Into the Fold

12 04 2010

As I contemplate the service I’ve received over the course of five pregnancies, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. Strangely, though, the experience that stands out most doesn’t involve a meal, babysitting, a ride to the doctor–you know, all those things I normally group under the “Compassionate Service” heading.

Following a blood clot in my brain at the age of 21, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and told that it would affect my life in two ways: I would be on blood thinners the rest of my life, and I’d have problematic pregnancies. I was blessed to find a specialist whose area of research dealt with my disorder in pregnancy. He had an 80% success rate in treated pregnancies, so finally my husband and I said a prayer (okay, a lot of prayers) and took the plunge. (That sounded much dirtier than I intended. Sorry.)

My pregnancy was textbook normal. I had extra appointments (Apparently not every woman has an ultrasound at 7 weeks to confirm viability–who knew?) and injected myself with blood thinners twice a day, but things were going well. Having children was a righteous desire–a commandment, even–so why wouldn’t I have a baby?

I was 14 weeks pregnant, at a routine appointment with my specialist. He pulled out the doppler…no heartbeat. But I’m obese, and babies like to hide, so nobody was worried. Because of my high-risk profile, he sent me for an ultrasound “just to be safe.”

In retrospect, the ultrasound was unusual, but I’d only had the viability scan, so I didn’t realize that. After the first 5 minutes, the technician stopped talking. Ten minutes in, she excused herself to get a doctor. I will never forget that moment when the doctor took my hands in hers and said, “I’m so sorry. Your baby is dead.” It’s ten years after the fact, and typing that still makes me cry.

I called my best friend, who happened to be pregnant. Her due date was a week after mine. Shortly after I arrived home from the hospital, I heard a knock at my door. I opened it, and there stood Katie, a dozen roses clutched in her hands. I looked at her, she looked at me, and she promptly burst into tears. “I don’t even want to be pregnant any more!” she cried, and we both stood there in my doorway, hugging and crying.

The cards and kind words spoken during that time mean a lot to me, but aside from family members, Katie was the only one strong enough to cry with me. It is, to this day, the strongest manifestation of Christlike love I’ve ever experienced.

Mosiah 18:8-9 (that’s the Book of Mormon, for those of you who read my blog and don’t happen to be of the same religion as I) says, “…and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort…” (emphasis added)

I’ll never forget the day that Katie didn’t just comfort me–she mourned with me and, for a time, I felt a little less alone.

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12 responses

8 06 2010
Dottie

Just had to drop by and say hello, found your blog on MMB at blog frog tonight…I have 4 living children and have been pregnant 7 times. I’ve had that ultra sound where we knew the reality of what was happening…where we learned our sweet baby boy just 4 weeks shy of delivery would never take that breath. It is hard, I lost him on my 22nd birthday, bitter sweet. We have that date in common, on it I received my life and on it his was officially taken away.

I am thinking of you, special thoughts. Love, Dottie

9 06 2010
Jenny

Dottie, I’m so sorry for your losses. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

8 06 2010
Say Hello Wave Goodbye « Like Swimming

[…] wrote about my first pregnancy in a previous post. To get a feel for where I’m coming from, addiction-wise, I’m afraid you’ll need […]

18 04 2010
Sue

I’m so sorry. I was in tears reading this. I’m so glad you had a friend like Katie.

17 04 2010
Charlotte

What a beautiful example of doing the right thing. Thanks for the inspiration!

15 04 2010
Amber

Wow. Your loss must have been (and still is) excruciating. What a blessing to have had Katie in your life during that painful time.

13 04 2010
Janice

This gave me chills. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

13 04 2010
Danessa

you are NOT supposed to make me cry Jen….

12 04 2010
Pearl

Wow….I had a miscarriage and wish I had a friend good enough at that time who would have mourned with me. Hopefully, I can be that person for someone else….

12 04 2010
Crash Test Dummy

Aww, I’m so sorry. I can’t think of more painful news. What is the autoimmune disorder? My nephew is in the hospital right now with a huge blood clot blocking all the major veins to his organs and some near his brain. They can’t figure out what it is.

Thanks for sharing.

13 04 2010
jenndola

It’s called Antiphospholipid Syndrome. It’s a random thing and, as far as autoimmune disorders go, really not so bad…as long as I avoid pregnancy.

12 04 2010
Kristina P.

Wow, I had no idea! I guess I need to stalk you back better!

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