As most of you know, we went in for our routine 35 week ultrasound October 1st. Everything looked great for our son, Nathan. He measured big and had a great heartbeat. When we went to check our daughter, Alexis, she was measuring smaller than we expected and we didn't measure a heartbeat. We thought that was strange but the ultrasound technician sent us to a room without telling us anything (they have to wait for the doctor to do that).
As we waited I had this overwhelming feeling that something wasn't right as we have always seen and heard a heartbeat. I immediately prayed that whatever news we heard, God would be there to comfort us. I really just thought that maybe she wasn't growing as good and that we might have to have them early since we had discussed possible things that can warrant earlier delivery. When the doctor came in, she said, "I have some bad news." Immediately my heart sank. She said, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat and has passed away." At first they said it was Nathan, but I knew Baby B was Alexis. We were in limbo for a minute, but we found out it was definitely Alexis.
I immediately cried uncontrollably. I was completely overwhelmed with grief. I have to say that in the 9 years I have known Lee, I have maybe seen him shed a few tears a handful of times. To say he was overcome with grief is an understatement. We discussed going ahead and delivering Nathan. I will say that even though I was overwhelmed and my heart ached, I knew that God had His hands on Nathan and that everything would be great with him. Lee and I called our family and wept in the room until we could compose ourselves enough to leave and head home to get our stuff so we could head to the hospital.
We got to the hospital and they monitored Nathan and he was doing great - great heartbeat, very active. They scheduled my c-section for roughly 5:00pm since I had something to eat at 9:00am. The c-section went beautifully. I kept focusing on Scriptures that were encouraging. It took a while since I have had a c-section before and had a good amount of scar tissue, but at 5:45pm I heard the greatest sound in the world, Nathan crying. Immediately came the tears. At that point I was still hoping and praying that maybe the tech was wrong and I would hear my precious Alexis cry. Needless to say, I didn't. The nurse came and told me that Alexis was beautiful and looked just like Nathan. Lee brought Nathan over to me and I got to love and kiss on him. He is so beautiful and I believe he looks just like Daddy's baby pictures. I opted not to see Alexis at that time as I knew that would be too much to handle while still finishing up my c-section.
We got everything finished up and I went to my room under the impression that Nathan would be in the NICU until 10:00pm (4 hours for observation). Well, he was doing so great that he came out in about an hour. I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to hold and kiss him. Lee and I had some time with him and then Luke came in and then family came in in groups. It was amazing having this precious heathy baby boy and enjoying him with our family.
Lee and I wanted to see Alexis and hold her and let our family have some time with her before we sent her to the morgue, but she didn't look good and it was too much for me to take, so I only saw her for a quick second and they went ahead and took her. I want to remember her from the sweet ultrasound pictures and active kicks in my belly for the past 35 weeks. They did give us a box with her footprints and some of her special items (blanket, hat, bracelets). I know we will cherish it forever.
Nathan did really well. We worked on nursing, pumping, making bottles, and getting into a routine (every 3 hours) while we were in the hospital. We got to come home on October 5th and it was really nice. It was so tough leaving the hospital with only one baby. Seeing Alexis' empty carseat and the double stroller in the van was almost too much for me to take. It just felt so wrong. When we got home and I had to go in the nursery for things, it broke my heart seeing all of her stuff (especially her name on the wall).
Physically I did great this time. I wasn't in labor for 26 hours this time so that helped. I recovered quickly which I know was an answer to prayer because I had asked God to heal my physically ASAP since I had so much to deal with emotionally.
We had a funeral service for Alexis on Friday, October 8th. It was beautiful but heartbreaking. I cried uncontrollably the entire time. It was almost too much to take. I was thankful I had Lee, Luke, Nathan, and my mom to hold onto during the service. So many wonderful friends and family attended and had such kind words for us. That made it more bearable. Our pastor did a great job and he shared some great letters that my mom, my mother-in-law, and I wrote. Lee's cousin sang "The Old Rugged Cross" and a sweet girl from church sang "I Will Carry You." It was just perfect.
On Sunday, my mom, Lee, and I went through all of Alexis' stuff and boxed it all up. We put a lot away in case God blesses us with another daughter down the road, but some of the things personal to her (her coming home outfit, special blankets, special stuffed animals) went into an "Alexis Box". It was so hard. I cried the whole time. It just felt so wrong to be putting that stuff away. We worked fast and got it all done in a couple of hours. The nursery looked so empty when we were finished. It still feels so wrong.
This week was a lot calmer since it was just Lee, Luke, Nathan, and me. We are getting into a routine. Nathan eats at 8, 11, 2, 5, 8, 11, 2, 5. He is getting good at nursing, but I am still pumping for some supplementation and to store for later. He gained back some weight at his check-up on Wednesday (October 13th). He weighed 5 lbs 8 oz. We are enjoying him so much. He sleeps all the time. We have to wake him for feedings sometimes (which is common for premies). He loves to be held and rocked and I happily do it because he should have been in my tummy for 5 more weeks and I believe he misses his sister.
It's been a whirlwind of emotions, highs and lows, ups and downs. I think I've experienced every emotion there is in the past two weeks. We are going through the best and worst time in our lives. It's hard to explain.
We've just been so blessed that friends and family call, write, encourage, pray, and bring meals. It makes it so much better. I can't imagine going through this without our friends and family. More importantly, I really can't imagine going through this without God. He hasn't left, forgotten, or forsaken us. He has a perfect plan and will even if we don't understand it all. I know Alexis Faith is in heaven and that we will all be together again. That is the hope that I cling to. God will heal our broken hearts, give us peace and comfort, and strengthen us for each day, each hour, each minute. He is ever present in our lives. To Him be the glory, honor, and praise.