Of all the days this month, today is the one I was dreading the most. A year ago today, I had a scheduled ultrasound that revealed that our sweet Kinley had no heartbeat. It's very strange how I remember it all. It's like I watch it back on a movie, I can see myself and Jacob like I'm floating somewhere toward the top of the room. There are parts that are as clear as it they're happening right now, but there are parts of the movie that go completely out of focus and parts that are very foggy.
Since I'm re-playing all of the events in my mind over and over, I decided to blog them too. It might help me to put them all down in one place. This is the account of September 22, 2009.
I had already had some signs that something was wrong, and had in fact called the doctor's office a few days before to say I wasn't feeling much movement, but the nurse assured me that it was probably nothing. I resisted the urge to go in and be checked.
Tuesday morning, I woke up like any other morning...got ready for school, taught my classes, even talked to a student about the exciting ultrasound I was having later in the day. I was hoping I could get a good 3D shot of my baby girls face, instead, two days later I would look directly into it.
Megan had just had a surgery and I was busying myself taking care of her and Brenna. I picked Brenna up from school on my way out and took her home to eat and lay down for a nap. We had decided I would take her to my appointment with me, since Megan wasn't really in much shape to care for her at home. My appointment was at 2 and she was still napping, but I tried to wake her and loaded her into the car. Jacob was meeting us at the appointment.
Once in the doctor's office, Brenna went back to sleep (totally a God thing that she slept through the next several minutes!) Jacob and I made small talk, but the knot in my stomach grew larger. A lady at the window told the receptionist how far she was and realized we were only days apart in our pregnancy. She was much much larger than me....was that a bad sign? Somewhere in my mind I was already preparing for what was about to come.
The ultrasound tech called us back and Jacob sat down in the chair a few feet away, holding Brenna on his lap. She began the ultrasound, and immediately upon placing the wand on my stomach asked me if I had been feeling much movement. I said no, and she silently slid the wand over my belly taking a couple of measurements, but saying very little. My heart was dropping, I knew something was very wrong. She left to get the doctor and I knew that it meant something was wrong. I told Jacob that she had never showed us the heartrate. He said that it was probably just the digestive tract again (this ultrasound was scheduled because at 18 weeks the couldn't get a good look at her digestive tract). I just said no, no, it's not. Those moments seemed to take a lifetime, I was hanging in the balance between the beautiful life I had been planning and the devastating news I knew was about to completely rock it!
I'll never forget the look on my doctor's face, I knew as soon as he walked in the door. But something inside of me needed to hear him say the words. So I said "What's wrong? Just tell me now, okay?" He responded that they couldn't find a heartbeat. He looked for a moment on ultrasound too, and then walked out, leaving Jacob and I alone. In that moment I was in shock. I wasn't crying, I was just staring ahead, lost in the world of "this can't be happening".
I picked up the phone and called my Mom. The conversation went something like this..."Mom, they can't find a heartbeat. She's gone." Very matter of fact, very emotionless. My mom thought that it must be wrong and said to make them check again. I just responded "they did check again, she's gone." Then the nurse returned to take us to a room and I hung up.
Once in our room, I made a quick call to Megan. Luckily, our dear friend Lisa was dropping off dinner for her to have for the night, and immediately loaded Megan up to bring her to the doctor's office. Lisa would then take Brenna back home with her where a babysitter would meet them, leaving Megan to be with me. This was all happening outside of my realm of awareness. Then I told Jacob that he would have to call his Mom, although he didn't really want to make that call, I felt that he needed to do it. He actually put it off for a few minutes until I said that I would do it if he just didn't want to, he didn't think I needed to make any more calls and picked up his phone. We sat in a room together, Jacob holding Brenna, and stared at each other in utter disbelief. What had just happened? And where would we go from here?
The next couple moment were some of the hardest...
Brenna began to wake up, and by this time I was crying. She climbed off Jacob's lap and came to me across the room. As I picked her up, she asked me what was wrong. Somewhere in the midst of all that was happening, God gave me the clarity of mind to give her an answer. In calmness and without crying, I said "We're not going to be able to get Kinley out of my belly here on earth. She already got to go to heaven to be with Jesus and she won't be coming back." Her little face is etched in my mind forever, questioning, not understanding, but trusting me that it was okay. (Wow, does that speak volumes!!) I'd be looking at God with that same face for months, and I know that it is etched in His mind too!
I was very careful not to say that Jesus "took" her to heaven, or that she "had" to go. I didn't want her to think it was a bad thing. I think that first conversation with her has greatly shaped how she's reacted through the past year.
The next couple hours are a blur....the nurse came back in, then the doctor, I'd need to deliver her, I'd have to labor, I could go to the hospital now or wait for my labor to start, I would need to plan a service of some sort, I would need to bury her. My sister came....I could hear her crying hysterically in the hallway, I fell apart, the reality of it set in, Jacob held me, Megan made calls, Douglas came, they took me home. My parents arrived, I cried some more, I tried to pack, no one knew what to say or how to act. My grandparents came, Megan made more phone calls, I posted a post on facebook letting the "rest of the world" know that Kinley had passed and that I would be going to the hospital soon to start my labor.
I still run my hand over the dent on the "Ford" plate in the middle of my steering wheel. Jacob had stayed mostly calm. The look on his face the entire time was haunting and sad, but he was mostly holding me up (literally at times!) As we pulled up in front of the house, he suddenly hit the steering wheel with his fist....hard, quick, angry! He would later leave the house to spend some time alone, time which I believe he spent hitting a punching bag. He was dealing with the anger, I was just beginning to deal with the intense sadness.
We arrived at the hospital around 6 and checked in. My first panic set in when I realized that the lady at the registration desk would ask me why I was there. I'd have to say the words again. I'd only spoken what had happened three times, once to my Mom, once to Megan, and then to Brenna. Now to a complete stranger. She began with my name and then asked why I was there. I don't really remember what I answered, I believe I said I was there to deliver my baby who had passed away. She was sweet and kind and caring. She treated me very gently. By this point, my extended family started arriving, beginning with my aunt Christy. They would surround me with love and prayer for the next few days in the hospital! Jacob's parents and sisters (and Adam) arrived as well. Amazing, doesn't begin to describe our family!!! They overtook an entire extra hospital room as well as the waiting room down the hall. They "camped out", they cried, they prayed, they rubbed my feet, they played with my hair, they fed Jacob.
By 7, I was settled in a room and then had begun to get me hooked up. At some point around 7:30 or 8, the doctor came in to begin the process of starting my labor. Pastor Greg arrived to pray with me, more of my family arrived, we tried to rest, we tried to pray, we waited.....