Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our precious Gabriel

I went to the doc in September about regular tummy ache that I was having. The doc had a few blood tests done but the tests came back only saying that there seems to be nothing wrong. On Monday 22nd the doc phoned to discuss the results and their suggestion was that I try some meds for a month. I then asked if these meds were safe while breastfeeding, she said she would look into it. I also suggested she look into if they are safe during pregnancy. My cycle had started 3 months before when Hannah was 3 months old, but I was “late” this month – but not sure if it was just because of breastfeeding. I had had no other “pregnancy symptoms” previously, but that morning I had been very tired. The doc suggested that I just come to the office to do a test so that we would know. So Monday afternoon we popped over to the doctors rooms.

The nurse took the sample, put it on the tester and then said she would call me (she had other people to see). A few minutes later she said “come down Belinda”, so I went down to her room. She closed the door behind me and turned and said “we have a positive”. I was speechless. She asked “is that a good thing” and I just said (with tears flowing) “Hannah was such a miracle and so this is just a double blessing”. She was also so happy and said she loved “positives”. When we got home Brendon was already home and he met us at the car (surprised that we had been out). I just held the test out to him. A smile came to his face and he just said “wow”. We all felt so very blessed, so overwhelmed with joy.

Unfortunately on the Wednesday the 15th of October (just 3 ½ weeks later – almost 11 weeks into the pregnancy), I had to say goodbye to our tiny little baby. On Tuesday I had started bleeding. My midwife, Maureen, came around to see me in the afternoon and took blood to check HCG levels. The bleeding increased overnight though and the night was spent in much prayer and with many tears. At 4am I knew that I had to say goodbye. I did not get more sleep but could really rest in God’s love. I was so very thankful for the peace that He gave me and so thankful that He was my LOVING Heavenly Father who cared for me and who has a very good plan for our lives.

It was very sad for us all to say goodbye to the little one who was growing within me. But we also saw God’s goodness to us through this experience. We were so surrounded by love and support and were so thankful to God for all the people in our lives. It was amazing to feel so loved by God (directly and then through so many people). It was good to be in a place that I could say with Job “The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

So these are some of the details of those first weeks. Later in the morning I phoned my midwife to let her know. She said she would see me later in the day. I experience quite a lot of cramping through the day and she told me that they were probably the “after pains”, just like after a normal birth. It was good to have Brendon home for the day. I sort of felt things would be back to normal quickly though and that was where I was quite wrong. Physically it was much harden than I thought it would be. On Friday I went about as “normal”, carrying a heavy washing basket and hanging up washing. This got the cramping started again and then when I fed Hannah at around lunch time it was just unbearable. I took a pain killer (and I never take pain killers) and phoned a friend to ask if she could came and watch the girls. She stayed for 2 hours helping out and even made us an evening meal. Brendon was home by 2pm. I was already feeling better from having the time in bed, but Brendon ordered me to rest for the whole weekend and I managed to keep to that and have my “feet up” the whole time. Brendon was such a star. I did what I could while sitting with my feet up (like peeling and cutting apples to be cooked up for Hannah), but he just kept everything going. We were blessed with another meal (and Julia’s lasted 2 days), so thankfully Brendon did not have to worry too much about food for the family the whole weekend.

By Monday I was feeling so much better and was very thankful for the weekend of rest. I saw how much it helped the healing process. Another bonus through that week was that on the Thursday (16th) Rachel came home from Brownies with a “task”. She had drawn a fish bowl with fish around it. Every time she did a good turn (helping someone without being asked) she could cut a fish out and put it in the bowl. She had drawn everything in yellow and so was hard to see, so I found some nice bright blue card board which she used to cut a new “fish bowl” out of. I then gave her some bright yellow and orange sticker sheets which she used to cut fish out of. She had a goal of 14 fish for the week. Well, she ended up getting 30 fish in her bowl. So that shows you how helpful she was. She really learnt in the week to look out for things to do for others. She was such a blessing.

Brendon was such a support to me. Through all the tears on the Tuesday and all the times over the next weeks when I would talk through things (and also shed some more tears) he was just so supportive and encouraging. I am so thankful to the Lord for him. I believe this trial really did draw us even closer to each other. God is so very good. I was also so thankful for all the e-mails I received. I so appreciated it and it helped tremendously to know that we had friends all over the world who grieved with us over the loss of our tiny little child.

Another thing the Lord used to help me through this time was good reading material. I read “Empty Arms” by Pam Vredevelt within the first two weeks and it was so very helpful, encouraging and informative. It helped me to really deal with all the issues that were on my mind. It was wonderful to know that I was not alone in the thoughts and feelings that I was having. And in the next month Brendon and I read “Safe in the Arms of God” together (by John MacArthur). This was such a wonderful blessing and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has lost a baby or even anyone who has a friend who has lost a baby. It was also at this point that we decided to name our precious little one Gabriel (a name that could be used for a boy or a girl). What a blessing to know that our little Gabriel is in heaven with the Lord, worshipping at His feet, and that we will be united with Gabriel one day in the future.

As I write this it is already 8 months since our little Gabriel went to the Lord. So we have passed the time when Gabriel was due to be born. And the months have not all been easy. We had waited for 3 ½ years to be blessed with Rachel (born in April 2001) and after that I had many years of having a closed womb. But through all those years the Lord taught me so much and had given me His wonderful peace that He had a good and perfect plan for our family. So when we found out I was pregnant with Hannah in 2007 (born in March 2008), we were just so very surprised and we felt so wonderfully blessed. It had been a number of years of feeling total contentment with God’s plan for our family, having adopted Ruth in 2006 and resting in God’s sovereignty. I no longer struggled with the monthly disappointment when my period started.

But unfortunately this changed after Gabriel died. Now I was having the hope each month that I would be pregnant and the corresponding disappointment when I wasn’t. It was a frustrating few months for me as mentally I was so happy with what the Lord had given to us. In my mind I had a peace about God’s control and His plan. But for that one week every month emotionally it was not as easy. I think one aspect of this struggle was that I had become a parent of 4 in my mind but I only had the 3. Now there was a gap and someone was missing.

Eventually I chatted to a friend who had also had a miscarriage and has had the struggle for many years now of hoping for another. It was so good to talk through things with her and her encouragement to me was to really just give it all to the Lord. All the emotions as well. I really felt I drew closer to the Lord in this time and got to share with Him more of myself than I ever had before. And wonderfully He gave me His peace. So I have had a couple of months now of not having that emotional rollercoaster and great disappointment. It has been interesting for me to see that although for the first few months I was not actually praying for another child (although there was still an emotional longing for a week each month), now that the emotions have settled I mentally do hope and pray for another blessing from the Lord. But now I have a peace that makes it easy to cope when its “ok, not this month”.

God is so good and I am excited to see what His plans are for our family over the next years. What a wonderful God we serve.

1 comment:

Fiona Macneil said...

Hi Belinda, I am praying for you everyday that the Lord blesses you with another. Our pastor recently preached on the Lord's Prayer. It is followed with the illustrationn of the man knocking at the door in the middle of the night, he was persistent and his persistence paid off, his friend woke up and gave him the bread. I want to be persistent with this matter to the Lord, which is why I will continue to pray for you daily that the Lord may bless you with another.