I love talking with other Mother's who have lost a child. Their stories and they strength inspire me to continue forward with faith and purpose. Sanda is one of these wonderful mothers. She is constantly sharing uplifting messages of hope and joy with everyone she knows in spite of the terrible trials she has endured. She is deeply spiritual and a, "lightworker, healing mind, body, and spirit." Through infertility and loss, Sanda has demonstrated immense strength of character, lifting others along the way, and I am proud to know her. Here is her story:
My husband and I attended his cousin's housewarming party back in February, 2016. Before our hour and 30 minute drive there, I took a pregnancy test, because it was likely that I would be drinking and was about a little over a month late (my is cycle irregular). I cried in the bathroom, waited until my eyes dried to face the world again. A few years of negative pregnancy tests, why did I think that would change? Perhaps because Valentines Day was the day after and I thought it would be a perfect day to find out that I was pregnant. I kept silent in the car and almost near our destination, he asked about the test. I pretended like nothing happened.
While sitting alone on the couch, watching t.v. and keeping to myself, I thought "when are we going home?" I was already feeling miserable. Then, out of nowhere, this young woman—perhaps around my age—lays her baby girl next to me. I just sat there, quiet. His cousin kneels beside me, watching me and the woman and her baby, and asks if we wanted to have babies. I said yes (but it was more of 'me' than 'we.') She told me to take prenatal vitamins and folic acid (but I had already knew to do so, but just agreed). With that, she gave my hand a squeeze and walked away. I texted my husband that I wanted to go home. It was getting late and I didn't want to be near this woman and her baby anymore...
On our way back home, silent tears flowed down my cheeks. It was perfect, crying in the dark. So he wouldn't see my disappointment. Days later, I prayed and prayed. Asking God will I ever get pregnant, CAN I get pregnant? Telling him that I was ready, that my soul was more than happy and prepared for a child. I just knew for a long time that my next journey in life would be pregnancy and motherhood, but I didn't know it would take this long...
A week after the negative pregnancy test, I started getting cramps. Thinking that they were premenstrual cramps, I was expecting a period. But as days passed, the cramps were different than the usual. They came and went throughout the day and were at times painful and unbearable. Something wasn't right. I consulted the internet and what I found was interesting. I read that some women experience "implantation cramps" right around the time that an expected period would occur, meaning that I could possibly be pregnant! However, I didn't want to disappoint myself once again. My heart just couldn't handle it anymore. These cramps went on for a little more than a week and still there was no blood in sight. I was going to wait two whole weeks after that negative to retest, but was too anxious the day before the two week wait.
It was early in the morning, Friday, February 26th. After my husband left for work, I decided to take a test. Praying to God and my angels, "Oh, please let this be a positive." I didn't want to look down onto the counter top just yet, I was afraid. Yet, if it was negative, it wouldn't surprise me. I must have seen over 20 or 30 negative tests. But, not longer than a minute, I saw not one, but TWO pink lines appear on the screen! God actually answered my prayers! I was surprised, overwhelmed, but now fearful of what to do. At the time, I was still a college student and was on the verge of graduation and my husband was working full-time and considering returning back to school. We were also not financially prepared for a child let alone financially stable. It took awhile for my husband to warm up to this new life growing inside of me and accept the changes and sacrifices we both had to make.
We were happy seeing our baby grow and often wondered what it would be and what we would name it. We kept our pregnancy hidden (but telling a few) until I was about 14-15 weeks along and announced to everyone on Mother's Day. By the end of May 2016, I graduated and was looking forward to planning our new life. Everyone wanted to know what we were having – both of us preferred a boy – but was also happy if it was a girl. On June 13th, we went in for our 20 week scan and gender reveal. Everything was perfect. And...It's a Boy!!! We went shopping right after and decided on the name Elijah, but wasn't entirely sure. We needed time to settle in with “E-Li-Jah.” I waited until we got home from our baby shopping spree to announce his gender on social media. That day was one of the best days of my life. Because I knew that our baby was going to be a boy.
However, the next day, things were going fine, until my water broke. I wasn't even sure that it really was my water nor was this really happening. Unsure of what to do, my husband and I called my clinic and a hospital number for advice. I then found that I was bleeding. Panicking, we made the wrong decision of going to the ER, which took hours for any real medical attention and then had to be transferred to the maternity hospital. Nurses and doctors tried to check on our baby with an ultrasound, but the screen was pure blank. There was no amniotic fluid and no picture of a baby. I also showed no signs of labor or any physical pain and my cervix was closed. My body was not prepared for labor. Nurses made sure to check on his heartbeat and heart rate, which kept increasing was becoming harder to find. His heartbeat gave me hope, but there was nothing that would help put my worries to rest. I prayed and prayed. Because why would God give him to me and then take him away? I was utterly confused and hurt and kept questioning myself if this was real? If this was all a joke and we could go home.
As long hours passed, things didn't seem to get any better. There was slim chance of survival, however, doctors still tried to give me hope envisioning the possibility of life with complications. Family started visiting the next day. I was on antibiotics because of the loss of amniotic fluid, which made me susceptible to infections. I then started feeling early labor pains (cramps). My body was now alerted that something was wrong and prepared for labor. Things had to speed up because the longer it took for him to come, the more I was at risk for infections. I was induced and went through a crazy whirlwind of contractions all night. On Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 6:51 a.m., I gave birth to our baby boy who was only 10 inches long and 9.9 ounces. He didn't cry. I was only 20 weeks and 4 days along. Elijah was a tiny little person who stole my entire heart for the rest of my life.
Doctors concluded our loss as a Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) and stillbirth. There is no known cause of Elijah's premature birth and death and still a tragic and worrisome mystery. My husband and I have decided to cremate him, spread his ashes at our favorite and memorable places, and to honor his memory and short-lived life by planting an Incense Cedar.
We hope to forever keep the memory of his entrance and departure in our life, despite the struggle of keeping him in the hearts and thoughts of other family members. Grief has been difficult, especially for me. I have battled grief and facing the harsh reality of my husband's sister's new addition. We continue struggling in trying again and hope that along with our miracle angel, our rainbow will appear and this time, stay in our empty arms. My last and final hope is to raise awareness in Pregnancy and Infant/Child Loss and the importance of support and care for bereaved parents. We did not just lose our child, but also a lifetime of memories and a part of our identity in being our “invisible” child's parent.
You can learn more about Sanda's Journey here: