Friday, August 7, 2015

Documenting Grief and Loss

I, along with the whole scrapbooking community, have been deeply saddened and affected with the sudden loss of Heidi Swapp's son.  Though we've never met, I feel a connection to her as do many others.  I remember being excited when her first line of products hit the market; I remember being in Boston as they expanded into the AC Moore and Michaels stores; I remember meeting and making mutual friends in the expatriate community when they lived in Beijing; and I have admired her example as a member of the Church.

I happened to be reading the details of her son's funeral as I sat in the waiting room waiting for my 12-week ultrasound appointment.  I was crying for her loss, reading also about how she plans to move forward documenting life which she is so passionate about.

Little did I know I was minutes away from experiencing my own loss and overwhelming grief.  The doctor pulled up the ultrasound and said, "Hello, baby!"  It looked as I expected it to - round head, visible feet, body, and tiny arms.  But soon she grew concerned, asking me if I had experienced any bleeding or pain.  "Can you see the heartbeat?" I asked her, but I knew from the look on her face that she couldn't. I had experienced a silent miscarriage, (no indication except for lack of heartbeat), most likely the day or two prior, judging by the size of the baby.  Looking back, I wish I would have asked her to print that final image. It's body so clearly outlined as it lay still.

I went in to the appointment with much excitement because I knew that I was going to get the genetic testing done to determine gender.  The kids were away at YMCA day camp eagerly awaiting my arrival with news.  The hardest part of it all was telling them in the car on the way home.  We all cried together, their minds not quite comprehending. Their simple faith knew that something must be wrong with the machine and determined not to believe the baby had died until I could be tested again.  I told them that I would go to the doctor again in a couple of days to have the baby removed.

Explaining that process to delicate, inquiring minds is difficult.

A week has passed and I was faced with what to do with the few ultrasound pictures that I did possess.  So, I decided to document it as a memory I don't want to forget, and one I can look back on and cherish, even though it isn't necessarily a happy time in my life.

Here is my final page (based upon a design from Nancy Damiano).


Deb said...

Love you guys! I am glad you are documenting is and will be an important part of your life. I still have the pictures of our four called embryo from our first IVF that didn't work. I haven't wanted to get rid of it because even at four cells, there was a feeling of loss. I can't even imagine how you feel! Love you guys dearly! XO

travisboyerfamily said...

That is hard. Sorry to hear about this tough time. My wife and I have been through 3 of these. We will pray for you--and know how hard this can be.

K W said...


I am so sorry you are such a wonderful person and so strong. I know that this hurts but always remember you will see them in the eternities and they will be a part of your eternal family for y'all to love there. I almost cried reading the things that you wrote. Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and I love you very much. Give each other a hug for me. Love Always, Kathy Woodrow

Nancy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this Shirlee! What a hard thing; I'll keep your family in my prayers. Thanks for being so open—sharing can be therapeutic, I think (both you and others who are hurting).

Scott and Tobi said...

I am so sorry. I experienced the same thing at 14 weeks along. My oldest son was so disappointed with me since this was the second miscarriage in a row. I was all alone because I had not expected the terrible news. I so wish it could have been different for you. May the Lord and knowledge of an Eternal life be your comfort at this time.


Valina Albiston said...

Shirlee, my heart aches for you! I am so very sorry you have to go through this. You are amazing!


emilyaaa said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. I know how much you'd been wanting this baby. My heart aches for you, for your kids, for Dave. You all are in our prayers.