Meeting the Authors of Heaven is For Real

Several years ago, I read and loved the book Heaven is For Real. This book depicts Heaven in a way that makes it more real to most of us who have never seen it. In the book, the Burpo family shares their son Colton’s account of meeting his unborn sister in heaven. After being pregnant for two months, Sonja Burpo had a miscarriage, and she never knew whether the baby was a boy or girl. Colton revealed to his family that they had a daughter in heaven who met him at the gate upon his arrival.

This book came alive to me after my own miscarriage at two months of my identical twins, Angel and Joy. Today, I had the opportunity to meet the Burpo family one-on-one after their interview at CBN. I wanted to thank them for sharing about their own miscarriage, as it gave me hope and peace that I will see my babies again. They welcomed me with open arms into the green room. As I shared with them about my miscarriage, I cried, and they wept with me. Sonja came over to me, put her arm around me, and prayed for me. As she prayed, Colton and Todd also laid hands on me. Then, they signed a copy of my book, and also signed and gave me a copy of their new book, Heaven Changes Everything. This book offers daily devotions, including encouragement for women who have miscarried and/or lost a child.

 

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The Story of Our Miscarriage – Part 3

Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.  ~Author Unknown

November 14, 2012 – The day before my D & C, my mind was pondering the surgery and how much I missed my babies. I knew that their souls were not here anymore and had not been for some time now, but I missed them terribly. Just knowing that I was still carrying them provided comfort and made me feel close to them.  I was also deeply fearful, not because of what would happen to me, but because of the destructive operation on my babies’ bodies and the home they once shared. I  was tormented with the thought of anything hurting the bodies that my babies once lived in. The D & C marked the end of my pregnancy. It finalized everything that had to do with my twins, and with that came more emotions than I thought were possible.

“We asked God for a baby, instead he gave us an Angel.” -Unknown

November 15, 2012, 9:00 A.M. –  As I was lying in my hospital bed looking towards heaven thinking about my babies, I could not bring myself to watch TV or do anything, since it was the last few moments I had with them before my pregnancy was “over.” I recalled the brief few months I had with them, remembering my elation the day I found out about them. I thought about all the cravings I experienced. When I would lie in bed at night, I would feel the babies in my stomach when I turned on my side. I reminisced about the weekend we went to Tennessee to surprise, and I mean completely surprise our parents about being pregnant. They were overcome with joy and in complete shock that they were going to be grandparents. That weekend represented the most perfect and exciting two days of our married life. Lastly, I imagined them up in heaven playing around and God coming up behind them and scooping them up in his arms. He put them one on each knee to share with them what was about to happen to me.

I lay there for about an hour before anyone came in to do my pre-op. Thankfully, a caring and compassionate nurse came in to prepare me for surgery. She cried and talked with me about my babies, and I will never forget her or her kindness. I was in for a bit of a wait. My surgery was scheduled for 10:30 A.M.  and did not get started until close to noon.

“An angel, in the Book of Life, wrote down my baby’s birth. Then whispered as he closed the book, Too beautiful for Earth.”

After the procedure, I was transported to a recovery room, and all I could do was cry because of both the anesthesia and the emotion of it all. A few hours passed, but we never saw the surgeon once the operation concluded. Unfortunately, she never took the time to discuss the surgery. It felt like old times all over again with this OBGYN group. Thankfully, I will not ever have to see or deal with these people again. At around 3:30 p.M., I was officially discharged. Now all that remained of my pregnancy was the ultrasound pictures of my babies and the memory of the 6.5 weeks I had with them. I don’t believe in fortunes, but how ironic that the fortune cookie from my birthday contained the number “25,” the date of the first ultrasound, and “15,” the date of my D & C. Other numbers were “16,” which is the day of my birthday along with “32,” which is the age I turned this year.

The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hand of God.  ~Quoted in The Angels’ Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Some time has passed since the procedure, and I have felt very empty and alone. While I was not lonely by any means, I continued to grieve the loss of my babies. I never knew you could love something so much you have never seen. It has been very difficult to pick up the pieces of my life before my pregnancy ended, but I know in time, it will get easier.

Looking back on everything, I truly feel the dream I had prior to the first ultrasound was God foreshadowing what was to come. At the start of my dream, Chris and I were elated, walking hand-in-hand. This symbolized the wrong doctor’s office location we arrived at on October 25th, the place where we thought we were going to hear our babies heartbeat.

When we arrived at the second location, that is where the euphoria quickly dissolved, which signified us in the middle of the ocean. In the dream, Chris represented one baby, and I was the other. The one raft and one window was the one sac that my babies shared in the womb. The tsunami waves symbolized the blood, which was in the sac that was seen at the first ultrasound. At the end of the dream, Chris mouthed, “I love you” before the waves engulfed us. In my heart, I felt it was my precious babies telling me they loved me before they went home.

Throughout this entire ordeal, my emotions have been off the charts. However, my most difficult moments occurred prior to receiving the call about my hCG numbers. I knew in my heart that both had passed, even before I was given the official word. I cried hysterically and had lost all hope that we were going to hear heartbeats at the next ultrasound. In addition, I shared my dream with my good friend, and she confirmed I was mourning their loss even before we knew they had passed.

“Love knows not it’s own depth until the time of separation.” -Unknown

Even though we did not know if they were boys or girls, we felt they deserved to be named. They did exist, even if it was a short period of time. We named our baby who lived 6 weeks and 5 days Angel, and the one who lived 6 weeks and 1 day Joy. We decided on those names because they are our guardian angels now, and they brought us complete joy for the 6.5 weeks they were here with us. I will never forget the short yet incredible time I spent with Angel and Joy. I thank God for allowing me to be their Mom.

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” -John 16:22

 

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The Story of Our Miscarriage – Part 2

“How very quietly you tiptoed into our world, silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footprints have left upon our hearts.’” -Unknown

Chris and I walked back to the ultrasound room, anxious to hear our baby’s heartbeat. It is funny how all the frustration seemed to dissipate after waiting for what felt like an eternity.  It was finally our time. Unlike when I performed ultrasounds as a nurse, I was the pregnant one this time.

As the tech began the sonogram, we heard nothing but silence. She continued to move the probe, causing me a little discomfort. She asked,  “How far along are you?” I responded that I was “about 9 weeks.”  She informed us she could not find anything, but she frustratingly continued to search for the baby and a heartbeat.

For a brief instant, she finally provided us with a glimpse of the screen showing the embryo, and we anticipated hearing “junior’s” heartbeat. The tech’s tone quickly turned solemn. “Your baby is dead; I cannot find a heartbeat. I may have just over stepped my boundaries telling you that.” I immediately started to cry and Chris came over to me to comfort me. “Yes, the daddy needs comfort at times like these so it is good you are going over to her,” she stated.  I could not believe what had come out of her mouth. Seriously? After a couple of minutes, she stopped the ultrasound, told me to get dressed, and checked to see if a doctor was available to meet with us. After a few minutes, she returned and informed us that a doctor wanted to provide a consultation. At that point, she escorted us to another room that looked like a storage room and confirmed, “The doctor will see you when she can.” She closed the door.

We sat there for another long, agonizing one hour wait for a doctor to see us. All I could do was weep for my baby. I agonized over what I could have done to cause this, along with wondering how and why this happened to us. Finally a doctor entered and took us to her office. It was clearly the end of her shift. We were in for another big surprise. “You’re having twins.” Chris and I turned to look at each other. We were stunned. How on earth did we have twins? Not even a minute later she conveyed in a matter-of-fact tone, “But they are more than likely dead.” We felt like we had just been run over by a semi-truck.

Long story short, she opined that she did not have any hope of hearing heartbeats. We asked if it was just too early to detect because with twins it may take longer. She said most likely not but offered for us to return in a few weeks for another ultrasound. On the way out, we scheduled our next ultrasound for November 8th. I informed the doctor that I was going to pray for a miracle, and she spoke aloud, “What is the point?”  By now, we had been at the doctor’s office the entire afternoon and were the last to leave.

We left crushed and torn apart, not knowing how to think or what to feel about everything. The next day, I called the office, only to speak with another rude doctor who reiterated what the other doctor had said – they were dead and that I shouldn’t have any hope. What was supposed to be one of the most joyous times in our lives had turned into a nightmare.

Throughout two torturesome weeks, my nights were pretty much sleepless. In between the first and second sonograms, I had my HCG levels checked to confirm whether or not I was still pregnant. Considering my dream the night before my first ultrasound, I had lost all hope on October 25th, especially after three doctors and a tech had asserted that my babies were dead.  I felt as if I was mourning their loss from the start.

On October 31st, 2012, we received the call we had been dreading. Both of our identical twin babies were in the arms of the Lord. My HCG numbers had dropped by over 15,000, confirming all three doctors’ inclinations. Why did this happen? How could this have happened? I wanted answers. I was beyond devastated.

The next step was waiting on the natural miscarriage process to start or to have a D & C. On November 4th, my miscarriage started. I called the OB clinic the next morning and shared it with them. They requested that I come in to get a RhoGAM injection due to my blood type and to schedule another ultrasound for November 13th to see the progress of the miscarriage.

When November 13th had arrived, we were forced once again to wait for another hour in the waiting room with all the happy couples who were given ultrasound pictures of their growing babies. Those long minutes could not have been more painful. To make matters worse, we heard the heartbeat of a baby while walking back to our room. Tears welled up in my eyes.  “That is what we should have heard,” I informed Chris. “That is a baby’s heartbeat.”

It’s de-ja-vu all over again – same table, same tech, same ultrasound. She was very rough with this ultrasound and once again announced, “Definitely no heartbeat. The only change is the size. Nothing has left your body.” I could not believe what I was hearing. I had been reliving this whole nightmare on a daily basis, and I had undergone daily contractions and constant bleeding since November 4th, which were still occurring. How could that be that nothing had left my body?  At this point, we were told to go over to the other OB clinic to see another doctor regarding the ultrasound.

After arriving at the clinic, beat up as one can get, we waited about half-an-hour to 45 minutes prior to seeing the doctor. Throughout this entire ordeal, we had never seen the same doctor twice, and this time was not different. The new doctor informed us that she was very concerned about the ultrasound and fears the possibility of infection. Her recommendation was to go forward with a D & C as soon as possible. The operation was scheduled for November 15, 2012 at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital in Virgina Beach.

To be continued in part three  (12/3/12)…

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The Story of Our Miscarriage – Part 1

”For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139: 13-16

On October 25, 2012 at around 5:00 A.M., my husband Chris and I were  walking down a hall hand in hand and both extremely excited. The only thing I was worried about that day was if I did a good enough job shaving my legs. Then, all of a sudden we found ourselves in the middle of the ocean sitting in chairs in a wooden shed with two missing walls.  Chris was seated in front of a wall with a window behind him, while I was across from him with a wall missing behind me. I peered through the window behind Chris’ head and saw black clouds, heavy rain, and a tsunami wave coming towards us.  I then looked over to my left and there was another tsunami wave headed our direction. I started to panic and hastily looked at Chris and saw him mouthing the words, “I love you” to me. And then, the tsunami waves engulfed us.  Immediately, I awoke with a heavy heart and a sense of fear.  My heart was racing and I was covered in sweat wondering if this was just a dream or whether Hurricane Sandy had made an unexpected landfall in Virginia Beach.  Deep down in the depths of my soul, I knew that it meant something more.

On Wednesday September 26, 2012, I woke up, headed to the gym, and went on about my typical day. That afternoon, I had a dental appointment scheduled for a routine cleaning and to figure out why my gums were aching, which I had been experiencing for a few weeks. At the appointment, I was told everything looked fine and they were unsure of the cause of my aching  gums. While driving home, I pondered what it could be.  I wanted to get to the bottom of this nuisance in my mouth.

Immediately after arriving home around 4:30 that afternoon, I did something that changed my life forever. The stick read positive! I was finally pregnant. I did not believe it at first, nor did Chris. I had so many negative results  just weeks prior to this. Could it be true? Could I really be pregnant? After everything we had been through, I was beyond elated. Chris and I have been married nearly 10 years. Yet, throughout the past 10 years, we have had more difficulties and struggles than most seemingly endure during a lifetime.

In 2008, the doctors suggested that I should not have kids due to it being too dangerous with my long term heart/adrenal condition. We were devastated. Last year, however, a POTS specialist confirmed that we could in fact get pregnant, but that it would be considered high risk. After many months of agony and prayer over what to do, we decided to try. We had a strong desire to have kids, and I could not believe after all I had been through in my life that I was finally pregnant.  Just to confirm that it was real,  I took two more pregnancy tests, and both were positive.  It finally made sense why my gums had been aching – it’s a sign of pregnancy. After a few weeks of telling everyone but our parents, we drove back to Tennessee and gave them the biggest surprise and shock of their lives.

Weeks passed, and I continued to get bigger by the day. Yet, I still remained constantly hungry. Some of my clothes weren’t fitting anymore.  I couldn’t wait much longer, as we were getting closer to “Junior’s” first picture. October 16th was my 32nd birthday, and my after-dinner fortune cookie read, “A small gift can bring joy to the whole family.” The lucky numbers were 25, 15, 47, 32, 16, 55. How perfect was my fortune? Even some of the numbers were lucky.

October 25, 2012, the date of the first ultrasound, finally arrived. Hand in hand, Chris and I were ecstatic as we walked in for the ultrasound. Upon arrival at the check-in desk, the receptionist informed us that we have gone to the wrong location. Fifteen minutes later, we made it to the right location just in time to wait and wait and wait some more. After an hour-plus of sitting and watching people who arrived after us go back, we were finally called back to hear our baby’s heart beat. What happened next changed our lives forever.

To be continued in part two (11/30/12)….

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