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Monday, June 29, 2009

Group B Strep

If you'll notice on my side bar, I have a link for Group B Strep International. I was surfing the web last night and discovered that July is International Group B Strep Awareness Month. I decided to add it to both of my blogs because I was diagnosed with Group B when I was pregnant with my younger son.

Three months before he was due, I began feeling like I had a vaginal infection. My doctor tested me for Group B and it was positive. In 1997, this wasn't a test that was routine. I believe it is screened for more now, as it should be. If the mother is left untreated during labor and delivery, the risk is high for the baby to die or be sick or left with a disability.

At age 2 1/2, my younger son was diagnosed as hard of hearing and has worn hearing aids ever since. I can't exactly say that his hearing loss is due to Group B Strep, but I can't rule it out either. I was given antibiotics during labor and delivery, but I still wonder about his disability. I just want to make others aware of this infection with the hope of preventing any of you and your babies from having to deal with this. If you're pregnant, PLEASE request Group B Strep testing! It's a very easy test to have done and well worth it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today's "Walking With You"

Over at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace we're supposed to share our experience after we heard the news that changed our lives. I think what I shared in my earlier post this week covers this topic. Remember, I'm kind of combining the Walking With You with the pregnancy loss Bible study I'm also doing. Please click on the Walking With You button on my sidebar if you'd like to participate in this program with Kelly.

If you have any questions or comments for me, please leave them in my comment section! I pray that my story and words and Kelly's stories and words will be a comfort to you. I believe God wants me to help other moms who are suffering due to the loss of a precious little one. Bless you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bible Study Week 2

This week's lesson was much longer than last week's, so I'm only going to share my answers to a few of the questions. In some cases, I may repeat things that I relayed in My Story in my first post. I pray that you can bear with me and that the relaying of my experience will be a comfort to others who are suffering because of their own losses.

The first question was: Where do I go to find out the truth?

I was really just kind of numb for several weeks after the miscarriage and didn’t want to talk about it much. We did tell our Pastor, and he asked to meet with us about a month after it happened. He wanted to see how we were handling it. His concern was that a lot of people didn’t know about it and that we were dealing with it alone. The first thing our Pastor asked was how we were doing. My husband just started talking, rambling really. I don’t really recall what he said, but I think he got off topic. Finally, our Pastor turned to me and asked me the same question again. I said that I was upset, but not as upset as I would be if something had happened to one of our boys. He then asked how the two of us were doing together. Eric spoke right up and said things could be better.

To be honest, I was really angry with Eric during this time period. About 2 weeks after we lost our baby, Eric’s brother told him that he and his wife were expecting. Eric didn’t relay this to me in the most sensitive of ways, and I was ticked with him. He also couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy for his brother and sister-in-law. So he was right when he said that things could be better.

I think our Pastor asked if we wanted to have some kind of memorial for the baby, but we declined. Part of me felt it was silly because I had only been 8 weeks pregnant, and part of me didn’t want to go through some sad memorial and display my emotions publicly.

Can I ever understand why? Here I was supposed to list questions I have regarding my miscarriage:

Why did God wait until I was 43 to let me become pregnant again?

Several years ago, why did my oldest son tell me that Jesus told him that I would have another baby?

If I wanted a third child so badly, why did I cry when I found out that I was pregnant (and they weren’t happy tears)?

Why didn’t I have more faith in God about the health and well being of this pregnancy and child?

How can God help me deal with losing my baby? There were three Bible verses that I was asked to look up and then I was to list at least one way God will help me based on each of these verses.

Jn. 14:15-18 He gives us the Holy Spirit.

2 Cor. 1:3-4 He will comfort me in all of my troubles.

Rev. 21:4 He will wipe away my tears. I will not mourn or cry anymore.

How did you experience God's comfort at the time of your loss? How would you like to be comforted now?

I experienced God’s comfort through the ladies I work with. I know they were all praying for me and my family. I received emails, card and hugs of love from them throughout the entire school year. My one co-worker brought over chocolate chip cookies on the baby’s due date. One couple we know sent us flowers when I miscarried. I really didn’t find my husband comforting until we approached the due date. He knew I wanted to do something as a tribute to the baby. Together we came up with the idea of getting a heart shaped emerald ring. The baby’s due date was May 2 and emerald is the birthstone for May. One change I did notice in my husband after our loss is that he has opened up more spiritually.

I don’t know how I want to be comforted now. I feel I want to reach out and comfort other moms who are suffering due to the loss of a child. I think that will give me comfort. Going through this study will allow me to comfort other moms in the future.

This week's lesson ended with these two Bible verses to give each of us hope:

Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Moms, and yes you are a mom even if all of your children are in Heaven, I pray that God's Word will comfort you. I pray that He will use me to guide you to Bible passages that will bring you some understanding of what you've been through and that will bring you some peace. I pray that you will feel His presence in your life and His loving arms around you, cradling you just as you would cradle your own child.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Story

This week I began doing a pregnancy loss Bible study with an on-line friend. She was kind enough to offer to lead me through this study since she has completed it once already. She will be leading a group of women at her church in the fall. K has one child and then miscarried twice. She is currently experiencing a healthy pregnancy with baby # 4. I am so thankful to K for doing this with me!

The book we are using is entitled Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy by Teale Fackler & Gwen Kik. When I ordered a copy of this book, the company accidentally sent me 3 books for the price of one! Rather than sending the 2 extra books back, I paid for and kept them. My husband and I feel it is a sign from God that eventually I will lead other women in this study.

As I said, we just began the study this week, so we've only done chapter 1. We're going to do a chapter each week. I decided that I would post my answers and thoughts here to the weekly discussion questions. My hope is to help another mom who is going through the anguish of a lost pregnancy or infant. I've also decided to join Walking With You over at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace. You can click on the button on my side bar to join in on what Kelly is doing over there. As I go through this journey, please feel free to comment and ask me questions.

In the first week, we were to tell our story. This is what follows below.

I found out I was pregnant the Friday of Labor Day Weekend 2008 (rather ironic!). My period was a week late, but I didn’t seriously think I could be pregnant. I was 43 and would turn 44 in November. I was too old!

I had always wanted three kids and had pictured having two sons closer in age and then having a daughter further down the road. I also wanted a May baby. Well, we had our two sons 2 ½ years apart. I would have liked to have gotten pregnant again when our younger son was 3. However, when he turned 2 ½, he was diagnosed as being moderately hearing impaired. Therefore, we had a lot on our plate as far as getting him hearing aids and early intervention services. He ended up being enrolled in a preschool class for deaf and hard of hearing children as soon as he turned 3. The class was 45 minutes from our home. Up until a few months before he started the class, the county had another one of these classes at the church right behind our house. Unfortunately, the county decided they didn’t have enough kids at our end of the county to continue this class. So Cooper attended the other class for 2 years.

I decided that because life was a little hectic due to his disability, that it wasn’t the right time to get pregnant. We even had an ENT ask us if we were going to have more children. We said we weren’t sure. He then stated that if we were we should have genetic testing done to see if our next child would be at risk for this. Quite frankly, this comment turned me off of this doctor!

If truth be told, my husband only wanted two kids, so I was quite surprised by his reaction when I told him I was pregnant again. He was calmer than I was. I, in fact, cried about the pregnancy, which I am so ashamed of! All I kept thinking was that our kids would be 14 and 11 when the baby was born in May and that Eric and I would be 64 by the time the baby was 20. Our family was settled into our way of life, and a new baby would disrupt all of that. Plus, we have no baby stuff left at all in the house! Still, at the same time, I wanted this baby.

When I called my OBGYN to get an appointment, I couldn’t believe that they didn’t want to see me prior to 8 weeks into the pregnancy! I told the lady on the phone that I was 43 and had been on thyroid medication and an anti-depressant for several years. She said that the thyroid medication shouldn’t be a problem. She told me to call my other doctor about the anti-depressant to see what he wanted me to do. She wasn’t concerned at all about my age. She could tell I was upset and tried to be reassuring over the phone. I called my other doctor and we worked out a plan to wean me off the anti-depressant.

During the next four weeks, I napped every day after work and could feel each stretch of my womb. Being pregnant at 43 is much different than being pregnant at 32! I never felt sick though, and smells only bothered me for one day. Due to the lack of sickness, I felt that something was wrong. I also had a tiny bit of spotting one or two times, which I never had with either of my other two pregnancies.

My husband didn’t want to tell anyone, including our kids, about the baby until my 8 week appointment. Now our oldest son is very intuitive and asked several times if I was pregnant. I told my husband that we needed to tell the boys, so we did at 7 weeks. They were so excited! We knew if it was girl we would name her Claren, but we didn’t have any boy names. So we told our sons to come up with a name for a little boy. They did so very quickly. The name we all agreed upon was Nolan.

Two days before the appointment, I spotted some more. We called the OB’s office the next day, and they said to come in right away. An internal ultra sound was done. The baby was there, but they couldn’t find the heartbeat and the baby was measuring at 6 weeks rather than 8 weeks along. This all happened on a Monday, and I was told to come back the following week.

I went to work on Tuesday, went to bed that night only to wake up to a lot of cramping. I also started bleeding a lot. We called the doctor in the middle of the night. He said it sounded like I was miscarrying. He said I could take something for the pain and then to come into the office in the morning.

I was up for quite awhile that night having to go back and forth to the bathroom. I couldn’t believe the amount of blood that I passed. I had also never realized that having a miscarriage is like going through a mini labor and delivery. We went back to the OB in the morning and had another internal ultrasound. I couldn’t even look at the screen. Eric was the one who told me that nothing was there anymore. I kept passing blood for several more days and had to use a heating pad for the cramping.

As I sat on the couch the rest of that week, I went back and forth between sadness, guilt, and relief. I was sad over the loss of the baby and the indignity that our baby was basically flushed down the toilet. I felt guilt over my initial reaction to the pregnancy and because I was also feeling somewhat relieved that our life was not going to be changed.

Later on I felt angry. I was angry that for my husband it just seemed to be something that was done and over with. After all, he wasn’t the one that had to go weekly for about a month to have blood work done in order to be sure my hormones returned back to normal. That was a constant reminder to me. He also wasn’t very sensitive when he broke the news to me that our sister-in-law was pregnant with twins.

I was angry with God because it had seemed like he was giving me what I had wanted and then took it away. I also felt I was being punished for my initial reaction to the pregnancy. When I was about 36, my older son out of the blue said to me, “Mommy, the next time you have a baby, I want to go to the hospital with you.” I told him I didn’t think I was going to have another baby. He thought about it for a second and replied, “Yes you are because Jesus told me so.” I was floored by his response! Sam was right, so how come my baby was taken from me?

At this point, 9 months later, I’m not so much angry with God as I am just asking Him, “Why? What was the point of that?” The only answer I can come up with is that He wants me to help others who have or will experience this.

We didn’t have any type of Memorial Service for the baby because we didn’t want one and not that many people knew I was even pregnant. We still haven’t even told our parents about it.

I don’t have a strong inkling either way as to whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I guess I’ll have a surprise waiting for me in Heaven.