On Memorial Day we remember all of the fallen veterans that fought for our freedom and our country. The day after is a different meaning for my family and me. Well mostly my husband and I because the kiddos are too young to understand. We have a day of remembering our lost son, which happened five years ago today. Our memory will forever be with our child in heaven. Find out how we overcome our grief and continued to move forward.
I am going to share something that I have only shared with family and a few close friends. It isn’t something I talk about much because I still get teary eyed with a lump in my throat, and do my best not to have a quivery voice. So I can write about it better, I suppose. On this day five years ago we lost a baby while nearly six months pregnant. In general our journey for family was a long five year journey filled with hormones, rollercoasters, disappointments, doctors appointments, and waiting-waiting-waiting, etc. In fact our older son used to say, “Daddy goes to work and Mommy goes to the doctor.” HA – Well it was true. Months at a time it would be weekly visits to Fertility Specialist, Endocrinologist, Acupuncturist, and then we would have a few months off to re group mentally, physically and spiritually. Then back at it in the hopes of having a baby. Spoiler alert – our story does have a miraculous ending, and two miracles in fact.
After rounds of IVF, we had finally gotten pregnant. We were at an ultrasound appointment about 12 weeks or so. The dreaded look of the technicians face appeared when she shared the news that there was fluid on the baby’s neck. A large amount, which we didn’t know until a few weeks later, the significance of that number. We were still hopeful when we went to the next specialist. He too had the same look, but was encouraging because he said his heart was strong and his weight was good. Hope. We met we a few more specialists over the next weeks. Still hoping.
I was part of a moms group at our church in LA and I remember so vividly all the women laying hands and praying over me, the baby, and his health. Then just a week later, we lost him. Although it seemed sudden, it really wasn’t. We went through seven weeks of testing, each week a more and more in depth test. We kept passing each one. Hooray! It gave us that sliver of hope.
Then the last test we did proved something awful. It was an optional test. We just decided we may as well pay extra for this test – mostly to rule it out – that was our hope. The test was for such a rare and random disease that there have only been 200 children born with this disease, in the entire world. I thought we would have had better chances winning the lottery. That was not the random testing we wanted to win. It was almost as if we got the news of his genetic disposition and then moments later we lost him. Just like that his heart stopped and we lost him. Then, just like that, our lives had to go on?
The picture below was the last pic of him. It was on Mother’s Day with our son who we called “Lil Q”. (Our first born was known as Baby Q and our next born was Baby QT.)
The first five months after, we were kinda going through the motions of trying to “live” the best we could. In fact we had a series of disastrous monthly events that followed May through November. Losing a baby on its own is devastating enough to a family in their 40s struggling to get pregnant, let alone the events that developed next in our lives. They occurred once a month for the next 5 months – death, tragedy, disease, illness and trials. These are too much to go into in this blog post, but we can sum up: 2013 was a pretty horribly challenging year.
My husband and I clung to each other and our two year old son. Once we were able to slightly loosen the “family snuggle”, I discovered the three most important parts for my healing. The keys to healing were: prayer, my husband, and exercise =
Luckily for me, the first two healing factors worked together. My husband and I are both Christians, so we knew that while we didn’t understand why we had to go through this, or what God’s plan was, we had to continue to keep praying and keep moving forward each day. We would pray to start our day and pray to finish our night together. I would also take time through out the day to call upon God’s strength to get through the next hour or two. SO many things would set off all sorts of emotions, and not that I didn’t want those emotions I just didn’t want to be this sappy sad mourning person – or get that pitiful look either. I didn’t want to forget the loss, yet I struggled to find a way to embrace this chapter of my life. A chapter that I could never have imagined. Ahh! I am really good at being happy, but I needed to allow myself time to grieve and go through the process. Which still sounds weird to me, as I can not identify a real start and finish part of the “going through the process”. Thankfully I progressed through.
Everyone grieves differently and my husband and I were, fortunately similar in our grief. We were both a bit quiet and would talk with each other about the events that lead up to the loss. It was good to have the option to talk but we certainly didn’t over talk it. We chose to be patient with each other and more helpful towards one another. Our extended family was also very kind with their compassion, prayers, and comforting us the best they could.
Lastly, I really had to rely on exercise. I had 30 pounds of baby weight to lose, and no baby to adore. This was tough because being in the fitness industry and not looking like I was, was difficult. I certainly didn’t want to say, “I just lost a baby”, that could be awkward. So I found myself enjoying those long walks on a sunny day with my two year old. I was lucky to have some friends that would join me and I could just listen while they talked about something else, anything else. We had a lot of sunny days in LA, so it was pretty easy to be outside with fresh air and nature. I found a few classes I enjoyed like Cardio Barre Beverly Hills and a few bootcamp classes. We rented bikes to ride together as a family – which was so fun and actually a highlight! Basically, I didn’t want to think about creating my own workouts, instead it was much better for me to show up and be quiet but around others. Of course I always felt better afterwards with all the benefits of exercise surging through my body. It really did feel like my body and mind were healing.
I understand everyone grieves differently, and it is a process. One that can certainly still trigger sadness and tears. But overall, I am doing better. I have found helping others is another really great way that brings healing to my mind, body and spirit. Which is a BIG reason why I LOVE what I do in FITNESS – helping others!!
While I know this is not one of my typical fun feel-good type of posts, it was certainly a monumental part of my life. I know many of you think I am always happy and smiley – and generally I am, but I too have endured challenges and found a way to come out on top. May you find your way to come out on top.
I believe we are one of the blessed ones or lucky ones, as I look at our two miracle sons everyday. I am so thankful for them and my husband. It was the most difficult time for my husband and me, yet I know “Lil Q” is in heaven with my dad and father in law. They are there telling him jokes and loving on him. I do find comfort in that.
Remember every person grieves differently so be sure to find out what may be helpful to them. You may be a good listening ear, you may be the story teller, you may be the bright light, you may be the one who prays for her, you may need to just sit quietly with her, whatever it is being there can make a monumental difference in their healing process.
Please share this post with anyone you know who has lost a child during pregnancy. It is definitely a difficult topic to bring up and talk about. A loss at any trimester is very difficult, but can be even more devastating the longer the baby is with you. Being a supportive friend and just being there can bring so much healing to a woman.
I would be HONORED if you would consider doing any/all just ’cause you’re so darn fabulously sweet 🙂