On This Side of 1 in 1,000

one in 1,000One of the many questions that I sobbed to our doctor immediately after the news of our baby’s death was, “What happened?”

I knew I had made it past the magical “12 week mark” where supposedly, the chance of losing a baby drops to less than 1%. That’s pretty low. More specifically, only about 1 in 200 babies die after the first trimester.  It seems like the odds are really for you at that point in pregnancy. As I questioned my doctor from the ultrasound table that day, he explained that while he didn’t know the cause yet, it was indeed “very rare” to have a death at this point in gestation.

When Esther was born, and the cause of her death was very clearly an umbilical cord accident, I learned that this was even more rare. I can’t find any exact numbers that agree on UCA statistics because no one knows for sure. But I have seen figures in more than one place that suggest somewhere around 1 in 1,000 unborn babies die from cord accidents.

I don’t know about you, but hearing a 1 in 1,000 risk of something doesn’t normally scare me too much. I guess I’ve always figured that I’ll be in the 999, right?

During pregnancy, I have noticed there are plenty of statistics everywhere. Statements like:

“The chances of having a baby with______ are _______,” OR

“If you are_____ than you have a _____ percent chance of having this problem.”

It seems like numbers to scare or haunt pregnant women are looming in every doctor’s office, pregnancy book, magazine, and website. Yet we all know that the vast majority of pregnancies end well. In my mind, pregnancy had always equaled a healthy baby to bring home nine months later. But on February 12, my whole perspective on pregnancy changed forever.

All the numbers have a whole new meaning to me now.

A little journal the hospital gave me after Esther’s delivery said it so plainly,

“Don’t quote statistics. I am that one, and to me, that is all there is.”

I guess I never thought I would be the one – the one who experienced such a rare problem that led to my baby’s death.

A few weeks after we lost Esther, I found myself wondering what it will be like to be pregnant again someday. Honestly, it is really hard to imagine. One of the first things my mind tried to figure was, since I have already lost my precious Esther, I have fulfilled the statistic, so now I have no chances of losing another baby, right? But obviously that reasoning doesn’t work. Next time I’m pregnant, I will be facing all the same looming numbers of everything that can go wrong, yet now from the first hand experience of just how bad it can be.

Now all of the 1 in 200, 1 in 100, and 1 in 50 statistics try to scare me out of my mind. They seem like such large numbers, being 5, 10, and 20 times more common than what happened to me. Not only am I struggling to come to terms with our tragic loss, but the mountains of “far out” risks don’t seem quite as far out. The view from this side of 1 in 1,000 just looks so different. It will never be the same and I can’t change that.

So as I continue living in the challenging, yet special role of being a mommy, I am faced with two options:

1. Cave into the monstrous fears and doubts trying to overshadow every corner of my mind OR

2. Keep trusting my God on this mothering journey.

No matter what, looking ahead to future pregnancies is hard. I don’t know what it will be like. But I’m sure if I allow the worries to take over, I could literally go crazy.

I know the only good option is to continue trusting my heavenly Father on this journey. My mind can’t work hard enough to find the peace I am looking for, and my heart can’t muster up the strength I need. But my Daddy is bigger than the pain, He is greater than any problem. I can take the fears to Him. I can take the statistics to Him. I can take the hurt to him. I can take the helplessness to Him. I can take the worry to Him.

As I lay everything at His feet, the burden I have to carry becomes so much lighter, and I hear Him beckoning me…

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I want His easy yoke. I need His light burden. I choose His rest.

I’d like to hear from you.

– If you have experienced a loss, what has it felt like being on the other side of a tragic statistic?

– What has gotten you through the most difficult days?

– And what gives you hope for the future?

Comments

  1. Christie says:

    Thank you for writing this blog. I’m sorry you had to go through such heartache (and still are) in order to write such wonderful things. Your daughter Esther would be proud. I have been following a couple of these now and they help me get through those really rough days and the good days. It’s comforting to know others feel the same. Here is a bit of our story.
    We lost our son at 39 weeks. The nurse found no heartbeat at a weekly checkup and we induced the next day. I remember thinking why?? Why us?? Having to go through labor knowing I would never hear our son cry is a horrible experience that no mother should have to do. There was a small part of me that hoped the doctor was wrong and he would cry when he came out. I really don’t know how we made it through those next few days with planning a small funeral. Instead of picking out more baby clothes we had to pick out a headstone. I know that we have had a lot of people praying for us. It has definitely helped. It’s been almost seven long weeks but they have seemed to fly by. On my bad days I still can’t believe it happened. It’s almost as if I’m living someone else’s life. I have read a lot of other angel mom stories and knowing some of them have had other babies gives me hope. I also like reading scripture verses when I feel down and when I don’t.

    • Kalyn from Mommy's Heavenly Dream says:

      Christie,

      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you found my blog, but I am so sorry for the loss of your son. Losing a child is truly a pain beyond words. I can really relate to feeling like you are in someone else’s life. Now more than 3 months out from my loss, on some days, I still can’t believe this has really happened to me. I’m glad to hear that you have had people praying for you and that you have found strength from the Scriptures. I pray that that you find hope again.

      -Kalyn

  2. I enjoy reading your posts and can relate to the things you are saying and feeling. Friday I thought how could have been only 5 weeks, it seems like so long ago some days.
    For me I have felt we had a miscarriage already so when I was pregnant this time I thought surely we wouldn’t have another one. I ask myself why a lot too.
    I have a blog post I’m working on about a card I got after our loss that has helped me so much go through the hard days. I also cry, journal, pray, and share my questions and fears with my husband.
    Also, I wanted to share this with you. In a previous comment I recommended the book Silent Grief, I read it after our first loss. I signed up at that time to get the author’s Hope for the Day email, which comes once a week. They had stopped coming for a long time and then just a few weeks ago they started up again when I needed to read the hopefulness of them. Here is the link: http://www.clarahinton.com/

    Bethany

  3. Hi Kayln,

    Thank you for writing this blog in memory of your sweet Esther and the journey your family has taken since she was born into Heaven. It has given me a lot of hope to read your writings. My wife and I recently experienced the tragic loss of our beautiful son, Noah Flynn, in December. He was 38 wks, 4 days, and passed away from causes of placental insufficiency. We later found that he was growth restricted and that my wife has a blood-clotting gene mutation called MTHFR, which may have played a role as well in Noah’s passing. All that I can say five months later is that it hasn’t gotten any easier, we have tremendous grief, but like you, we believe in Jesus. It’s just been so hard for me to not ask the same “what-if” questions a thousand times a day. Like you, I believe my son had a purpose in this life, even if it was to alert us to the gene mutation by wife has and bring us closer together, and thus closer to God. I think the hope we hold in the future is that we want more children. We have a two and a half year old son now, who loved his brother deeply. We want to give him a sibling here on earth, knowing that he will always have Noah up above. The thing that gets me through each hard day, is the promise that we will see our Noah again in Heaven. That will indeed be a joyous reunion! Blessings to you and your family, I will keep you in my prayers!

    Sincerely,
    John

    • Kalyn from Mommy's Heavenly Dream says:

      John,

      I’m glad that you found my blog. I am so very sorry to hear the loss of your son, Noah Flynn. Wow, to carry him to full term and then lose him must be hard in so many different ways. My heart goes out to you. I have thought about you and your wife often since reading your comment. I am so glad to hear of your faith in Jesus. He is truly the only Rock in these horrible tragedies. In the darkest times, I remind myself that even though my life and my world have changed forever, He remains the same. I understand the “what if” questions. They are hard to live with. Yes, we will see our children again one day. My husband and I cling to that promise everyday. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Once again, I am so sorry that you and your wife are having to walk through this pain. My prayers are with your family.

      Blessings to You,
      Kalyn

  4. I just stumbled across your blog after you posted a link to it on babycenter. I found out at my 20-week ultrasound (in January 2013) that my baby boy did not have a heartbeat. He had been gone for about a month, so it was quite a shock. My doctor tested for several probable causes, but everything came back normal, and all the blood tests we took when I was pregnant came back normal as well. So I too went through the delivery process and it was heartbreaking. The Lord has sustained us through it all. I do have 4 children, but it’s a myth that other children somehow compensate for the one you lost. I will say that the second I found out we lost him, my first thought was, “I need to have another baby.” As soon as I got the all clear from the doctor, we began trying. So that has been my hope. Thinking of having the privilege of receiving another gift from God. It has been an emotional struggle though because it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s been 3 months of actively trying. So the hope rises and falls each month. Ultimately I trust in Him, but sometimes it’s just harder to cope than others. His due date was this past weekend so it’s been harder lately. Knowing that God watched His own son suffer and die comforts me in that he knows my pain, and we are called to share in Christ’s suffering, for His glory is also my strength. Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s quite a blessing. :)

    • Kalyn from Mommy's Heavenly Dream says:

      Angie,
      I’m so sorry for the loss of your baby boy. I’m glad that your faith in God has given you strength. You are very right, having other children does not at all lessen the pain of losing a baby. I imagine that walking through your son’s due date week must be very hard. As Esther original due date gets closer, I feel huge waves of sadness that are different than before. God does know our pain. He is the only one who truly understands.

      Praying that you find hope and receive another little gift from above,
      Kalyn

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