Empty Arms

This was probably a bad idea, but I’ve been on Pinterest lately, looking up puppy things (Ben and I are getting a puppy) and I come across things about newborns, breastfeeding, baby clothes and other things. Which is obvious because I pinned that stuff when I found out I was pregnant. But now it just makes me sad. And I want to apologize for all those men and women out there who have to go through that. Anyone going through infertility, miscarriage, stillborn, or infant loss, this one is for you.

I don’t really know where to start, because I haven’t lost my baby yet and I’ve never gone through a miscarriage. The doctor says that the possibility of a still born is very low, but I do know what it feels like to be told that you’re baby isn’t going to survive, and I haven’t even gotten to know him yet. I guess what I want to say is that you’re not alone, and you don’t get enough credit. And, there isn’t a whole lot out there about this kind of stuff. I see more about normal pregnancies, and normal births because they are happy, and wonderful, but the world needs to know that its not always like that. And some people have a hard time getting pregnant, and some people don’t have happy, sparkly, rainbow pregnancies and births. Sometimes, people loose their babies.

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Infertility, Miscarriages, Still-births, and Infant loss.

I just want to first say that I am sorry to those dealing with any of these four things at this time. I want people to understand that it is heart breaking for a husband and wife to find out they can’t conceive children, or they did conceive but they lost the baby early in the pregnancy, or you have already felt the baby kick, and then the baby stops kicking and you have to go through labor and birth only to end with a life-less baby, or to hold a baby in your arms for only a little while before he/she passes away and you don’t get to put him/her in those cute outfits you bought.
Grief is something we all go through. I believe grief is when people have a dream, they have a life plan made out in their minds of what their life is going to be like and then something happens and those dreams shatter. Then you have to find a new dream, and I call that grief. Maybe that new dream is adoption, or infertility treatments, or trying to conceive again, or having another baby so you can take them home from the hospital. But its that middle part, between the new dream and the old one where it’s hard.

I feel that I should explain more about Will’s diagnosis to explain the dream I had, and how it was shattered. Here is the google definition of Encephalocele.

“Encephalocele, sometimes known by the Latin name cranium bifidum, is a neural tube defect characterized by sac-like protrusions of the brain and the membranes that cover it through openings in the skull. These defects are caused by failure of the neural tube to close completely during fetal development.” From Wikipedia.

Ensephalocele happens in 1 in every 10,000 pregnancies. It is extremely rare, and not the lottery I wanted to win. I will most likely carry Will through full-term, and then he will either pass away during labor or shortly after birth. My dream was that I was going to be a mom, and I was going to give birth in the little Rexburg hospital, with no complications. I was going to bring home a little baby, put him in a car seat, dress him up for church. Ben and I were already planning his baby blessing, and my mom had already bought plane tickets. Within about a minute my dream was shattered. When we came home from the doctor I took all my ultrasound pictures, and put them in the closet in our second bedroom. Ben and I packed up all the baby clothes, cribs, stroller everything that had to do with a baby and hid it so we didn’t have to look at it. Now, we have an empty second bedroom full of school books, and boxes.

That’s the biggest thing I notice with people who go through either infertility, miscarriage, still births or infant loss. It’s all about the dream, and then the dream is shattered. You don’t want to talk to anyone, especially those who have their babies, and get to be pregnant, and get to dress up their little babies. Because why do they get it and not me? Here is a quote from Elder Nelson;

“Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45.)
Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.”

I wanted to share that quote because I feel that even if we haven’t spent a lot of time with our little babies, we are still mourning their loss. I love when he says; “The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.” The reason why it is so painful and hard to go through these four things is because of love. We love our children, even if we don’t know them yet, or only had them for a couple weeks, or a couple months, or only a little while after birth. The love that a parent feels for their child is the greatest love this world has ever experience next to the love of Jesus Christ. Here is another quote from Elder Lance B. Wickman in his talk “But If Not.”

“First, please know that grief is the natural by-product of love. One cannot selflessly love another person and not grieve at his suffering or eventual death. The only way to avoid the grief would be to not experience the love; and it is love that gives life its richness and meaning. Hence, what a grieving parent can expect to receive from the Lord in response to earnest supplication may not necessarily be an elimination of grief so much as a sweet reassurance that, whatever his or her circumstances, one’s child is in the tender care of a loving Heavenly Father.”

I have only seen Will through tv-screens and I’ve only felt his kicks while I have been pregnant with him. Ben even feels his kicks and movements less than me. But we love him so much. I have never experienced the love of a parent until Will came into our lives, and it just amazes me to think that I love this little baby so much, and I don’t want to let him go, but God loves him perfectly and more than I do.

I want to write to those couples dealing with infertility, miscarriage, still-births, and infant loss to understand that your babies are God’s babies first. And even if your baby hasn’t come yet, or your baby has come and was only here for a short time, I know that the pain you feel is because of the love you have for your children. And, it’s not fair. I go on a roller coaster ride almost every day. One day I’m happy and I have hope, and the next day I feel jealous and upset at other mothers who get to keep their babies in this life. But I testify of the truth that peace that prayer brings, and the scriptures bring. Even if just for a little while, even if I don’t get an answer right away, at least its enough to help me through the day. Take it one day at a time, hold onto your spouse and depend on them, and above all depend on the Lord Jesus Christ and his atonement. He understands, and he knows the pains we feel. There is more than just this life, we will be with our loved ones again if we are faithful, and we depend on our Savior.

 

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2 thoughts on “Empty Arms

  1. I found this quite touching and helpful to me. My trial is very different than yours as the man I met when I was 15 and have been married to for 52 years almost was just diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s. Our dream of retirement, kissing grandbabies, maybe a mission have vanished and left us with terrible visions of bedridden people in depressing nursing homes. A hopeless future indeed. You have reminded me that old age, sorrows, etc are temporary and heaven is forever. Sweet William is a special spirit who has been given to special parents and he will be eagerly waiting for you on the other side of the veil so stay worthy of that exciting moment. I have a baby brother I can’t wait to meet one day and I intend to keep my covenants so my husband, brother, indeed all my loved ones can be together again with whole, healthy bodies. Thank God for the Gospel!

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