Note: #OurBorrowedAngels is a series I will continue on my blog. If you have experienced the loss of a child, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, infancy, or an older child, I would love to share your story. Contact me if you are interested and be sure to check out out this giveaway honoring October 15th’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.
My name is Kim Foster. I am married to an AMAZING man, Cory Foster. When we got married I became a mom to the sweetest little boy on this planet. He is now 6, his name is Ryan. He is the light of my life especially in my darkest hours. He deepened my desire to be a mother to even more children. It is my hope that sharing my story will help even just one person find comfort in the most difficult trial or that readers will be able to mourn with those who mourn in an appropriate way.
On my 24th (Feb 12th) birthday, I woke up to take a pregnancy test thinking I would yet again be sad by seeing the negative sign. I remember thinking I was seeing things because within seconds, two pink lines appeared! I put on clothes that were on the floor from the night before, didn’t even brush my hair or look in the mirror and ran out the door to drive to my husband’s work to let him know the news! We had been trying to get pregnant for a year with no luck and no answers from doctors so the joy was out of this world! (Clomid did the trick)
At just 4 weeks I started to feel nauseous. Nobody believed me. They said it was way too early. Well, they were wrong! I went in at eight weeks and by this time toast and ginger ale were my only friends. The doctor did an ultrasound and said, “You see that? That’s your baby!” I looked and thought how amazing it was. I then asked, “Well, why is there another circle right next to it that looks the same?” He replied, “I was just going to point that out to you. I can tell it’s another sack but I don’t see anything in it. It’s too early to tell at this point if there is another baby or if it is another sack that didn’t take an egg.” (Readers should know that at fourteen years-old, I told my mom I KNEW I was having twins.) I went home and showed everyone the ultrasound. Nobody could really make up their minds. I went back in a few weeks later. This time on March twenty-first, my husband joined me because it was our one-year anniversary (also significant because it is his older brother’s birthday, who passed away two years prior to our wedding). The doctor found our baby’s heartbeat and it was so fun to hear it! We were so excited. He tried to find a second one and had no luck. He said he didn’t think there was two and my heart sank. He took us back to the ultrasound and boy was he wrong!! The second he started imaging, there was no doubt that there were two little nuggets swimming around in there!! I started laughing so hard! I was out of my mind thrilled! They sent us over to hospital imaging to confirm there were two and they did just that!
March, April, and part of May brought new challenges… I was so sick! I couldn’t even keep down water for more than 10 minutes. I didn’t care though; I had wanted this for so long! All my doctor appointments went so well. Every doctor I saw said I had an ideal twin pregnancy. Everything was always perfect and they never found anything wrong. I saw more doctors and had more ultrasounds than a normal pregnancy because it was twins.
Anticipating the Gender
Then came time for the gender. I wanted one of each but would for sure be happy with whatever I got. It was a few days before Mother’s Day. Well, I got what I hoped for. One of each! After we found out, we went on a short vacation to St. George, UT. Being in the pool was the best thing that had ever happened to my back. Taking the weight off for a while was so nice. We also went wild and bought baby clothes for the first six months of their lives! When we came home, we showed them off to everyone. My sweet little sister is serving a Mission in Kobe, Japan, and we were able to Skype with her on Mother’s Day to tell her the news. She was out of her mind excited! We figured they would be about six months-old when she got home. How fun would that be?
We planned a big gender reveal party for May 21st. At this point I finally felt ok and was able to keep most food down. I had a blast getting everything ready: black balloons with one having pink confetti and the other blue. I went in for a checkup a few days before. They asked if I knew the gender and I said, “Sure do! One of each!” As they were doing the ultrasound she kept referring to baby A as our boy when I knew that wasn’t the case before. I thought maybe they just moved or something. When she started the ultrasound on baby B I saw… and I knew…. I wasn’t having a little girl. I didn’t say anything in hopes that I was wrong, but she confirmed what I was thinking. I immediately broke into tears, I felt like something had been taken away from me. I couldn’t believe how sad I was. It took me about twenty-four hours to get over the fact that I wasn’t having a girl. After I finally humbled myself and realized I was going to be a mom of boys, I couldn’t hardly stand how excited I was! We picked out names, I went and changed the pink balloon to blue, returned all the girl clothes for boys and emailed my sweet sister. I had to get ready for the party, which turned out amazing! It was perfect in every way. So many people came out to support us by bringing diapers and being there for the big reveal. People were just as shocked as I’d been when the balloons were shot (with a bow and arrow) and blue confetti went everywhere twice! I remember that night feeling like I was on cloud nine. I went to bed with no cares in the world. I was finally living the dream. I have an amazing husband, the best 6-year-old anyone could ask for and two perfect boys on the way! Life was bliss.
On Sunday, June 5th, I was having an off day. I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t feel good, and my back kind of hurt. I’d had off days before so I thought nothing of it. Monday, June 6th, the pain in my back hurt a little more but I thought that was normal because my babies were getting bigger! I went with my mom that morning to get pedicures (no foot rub) thinking that soaking my feet would help me relax. It was also my dad’s birthday so we were planning on what to do for dinner that night. Before we left, I asked her to take pictures of my bump because I hadn’t done that in over a month. The pedicure helped me relax a bit. My mom asked if I wanted to go shopping and I said I was still really tired and just wanted to lay down. So she took me home and I got a heating pad for my back and laid down. An hour or so later my mom called me from my dad’s phone to ask if I could go over to her house and see if her phone was there (I lived in the apartment at my parents’ house). I walked over, found her phone, then talked to my brother. While talking to him my back was in pain. I looked down and could see, not feel my stomach contracting. This was happening every 30 min or so. I called my doctor and he said it was normal but that I could come in really fast and get checked if I feel I needed to. Yes, yes I did feel that way. I had my brother take me down thinking everything was ok and that I was paranoid. I was wrong. So very wrong.
My doctor came in very relaxed and said what I was experiencing sounded normal but that he would check anyway. It didn’t take him more than 3 seconds to look at me and say “Kim, we need to get you to the hospital now, I can see one of your water sacks and that is not a good sign.” I never in my life wanted to throw up, scream, cry, and freak out all at the same time. We did a quick ultrasound on my boys and they were PERFECTLY FINE. Nothing was wrong with them. Miracle of all miracles that day was when I called my parents and they were already around the corner from my doctor’s office, which is not a road they usually travel. They rushed and picked me up. My dad got me to the hospital in no time. My husband was there waiting. The entire ride to the hospital, I kept saying over and over, “I can’t do this. I can’t lose these babies. What would be the purpose in living if I lose them?” Many ultrasounds, insensitive doctors, test, and thousands of tears later, I was told they were going to monitor me overnight. This gave me hope. They gave me hope. The next morning I felt SO good. My doctor came in to tell me my blood work came back so good and that I was doing great, so he was hopeful. I called my mom to tell her the good news. He then put on the contraction belt. Not even twenty minutes later, he came back in and gave me the worst news of my entire life. I was going to lose my babies.
There are so many details that played into the medical side of things, including a number of things that were done wrong over the course of those two days, but it’s not something I wish to dwell on when talking about my sweet boys.
11 AM on June 7th, 2016, I was induced at 5 ½ months along. When I was told I was going to lose my babies that day, there are no words to describe what I felt. I just looked at my husband with all the pain of the world in my heart. He immediately grabbed onto me and we both lost our emotions with each other. There is NOTHING in this world I wouldn’t give to have my boys. I say that because I will soon be talking of the many blessings we have received since. In that moment we became closer than we ever had been. He was the only human on earth that knew exactly what I was feeling. This is something we had to go through together. That day we had a very frank conversation that we would not shut down on each other, right then or in the excruciating months to come. We had to be one another’s rock.
We realized we had to pick names. We had some chosen but they did not feel right. We went back and forth and couldn’t think of anything. A few hours later and some really neat experiences, we came up with the names Aaron and Owen. Family names that mean so much to us.
At 7:44 PM, Aaron made his appearance. He returned to our Father in Heaven at 8:44 PM. Owen then made his debut at 9:15 PM and then went to be with his brother at 10:15 PM. Their birth was the most beautiful and sacred experience I have ever had. The feeling in our room was that of an army of angels surrounding us. Heaven on earth. (That feeling stayed with us for the next few weeks) We were being comforted and loved by so many loved ones who have passed. The details are so special and personal, I’m not ready to share them at this point in the grieving process.
Nobody could have prepared my husband and I for the moment we had to tell our son. He had no idea any of this was happening. He was dropped off at our house and immediately knew something was wrong. He is a very empathetic little boy. We walked him inside and I prayed to have all the strength in the world to know what to say to him. By the guidance of the spirit, we were able to tell him his brother returned to be with their Father and Heaven and Uncle Cam. (Cory’s brother who had passed away 3 years prior. Ryan still has a very special sacred connection with him.) He was very understanding and was “trying to be so strong for mommy” is what he said before he broke down. He cried and cried. It broke my heart. There was nothing I could do but hold my sweet boy. The hospital sent home a teddy bear for him that was “from his brothers”. He still sleeps with it every night. He is very protective of it.
After the Loss
The months to come brought challenges. My parents sold their house, which meant we had to move. We moved in with my in-laws, 1st grade started, soccer season started, I went back to work, medical bills started rolling in and so many more things kept piling on. Through it all we had so many people, friends, strangers and so many more reach out to us with comfort, gifts, donations and so much more. We are forever grateful to all of you who put effort into letting us know you are there for us.
I think the most important thing I want to share with any moms out there who have lost a child is first, I’m so sorry this is a trial that you have to endure. Second IT HURTS. I was so tired of people not acknowledging how bad it hurts before they would go off about how lucky I am to know there is a plan and that God was in control. That’s nice and all, but that doesn’t take away the fact that I hurt now! I want my babies now! I’m kind of mad at God in the moment and that is ok! Its normal. The trick is finding the joy in such a horrible experience. YOU have to make the choice on if this experience is going to destroy you or make you grow. I still have moments where I want to stay in bed all day, I am not saying every day will be hunky-dory if you make the choice to find joy, but it will continue to become “normal” and happiness always follows the choice to find joy in the small things. I had a friend tell me that the hardest part of loss is finding your new normal and that summed up my feelings perfectly. I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to for my Husband, my son, my sweet angel babies and all those who I would come in contact throughout my life. I have already had moments where I was able to grieve with other mothers, find comfort in their words and feel like someone understood.
I have turned my full heart to my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ. They know what I am going through, they know what I need and when I need it. I could write a book about the many miracles that have surrounded us in the last four months.
For those who are comforting a mother and father who have suffered a loss, be mindful. Pray before you speak to them. Let them know you are there to mourn with them. Mourning with them has to come before you can comfort.
Remember it is YOUR CHOICE on how this excruciating trial is going to form the course of your life. Let it be positive. Give you heart to the Savior and I promise you, you will find peace. The pain does not go away and I believe that it’s a wound that will never be healed until the day I am able to hold my sweet boys again, but there are things I can do now to clean the salt out of the wound. There are things others will do, there are things the Lord will give to you. Trust him.
*Note from Erica Kiefer: Kim describes so well the joys and expectations of pregnancy. The eager anticipation of birth is enough to carry us through the difficulties that come with sharing our bodies! It is this love that makes the loss of these little ones enough to tear us apart. I also appreciate how Kim is not hesitant to recognize the pain, yet also acknowledges the gift of choice and how that can impact our healing experience. Thank you for sharing your boys with us.