I was just getting into my seventh month of pregnancy and hadn't felt our little girl kick in awhile. Just to be safe I decided to go in for an ultrasound. The nurses were laughing with me but with a strange look in their eyes as they stared intently at the screen (now I know what that look was: worry.) They had my doctor come in. I really didn't expect it, I was still laughing and talking with another nurse when I felt the doctor take my hand. I looked at him. He looked way too sweet, way too sad, way too caring and my heart stopped. "Sorry Jessica, but there is no heart beat. We lost her." I couldn't breathe. I kept asking them to check again because I couldn't believe it. It was a numbing, out of body experience and I cried, really hard. Stu held my hand. It is exhausting to even type this story and relive it again and, honestly, I don't really remember a lot. But I do remember them telling me I could go home and decide when I wanted to come in and have her. "What?" I thought, " I have to go through labor? How am I going to go through labor, go through the pain, and not have the reward?" I couldn't talk. I sobbed. Stuart was stunned. We went home and I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror because when I did I would see something too difficult, too raw, too painful to comprehend. I would see that pregnant belly and a dead baby swimming inside of me (I know that is graphic, but it's the hard truth and how i felt.) We decided to do it the next day.
Well I didn't sleep that night so we watched a whole lot of Psych (gosh I owe those script writers). Coming home after delivering the baby was really hard. I felt like I went into seclusion. I couldn't create (I use to love to do crafts and paint), I couldn't write music anymore, and facing people with well-intended questions and words meant facing reality. I felt like I was a completely different person and I was ashamed of that.
This photo of me is, well, beautiful. Which is hard for me to say because at the time this picture was taken, I was listening to the song Stu and I heard right before we delivered our stillborn baby. It defines vulnerability, grief, and hope for me. This whole experience, taking my photo and sharing my story, has allowed me to be . . . me.
I am still becoming and trying to become whole. It's hard because sometimes I yearn for the girl I used to be. That laughing, care-free, sunshine girl. She has changed. She now has a more authentic relationship with her Heavenly Father than ever before and more authentic relationships with others . She now understands a little bit better about sadness, loss, and a lot more about herself.