On January 1, 2016, at 13 weeks pregnant I announced the exciting news on Instagram and Facebook that we were expecting baby number 3. Steven and I were thrilled as we had felt it was definitely time to be adding to our family and that there was a little spirit waiting on us. I had never felt more connected to a baby. She(we always suspected a she) felt so much like part of our family already, even before she was conceived. I had known her first and middle names before we were pregnant and I felt her little spirit so close as I waded through the first 4 tough and trying months of pregnancy.
On Friday, January 29th I went in for a routine doctor visit at 17 weeks and as the nurse tried to find the heartbeat she couldn’t. After she had left the room looking for another Doppler, panic set in and I begged God to let me keep my baby. Another Doppler attempt and an ultrasound later it was confirmed both that she no longer had a heartbeat and she was indeed the “she” I thought she was. I was crushed. Having never known this kind of loss before, I had no idea how intense the feelings could be, or how much my heart could hurt. On February 1st I had a D&E at the hospital.
We had chosen the name Eden Jolaine. The name Eden had come to me before I became pregnant and I knew that should be her name, Jolaine is a combination of both of my grandmothers names-Joann and Elaine. I felt that my sweet Gi-Gi(Joann), who had passed away the previous July, was holding her spirit close and that they knew and loved each other. Eden, in fact, was due to have arrived on 7.7.16, exactly one year to the date that Gi-Gi passed away. Although she never made it that far I believe she is still our angel and we think of her and refer to her as Eden.
The blessings of loss
After this loss, I experienced something completely new to me: the complete and total surrounding of love from others. I felt that God worked through my family, my friends, my clients, and the members of my church to encircle our little family with so much love and tenderness. I received cards, texts, phone calls, flowers, meals, treats, hugs, and words of such kindness and love. My heart had never been so broken, but at the same time so full. I learned how amazing all the people I know are, and of the goodness of so many hearts who want to reach out and help, lift and heal. I was also surprised at the number of people who had losses of their own, and who mourned with me. My greatest hope was that my experience would if I would let it, provide me with a deeper level of compassion and that I could be a shoulder to cry on for others who pass through the depths of similar loss.
Fast forward 8 months to September 2016
Three months after losing Eden, I found out I was pregnant again. While thrilled, we were also apprehensive, knowing how little control we had over the outcome.
The weeks passed with the expected(and dreaded) sickness and fatigue, and little by little, hope and excitement crowded out the apprehension, but at my 20-week ultrasound with Steven by my side, it was very clear there was no heartbeat as the ultrasound began. The shock of losing another baby so soon after the last felt like it would rip me apart right there. I was so grateful to have Steven with me. He has been an incredible support – so loving and so kind through it all. The ultrasound tech and the doctors were also very compassionate as they helped us make a decision about how, where and when to deliver our baby. We checked into the hospital later that day. The nurses and doctors and every other person that came in the room treated us with gentleness, kindness and showed the greatest respect for our baby and his short life.
After 5 months of holding this baby inside me, praying and thinking of him, I delivered our sweet boy, Crosby LaCouture Turek. He had beautiful perfectly formed little hands and feet – so small one little hand fit on the tip of my finger. His body fit perfectly curled in Steven’s hand. He had the cord wrapped tightly three times around his neck, likely the cause of his early passing in utero. The nurse commented that he must have been a very active little one to get himself caught up like that, ultimately cutting off his source of blood and air. As terrible as it seems to have it be a fluke – something that just as easily could not have occurred as did occur – when the nurse told us this news just seconds after delivery I was overcome with peace and a sense of relief at knowing what caused the early death of our son. We had the luxury, this time, of understanding the ‘why’ and also knowing that there was absolutely nothing we could have done to change or prevent his death.
Delivering Crosby and holding him made Steven and I reflect on our loss earlier that year of Eden. Seeing his little body made us think of her and filled us with a greater love for her as well. Because we had chosen to go the surgical route we were never able to hold her little body. We never knew why we lost Eden. Although we made the best decision with the limited information and insight we were given at the time with Eden, I desperately wish I could go back, deliver her and hold her tiny body in my arms, too.
Loss and gratitude
Losing two babies last year was devastating. I felt so empty and yearned to have taken a helpless yet healthy little bundle of perfection home with me. It seemed so wrong to leave labor and delivery with nothing in my arms. But through each of these losses, the bright spot that fought the darkness of despair has been Beckett and Teagan, our two healthy vibrant little kids who bring joy and chaos into every day. When I think of them, care for them, hold them on my lap and breathe in the scent of their hair and skin – they are healing me. I thank God for them every day, every hour. I know there are should-be-parents out there who have felt all the loss and have yet to experience the fullness of holding a baby of their own. For this I know I am blessed beyond measure, and I am profoundly grateful.
As we all experience loss and things not working out the way we think or hope that they will, I know I’m not the first or last to yearn for a different reality. I know I’m in good company when it comes to heartaches of all kinds, shapes, and sizes as we all have burdens to bear. I do know that the emptiness and longing I have felt, and the way my heart has hurt is nothing that the Savior of the world can’t understand. He has felt and known every hurt that ever was, and I know that through Him, with time, I can be healed and made whole and that my loss and sorrow can be filled with His love, His light, and His healing power.
I have always believed in a plan for families in the eternities and that God has given us power, even here on earth, to bind our families together for all eternity. I believe that although we only have two kids here with us today, our family is really one of four children, two here and two in heaven. While I don’t know the details of how it will all work out, I have hope and faith that God can one day make it right. The sadness I felt will someday be swallowed up in sheer joy in being able to hold Eden and Crosby in my arms and know they are mine forever.
Who knows what the future holds, for me, being a planner, I am fighting the urge to think months ahead and decide what I will or won’t do as time passes. Maybe I will hold a baby in my arms again, one I can bring home and raise and love here and now. And maybe I won’t. Maybe this is it for me. It’s so hard to think of being pregnant again – the struggle, the sickness, the exhaustion and then the uncertainty…could it, would it happen again? While highly unlikely, it could. I feel I could not endure it again…and yet, I would if that is what happened, because when hard things happen, what else can we do but endure?
Enduring, the only variable
I hope I have handled it well. I hope I have learned and grown. I hope I am better. I hope I haven’t let resentment creep in. I know I will continue to have moments of deep pain. I know being sad is okay, but in turning to God and Jesus Christ, I know they can lift me up and guide my path and I can handle whatever comes. If I never endure this particular struggle again, I know there will be others because if one thing is certain in life, it is uncertainty. What I hope is to be able to handle whatever happens under the umbrella of God’s love and guiding hand. I pray that I will.