Sunday, May 31, 2009

Remembering Andrew

Even as I begin to write this I am tearing up at the thoughts swimming through my mind. This has been a rough week. 2 years ago this last week, we lost the physical body of our unborn baby. This is one of the two or three things I don't have closure on in my life and won't until I reach heaven. This fact occurred to me this week during our garage sale of all places. I was talking with this woman whose daughter-in-law lost her daughter at the same in her pregnancy. She was able to deliver her baby, but I was not given that option. I know that it would have been difficult and painful, but I think seeing him would have helped me really grasp the idea that he's gone. Let me back up a little...

For those of you who don't know, we found out we were having a baby in March of 2007. Around 14 1/2 weeks into the pregnancy, there was a rupture in the sac and the amniotic fluid was lost. After a week of bed rest, we went to the doctor only to discover the baby had died. I remember staring at the sonogram monitor intently, searching for any sign of a heartbeat. None. The doctor didn't skip a beat..."when do you want to schedule surgery?". With no thought at all about giving birth, I scheduled the D and E. It was a year later that I realized what that actually meant as far as the procedure was concerned. Anyway, I had to wait 3 days before the surgery. We had the twins still, and they still had their weekly visit that week. While they were visiting their family, Mom and I went to La Madeline. There was a pregnant girl in line right next to me, and I remember thinking, "Don't ask me when I'm due, PLEASE!!"

The days leading up to the surgery were pretty typical. I was trying to cope the best I could and felt comforted, in an odd way, that the baby was still with me. Waiting in the hospital, the nurses, mostly male, were so kind and one even prayed for me. I knew that in a few short moments, the baby I had longed for so badly would no longer be physically with me. Going into the operating room, I felt this sudden urge to jump off the table and run. I wasn't afraid. I knew that this was it...our final earthly moments together. Oh, I knew he was gone, but he was still with me. He was safe and in the place he was supposed to have lived until time to be born. I knew that when I woke, he would be gone. I didn't want to go to sleep. I fought it until they put the mask on my face, and I could fight no longer.

When I woke up, there was no one there to hold my hand or hear me cry. The nurses were all too busy to even come when I called. My legs were aching, my head was pounding, but none of that compared to the unbelievable pain in my heart. I lay their crying with no one to hear me but God. I've never felt more alone or more helpless than at that moment.

My Mama was there in the second recovery room they took me to. I was so glad to see her. I wanted to cry and let her cry with me, but for some reason I just couldn't. Looking back, I think I had resolved to be strong and just "move on" because I had too much other stuff to do. I couldn't just sit around and mope about something I couldn't change. We finally got to leave the hospital and went home. Ruby and Rose were a great blessing during this time, because they gave so much love. The Lord knew we needed them and was faithful to let them stay through this ordeal.

The Lord had been so faithful to speak peace to my heart through His Word. At some point, though, I developed this toughness around my heart. I told a friend the other day that I think I've shut down emotionally. For so long I've thought "I don't have time to cry about this now, I'll cry about it later". My favorite line in Gone with the Wind (besides "Get offa those stayuhs, you trashy wench!") is "Oh, I'll think about that tomorrow". I've been shoving all these thoughts and emotions down, and I'm the only one who knows I have them. This is not good. We all have good and bad days, but it seems like my bad days are just hellish. I crash and burn into this angry person and lash out at the one I love most. He calls it going all "Jon and Kate plus 8" on him. Anyway, these are the times I cry out to God for reassurance that I'm not hateful, ugly, disgusting...all the things Satan throws my way at these times. He is so faithful to remind me that I'm His child...a daughter of the King, as my mom says. Nothing can snatch me out of His hand.

Well, now to finish. It was several weeks after the surgery that I got a phone call from the doctor's nurse. I was getting my hair "did" when the call came and was totally caught off guard. She very matter-of-factly informed me that it was a perfectly healthy, boy. Wow. OK, this did not help. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want more of an explanation, something to blame. There's no reason for the sac to have ruptured, really. I sat there in the stylist's chair, white as a sheet, tears streaming down my face. But, again, I forced them away and thought, "I'll cry about this later". The only problem with that mentality is that I haven't given myself that luxury. I've never really fully mourned that loss. How do I do that? How do you let go?

Oh, several months after all this, I was impressed to give the baby a name. I don't know why, but Andrew kept coming back to me. After talking to Jeremy, we decided that would be his name. About a year and half later some sweet family friends gave us a plaque to memorialize little Andrew. It has the only picture we have of him, his sonogram, and a beautiful engraved plaque with Romans 8:28 on it. I know he's in heaven with a perfectly intact body, praising the Lord and walking those golden streets. One day we'll meet, I know. I long for that day. As any mother with babies in heaven, I long for that day. It's really hard for me when I hear people say his name. I have as yet to refer to him out loud as Andrew. Hopefully one day I'll be able to say it. Hopefully one day I'll have closure.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to your purpose." What is the purpose of going through something like this? Hopefully I have been able to be an encouragement to others through this in being faithful even when it was so hard. Hopefully I can encourage others to talk about their joys AND their heartaches and to embrace them fully. I'm still a work in progress in this area and need all the encouragement I can get. Hopefully God will use me to witness to others and be a testament to His faithfulness.


  1. James 1:2-4
    Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
    Obviously this trial is not one that you consider a joy, but God will use it and I believe He already is.

  2. I am so proud of you, mama T :-) for sharing your story and opening up your heart. Yes, it is totally unfair and not right what happened to Andrew, but we are all shaped by our circumstances and trials, and it is beautiful that you are allowing God to shape you (even when its painful) into the amazing woman he has created you to be. I think He is going to use you to minister to and support other mamas, in ways you never dreamed of :-)

    Being a mama is an intense job, and we all have our individual journeys- I think your blog is a great way to support and encourage other mamas!

  3. Thanks Theryssa for sharing this! I don't think I could understand the fear of loosing a baby until you have one, and I don't think the loss of one can be put into words. Thank you for letting us know how our gracious God is working in your life!

    Love you!

  4. I must admit, I read through everything on here, trying to figure out who you were. I saw that this blog had been on my blog (make sense), so I was trying to figure it all out. Not until the last comment, and the spelling of your name, did I realize who wrote this.

    I want you to know, not even knowing who wrote this, that I was so moved by what you wrote. So many times, I've noticed, that when people write their birth stories down, it is a rundown of the events. They don't really write about their thoughts or feelings. That is what draws us in -- you did that here. I could feel your sorrow.

    What makes this so powerful is that you wrote about your feelings -- not just then, but now -- how this event transformed you. It's so good to be able to write it down and share it. I think that is so important. This event, and you sharing it, will tie you to people that you could never have imagined.

    In Mothering magazine, about a year ago, there was an incredible story of a mother that gave birth to her stillborn baby. It captured the emotions so perfectly. I remember reading it and sobbing. Even if someone has not experienced losing a baby in such a way, it is a beautiful thing to have someone share that experience with you. Thank you, Theryssa, for sharing your experience. I think it was very fitting that this was the first thing you wrote about.

  5. Well, here I am , early in the morning, when I should be packing for our trip, and I happened onto your blog. Didn't even know you had started it! You are a beautiful and powerful writer, T. You have expressed very well this whole time in your life, and as I sit here with tears streaming down my face (thank goodness my MK isn't on yet!:))I know you will minister to people. Because women need to know that they are not the only one that horrible things have happened to. I had a D&C after our Dec miscarriage(by far the most devastating one) and I felt exactly the same as I fell asleep and woke up not pregnant. Completely along ( in the universe, it felt) and laid there and cried. The kind of crying that makes your stomach tighten up and your face wrinkle ugly. I do so wish I could cry pretty. One nurse did stop by and ask me if I was in pain. I shook my head no, because I knew that she meant physical pain from the surgery, and I couldn't muster words. How could I explain to a recovery nurse, or anyone in my world, that I was in excruciating pain, because my heart was breaking over and over again that I wasn't pregnant anymore? Felt so very empty.

    When I think about heaven, I long to meet my babies. The nursery's full of them! And I long to know them, and the special name God has given them, and to tell them that I loved them desperately even though that's the first time I'll meet them. And I want them to know how very much we wanted them, and how much I want them to know their Daddy, and now, their sister and brother, all in due time. And the word says that there will be no tears in heaven? I don't know how.

    Thank you for sharing, Theryssa! I'm so blessed to have you as a friend, a close friend, and I just love you!