Lucky in Loss

What does luck mean to you? 

Are you lucky? Unlucky?  What is the story you tell about yourself? 

Our brain is really good at picking out the things that don’t go right in our lives.  It thinks it is protecting us. And it’s kind of lazy.  It’s easier to notice the negatives, right?

It takes a bit of effort to see the good.  It takes practice to find the silver linings on the seemingly cloudy days. 

And I’m not saying we should always be positive, or tell ourselves things are great when they are not.

What I am saying is, you get to choose what you think, and you then create results in your life.  When you think you are unlucky, or that God or the Universe is picking on you, how do you feel?  How do you show up in your life? And what is your result?

What if you believed that you were lucky?  What would your brain notice if it was always on the lookout for what went right, instead of what went wrong?

We all know people who fit in both categories…the friend who seems to always be a victim to life’s circumstances, and the one who wins at everything. 

It’s easier to see this in other people, but look at yourself. It’s really interesting to notice this as you go through your day.

This week my daughter Lauren would have been six.  She was due on St. Patrick’s day.  She was my lucky baby.  I had no reason to be concerned during her pregnancy.  Facebook keeps sending me memories of how oblivious I was.  Just the regular tired, huge, excited, getting ready for baby posts.  

As I have gone through this experience, from day one, I had the choice to look at what happened as lucky or unlucky.  And different days I probably believed both.  I’ll tell my story briefly both ways:

I always had my appointment on Tuesdays.  Every time my doctor would check on the baby with a portable ultrasound.  But then he stopped doing that the last few weeks.  I don’t know why! If he would have, maybe she wouldn’t have died.  Maybe we could have seen an issue with the placenta.  He had something the last appointment so I was moved to Thursday.  On Tuesday we went hiking and on a 4 wheel drive road.  I will never know if I would have noticed her not kicking earlier if we would have been home for my doctor’s appointment, or if we would have caught something happening.  I wonder if the bumpy road did something. It was our fault!  Tuesday night I thought I was feeling contractions.  I didn’t want to go in to the hospital until I was about ready to deliver, I wanted to labor at home.  If I wouldn’t have been so set on that, maybe I would have gotten checked.  Maybe something would have been different, I could see the hospital from my window and I just walked around in the night and didn’t go in.  In the morning when contractions were no longer happening, we called in to make an appointment to check on the baby.  The receptionist didn’t tell us to come right in, she made an appointment for hours later!  I still don’t know why.  And I don’t know why we didn’t just go in.  When we did finally hear those words, “there is no heartbeat”  it was too late.  I was walked straight back to start induction.  Why didn’t I go home to talk to my kids or process for a minute or grab a toothbrush?  If only things would have been different, we could have saved her.    Why did everything go wrong?

How does that story feel? How does it compare to your story?  Even typing it out that way makes me feel sick to my stomach.   I did have all those thoughts at one time or another.  But I knew staying in that headspace was not going to work.

Here is another way to look at this story.

My first four pregnancies were mostly uneventful.  I did not struggle being pregnant, I was lucky not to deal with a lot of symptoms so many women do.  I even thought about being a surrogate because I didn’t hate it, and I was pretty good at making beautiful babies! With Lauren’s pregnancy everything seemed fine.  We were so lucky we got to see the baby every appointment. Our doctor was so good and we had a great relationship.  We were hoping I would go into labor on my own but if not we would strip my membranes at the next appointment.  I was confident in my birth plan after 3 inductions, I was going to do this one the way I wanted. My mom was in town already so we decided to spend Tuesday hiking in Canyonlands National park. It was a gorgeous spring day, I felt healthy, I was excited to maybe hike this baby right out! The views were spectacular and we took a picture of our family together. I’m so glad we have that picture before everything changed.  That night I was so excited to feel some contractions. I didn’t want to wake anyone, but I was imagining my kids waking up to find out they had their new little sister.  I did exactly what I had planned, walking, timing, and preparing for baby.  Everything was washed and ready to go for her.  I had plans to go out for the day Wednesday with my husband, but we changed them so I could be close to the hospital.  I usually went to all my appointments alone, but because we were going to spend the day together my husband was able to come with me to that last appointment. I am forever grateful he was holding my hand the entire time.  The doctors and nurses were so kind. I think we were all just in shock.  One nurse said it was ok for me to eat something even while being induced. That was such a little thing that meant so much.  All of this happened during Spring Break, but my friend who had just recently started to do hospital visits for pregnancy loss was home.  She was able to bring two other ladies to do pictures and hand and feet prints.  They were all there.  Another friend who had lost her baby had started making tiny caskets, and they were also home.  We were able to go get a hand built beautiful casket for our girl.  My in-laws already had purchased cemetery plots after the death of their daughter years before, so we knew Lauren would be safe there. The monument company donated our headstone for free.  So, so many little things came together to help us during that incredibly hard time. I know we were blessed in countless ways. I don’t believe in coincidences.  I can’t after all the little miracles we saw. Even the timing with my appointment and our activities, I believe that everything happened because that was how it was supposed to. I don’t think we were supposed to save her. Her life was complete. I felt a peace I can’t describe even as we walked through our worst fear. My faith brings me hope that all of this is not the end, and that we will see our daughter again.  And someday we will get to know all the whys.   For all of this, I am so grateful.

Both of these stories are true.  But I choose the one where we are lucky.  In a month of shamrocks and rainbows and daffodils that remind me of Lauren, these thoughts bring me comfort and help me move forward.  And I’m not just telling myself something I don’t believe.  I believe.  And you can too. 

This week, notice how lucky you are. How lucky you were. Even in the tough times. 

Happy Birthday sweet girl.  We love you. 

I am still raising money for Teeny Tears in honor of Lauren’s birthday.   If you would like to donate just $6 please click here

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