Our Two Gifts – Pain and Joy

I write this first blog post during my 39th week of pregnancy. Our due date approaches, and my husband and I eagerly await the moments for labor to really kick in. From the time that we found out that we were pregnant in early January, this pregnancy has been a beautifully blessed experience. Yet, from the very beginning, I must say that I was nervous and afraid – but filled with hope. Why? Because two months before, we had just lost our first baby in the womb.

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We were married in October of last year. My God, it was such an incredible and beautiful weekend. Not only were we ecstatic that we were finally going to be joined in marriage, but we were absolutely touched by the love and generosity all of our family and friends.
About two weeks or so after our wedding, I found out that I was pregnant. I remember the moment with such clarity. Oh my Lord. Is this real? I fell to my knees – not in dread or in fear – but in awe. How incredibly humbled I was to be carrying a new life inside of me. I was amazed. At the time, Ross was across the lake in New Orleans for the afternoon, as he was a part time grad student. I called him, put him on Facetime, and gushed with the news. He was absolutely enthused, as well. We were so happy, thrilled, and delighted. Was this pregnancy a surprise? Well…actually it was half-expected.
Before we were married, we made the decision that we would practice Natural Family Planning (NFP).  (I say we made the decision, but we had known for a while that this was something that we wanted to do.) Months before the wedding I had begun to track my cycle; and as the time grew closer, I began to realize that I would probably be fertile during the entirety of our honeymoon. Technically you are only fertile for one day, but the window of when you can conceive is much larger. Thus, we had a decision to make. To spare you the details…we took the plunge. 🙂 What I could not shake was the knowledge that I was actually conceived shortly after my parents’ wedding. We put our trust in God.
So, newlywed for just two weeks, we found that our lives had been changed forever. Of course, our lives were already powerfully altered after we got married, but now we had created another life. Wow. We called our parents that night, and over the course of the next few days we called some other family members. Ross was so excited that he even went ahead and told his co-workers. I remember personally sharing the news with some friends of ours. I found an OBGYN and set up at appointment, which would not occur until I was at least 8 weeks.

On the morning of a Saturday, November 2, 2014 (All Soul’s Day), I woke up to some mild cramping. The night before, I fell asleep with an ache in my abdomen, but it wasn’t anything strong enough to catch my attention. Upon waking, I soon found out that I was bleeding. I was completely shaken, and I knew that something was wrong. Why is this happening? This isn’t real. As the morning passed, everything progressively got worse. We called two family friends for some direction and insight. There was not much that we could do but wait it out. I was 6 weeks pregnant. What followed was something that I can recall only with great pain. We lost our baby. We were absolutely devastated.

In the days and weeks following, we were again shown such generous love from our family and friends. Upon the encouragement of some friends and my mother-in-law, we decided to name our baby. We had a very strong feeling, without a doubt, that he was a boy. Somehow the name “Charles Dominic” came together. Coincidentally, the day after we named our baby was the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of learning and the arts. We did not know much about him before then, but we took this as a sign. Several days later, a priest from our church offered a Mass for Baby Charles in the home of Ross’s parents, followed by a little burial.

Within the first month of our marriage, though speckled in the beginning with moments of joy, newness, and excitement, we were overcome with heartbreak in the end.

Fast forward to January. Shortly after New Year’s Day, we made the move from the New Orleans area to Houston, TX. We were beginning the year in a completely new place. Just a couple days after moving, while we were staying at my sister-in-law’s home as we were looking for a our own place, we decided to pick up another pregnancy test. After losing Baby Charles, there was no question of whether or not we would wait to conceive again. We had already been so prepared to welcome a little one, that we knew we  should try again. And by God’s grace, we found out that we were blessed with another life! This time my reaction was slightly different from the first time. I was nervous, happy, but nervous. Though I had scarcely been pregnant for a few weeks before, I had already felt such a strong attachment to our first baby. Now, I was afraid of opening my heart again; I was afraid of losing this one. We waited a little while to tell our immediate family this time. I wanted to be ready.

Now I am at 39 weeks and 5 days. We have a boy, and we have named him Louis Rainer. [EDIT: We actually had a GIRL!] I thank God for the gift of this pregnancy and this baby. My OB is wonderful, and I have received such wonderful care since I first saw her at 6 weeks. I have had zero complications, and compared to most women, this pregnancy has been relatively easy. Our little boy amazes us every day. As I type, he kicks with unbelievably strong force. I’ve never had to sit down and count his kicks, because he moves all the time. We love him so much and are so anxious to meet him.

We will never forget our first baby. As my sister-in-law put it once, “Babies get first dibs in heaven.” Though we lost him so soon in the womb, I know that he has and will have such an important role in our family. I believe that these two little boys will have such an inextricable connection in life. We love our Charles, and we are utterly grateful for our second baby, Louis.

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Here you will find a beautiful reflection my husband wrote for our first baby, “A Eulogy for My Son.”

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2 thoughts on “Our Two Gifts – Pain and Joy

  1. Pingback: Post-Pregnancy Thoughts & Vanishing Twin Syndrome | Seeds of Home

  2. Pingback: Postpartum Thoughts: Vanishing Twin Syndrome | Just a Little Dot

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