Monday, November 11, 2013

Agnes Faith

This is the fifth post in a series about our babies in heaven, all miscarried in the first trimester. The first four can be found here: Emily Grace, Callie Elizabeth, Luke Daniel, Adam Louis. Thank you for remembering them with me.

Every single loss is hard. Each one broke our hearts. It took a while for us to pick up the pieces after we lost our fourth baby. We thought surely, after finding out about the uterine septum and having it removed, we had figured things out and would be bringing home our baby. Instead we had another unfulfilled due date, in February 2006.

After the miscarriage we'd kept ourselves from the doctor visits. We didn't return until February, seven months later, for a consultation. Our doctor gave us a few suggestions that we could look into. It was good to have options, but it definitely felt a lot like grasping at straws. Try seeing a urologist for further sperm testing. Talk to a high-risk pregnancy doctor. Consult with a geneticist. Have lots and lots more blood work. (It's a good thing I'm not afraid of needles.)

My husband saw the urologist and was tested for sperm fragmentation. That turned out fine. No worries there. The high-risk pregnancy doc did some tests and thought we could try using blood thinners with the next pregnancy. My doctor was on board with this and we were willing to try it. The geneticist, after looking over all of our history, determined that she didn't think a healthy, full-term pregnancy was completely out of the question for us. Although we knew these were all just ideas and medical opinions, that was particularly nice to hear since our former OB/GYN would later call me on the phone and tell me that she thought I had a genetic problem that would prevent me from ever having a biological child. Wow. Talk about having the breath knocked out of you. Looking back I realize what an inappropriate opinion that was to give a patient, over the phone, when you aren't even qualified as an infertility specialist. Some days it truly felt like everything was working against us.

We knew the odds didn't look good. But we weren't ready to give up yet. There were many, many days when I thought about it. I felt incredibly weak. I was tired and discouraged, and depressed. It became increasingly harder for me to go anywhere and to face all of the questions about why we didn't have any children and what we were doing about it. Everyone had an opinion, a suggestion, and just the right answer for what we should be doing. They said we weren't thinking positively enough, we were worrying too much, we needed to take a break and relax. They said that this was all happening for a reason and that God wouldn't give me more than I could handle. And I began to hate hearing all of it. All of those words made us feel like we were doing something wrong; like it was my fault that our children couldn't survive in my womb. Or that God was trying to teach me a really hard lesson that I was apparently too dumb or had too little faith to grasp.

And so I started keeping it all inside and sharing as little information as possible with those people I knew didn't really care and were just curious. I stopped going to baby showers because it was just too hard. Even going to church was becoming almost unbearable. While I never turned my back on God, I definitely began to question His plan and wonder why this was happening to us, and why it happens to anyone at all.

Even in this state of mind, though, there was a determination inside of me. The desire to be a mother had grown, moving me forward and helping me to take another step, even if it felt small. I had a husband beside me who never gave up hope and always believed that we would have children. And through all of it, God really was teaching me new things about my weakness and His strength. He was teaching me about waiting and trusting and resting and hoping, and above all, about realizing that I serve a God who is infinitely bigger than my circumstances, my fears, and even infertility and miscarriage.

And so, after a new round of tests that revealed no obvious problem but with a few new options to try, we found out about our fifth pregnancy on July 27, 2006. With this pregnancy I began using daily Lovenox (blood thinner) injections in my stomach. Even with no fear of needles, it was a hard thing for me to get used to at first but became a bit easier as time went on. A blood test confirmed the pregnancy and we were back to waiting and hoping for good news. A few days later things were looking pretty good. The HCG levels were rising and progesterone looked good.

We were feeling confident. So much so that we made the (just over 2 hour) drive to Louisiana to celebrate my mom's birthday on August 6th. On Monday the 7th I went for more lab work. I felt hopeful as I waited to hear more good news, but it was not to be. The call would come later the next day, but before the phone ever rang I already knew. I woke up the morning of August 8, 2006 with cramps and bleeding, knowing I was losing the baby. I had been only about 6 weeks along.

It surprises me today to read what I wrote in my journal in the days after our fifth miscarriage. Somewhere inside I still believed it would happen and knew at that point that we would give it at least one more try. It might sound crazy but we suddenly had the feeling that we were getting closer. At that point it felt like we'd been climbing the mountain for so long that we must be near the top, even though we still couldn't see it. We had to be closer.

We've named this sweet baby Agnes Faith.

I know that Agnes isn't exactly a trendy name these days. While I consider it a classic, it's not one of those that is enjoying a big comeback. It was, however, my great-grandmother's name, and she was truly a treasure. She was the most precious, sweet, kind, gentle, French-speaking old Cajun lady that you could ever imagine, and we all adored her. My mom was particularly close to her grandmother, and Mom was always so pleased to have Granny's name, Agnes, as her middle name.

August 8th, the day I miscarried, was Granny's birthday. She passed away in 1999, but I have so many fond memories of her. There were exactly 101 years separating my Granny and my little Agnes. I'm incredibly honored to name my daughter after her and after my sweet mom as well.

My mom is amazing and has been such a huge supporter and great influence in my life, teaching me about faith and modeling the kind of mother I always hoped to be. When I think of the name Agnes, I have two wonderful and strong women who immediately come to mind. I like to think my sweet little Agnes would have followed in their footsteps.

Her middle name is pretty self-explanatory. Faith. It's something I can't imagine my life without and it's the number one thing that helped me through this struggle. Without my faith in God I don't want to imagine where I'd be today.

Agnes Faith,
Oh sweet girl, your name is very special to us and we love imagining what kind of woman you might have grown up to be. We miss you, sweet one, and love you so much! I can't wait to wrap my arms around you.
Love, Mommy


Connie said...

Oh, Stace. I love you so much. I am amazed by your strength and inspired by your faith! I love you Agnes Faith!

Jenn said...

Beautiful name!