Christmas 1994 was a real mixture for us. There was the loss of Wendy and the knowledge of all that Terry was going through mixed with the happiness of our first Christmas with Daniel in our first home in Nolan’s first pastorate. We made it through and have all the pictures that new parents should have of Baby’s First Christmas. However, about a month or so later, we found out that Christmas hadn’t been just us, there had been another family member present we didn’t know about. To our shock, and my dismay, I was pregnant.
I had been told that if a woman nursed her baby she wouldn’t get pregnant. Well, that is true, but it wasn’t until years later that I found out there is a very specific way nursing must be done in order to have that effect. Not only that, but a woman must know her signs of fertility so she can tell when her cycles are about to return. Since I didn’t learn all that until Mary Anne (Baby #5), I was stunned to learn I was pregnant.
So, how many Life Stress Points does that add up to so far? Lots! And I wasn’t happy at all about being pregnant. Daniel was just four months old and I didn’t want another baby right then. The due date was September 8, so the baby and Daniel would be exactly one year apart. Friends told me it would be okay and after the first couple of years it would get easier. The two little ones would grow up close and be good playmates. It didn’t matter, I didn’t want to be pregnant.
At sixteen weeks they did an ultrasound and the baby looked good. However, the doctor reading the results was very concerned that the placenta was lying low. He said my regular doctor would want to discuss it with me. When I saw my regular doctor, she never mentioned it. When I brought it up, she wasn’t concerned at all and said it would be fine.
The next few weeks I started feeling the baby move and make his presence known. Finally, I grudgingly accepted that this was happening. Once I got that far I started looking forward to having baby and Daniel close in age. (Of course, the nausea letting off probably had something to do with my positive outlook!) And then at twenty-one weeks the spotting started.
I called the doctor and she said to rest and see what happens. Either it would stop or get worse; if I were going to lose the baby there wasn’t anything to be done about it. I rested and took it easy and the bleeding stopped. That night I slept just fine. But as I was laying in bed the next morning, all of a sudden I felt something go “pop”within me. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom where the baby literally fell out of me. Even now I can say that was the worse experience of my life.
The baby was still in the placenta with all the fluid. Nolan took care of him, called the doctor and got us to Chester. The doctor asked if we wanted to see the baby and hold him. Nolan said yes and she opened up the placenta and said, “It’s a little boy.” Nolan held him in his hand and cried. I couldn’t bring myself to hold him. All I could think of was how I had not wanted this baby and now he was dead. I felt it was my fault and if I tried to hold him I would lose it completely right there in the doctor’s office.
The doctor offered no explanation and never did. Months later I figured out what a low-lying placenta was and what it could do. It had turned into placenta previa and I had lost my baby. Whether or not bedrest could have prevented the loss we’ll never know.
We named him Benjamin and took him home with us. We wrapped him in soft flannel and Nolan made a container in which to bury him. We buried him in Grace Cemetery, north of Rudyard. Some church friends offered to take care of Daniel for a couple of days so we could go away. We went to Glacier Park and stayed at a Bed and Breakfast. It was April, so the park was pretty empty and quiet. It was the perfect place for the shock to start wearing off. However, after all these years I still cry over Benjamin and what we lost in him. It came to me then with crystal-clear clarity that children are a gift from God, not a right.