Tag: infant loss

Last of the Firsts

General

On September 27th we celebrated the last of the “firsts”. This was the day our twins turned 1. We not only celebrated the last first without Luke, but also the last first birthday we will ever celebrate for Marlar babies. The weeks leading up to their birthday were pretty difficult simply knowing that this big milestone was approaching. I shed a lot of tears and honestly I’m getting a little emotional even sitting here thinking about it all. Knowing that an entire year has passed without our precious baby is such a hard thing; something I can’t even begin to explain to someone that has never experienced losing a child. Knowing that we will never again have a baby in the house is also a hard thing. Honestly, if pregnancy wasn’t so hard on my body and if delivery wasn’t such a scary thing (it’s always been terrifying for Matt and now even more so since we have actually lost a baby during delivery) Matt & I would both be game for having 10 babies, so knowing that this stage in life is now officially over brings up many more emotions.

Despite the weeks leading up to their birthday being incredibly sad, I had decided that their actual birthday was going to be a day of celebration. We had TWO little lives to acknowledge and rejoice over; one just happens to be longer than the other, but both equally worth celebrating. Their day fell on a Wednesday, so we celebrated as a family that day. Matt took the entire week off of work to be able to spend more time with all of us, and I’m so thankful he did. Mason (our 5 year old) still had school, but the extra family time was still so good and much needed. We went to a local park for a couple hours that afternoon and then had cupcakes after dinner that evening before church. It was an absolutely beautiful day and I can honestly say that while tears were shed that day, mostly it was a time of sweet memories of Luke and rejoicing over Asher’s accomplishments throughout the last year.

 

He clearly loved the cupcake 💙

I think we’ve mentioned here before that Luke was buried in our home town in Texas although we live in Las Vegas. It was honestly a really difficult decision to make burying him SO far away from us, but ultimately it came down to the fact that we know 100% for sure that we will ALWAYS go back home, but if God ever calls us away from Las Vegas, the likelihood of coming back often enough would not be that great. (Not that we wouldn’t want to come back often, but when faced with the choice of visiting family at home or coming to Vegas, we would choose home 9 out of 10 times.) So we chose to have him buried in the same cemetery Matt’s grandparents are buried in. We debated going to Texas for the twins birthday, but decided traveling across the country with 4 children that don’t travel well at a very high stress time would be a bad idea. So we resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn’t get to visit Luke’s grave on their birthday and celebrate “with” him. BUT my amazing aunt Janet and sweet cousin Alicia surprised us by going out there with some goodies and FaceTiming us so that we could sing Happy Birthday to the boys together. (And the waterworks have started again right now just thinking about it even 3.5 weeks after the fact….) I’ve mentioned before that my family is amazing…here’s another example of that. 💙

They decorated his grave for us and sang alongside us, and honestly, they carried the song for us when both Matt & I couldn’t carry on.

Happy birthday, Luke Oliver & Asher Luke. You both bring so much joy to mommy & daddy. Love you forever. 💙💙🦋

Embrace the Now

Grief and Infant LossSara's Space

Matt & I were married in February 2010. Before we got married, we devised a great plan for our lives; we were going to travel and have fun as a newly married couple for about 5 years and then have babies. Remember what Matt said before…. “we plan, God laughs“?? Yeah, that applies here. In July 2010, we found ourselves unexpectedly expecting. This was NOT in the plan. In fact, my first words when seeing a positive pregnancy test were “oh, crap!” But that shock and extreme terror quickly turned into excitement, although I will admit I was still quite terrified by the thought of having a baby. We immediately told our families and made an announcement on Facebook for all the world to know. We were going to be parents. Despite how scary that was, it was miraculous and wonderful at the same time. Our excitement lasted for approximately 17 days. I began bleeding and cramping. We rushed to the ER on base, and ended up leaving hours later with hope. I had a subchorionic hematoma, but we saw the baby. It was still too early to see a heartbeat, but my bleeding had already stopped. As the weeks rolled on, our hope and excitement grew. My FIL even ordered a crib to be delivered to the house. Sadly, just a month later the bleeding began again, but this time it did not stop like the first time. It was confirmed that we’d lost our sweet baby. We never found out the gender of this baby, but after weeks of mourning our little one, we decided to give our baby a name. We chose Azaliah for our little love.

For several months after we lost Azaliah, I went into a deep depression. I was obsessed with having a baby. Something I hadn’t desired to happen for years to come, suddenly became my only desire. Month after month went by, each marked with a negative pregnancy test (or 5-6 negative tests…). I became angry and bitter. And also scared that I would never be able to be a mother and that because of something surely wrong with me…..Matt would never be a father. I feared that our hopes and dreams for a family full of babies would never be fulfilled.

If you’ve read any of our other posts up to now, you obviously know that that was not the end of our story for babies. But for the next 10 months, I walked around thinking that it was just going to be Matt & me for the rest of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I would have been perfectly happy with just him for the rest of my life, but I didn’t want to let him down. I wanted to see him with our babies. I wanted to make him a daddy.

Our second pregnancy, I was a mess. I worked in an oncology office at the time and literally would draw my own blood to be sent off for hCG and progesterone levels because I simply could not relax and believe this baby would end up healthy and whole and in my arms.

Despite several complications in that pregnancy, Mason Paul did end up healthy and whole and in our arms. To be honest, I had a really difficult time bonding with him after he was born. I loved him beyond measure, but I still had a wall up that I’d built from the moment I saw a two lines on that pregnancy test. I had not let myself get excited about his sweet little life. And then I had pretty bad pre-eclampsia and had to be induced at 37 weeks, was on IV magnesium for 3 days (1 before his birth and 2 after) and he got stuck and had to be vacuum extracted to get out! It was a pretty traumatic birthing experience altogether, so that made the disconnect even worse. I hated myself for ever struggling with this connection that every other mother out there seemed to have the instant they laid eyes on their baby. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t tear that wall down?! We had longed and prayed for this little miracle and yet I couldn’t connect the way I desperately wanted to. Ultimately these feelings just continued to make the whole thing worse! It was a vicious cycle.

I wish I could tell you that I sought help with these feelings or that something happened and things quickly and instantly got better, but that wouldn’t be true. I kept my feelings and my depression hidden because I was so ashamed for ever having felt them. But something positive did eventually come from this experience. I realized what I had done to myself by building that wall of disconnect out of fear of losing this baby too and I promised myself I’d never let that happen again.

Cherish the time you have while you have it.

This goes for everyone, not just babies during pregnancy. Don’t live your life in fear of loss. Imagine all the joyful moments you will be missing out on if you let fear control you in this way. I will never get those moments back from Masons pregnancy or early infancy and I truly wish that I knew then what I know now….

And I am so thankful that I learned this lesson so that now I can look back on our time we had with Luke and cherish those memories of his sweet kicks and hiccups and watching him interact with Asher on the ultrasound screen. If I’d been living in fear of losing him…..I would have nothing but sorrow to look back on.

First Visit

Grief and Infant Loss

Sara writes a lot more on our blog here about grief than I do. A lot of that has to do with how we are hard wired so differently. I usually have a more difficult time sharing the more personal aspects of life unless there’s a solid biblical lesson or exhortation I can pull out of it. Like most men, I don’t typically wear my emotions very close to the surface, though Sara often reminds me how much of it is actually written on my face like it’s God’s billboard. A lot of times, I can’t really even describe what I’m feeling in the moment and it may take some time before I can adequately put it into coherent thoughts.

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