Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Journey With Selah Jayne

I had a daughter. I will always have a daughter. Her name is Selah Jayne.

There, I said it.

She is now known.

So is the piece of my heart that vanished as she left us far too soon. But at least now you know that she existed. As a mom, I felt this need for others to know that she existed and she was our child.
She was so very real.

I've fought an internal battle on sharing this with the world for the last three weeks. My heart urges me, pokes and prods me, but my mind kept coming back to "no way" and "people won't get it" or "people might think why is she sharing this?"  But after a long weekend of battling the waves of emotion that threatened to erupt anytime an old friend asked me "how many children do you have now?" or "do you think you'll have more?", my mind slowly started taking one more step closer to where my heart stood. It's a place I NEVER wanted to stand, but it's where we've been led on our journey and I can't live in two separate realities any longer. Nor do I want this baby to be tucked away like a secret we're keeping.

So here's our story of the journey to Selah Jayne...

For two years following Nash's arrival, Tim and I made a decision to wait to try for a second child until the summer of 2016. Thanks to an unrelated doctor's appointment in June, it appeared the stars were aligning for our second child to make their presence a reality in the near future. It felt like the Lord was all over the timing of this decision. On July 11th we found out we were pregnant. I cried happy, excited tears as well as terrified tears to have 2 kiddos under the age of three. I simply could not wait to tell Tim that night and ran out to buy a "Big Brother" shirt for Nash to wear to surprise his dad that evening.

That pure joy and excitement lasted two days. Two days.

I will spare you details, but we have learned throughout my last two pregnancies that we don't get to be the family with stress-free pregnancies. By the grace of God, we can get pregnant, so I am NOT complaining at all, but our pregnancies bring a level of stress with them that keeps us from rushing out to buy clothes or paint nurseries. My body creates complications that result in extra ultrasounds and lots of fear. I have been told that my body is a mystery by three different medical professionals now, but thankfully I don't have to look far to see our vibrant two year old who keeps us clinging to the hope that it can happen successfully.

Over weeks of scares and threatened loss, I'd drop everything and rush to my amazing doctor's office only to find our baby viable, and then growing and then moving around as if waving to us. Every time I thought it was ending, there was that precious life still holding strong and that heartbeat that took my breath away each time. Yet again, I was carrying a fighter and was praising the Lord for His protection.

Thanks to a special blood test, on August 26th Tim and I found out we were having a girl. A GIRL! For as long as I can remember wanting to be a mom, I have wanted to have a daughter. I grew up daydreaming of having a boy first and then a girl. That way my boy would protect my girl.
On August 26th, my dream came true. I was brought to instant, happy tears and immediately prayed she'd stay healthy and with us.

With visions of amazingly cute headbands and dresses with bloomers, I fought the urge to rush out and shop. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't buy anything until we crossed into the 2nd trimester. At exactly 14 weeks I allowed myself to buy her four outfits and a frame for her room that read "You are Loved...Always."

Just four days later is when things started to take a turn. On the week of Sept. 19th, my 15th week, I saw the doctor every day, Monday-Thursday. On Monday we received scary news of a possible amniotic leak and an issue with my body that could cause pre-term labor at any point. The prognosis was not good and I was told that this was an emergency situation. The following day, a special ultrasound was scheduled and I went in thinking the worst. Cue the ultrasound and there she was moving around and growing right on track. Hallelujah! The specialist saw no rupture and again said "you're a mystery" and then sent us on our way with full hearts and answered prayers. On Wednesday, more scary symptoms arose which brought me back in to the doctor yet again. Still, things seemed okay.

Until they weren't.

On Thursday, I was again rushed back in for more miscarriage symptoms. I asked Tim to go with me "just in case", but in my heart I knew she'd be fine. She's always fine through the scares. So I laid back and waited while my doctor preformed a handheld ultrasound just to take a quick look. Thinking about that silence still makes me want to vomit.

After about 20 seconds of silence, I said "you're being too quiet for too long". And that was the last sentence I ever spoke before my life and my heart as I knew them changed. Probably forever.

"I'm quiet because I believe I'm looking at a baby who's passed away" replied my doctor. 13 words stole a part of my soul. 13 words will haunt me until I take my last breath.

I asked the nurse to get Tim from the waiting room and when he came through the door, I told him she was gone. My heart shattered again seeing his face. Disbelief and pain.

She was healthy and strong and my body failed to protect her. Disbelief and pain.

After we did a full ultrasound to confirm and to see her one last time, we were left with two options: deliver her in the hospital due to being too far along to deliver at home or opt for surgery. We asked for a night to process everything and make a decision as a family.  Our doctor granted us that request. So we went home and tried to decide between two totally sucky, crappy options. You see, when you become pregnant, you're given folders and resources to prepare you for welcoming your baby home. No one gives you a single pamphlet when your world comes crashing down. And there's certainly no good option for how to bring everything to a close. All options lead to empty arms and four cute little outfits hanging in an empty nursery.

With one night to make our decision, my body had a different plan and went into labor around 2am. I tried to ride it out until morning, but after 2 hours of contractions every 3 minutes, there was no slowing down this train. We arrived at the hospital at 4:30am on Sept. 23rd and were back at home by 5pm that evening. It was done. I was no longer carrying my girl and I was broken into a million pieces. Some pieces which may slowly start to come back together I'd imagine, but some of those pieces are gone. As my doctor shared with me, as he listened to my broken thoughts and my mental wrestling match of guilt on what I could've done differently, he looked me in the eyes and said "you're different now. You're always going to be different." And he was right. How had I become the 1-2% chance of losing my baby in the 2nd trimester? Why? How? I don't want to be different. I want to be the same I was three weeks ago. I want her back. I want HER. Period.

Over the last three weeks, I have ridden the waves of a sadness I never knew existed. I have been angry. Angry at myself and angry at God. I have questioned everything. Everything. I have second guessed ever trying again for fear of my body failing to protect another child. I have felt guilty for even thinking about trying again as it'll never bring back our girl. I have felt physical pain walking passed the closed door of her future nursery. And I have questioned Heaven more than I have in my 37 years combined. What is she doing there? Is she still tiny or is she the full image of who God created through us? Does she have my nose and her dad's blue eyes? Is she playing? Does she know she had parents who loved her, fought for her and prayed for her decades before she existed?
Does she even know her name?

One of the things that has brought me immense comfort has been to name our girl. She made it a long, eventful 15 weeks and we had known she was a girl for over a month. She needed a name. And not just any name, but a name fit for the Heavens, just like our daughter was fit for them.

By the grace of God and through a writer I had never heard of until 3 hours before we found out she was gone, I stumbled across one of the prettiest words I now know...Selah.
Selah, pronounced "Say-la" is a word woven into the Bible 74 times and with many translations. The one translation that struck me the most was "lifted up". With her being lifted straight up to Heaven from me, I just knew that was her name. There was no doubt in my mind that was her name. And Jayne, meaning "Gift from God", just made sense too.
So on Sept. 23, 2016, our daughter was named Selah Jayne, our lifted up gift from God.

If you've made it this far in this long story, thank you. You have helped make our Selah Jayne known and real on this earth and in turn, have made my heart known. This is by far the hardest thing I have gone through. I have a new found respect for parents who have suffered similar losses, and especially those who have lost a child, at any age, on this side of Heaven. My heart breaks for you and sees you. No one should know the pain, but also the loss of so many dreams and the countless "who would you have become" questions.  It's cruel and it's brutal and it steals something from you.

BUT, some day, thanks to Jesus' promises, we will see our babies and see their beautiful faces and hold their hands and hear their laugh for the first time. Oh how I cannot wait for that day! And we will get to tell them how incredibly loved they are and have been every day we took a breath. We will hold them and rock them and know them. THAT is what keeps me from losing all the hope. Because without that sliver of hope and Jesus, I'd be a goner.

Selah Jayne, you were tremendously loved long before your time and every day after. We talk about you daily and you are ever present in bedtime prayers with your brother. I am so proud and honored to be your mom and to have been chosen to carry you your whole life. I will live out of the words on your picture frame versus just hanging them on your wall. You are loved...Always.
I Love you,

PS...Special thank you to those of you who have been by our side through this journey. Your texts, calls, hugs, prayers, meals, tears, a shared book about Heaven, flowers and more, have brought comfort when I couldn't find it on my own and you made us feel less alone in our grief. Thank you. You mean the world to us. And to Tim, thank you for being our rock through your own pain. I couldn't ask for more.

PPS...If you've lost a baby too, please feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to pray for you and keep your little one in my heart too. I'm so very sorry. I see you.


Anonymous said...

I have a grandchild in heaven who was there to greet Selah. It was two years ago I was with my daughter in the Dr's office when we heard those terrible words. No heartbeat. Somehow we made it home. I still know an angel was driving the car that night. It gets a little easier, but not much. Prayers to you and your family and may God wrap his arms around you and give you peace.

Lara said...

Oh Brit.
My heart aches for you. For Tim. For little Nash. I wish I could hug you.
I will say a prayer for your family. Know that Selah will be with your family always. She is your angel.

Britney Thames said...

Brittany, Thank you for sharing. I am encouraged by you through your loss. Also what a beautiful choice for her name that also brings glory to God! Wow! I will be praying for you in the days to come.

Christina Woolsey said...

I do not know you, but I used to work with Tim a long time ago. I too have lost a child. My first. I will never forget the first sounds of his heartbeat and then not hearing anything. i am so sorry for your loss and thank you for your bravery at writing this. I will keep you all in my prayers. Please hold tight to your faith and God's wonderful promises.

Jan said...

I am so sorry about your little girl. A very long time ago, 1990 I lost a baby at the end of my third month. I had my two boys and wasn't planning on a third but after the shock I was so excited and wondered it this baby was a girl. I don't remember all the details, but I won't ever forget the ultrasound and words of no heartbeat. I was told to go home and wait for nature to take over. I too went to the hospital in the middle of the night for a DNC and got home in time for Christmas Eve. No words will truly help you through this journey. Time helps but that loss stays with you forever. Every year on that due date the sadness creeps up and reminds me. Embrace the hurt and pain because it is real. Talk about your baby girl as often as you want and do not worry if it makes anyone uncomfortable. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Jan Mark

Jane Duncan said...

That was a vary beautiful tribute to Selah Jayne. May God bless you and your family. I too, lost a child about 16 weeks along. I never knew the sex so I could not name the gift from God. But I do believe that child is in Heaven waiting to meet Mom someday. May God's gentle grace carry you and help relieve your pain. Blessings to all.

Amy Treneff said...

Beautiful. I love you.

Mama D said...

Dearest Britt - hard to read this with all the tears in my eyes. Our hearts ache for you and Tim. What a beautiful tribute you have written about our precious little granddaughter, Selah Jayne. I continue to pray for the "Young Freis" daily and hold you in my heart. I love you - Mama Dee

Abby said...

My prayers go out to you and your family. What a beautiful tribute to Selah. I read this post while waiting in line in a drive thru. While pulling away and turning the radio up K-Love began playing Broken Hallelujah. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo3DudOzV4k
I felt moved to share it with you in hopes it will touch you like it touched me.

Jim Lanigan said...

Dear Britt and Tim,
We lost our beautiful 3 year old daughter (Caitlin) suddenly. She choked on a piece of cake- what are the chances? Selah entered your life as a blessing and to deliver lessons no one else could. Unfortunately not everyone learns these lessons. If I had to go back, would I do it all again? Yes! Even when walking through the grief I wouldn't give up one minute of life with our daughter. Jim and I choose to reverse a procedure and thanks to the skills of the medical profession went on to have a third daughter Hope Victoria. We say she is Hope and Victory rolled into one. As you know, all children are precious,if we hold them in our arms or if they are sitting in God's lap. I'm sure Selah is smiling and giggling, looking down at all 3 of you and thanking you for giving her life. She is the one who will give you strength to get through this. Make her proud!
Ann Lanigan ( one of the GAWS- D'anna)

Kysa Lisitza said...

Thank you for sharing your heart break with us. Selah is such a beautiful name. I'm so sorry for your loss. You are in our prayers.

Brittany F. said...

Thank you for sharing your grandchild with me and I'm so very sorry for your painful loss and for your daughter's loss. I hate this for anyone who knows this pain and I'm sending hugs your way tonight.

Brittany F. said...

Thank you for your prayers and support, Lara! It means the world to me.

Brittany F. said...

Thank you, Britney. I appreciate you taking the time to read her story and for sharing your prayers with us. Thank you.

Brittany F. said...

First and most importantly, I am so very sorry for the loss of your first son. My heart aches knowing you had to hear that deafening silence too. I am sorry.
Thank you for reaching out and for your prayers and encouragement. They mean so very much.

Brittany F. said...

Jan, I'm so sorry to know you've suffered a loss too. And you're correct, there are no words that take away the pain, but your note and sharing your story helps knowing we're not alone. Thank you, too, for saying it's okay to talk about her as much as we want. Sometimes it feels like it's taboo to keep talking about it and her, but speaking her name helps so much. Thank you.

Brittany F. said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss, Jane. Thank you for sharing yours with me and trusting me with that. I can't wait for you to meet your sweet baby someday. I'm confident they're waiting for you. Hugs.

Brittany F. said...

Love you, A-Slice. Always.

Brittany F. said...

I know this is your loss too and I am grateful to be going through this with such a loving family. Thank you. Someday we'll all be together and you'll get to hug your MPG6. Love you.

Brittany F. said...

How have I missed this song? I've been glued to K-Love for weeks, but have missed this song! Thank you for sharing it with me. I have a feeling I'll be listening to this one often. Thank you so much.

Brittany F. said...

Ann, thank you for sharing both Caitlin and Hope Victoria with me. I'm heartbroken to hear of Caitlin's passing, but I'm grateful she had 3 years with you and was so loved.
I read your message outloud to Tim, through tears, and found comfort in the thought that we did give her life. I've been so struck by her life being cut short, that I didn't think about the truth that she gets to live in eternity because we were chosen to give her life. Thank you for giving me that perspective.

Brittany F. said...

Thank you, Kysa. And thank you for the beautiful flowers. They mean more than you know.

Alayna said...

No words to say but that I'm sorry. So so sorry.