Thursday, August 4, 2011

Welcome Home, part 2: An Unusual Birth Story

Warning: I am about to recount the story of how our fourth child was born, too early to survive, in detail. I want to honor him as our child in sharing it, to bring personal healing to myself by speaking about it and to bring to light something that is so often unspoken. Losing a child in the first trimester is devastating. And, I know I had no idea. So, if sharing my story helps others heal by it's rawness and still others understand what those going through such things experienced, then it serves good purpose.

After the Great Bed Bug Incident of 2011, I spent Saturday morning on July 23rd vacuuming and sweeping up the remnants of unpacking our entire lives. At about 11am I felt totally wiped out. Apparently, a summer full of sight-seeing in Europe weakened me so much I couldn't do normal housework, or so I thought. I wasn't sure I was going to make it until naptime to take a rest. A routine trip to the restroom revealed the reason for the tiredness: bleeding at 10 weeks pregnant. Surges of fear and sadness coursed through my limbs. I found Trey and numbly told him before bursting into tears. I pulled myself together and leafed through the pages of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" to see how concerned we should be. After all, I didn't want to overreact. 

I was reassured that light bleeding unaccompanied by severe cramping or other more serious symptoms like fever, dizzyness, etc could be "normal." And, could wait until a visit to see the doctor; no need for a visit to the ER. Maybe I had just overdone it---driving all night from Texas to Colorado, unpacking our belongings, pulling weeds in our front garden and cleaning up the house. Just in case, I canceled my girls night out plans for that evening and chose to just take it easy.

Trey and I chose to close out the evening reading. I went to sleep, hopeful, that after a night's rest the morning would bring the evaporation of the fear and reality of losing our little one. 

However, at about 1:24am, I woke up with terrible back cramping. It was constant for an hour. Since I couldn't sleep with it, I decided to get up and immediately felt the need to use the restroom. A huge gush followed and a peek into the commode revealed that I just delivered our precious baby at 2:54pm on July 24th. Crying and hyperventilating at the same time, I stumbled in the dark to our bedroom and woke up Trey. Miraculously, through my panting, he understood what happened.

The tragedy of the situation struck him and he was sick to his stomach. Holding each other in our sorrow, we knew our next step was to decide what to do with our child, submerged in the worst place possible. I couldn't bear the thought off flushing our baby so I gathered him from the toilet and slipped him carefully into a bag. Gazing at him, I was amazed at being able to see him fully formed--hands with fingers, feet with toes, big eyes in a clearly formed head--not the "grey tissue" that was so unfeelingly and medically described in the baby book. I marveled at him. My first thought--as tears streamed painfully down my cheeks--was "he's so precious." My next emotion was gratitude for being able to behold him with my eyes, though too small to hold him in my arms.

I will conclude you with this beautifully true analogy found here that sums up how, by God's grace alone, I have been able to view the loss we've suffered:

Life is just a cherry storm

"God’s blessings don’t come to us in tidy baskets. They don’t fall to the ground pitted and frozen. They splatter juice on our patio tables, and stain faces and fingers. God’s blessings come in their own season, and sometimes they come so fast and so full that they make you feel a little woozy for a minute. But only for a minute, and then you’ll be out picking some more."

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our Welcome Home: The Great Bed Bug Incident of 2011

I'm recounting our summer beginning with the end and then I'll conclude with the beginning, our adventures in Ireland, England, and France. Just because, well, it's easier to talk about what happened most recently than go back and rack my mind about all the memories of our time across the pond. 

So, there you have it, I going to tell the story of our summer completely out of order.

Let's rewind about two and half weeks. Trey and I are blissfully enjoying our stay in a cozy little town outside Paris, called La Ferre. We are joined by about 40 other wedding guests in a Thai elephant themed Chateau complete with a pool, steam room and that European ball game where you throw baseball-sized steel balls like horseshoes. The wedding week was spent taking bike rides, indulging in very long, slow meals and drinking lots of French wine that I personally couldn't imbibe. (Side note: this is the second time I have been in Europe and pregnant. What are the odds?)

Two days later, after trekking back to Paris and taking the Eurostar train under the English Channel back to London (where we planned to spend a night before flying back to Dallas), we are interrupted in our reverie to find that the sub-lessees of our home have been trying desperately to get in contact with us. 

Why?  There were nasty little bugs invading every bedroom and feasting on our lovely sub-lessees. 

Ick. Ick. Ick. We quickly authorize them to do whatever they and the landlady deem necessary to cleanse the place of those pesky pests. 

Enter the Orkin man. 

Oh, and washing everything that can be washed and sealing it up in bags. Throwing out all cardboard and plastic, where they LOVE to lay eggs. Taking off outlets in the bedrooms because they find that another homey spot to set up house. Disassembling beds and moving all to the center of every bedroom--leaving every baseboard exposed. Finally, bagging up everything else since the little buggers can't survive limited oxygen after 24 hours. 

Once all that was done, by our sub-lessees (poor girls) then Orkin came in and blasted the place, promising it to be bug-free. Hallelujah.

All that happened while we were away. We flew from London to DFW where we resumed our parental responsibilities and rescued the grandparents from our children (just kidding--they actually adored having them). After hanging around long enough to see our first niece be born, we skedaddled out of Dallas by one long overnight drive back to Denver. 

14 hours later, a trip to Rise N Shine Biscuit Company for refreshment and a final stop at the park to sufficiently wear the kids out so we could all take a nap (they got to sleep in the car while we drove), we arrived to our beloved home. 

We entered weary and ready for one thing: a good nap. However,  as I am sure you can imagine, most of our house was in a packed up state--including our bed. It was like moving in ALL over again.

On the bright side, it was a fabulous opportunity to deep clean, reorganize and rearrange. Spring cleaning in the middle of summer. Woot woot!

Stay tuned for our next big adventure, which happened the following Saturday, July 23rd....