Josh’s Story – Losing Shannon
This post is part of a series of posts in honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Today’s post comes from Josh, AKA my husband. He has been a guest on the blog before. You can read more about Josh at the end of this post. (You can also read my version of our story and my mom’s version.)
I miss Shannon very much. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. Every night Marcella, my daughter, and I pray and ask God to tell Shannon we love him and miss him. There are several days that I am almost moved to tears because I miss him so much. That’s why I am always happy to tell his story.
Shannon was our first child and we were ecstatic when we saw two lines on the pregnancy test. I can recall physically jumping up and down when we found out. We rushed over to Julie’s parents because we had to tell some one. We started planning and researching and ordering books, upon books, upon books. We even received a blanket from a friend as a gift we liked and we were going to fashion the nursery after it. We were giddy and didn’t know any better.
About 8 weeks in, Julie had noticed some unusual cramping and spotting, so we called the midwife to check things out. The midwife scheduled an ultrasound and we got to hear our little baby’s heart beat for the first time. It was loud and fast and he was measuring at exactly 8 weeks. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Relief immediately set in when the doctor told us everything was ok and our baby was measuring right on schedule. So it was back to planning for the birth, for parenthood, for our new beginning.
Four weeks later, Julie had the same symptoms so back for another ultrasound to make sure all was well. I was excited. I was going to hear my baby’s heartbeat again. We stepped into the room for the ultrasound and waited to hear the heartbeat…maybe the baby is moving and he can’t find it…maybe the machine is broke. The doctor said nothing. I looked at the screen. The baby was measuring 8 weeks and 1 day; obviously this was wrong. The doctor looked at us and said, “I hope everything will be ok.” What does that mean? I didn’t hear a heartbeat and my baby is measuring one day larger than the day we were there a month ago. I hope everything will be ok?? Really?? We didn’t know what was going on. We called our midwife and she told us that it sounded as if we miscarried. I somehow kept it together. Maybe it was a mistake.
We drove to Julie’s parents, because we didn’t know what else to do. I was still shocked, in disbelief of what I was told. I sat at their kitchen table and called my brother. I don’t know why, but it was that point that it sunk in. Maybe it was hearing myself say the words “We lost our baby” out loud, but that point right there was the lowest point of my life.
My baby was gone.
For the first time in my life there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t fix this. I couldn’t work hard to make it better. I felt hopeless and empty. I was prepared to paint a nursery and baby-proof the house. There was no contingency plan. What do we do now? We didn’t have that book.
We didn’t even know what to do with our baby at that point. After much talk with our midwife, Julie decided to try to let him pass naturally. She did warn us that this could take a couple weeks. For the time, we were prepared for that. What we weren’t prepared for was the night Julie spent 6 hours with wave after wave of contractions. She just kept looking at me for help, and I could offer none. This was the second time in my life there was nothing I could do. We hadn’t got to that part of the book yet. The hypnobirthing classes weren’t for another couple months. We rethought what to do. We met with the Dr. and we elected to go the medical route and scheduled a procedure. There was part of me thinking as we went in, “It’s going to be over today.”
What happened next is nothing short of a miracle.
Julie had her procedure and we went home so she could get some rest. 4 days later she understandably felt crampy and went into the bathroom. She screamed for me, and I ran in to see what the commotion was. She asked me what I saw and there he was…fully intact…my little baby no bigger than a penny. To this day I remember his eyes and little tiny legs and arms. Our God had spared his physical body from the violent nature of the procedure designed to get him out. Our God knew we needed to see him. He knew we needed to hear the heartbeat several weeks earlier…one day before Shannon died. God knew that allowing us to bury him, next to the Kwanzaan Cherry tree we planted in Shannon’s memory, would give us a place to go to remember him.
I don’t know why God took our baby. To this day I don’t know. I don’t have any magical insight that makes the pain go away for those going through a miscarriage. But I do know that God is good, and in His goodness He has shown me what I needed to get me through. I miss Shannon very much. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.
Josh is a dad, a husband, a baker and a builder. You can see his cakes on Facebook.
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