Friday, May 10, 2013

An Angel in My Darkness

I want to share of a sweet miracle that occurred during a devastating tragedy in our life; a miracle that confirmed the Lord was truly mindful of the heartache I was going through at the time, even though I felt He was absent.

I must start with a word of caution.  This is the story of a miscarriage I suffered at 16 weeks pregnant.  I am telling this story in it's complete entirety.  I tried writing it and censoring some of the graphic parts, but it just didn't work; I felt it to be incomplete.  I desire to express everything, even the hard parts, in order to adequately pay homage to the miracle that occurred during this horrible trial. 

It was springtime, about 10:00 am and we were driving down State Street in Orem to drop Tim off at work. I was 16 weeks pregnant and just coming out of 3 months of horrible morning sickness.  My only goal with my wardrobe was comfort so I was dressed in ratty sweats and a T-shirt.  My son, two at the time, was also in the car with us, securely buckled in the backseat   I was driving, rather than Tim, to make it easier for him to jump out of the car and walk straight into work upon arrival.

All of a sudden my nose began to tickle and I felt a sneeze coming on.  After a couple of large huffy inhale's of air, I sneezed.

I immediately felt a rush of fluid.

Reflexively. I squeezed my pelvic muscles tight in hopes of squelching the rush.  I thought maybe I'd just lost my bladder.  It didn't work.  My next worry was that it was blood so I used my hand to touch the fluid, and upon inspection, found it to be clear.

Absolute horror washed over me.

I looked at Tim, panic written all over my face:
I need to go to the doctor's office now.
I was worried he wouldn't be able to go with me, that I'd have to drop him off at work first, but he responded:
Just go.  Go now.
We immediately detoured to my doctor's office.  When I got out of the car I looked at my pants.  They were soaked clear to my ankles.  Sadly, even in the face of terrifying probabilities, I was scared what others would think of me if they saw my pants.  I took my jacket and wrapped it around my waist best I could to cover the wetness and avoid judgmental prying eyes.

I walked quickly but steadily through the front doors of the physicians plaza.
I walked with purpose over to the elevator doors.
I waited patiently for the doors to open.
I fidgeted some during the ascent up to the 2nd floor.
I was relatively steady as I reached for the door to my doctor's office.

However, I felt the emotion reach my eyes once I opened the door to my doctor's office.  I made eye contact with the nurse behind the counter and recognition and worry spread across her face as she witnessed the sheer panic that reflected on my own face.  I approached the desk and through shaky tears I said:
I think my water broke
She was kind enough to take me to the back nurses station and explained that my doctor was in with another patient and would be out shortly.  I waited about 5 minutes.

The exam room door finally opened and my doctor exited.  He saw me and looked at the nurse with a puzzled expression.
She thinks her water broke
Dr. Stupid:
Oh no, she just peed her pants
I was shocked that he would say such a thing.  Here I was drenched to my ankles with fluid I couldn't stop by clamping off my bladder and he had the gall to accuse me, a grown woman, of "peeing her pants" in the face of my obviously devastated appearance.

I wanted to slap him.

He saw the look on my face and before I could physically react he quickly ushered me into an exam room.  He left me in the room to change into a gown and then reappeared a few minutes later with a special strip of paper to test for the presence of amniotic fluid.

Positive.

I just laid there on the table sobbing in front of my husband and my poor two year old son who had no idea what was happening, just that mommy was really sad.  I slowly got dressed and left with strict instruction to stay on bed-rest.

I spent the rest of that day and the next laying in bed or on the couch, only getting up to use the bathroom or to get something to eat.  There was very little change in how I felt.  Nothing seemed to change with my pregnancy.  I felt suspended in time.  Surreal slow motion.

The following evening I began discharging a green mucus that I thought might be the result of an infection.  I got scared.  Not sure exactly what to do we packed up and went down to Women's Services at the hospital.

Given I was only 16 weeks along though, there wasn't anything they could do for me; even if my baby was born, they wouldn't be able to sustain its life.

The nurses were so kind to me though; one in particular, named Sheryl. She called my doctor who happened to be in the building.  He came down to check on me.  He assured me that the discharge wasn't worrisome but he did want to get a better idea of what was going and so ordered a 3D ultrasound that would measure the level of my amniotic fluid.

Sadness overwhelmed me as I was told by the ultrasound technician that my amniotic fluid, on a 1-5 scale, measured at a 0.  Even more devastating was the fact that my baby's heart was still beating even in the face of sure death.

I was so mad at God.  Why?  Why would He keep my baby alive when death is inevitable?  Why wouldn't He just take it back?  Take it back to safety; where it is light, white and clean and not full of sorrow and heartache?

It seemed horribly cruel to make me wait for my baby to die inside of me.

I was an absolute mess.  I have never felt such acute, righteous, pain in my entire life, even to this day.

Sheryl, who had been at my side through the entire visit, could sense my heartache.  She helped me gather my things and, as I was leaving, told me she was on staff all night and to call her if I needed her, at any time, no matter what.

I fell straight asleep when I got home and awoke about 1:00 am to use the bathroom.  I sat down on the toilet and relaxed my muscles to release my bladder.  I didn't experience the usual release & flow, however.  Instead I felt my baby coming down my birth canal.

I froze.

I clenched my legs together and ran back to bed.  I laid there for probably another hour begging and pleading with the Lord:

Please God, don't take my baby
I love it, I don't know what it is yet, but I know I love it
Please, I'll be better
I'll do better
I'll love you better
Please... please.... please.....

Tim was asleep and I tried not to wake him with my tears as I lay there sobbing.  I felt hopeless, isolated and utterly alone.  Then the thought hit me:

Call Sheryl.

I picked up the phone and timidly called the number on the card I was given.  After a brief moment I heard Sheryl's voice on the line:
Uh oh, what's going on?
I told her what was happening and that I didn't know what to do.  I remember her listening to me; really listening.  She listened to my fear and my tears.  She heard me.  She was so kind to me.  I don't remember much of what was said, but she suggested I get a garbage bag to put in the toilet to catch my baby when I delivered.  It felt good to have some guidance and direction.  I hung up with more courage to face the inevitable.

Upon hanging up my attention was brought back to my poor bladder that was on the verge of bursting.  I reluctantly went back to the bathroom knowing I could no longer delay.  The time had come.  I had to deliver my baby.  Tim was awake and with me at this point.  I asked him to get the trash bag and position it in the toilet.

I sat down on the toilet and while holding on to Tim, who was standing in front of me, I relaxed my body to let my baby come out.  And then it was over.  My baby came out and delivered into the garbage bag.

Or so I thought.

I raised up off the toilet some in order to move the trash bag when to my horror I realized my baby was still hanging from me.  I dropped back down.  I immediately flushed hot and cold at the same time.  I felt dizzy.  I didn't understand what was happening.  The world was spinning in slow motion and I felt like I was in a dream.

What.... else.... could.... go.... wrong!?!?

I sat there for five minutes shaking myself trying to get my baby to drop, but it wouldn't.   I couldn't bring myself to touch it.

I was terrified and hysterical.

I asked Tim to call Sheryl again.

She explained that it sounded as if the umbilical cord didn't release from the placenta causing it to remain attached at both ends.   Sheer panic washed over me.

I can't do this.
This.... is.... too.... much.  

Sheryl was on top of it though, even over the phone.  She told Tim that she was scheduled to get off work at 7:00 am and would come over to my house and help us.

What?  She's going to come to our house?

I immediately felt a flood of relief.  I only  had to hold my bladder for another hour or so before she arrived.  I prayed so hard during that time that my baby would just drop. I don't think I've ever begged the Lord for anything as hard as I begged for that.  But granting that request was not part of His plan.

I sat there on that toilet with my baby hanging from me for over an hour, hoping and hoping I'd make it until Sheryl got to my house, but the time finally came when my bladder had had enough.  It had no hold left.  I had to pee.

NOW.

But I couldn't pee on my baby.  So I leaned into the terror and mustered up as much courage as I could.  I slowly unwrapped some toilet paper from the roll and covering my fingers with it, gently wrapped them around the umbilical cord and pulled.

It was done.

I quickly moved the garbage bag and released my bladder; a brief moment of sheer joy in the midst of heartache.  I'll take tender mercies in all forms.

Once finished I ran to the living room couch and just cried.  I cried and cried and cried till it seemed like I had nothing left.

And then I cried some more.

Just as my tears ran out, Sheryl arrived.  She bee-lined it across my disaster of a living room and gave me a giant hug.  Told me she was sorry for me and just loved me.

How does that happen?  Pure and perfect empathy from a perfect stranger.

I felt her light shine on me.
I felt instant comfort and peace.
I felt protected and cared for.
I felt nurtured and safe.

She quickly got to work caring for my baby who still lay on the bathroom floor in the garbage bag.  She gently took it out, and although I couldn't look at it, she told me that he was a boy.  She packaged him up in a Ziploc bag of water so we could later have the pathologist look at him in hopes of determining what went wrong.

Before leaving, Sheryl gave me another huge hug and showered me with more words of encouragement.

she.is.amazing.

She still works at the hospital I deliver at and with my two pregnancies following my miscarriage I was fortunate enough to have her as my nurse.

One regret I had during my last time with her is I never asked her why she was so compassionate toward me, or why she went out of her way to come to my house.  For some reason I was really scared. I was really scared that the experience didn't mean as much to her as it did to me and she would dismiss me.

But there came a point when I couldn't stand not knowing; not reaching, any longer.  I found her on Facebook and sent her a message asking her why she went so far above and beyond to help a perfect stranger, me.

This was her response:
Oh my dear friend. I am not sure exactly what to tell you except that my gift is to love people. I am not trying to state that in pride. I just find it so easy to love people and to think of you going home in such a difficult time with unknown circumstances was hard on my heart. when you called it seemed without thought the only thing to do to offer support for you. I remember how your heart was breaking and it seems that you were not sure about seeing the baby. I do not remember now for sure if you did. While I certainly do not understand all things, it is a sacred thing to give birth to an infant of any size.for you who had waited and wanted for a child, this was heart breaking. I just wanted to be there for you because I knew I could do that much for you. I do not have the gift of words, I do not know the best thing to say to give comfort but I can be there, and I can give hugs. I am so glad you are a mother so that you can experience all the joy that comes with that. Thank you for your kind words. Love from Sheryl 
What a beautiful spirit.  

I am so grateful the Lord sent her during one of the darkest periods of my life.  
He heard me
He heard every soul wrenching anguished cry that came from me
He knew my pain
...and
He sent me an angel
... an angel in my darkness.  

13 comments:

  1. oh my gosh. I am so sorry. I've had 3 miscarriages- one was life threatening and landed me a week in the hospital, but none were that far along. It is heartbreaking and horrible.

    I'm so glad the Lord sent you an angel.

    Loves.

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    1. Oh I'm sorry for your losses! It is heartbreaking. :-( I'm so happy to know all our little angel babies are safe in Heaven though:-)

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  2. I don't even think I can have words to express what I wish I could. I read it. Just want you to know. Oh my gosh. What an experience.

    And....Dr. stupid indeed.

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    1. Right? The funny part is, is Dr. Stupid ended up being Dr. Felon. I think he gets out of prison this year;-)

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  3. I'm so proud of your for writing this and getting out all the gory details. I loved that this angel was sent to you in your darkest hour. It's amazing the Lord sends us Angels in our lives. Love this, and love you!

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  4. What a powerful story of Christ-like love from a stranger. I want to be more like Sheryl. Reading this reminded me of the angels in my life that the Lord has sent during my darkest times. Thank you for being brave enough to share this experience in its entirety.

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    1. Thank you! I know, I'm loving going back to my dark times and really seeing the Lords hand in my life.

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  5. Tears. I'm so sorry for the loss you experienced. This is a beautiful story of Christlike love and compassion. Would that we could all be a little more like Sheryl.

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    1. Ya, she is a beautiful example of who I want to be! Thank you!

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  6. Wow, I cannot even imagine what that must have been like for you. I've had many miscarriages but not that far along. I cannot even fathom that. You are a strong woman and have great things to do on the earth! I am so glad that Heavenly Father sent you an angel!

    HUGS!

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  7. I cried through this whole story. I love you Sidreis.

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Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"