and prayed for every single night.
We lost our baby...
Healing is going to take a long time, maybe the rest of my life. But I have hope. God is holding us, and I'm so confident of that, I can FEEL it. There is something to hope for. There is a brighter future for us, and Taylor Ashley Wittman is another part of the amazing journey that our family has been on together. This loss hurts like hell. I can't stop crying. I can't stop thinking about what might have been.
This blog is probably going to get a lot of action in the coming weeks, because I need a way to talk without actually talking.
Taylor Ashley Wittman, God stitched you together, and knew you. I knew you, your father knew you, and I believe in my heart that even Cameron knew you. We will always, always, always, love you, and I look forward to the day when I can finally hold you and see your beautiful face.