It’s a boy.
We picked up the pathology reports from the hospital by the end of last week. A detailed description of our sweet baby. Measurements from crown to rump and the size of his little feet. Everything in place and everything perfect. Just how God intended. I am still amazed at how God can create such a complex being in just 12 short weeks. Eye lids. Fingernails. Toes. And to be able to know that our baby was indeed a boy. We are beyond blessed. We obviously were not going to be picky at this point but it did seem we were naturally drawn to little bow ties and the color blue. Maybe because I always wanted an older brother. Someone to protect me and make walking the halls of school a little easier. Nick joked from the very first ultrasound at 7 weeks that he saw “it” and he knew we were going to have a boy.
Our dreams came true. We have a little boy waiting for us.
That made choosing a name half as complicated. We wanted his name to mean something. I found a whole list of names and meanings I liked. Interesting that the names we picked out weren’t even in the running for our baby when he was alive.
Oliver: affectionate, faithful, olive tree.
Joe: God will increase
My dear sweet Oliver Joe. I didn’t give the name Oliver much thought until I started reading about olive trees. I knew that olive trees were mentioned a lot in the Bible so I started to look up different verses. Psalm 52:8 “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.”
Then I came across a website talking about olive trees. “No matter what the conditions: hot, dry, cold, wet, rocky, or sandy, the evergreen olive tree will live and produce fruit. It is said that you can never kill an olive tree. Even when cut down or burned, new shoots will emerge from its roots. This Scripture passage reminds us that no matter the conditions of life, we should remain steadfast as the olive tree in the presence of God – evergreen (faithful) and bearing fruit.”
That was it. God will bring new life from what we thought was the end. We may never know just how God is using Oliver’s life to touch hearts already. Oliver planted the seed and God is cultivating for the harvest. The words spoke to me. The words I need to repeat to myself. I WILL trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Through this storm, I WILL remain faithful and bear fruit. God is teaching me so much from our baby. That life is not fair. That life on this side of Heaven is not perfect. That bad things will happen for no apparent reason. But if we remain in Him, He will make all things new. Nothing is wasted. That neither death nor life can separate us from the love He has for us. And if I love my Oliver this much in just 12 weeks, how much more does our God love us?
Joe, which is short for Joseph, is our professing hope. That God will increase. Increase our love. Increase our family. He is already increasing our faith.
God brought us Oliver and Oliver is bringing us closer to God.
It has been a week since the nightmare started. I have had good moments and not so good moments. I have trusted God and yelled to God. It seems as though I am in a fog and the terrors of last week never really happened. Before the doctors released us from ER, they gave us some papers and told us we had a couple days to make the decisions. Apparently a couple of years ago, Ohio passed a law that required hospitals to give parents information regarding fetal death certificates and burial options. At the time I was upset that I had not only just lost my baby but that they were asking us to make major decisions. Looking back it is a big step in the right direction. A step in acknowledging the heartbeat inside the womb as a real human being.
We decided not to get a death certificate at this time. We can apply for it online for up to 7 years, so we chose to wait and see how we were feeling after the dust settles. As far as burial options go, my heart was so unsettled. I knew that I didn’t want a big funeral but I knew that I did want to recognize our baby’s life and the impact he had already made on us. The hospital had completed the pathology examination 4 days after my surgery. I couldn’t stand the thought of my baby just sitting in a jar somewhere. After calling the hospital, a lady told us that she would bring our baby over to the funeral home. I wanted to see him. I felt the urge to be in the same room as him. Nick called the funeral home director and asked if we could see our baby. The director then said something that I think will ring in our heads forever, “There’s really nothing to see.”
The instant we found out we were pregnant I was downloading all sorts of pregnancy apps on my phone. Apps that would tell me everyday just what was going on inside of me and each little milestone our little peanut was accomplishing. At week 11 through 12 I knew exactly what my baby was supposed to have looked like. He had even just managed to grow fingernails! So I was NOT going to accept the fact that there was “nothing to see”. We rode the motorcycle over to the funeral home and the whole time I was mentally preparing myself for the worst. I asked God to give me His eyes. To see our baby as the absolute miracle he was and not just a cluster of cells. The director had us sit down at a table and reminded me again of what I was about to witness. I reassured him that I had already been through all of the trauma. I had already seen all the blood and tissue first hand. I just wanted to see our baby. He walked out of the room and was back within seconds holding a little plastic jar.
My heart was racing. The jar was so tiny. Please, Jesus, help me.
The director sat the jar down in front of me…and there he was. Our baby. Our almost 12 week old, 2 inches long baby. All ten little toes. Tiny little ears on the side of his head. His spine, his legs, his arms and elbows. Everything was there and I instantly fell in love. It made what we had just gone through so much more real. It made my being pregnant real. It really had happened and love had brought forth life. I will never forget those moments. The surreal minutes I held my baby’s body in my hands at the same time God was holding his spirit. I felt a direct line to heaven as I peered into the container. God is so good and I was and am so in awe of His creation.
The world doesn’t recognize the fetus as human until after 20 weeks gestation. The “there’s nothing to see” attitude is so easily applied to most miscarriages. But because of the new law set in place we were able to claim our unborn baby. To give him a name and a proper burial. God’s peace has come over me in knowing that He can make good out of bad. Isaiah 61:3 says “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” We have decided on the route of cremation and we are planning a memorial in honor of our little miracle. Maybe even plant our own oak tree. Even though this world is full of sin and ugliness, God has given us a joyous blessing and He is bringing beauty from these ashes.
I decided I wanted to get my raw emotions recorded somewhere. I originally created this blog to be an inspiration to couples that haven’t been able to conceive yet. Then only a few weeks after buying the domain and creating the blog we found out we were pregnant!?! We absolutely couldn’t believe that it had actually FINALLY happened to us. I decided not to go public with the blog since at the time I didn’t feel I could be of any help to anyone and I didn’t want this to become just another mom blog and “look at how adorable my baby belly is”. I knew first hand how unintentionally hurtful it was to see and hear all about someone else’s baby when it seemed all of your prayers had fallen short of the “God, I’d like a baby” prayer line.
But we were so very happy. A little apprehensive but happy none the less. We even had a video announcement made by one of our favorite videographer friends. You can view it here. I will forever and always cherish this video and the moments I caught a glimpse of what it felt like to be a mother. We shared the video with family, friends and social media when I was a little over 10 weeks along. I had originally wanted to wait until I was in the “safe zone” of the second trimester to announce our baby to the world. But we were just so excited, we couldn’t keep a secret for one more second.
Everything seemed to be going as planned and I was looking forward to my next Dr’s visit to talk about and possibly even see our baby. At 11 weeks I started spotting some blood. To save on all the gruesome details, it continued and even got worse. So I called my Dr. and she made an appointment for me 2 days away. It was the longest wait of my life… so I thought. The next 72 hours would be full of unbearable waits and unbelievable memories.
Wednesday, May 7 – My mom went with me to the Dr’s appointment. It was her and my father’s 31st anniversary as well as her very first view of an ultrasound. I was very apprehensive and thought for sure it would be bad news. As soon as the Dr. was able to locate our baby, instantly he was kicking his long legs and waving his arms around as if to say “Don’t give up!”. The heartbeat was at 168 and we teased my husband that for sure we were going to have a girl. 😉 We cried happy tears of relief, called/text everyone who had been praying specifically for us and went home to soak up the fact that our baby was alive and healthy.
Thursday, May 8 – I woke up feeling happy and light. I had new found proof that everything was going to be ok. I cleaned the house a bit and finished up responding to emails and messages from the day before. Then I started to have some cramping accompanied by some blood. I instantly knew that something was definitely not right. I called the Dr. but they couldn’t see me until later that day. I had the choice to wait or just go to the ER. My mom and my husband came and picked me up. By then I had been passing large clots and my hope was quickly fading.
As my mom says, there is nothing fast about the ER and we waited, they took my vitals and ran some test. Finally they decided they wanted to see the baby through an ultrasound. I was wheelchaired back to a dark room and Nick followed holding the doors open on the way. I remember laying there during the ultrasound and knowing instantly when the nurse was silent. She just kept clicking buttons and moving the sensor back and forth. I could feel Nick’s hand squeezing mine tighter and at the same time I felt my grip on our baby fall through my fingers. I asked the nurse if there was anything to see. She hesitated and said that she isn’t really allowed to say but she turned her screen in my direction. There he was. That once, less than 24 hours ago, healthy kicking baby, now head down and motionless. I missed him instantly.
We were told to go home and wait for a call from the Dr as to when she would like to schedule the D&C.
Friday, May 9th – I had gotten about 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep when I woke up to really bad cramping. But these weren’t like yesterday. They were accompanied by vomiting, back pain, and chilled sweats. I called for Nick and he called the hospital. They say what I was feeling was a lot of what giving birth feels like. The contractions were unbearable and I couldn’t do anything but make it through the emergency door. After they were able to give me some pain medication, I could finally lay back and really take in what was going to be happening today. After lots of waiting again and more tests, the procedure to clean me up went smoothly and we came home.
It is now 8:58 pm on May 9th. Baby Bushong would have been 12 weeks today. I will never really know why this had to happen and right now my emotions feel as impulsive as the contractions I had been having. I keep repeating what our baby looked like as a healthy little life. I want to know whether our baby was a boy or girl. I want to know whether he’d have his father’s brown eyes. I want to show him all the cool toys I have been saving up for him and books I want to read to him. I get angry. I get furious. I get unbelievably sad. Then after I run through all of the emotions and I have no other road to take, I take hope. I take hope in knowing that some day I will get to hold my little baby for the first time. Actually, most likely, Nick and I will bear hug him at the gates of Heaven. I take hope in knowing our baby is in the hands of his Creator and his Creator knows our baby’s gender. Our baby doesn’t need silly toys or my books because he is in the presence of the Great Storyteller. And I can certainly hold on to the fact that my baby was made in the image of God so yes, in fact he does have his Father’s eyes.
And although I can’t even describe how badly the pain is or how awful the last few days have been, I have to have hope. I HAVE to know that everything happens for a reason and that it’s no one’s fault. That there was nothing we could have done differently and nothing we did to deserve this. Life here on Earth is not perfect but aren’t we so deeply blessed that this is not the end?!?
Tomorrow, if I’m able, I’m going to plant my garden. I read a quote somewhere that “to plant a garden, is to have hope for tomorrow”. I can’t think of a better way to profess my hope. This way, every year I know I’m one moment closer to being reunited with our baby. Even if right now, in this second, I don’t know how I’ll ever survive. I’m choosing to hope. I’m choosing to live my life so that no day falls wasted. I’m choosing to create something good out of what seems like something so bad. I’m choosing to count my blessings and literally number my gifts.
#1 – I got to see my baby waving to me before He met Jesus.