Surviving is not Living

Strength in All Things

with 8 comments

I have doubted myself and what I can accomplish and get through for a long time. I have thought I was weak for a long time. I still do. I think about losing 180 pounds and it seems like such a big task, something I am not strong enough for.

And then I remember what I survived.

“To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

This is…

How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive”

Natalie Grant – “Held”


I was single, unmarried, working part time and struggling to pay my own bills and put food in my own mouth, let alone two mouths. He was a product of lust, not love, something I never planned to have happen. It wasn’t my dream. It wasn’t ideal. But from the moment I found out that this life lived inside of me, he is all I wanted. I knew I would struggle, that we wouldn’t have an easy life, but all that mattered was this baby. I knew that no matter what happened from then on out, he would always come first, and I would make whatever sacrifice necessary to provide him the best life I could. I also believed that his father would do his best also, and that although we wouldn’t raise him together, that we would both do our best to raise him well. I’ve come to find out I was right about that. Sometimes that makes the pain that much worse, to know there are so many children whose parents spend more time fighting each other than loving their children, and then to know my son would have had all the love in the world from two parents, that although they didn’t love each other, respected each other and would have provided a peaceful and respectful atmosphere for him to grow up in.

I had plans, and dreams, and hopes. I dreamt the biggest dreams for him, and for my life also. All of a sudden I realized I needed to be the best mom he could have. I made goals to be healthy, to finish school, to get a good job that could provide for him and be stable. I planned. I dreamt. I hoped.

And on the afternoon of Wednesday November 5, 2008, around 1:30 in the afternoon, they were murdered. And I felt like I died right along with them.  I heard the words that no woman ever wants to hear.

There’s no heartbeat.

I didn’t need to hear the words, at least not really. Maybe I needed them just so that what I already saw was real, but I saw the ultrasound, I saw my son not moving. I heard the silence. Over the 40 weeks I had gotten used to what his beating heart looked like on screen. I had learned the difference between the swooshing of the ultrasound or heart monitor and his heartbeat. I knew what I was seeing when I looked at the ultrasound screen and didn’t see the movement that looked like the flickering of a light. He was gone.

Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? Been hit in the gut?  It was like that, only not. It was a million times worse. It’s something I can’t really describe to you in a way you’d understand unless it’s happened to you, and if it hasn’t, I pray it never does.  My world stopped. I remember bringing my hands to my face to try not to scream as tears built up and spilled over. I held my breath and cried quietly, my body shaking, gasping to breathe, but trying not to make noise. I had two doctors in with me, they handed me Kleenex. I held my hands and the Kleenex over my face. (Even in a moment like that I was still worried about being seen doing the ugly cry. I really hate crying in front of people.)

I’m so sorry. Carrie I’m sorry.

They just kept repeating it. I guess even doctors, who I’m sure have seen it happen before, don’t know what to say in a moment like that. I remember watching Dr. Montgomery on Grey’s Anatomy breaking down when she had to tell a couple that their baby was dead. As critical as I can often be of doctors and the medical field in general, they do have hearts, and no matter how many times you deliver bad news, I can’t imagine it’s ever easy.

They asked me who they could call and I couldn’t even focus enough to answer. They said that Stacy was listed as the person to call in my file and I nodded when they asked if that’s who I wanted to call. They both left and I got off the table to get my purse and get my phone. My legs shook and I sat in the chair. As if on autopilot I started making phone calls. I called my boss at the time, who was a friend also. She sent someone to be with me since she couldn’t. Stacy also showed up.

My mind raced. It was like I was in a daze, but the thoughts still came.  What do I do now? What do I do with the baby stuff? How do I deal with this?  I need to breathe.  But how?

November 7 I met my beautiful son, and just as quickly as I finally got to say hello, I had to say goodbye. It is the hardest thing that I have ever lived through. It is a road I travel every day, a little bit further, a little bit easier. I have learned to live in a world where my son never got to. I have survived what would probably be every parent’s greatest fear. I am strong.

So why do I forget that so often?


Written by No More Tomorrows

July 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Baby Loss, Fear, Grief, Stories

8 Responses

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing Carrie! I was planning on posting something on strength today as well, I too feel like a weak person but, when I reflect on what I have been through I realize that is far from the case. Your story brought more than a few tears to my eyes, I am so sorry for your loss…You are STRONG


    July 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

    • I believe that all of us have far more strength than any of us realize. It’s when we’re forced to be strong that we can discover how much is there. I don’t wish for things to happen to teach us to rely on the strength we have, but when they do happen, as they inevitably will, it is my sincere hope that people would allow the brokenness to teach them who they are, and not let it defeat them.

      No More Tomorrows

      July 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

  2. […] had to do. People wonder how you survive something like that, loss of a young parent, a spouse, or a child. The answer is this, you just do. You wake up, get out of bed, and put one foot in front of the […]

  3. Hi Carrie, I just wanted to say I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. You ARE strong. I, too, have heard those dreaded awful words, “There is no heartbeat.” It was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through in my life. I lost my baby in March of 2004 and still it’s hard even though I’ve had three children since. It’s just isn’t fair and isn’t right and there is nothing that can ever completely heal a wound that deep.

    I love that Natalie Grant song by the way. Glad to have “met” you on our mutual blogs! Hope to hear more from you in the future!

    The Chick

    July 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    • Thank you. I’m so sorry for your loss as well. 2 and a half years later, I’m learning that the pain never goes away. It changes, and life becomes livable again, but it’s never gone. People don’t understand that. I’m grateful for the support I’ve had from other babylost mommas, but I hate that anyone else has ever had to endure this. There was supposed to be a conference here in Denver this October, but plans fell through. There’s another angel momma and I who really want to see it happen, so I want to pick up the reigns and see it come together. I will keep you posted. I’m not sure where you live or if a trip to Denver would be feasible, but I will definitely get you the details when it comes about.

      No More Tomorrows

      July 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

      • This post was so touching, Carrie. I had a very similar experience…not heartbeats on the ultrasound, and my twin boys were gone. I didn’t even know how to breathe. I just cried, and sobbed, and then I had to deliver them. NO ONE can imagine that pain except someone who has been there. How do you do that? Deliver a child and know they will never take a breath? You just do.

        Your blog is incredible, Carrie. Again, thank you for sharing your story.


        October 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

      • Thank you for your comments. You’re right, we just do it. What other choice did we have? We didn’t.

        Thank you for visiting my page. 🙂

        No More Tomorrows

        October 4, 2011 at 11:02 am

  4. […] for about 6 years and despite that I was still able to get pregnant and carry to term. The stillbirth of my son doesn’t seem to be because of my PCOS, at least according to my doctors. But lately, things […]

    Refocus « NoMoreTomorrows

    August 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

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