Friday, November 29, 2013

The trials we face

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Working in the medical field gives me the chance to be intimately involved in the lives of a lot of different people.  Until recently, most of the of those chances took place, unfortunately, during times of trial for individuals.  When I worked in the assisted living home, I walked with men and women through Alzheimer's.  I saw spouses do their best to come and visit with a person who no longer knew who they were and would, sometimes, be honestly quite annoying.  In the ER there was loss and accidents of the old and, much too frequently, the young.  On the floor I saw devoted spouses encourage each other to get better, to eat, to try harder.  Young couples where one was in a terrible accident.

Sometimes certain couples reminded me of my husband and myself for various reasons and their stories stuck with me.  These stories always helped me to not forget that even though our life together had been good and happy, struggles would eventually come our way.  What would they be for us, I wondered?

In September, when I returned from my trip to my friend's wedding in NC, I discovered that we would be expecting a new family member in May.  It was so exciting.  We didn't wait long to share with very close friends and our parents, but then we kept it mostly to ourselves for awhile.

I had an ultrasound at about 8 weeks since I was having some symptoms that were a bit concerning, but everything was fine and the heartbeat was good.  It was such a relief so we just continued to pray for a healthy baby and healthy me.

Because of my lupus and my status as a "high-risk" pregnancy, I scheduled an appointment to speak with a perinatologist about how lupus would affect my pregnancy.  Just a couple of days before that appointment we saw the midwife and got to listen to the baby's heartbeat with the doppler.  It was good to hear it again.  At 12 weeks I went to the perinatologist appointment just expecting an ultrasound and to talk about lupus.

The ultrasound tech did the horrible cliche thing one sees in movies where she says she needs to get the doctor and left the room.  Apparently she couldn't find a heartbeat, but then she and the doctor did and I was relieved.  Except the reason she was not seeing the heart before was that it was not in the right place.  After a brief search to see if there was a second baby to explain the unusual location of the heart, we could see there wasn't one.  Despite the good heartrate, the heart was outside of the chest and so was the liver.

I learned that it wasn't something that could be easily fixed with surgery after birth--sometimes abdominal organs can be fit back in, but the chest wall is rigid and would form much too small to accommodate the heart after birth.  Our baby was not going to live for long outside of my womb.

We shared the news with our parents within the next days and others who knew we were expecting.  Medical opinions were frequently supportive of termination, especially with my added health risks.  There was stress and anxiety and sadness for two weeks as we wondered what would happen.

A few days before returning to the doctor our church group spent a night talking about different saints.  After pondering the amazing miracles that proved sainthood for some I thought, are we not just as qualified for a miracle as any other person?  So we began praying a daily Rosary for a miracle of healing for our baby and asked many others to join us, especially my fellow bloggers.  Literally hundreds of people were praying for us through prayer chains and religious orders.

We did not get our miracle.  We learned on November 20 that our baby no longer had a heartbeat.  So we have lost our first child and we have faced and continue to face a trial in our life together.

We believe that our baby was a boy and we have named him Malachi Edward.  Malachi means "my angel" and Edward is for both of my grandfathers.

Because our story of loss is a unique one, I plan to share more posts about the varied aspects and complications of our situation.  If you find it's something you don't want to read, I understand.  But I hope to communicate some things that will be helpful if you or someone in your life ever experiences a similar situation.


  1. Oh, Kelley, I'm so sorry for your loss. How very sad. You and your husband and your family are in my prayers. Malachi Edward is such a beautiful name.

  2. How very brave you are to post your story! I know that is will be helpful to other mothers to see you candidly write about your experience. Many prayers for you and your family, Kelley.

  3. Oh Kelley... I am so very sorry :( It's not one bit fair. I'm sorry this has to be part of your story but I know God makes beautiful things out of awful situations. I wish that made it any easier to go through. Praying for peace and comfort, friend.

  4. Oh Kelley....I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby! Know of my prayer for you and your husband; so. many.

  5. I wish I could find the right words to comfort you. I can only imagine the terrible heartache you have been suffering. You are in my prayers. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    -Christina from The Young Professionals Group.

  6. thank you for sharing your story and I am glad that you have a supportive husband and family. My husband and I have also had difficulty in starting a family and my prayers are with you for healing. I look forward to reading your thoughts on these things.

    1. Thank you--I hope that the things I share are helpful to you.

  7. Oh Kelley that's awful :( I'm so sorry that this was something you and your husband had to go through.

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  9. Such a heartbreaking story. Your faith is very inspiring.


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