On Friday May 18, I went to the doctor to have baby Lillian’s heart beat checked because May 18 was the day Knox would have been due and I was anxious. Kerry took the boys to the park so they wouldn’t have to wait in the waiting room and because it was a beautiful morning. I was hoping that it would be a quick in and out trip, my fears would be relieved and we would go on and enjoy the day as a family. In my gut though, I had a feeling that I was going down a road I had been on before. A road I didn’t want to be on again.
The nurse practitioner saw me and tried to remain upbeat while she searched and searched for a heart beat. I knew that when she didn’t hear them within a few moments that we wouldn’t be hearing it at all. Dr. G took me for a sonogram and we both anxiously watched the screen. We could see our little baby moving, but only with my heart beat. There was no spontaneous movement on her part and her chest was silent. I think we were both heart broken. I am so thankful that he printed some pictures for us. I really feel thankful for the physician that I have, and it’s only the loss of Knox that ever brought me in to him as a patient. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for what and how he spoke to me that afternoon. It wasn’t just that he was sorry, but he too, was deeply grieved for us. I know that he genuinely cared for me and my husband not as patients but as people.
We were given options about when and how to give birth, Kerry and I elected to go in on Saturday for an induction. Dr. G was going to be out of town, which was my only hesitation, but he assured me the doctor who was covering for him was wonderful and would take good care of us. Indeed he did.
On Saturday morning, we took the same walk we took when we were admitted with Knox. The same admission clerk checked me in and I was in the same room where he was born. I held it together fairly well on that walk past the nursery and to the nurse’s station, until I heard a fetal monitor and a mother being coached to push her baby into this world. I wanted to tell her how blessed she was, how much she should hold that child and just cherish the moments she had, instead I cried and quietly told the nurses who I was and why I was there.
The admission process was pretty much the same, vital signs, IV, orientation to the room and plan of care for the day. My nurses were caring and kind, something that was a bit lacking the last time we were there.
My day nurse called the doctor on call for Dr. G and asked him to come in so we could meet him. He was very nice and although he talked quickly was willing to listen to what we were saying and what our experience was. He was a believer and that was important to us. We talked about things we would do in an effort to avoid going to the OR again this time.
And then we waited. I waited for the medicine (cytotec) to work, I waited for the hours to pass, I waited for the inevitable. My mind telling me that it was okay this (the labor) was happening, it needed to happen, but my heart was so resistant. No matter how much I tried to relax and let the contractions come and wash over me, I could feel deep down my body resisting because no matter how much this “needed” to happen, it shouldn’t.
My labor was similar to that with Knox, but my progress seemed slow. Around 4:30pm my water broke and I thought that things would move a little faster now. But instead, they seemed to slow down and even move backwards. The contractions didn’t worsen, the medication didn’t seem to have the same effect and still my body fought. I tried talking to myself, I tried talking to Kerry about it, I tried to emotionally process it all, but there was resistance and it’s still hard for me to pinpoint it. It came from somewhere I couldn’t reach with my mind (I realize this sounds a little new agey, but it’s the only way I can describe it). No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t let myself accept this was happening. My nurses commented that my cervix seemed to be moving up instead of down, that it would come down a bit one time and the next time it would be further up and almost moving backward.
I was discouraged and exhausted by the time my next dose of medication was due at 10pm. The Dr. K had written orders to stop the induction and wait until morning to resume the medication again. I felt defeated, but I didn’t know what else to do. I don’t know what it was about that plan, but it seemed to accelerate my labor. I don’t know if it was the fear that this labor was going to go on forever and that I would be locked in this battle with myself all night or that I just wanted so desperately to be out of this waiting stage, but things started to happen. The nurse brought in some medication to help me sleep, but I had a feeling I shouldn’t take it.
I got up to go to the bathroom one last time before we settled for night and there was a little more bleeding. I mentioned to the nurse that this is kind of what happened before Knox was born, but my cervix was the same and nothing “seemed” to be changing. She had another nurse come in and check the bleeding, but since it wasn’t significant, we decided to keep an eye on things. I don’t know if they called Dr. K to let him know about the change. I told my night nurse I was going to eat a little pudding and then take the medicine and go to bed. I could only eat about 2 bites and lost my appetite. I shifted my weight in bed and our daughter was born. Just Kerry and I were in the room, it was surprising to me and I was a little shaken up, I wasn’t prepared for it to happen that way. Lillian Faith was born at 10:40pm, she weighed 2.5 oz and 4 1/2 inches long.
I called my nurse, who handled things very well although I was her first “demise” patient (I found that out later). There was another nurse who stepped in for a few minutes, but left pretty quickly afterward. I heard her say “I have to step out”, but I could tell she was bothered by what she was seeing and what was going on. I found out later she was about 8 weeks pregnant and it was understandably emotionally difficult for her to be there. We were able to hold Lily and take pictures. I didn’t get to hold her or sit up as much as I did after Knox was born because I was bleeding a little more, but I’m thankful for the time I did get to spend with her.
One thing that was so striking to us was how much smaller she was. Knox died at 15 weeks, Lily died at 14 weeks. But she looked so much smaller. Her fingers and toes were delicately formed. We could see the tiny ribs, her nose, her little calf muscles that were perfectly formed. It is astounding the perfection of such a tiny body, the creation and handiwork of a great and mighty God. As grieved as we were, and are, we couldn’t help but be in awe of the creation we were holding in our hands.
Dr. K came in and we tried to get the placenta to come. It was painful and it didn’t work. Around midnight my bleeding had increased enough to be concerning and the doctor felt it would be best to go to the OR to avoid a repeat of my stay with Knox (ie blood transfusion, very low blood counts etc). I was disappointed, we only had an hour and a half with our daughter. It felt like minutes and it was hard for me to leave knowing that I wouldn’t be holding her again. Kerry prayed with me before I left. I have been thankful many times over for his spiritual leadership and sheparding during this time.
Dr. K stood with me and talked with me before I went into the OR, after they gave me preop meds I don’t remember much about the actual procedure. They hadn’t given those to be before Knox, so I remember everything until I went under with him. My doctor tells me that there was quite a bit of bleeding we hadn’t seen, so much that even the everyone was a bit surprised my vital signs had remained so stable, but the procedure itself went well. I didn’t lose as much blood as last time and I didn’t need a blood transfusion.
I got back to my room around 2:30 in the morning and we didn’t get much sleep that night. Hospitals aren’t known to be places of rest, there were lab draws, medications, blood pressures and IVs to change. Morning came and I was so thankful to eat breakfast!
I was incredibly sore and very tired on Sunday. Because of the things we had done to try to get the placenta to be born and some complications with bleeding afterward and the subsequent interventions to stop the bleeding, my abdomen was very tender to the touch. I hadn’t taken pain medications after Knox was born, but felt I needed them this time. My doctor didn’t want me to go home because there was some packing to prevent bleeding and he wanted it to stay in for 18 -24 hours. He consented though, if my labs remained normal(ish) and I wasn’t symptomatic (dizzy when getting up) that I could go home around supper time.
We had the same day shift nurse on Sunday as we had the day before and she asked if she could see pictures of Lily and sat with us for a little while in the afternoon. I appreciated my nursing care this stay as it was very different from last time.
Physically I’m doing okay. I’m not as tired or weak as I was after Knox was born. I’m sleeping better, which I’m thankful for. Emotionally the grief is different this time, I’m not totally sure why. I still feel numb and it’s difficult for me to formulate completely coherent thoughts, but I don’t quite feel the same hole in my gut as I did last time. I’m working on trying to put just why into words still, but I do think it has something to do with the lack of shock this time. The grief, though, is still very real.
Kerry and I have talked a lot about trusting that God is still good and that all things He does work together for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Sometimes we have to know things even if we don’t totally feel them. It’s hard for me to see that good can come from losing a second child in 6 months. It’s hard for me to understand, but I know that God is faithful and I know that He has a purpose for bringing us down this road again.
Psalm 139: 13-16
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
17 thoughts on “Lily's Birth Story”
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I can hardly imagine what you are going through and how tough it was to write this post but I do thank you for sharing. I am so glad that you had some wonderful nurses and doctors that were caring enough to let you have that time with Lily….so glad to hear that it happens outside of nursing school. Hang in there!
Dear Erin and Kerry: I know one thing that God is using these experiences you have had for the good is that you are telling your story and your testimony to the fact that these were living babies, a part of your family. Lillian and Knox had a family and you had two babies. In our society I believe it is so important for even Christians to know that these “fetuses” are REAL LIVE GOD CREATED BABIES. The love and pain and grief that you share will touch someone who is thinking about ending a pregnancy. I am just so convicted that someone out there is going to read your blog and a baby’s life will be saved because of it. No one who reads your stories about these birthing experiences and sees the pictures of little Knox’s hand and Lillian’s tiny little foot will be able to use the excuse that “they are not babies because they were too little to live”. Sometimes the hardest things we go through are used to help someone heal or to change a decision that someone might make that would result in a lifetime of heartache. The greatest gift Knox and Lillian had was the love that you had for them Erin, and Kerry, the joy you felt the minute you knew they were growing in the womb. It breaks my heart that you and your family has had to go down this road, not only once but also twice (and more if you count your previous miscarriages), but I do know God is using it to bring the Light of his Love into view for everyone who reads your story. I am so glad you shared the picture of little Lillian’s precious foot. It moved me to tears. We love you all and can’t wait to see you.
Many prayers for you and your family during this difficult time <3 Thank you for sharing Lily's birth story.
Thank you for sharing your story and your faith. I know what you mean when you say you can’t find the words to describe things, I have the same problem describing things since my baby boy was born still on March 23. Praying for you as you continue to walk this road.
Thank you so much. I am sorry too for your loss. It is so very heart wrenching. God is good even when we don’t understand.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story and precious little picture of her perfect little foot. Prayers for you all!
Hi someone in my Facebook group just shared the link to your blog. I am so very sorry you have walked this difficult path twice. I am a christian Homeschooling mommy also. We lost our 6th at 19 weeks in January. I now the pain is deep and difficult. Thank God for the Hope of Heaven or all would be lost. I will be praying for you if you need to chat please email me. I a really surprised how hard grief has been on my relationships it is comforting to talk to other mommies that have been there. Big Hugs and prayers coming your way. http://www.teshastreasures.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been surprised too how many others mothers have walked this road before me. In sharing our story, I have had co-workers who lost children 20 years ago relive their grief and experience with me. I am sorry for your loss as well. It has been moment to moment and each time I have to continue to take the next step in faith in our great and mighty God.
Hi Erin, Your blog was shared on a FB page in hopes we could bring you comfort. I know there is nothing I can say except I am sorry for your pain. I am sorry that you know this road twice over. I have had two early miscarriages and a infant loss at 25+5wks gestation. My daughter lived for two days. hope you can feel the prayers of love and peace as you are lifted up tonight.
Thank you so very much. It helps to know others are praying for us.
Erin, my heart breaks as I read sweet Lily’s story. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go thru this pain not once, but now twice. I lost my daughter Ireland at almost 15 weeks and seeing that photo of Lily’s little foot warms my heart. I have no photos of my Ireland. lots of love going to you and your family
I can testify that God is more than able and is faithful to supply what you need as you grieve. I am so thankful that you have photos and that you got to spend time with Lilly. These photos also testify that Knox and Lilly are real babies – not ‘blobs of tissue’ – but beautifully formed and created by our loving God.
So sorry to hear of your loss! You and your family will be in my prayers! I know how difficult loosing a baby can be. I lost our only child last year on Mother’s Day. I know there’s nothing that can be said to completely ease your pain! (Although I wish I could!) What a blessing it is that our little ones didn’t have to endure the pain and trials of this world! Oh how wonderful it will be to be with them one day!
Sending hugs and prayers!
Thank you for your open sharing of loss and pain, a precious life and trust in a caring God. We grieve with you as well as congratulate you for lifting up in recognition a beautifully created life although lived so very briefly. We praise Him for your and Kerry’s testimonies. Prayers are with you, with love Ruth & Tim
Erin & Kerry,
My heart goes out to you and your family… And thank you for sharing this blog. It made me so emotional especially when I saw the picture of Lilian’s foot….
Love & Prayers,
Erin and Kerry, I’ve just read your “heart,” and like you, I don’t understand everything I know. But I also know that a caring, compassionate, all-powerful, sovereign Creator-God loves each of us more than we’ll ever comprehend, and He will see us through every path He calls us to walk, stumble, or crawl. May God Bless and be Merciful and Gracious to you far beyond what you need. 2 Cor. 1:3-5. Phil, and for Sharon
I am so sorry for your loss Erin.