Today was the day our little girl Destiny was silently born. It seems like so long ago - and in many ways it seems like yesterday. When I think about it or read my journal and blog posts from that experience tears come quickly and easily.
It's hard to imagine that I would have a little 3 year old girl right now. I think of Jill when she was 3 years old - and she was so fun!! If we had a little girl in our house I imagine she would be so loved and doted on. I imagine she'd idolize Jill and love playing with Peirce.
I've learned a lot from that experience and since that experience.
I've learned that there really is comfort in the gospel in knowing that our family is sealed together and that we will all be together one day. When I was in the thick of the experience and dealing with loss I was more irritated than comforted when people would say, "Aren't you grateful for the gospel in all of this?" I was....but it still hurt so much and it hurt that people passed off what seemed like a trite phrase. At times I wanted to yell....NO!! I don't!! Who caresabout that?!! I found little comfort then - but as time has gone on I realize that I really did get through it all quite easily and there was comfort in the testimony that I have that this life isn't all there is....that we will see Destiny again one day and our family will finally feel complete.
I've learned that pregnancy loss is a huge issue. I can't believe how many people quietly tell me that they've had the same experience. I have women who have shared their experience with me and my heart aches for them as much as for my own situation. I feel a great bond with these women and probably always will. I remember talking with a woman I know who is a nurse. She quickly dismissed our conversation and said I'd soon get over it. She was wrong. It isn't an experience I think I'll ever 'get over'. I hope I don't. There's so much I learned from it all, and my perspective changed on so many things. I hope it is always close to my heart and never forgotten.
I've learned to not question. I spent so many hours wondering what I should have done different. After all, at 27 weeks lots of babies live. If only I had realized something was wrong. If only I had done something. If only I had not done whatever caused her heart to stop beating. I don't know if I did though. They did an autopsy and they had no answers. They didn't know why she didn't live. She was always a gentle baby. Her kicks were never really hard. That I did notice. Sometimes, when I'm in bed, sometimes I feel like I can still feel her movements. Sometimes I think I'm a little off my rocker too. I can't question anymore. There are no answers. I look forward to having a full knowledge one day and I believe I will find great comfort in the answers.
I've learned that I have an amazing support network at church and work and in my neighborhood. I'm lifted by people's sympathy and kindness. I remember noticing so many things at the funeral service we had for Destiny that I hadn't thought to do but someone did. I have no idea who did those little things - but I find great comfort in the friends and family I have that were so kind and thoughtful. I always will.
I've learned to trust in God. I don't know why this happened - but so much of that experience was a perfect storm that caused decisions to be made and things to happen that I wonder if they would have otherwise. We decided after Destiny was born to take Jill out of school and homeschool that year. I don't know if I would have done that if I hadn't been through that loss. I had a great desire to show more love and care to my children. That year for Jill was an amazing year and there are things about her personality now that I can point back to that year as the formative moments.
I've learned to be grateful for what I do have. I have a greater desire to be a good mother to Jill and Peirce. I have a greater desire to be kind to all children. That's probably what has led me back to teaching. I really do love children and often still feel like our family is incomplete. I'm not sure that means I will get pregnant again. We would welcome it - but so far have not been blessed with that. Maybe I feel like our family is incomplete because we don't have Destiny with us. Maybe it means there is someone else who will join our family. I don't know.
I've learned that we really did exist before we were born. And when we die our spirits do continue to exist. I know that Destiny continues to exist. She is a beautiful girl and I look forward to getting to spend time with her one day. She is a great strength to me.
A stillborn death is a pregnancy loss after 20 weeks. Apparently it happens to 1 in 115 births in the United States....which means 26,000 per year, or one every 20 minutes. And in developing countries the rate is much higher. I still have a great desire to do something to help women who go through this experience. I still don't have any idea what to do.
My friend, Vicki, wrote this poem. I love it. I hope she doesn't mind me posting it here.
Once Upon A Time
In the “before”Once Upon A Time,
We knew each other.
You were as precious as a rose.
We grew and we loved,
And we knew our Savior then,
Once Upon A Time.
I left you then
With a wish and a prayer
To see you again.
When I came to earth,
Once Upon A Time,
You grew until the day came
When you returned to me
And were gone again in a flash.
As I miss you now
How I long to hold you.
My heart aches to know you,
And I wonder about
Those days we spent
Once Upon A Time.
One day we will see each other
And hold each other tight.
You’ll be my little someone
And I’ll be your mother,
And we can begin again
And be with our Savior
And we will say,
Once Upon A Time?