Monday, November 9, 2015

The Life and Loss of Phoenix Bliss Collelo

My Phoenix Bliss went into the arms of Jesus on November 7th, 2015.

I found out I was expecting the day after labor day. It was really early, but I was too excited to keep it to myself, so we announced the very next week when I was only 5 weeks along. Finding out so early, I definitely had more concerns about having a miscarriage, but I just prayed for peace and protection and tried to tune those worries out. Each day has enough trouble of it's own, right? I didn't want to let fear steal my joy. I had been praying and believing for twin girls and I was hoping it was them.

At 10 weeks, I went in for an ultrasound. The tech found a gestational sac but no baby. She was completely positive about it and said my dates were probably off, that's all. When we got home, I looked at the calendar and checked my dates. No, I was 10 weeks. I couldn't be any less. As a doula, I know enough about pregnancy to know that by 10 weeks there should be an easily visible little peanut with a heartbeat. It didn't take long for me to end up in a sobbing mess on the floor in my prayer room, praying and declaring LIFE and God's promises. I asked a lot of people to pray with me. On Monday, when I went to my doctor, she only briefly mentioned the possibility of a miscarriage based on the ultrasound. She scheduled a follow up ultrasound to verify that the pregnancy was okay, but she was very clear that miscarriage was not something I needed to worry about at that point. I am so very grateful to them that they did not add any doubt or fear, but that they spoke words of encouragement that allowed me to cling to hope. Even though I didn't get the outcome I wanted, I'm thankful that they didn't take that hope from me.

Almost two weeks later, I had some bleeding in the evening. I prayed, my husband prayed, many others prayed, and the bleeding stopped! The next night, it started again. I didn't really tell anyone but my husband that time, partly because I didn't want to admit that it had come back after we had prayed and partly because I didn't want to acknowledge what I was thinking was simply a fear tactic of the enemy (because bleeding happens sometimes and everything is still fine).

I was up late on Friday evening and happened to listen to a podcast called "Living in Peace" by Kris Vallotton. I know that was arranged by God. I needed those words because of what was to come in the morning. I was cramping that evening, and in denial about it. I kept trying to convince myself the pain was from something else, but it was hard to sleep.

When I finally gave up on sleep around 5:30 am and got up, I was horrified at the amount of blood I was losing. No, no, no, no, no! After about an hour with no let up, spent breathing through the cramps/contractions, crying and praying, I texted my family and prayer warriors to pray and got Nathaniel up to take me to the ER. In his sleep deprived state, he didn't understand the urgency and wanted me to lay down a while longer, to wait and see. I was still in denial but I felt concerned enough that I called my sister Rachel who is a nurse. Thankfully, she answered. I could hardly choke the words out as my voice broke. It made it too real to describe to her what was happening. She agreed that I needed to go in right away. (She later told me that I probably would have had ended up arriving in an ambulance if we had waited.)

I was feeling lightheaded as we left, and by the time we got to the ER, my systolic blood pressure was only 75 (that's the higher number!) and the nurse doing triage was immediately paging the head ER nurse and wheeling me right in. I sensed the blood loss was serious and their urgency confirmed it. They put two IVs in me to push fluids in and drew blood. I protested a little because I hate needles, but eventually I had to focus on just breathing because I was ready to pass out while already lying down because of my low blood pressure. [You can laugh at me on that one. I know it's ridiculous! On the verge of passing out from blood loss, and still protesting a needle in my arm!]

They were preparing me for the possibility of a d&c (a surgery to clear out the uterus so it can clamp down and stop bleeding) and a blood transfusion. The doctors and nurses were all so sweet and kind and gentle, very empathetic. They told me over and over, "We're so happy you came in so we can get you safe, but we're so, so, so sorry for why you're here. This is so awful." The poor ER doctor told me she had experienced 4 miscarriages and apologized if she seemed to be acting strange as she gets a little PTSD in these kinds of situations. (She had no reason to apologize, she was wonderful!) Even with all the bleeding, against all hope, I in hope believed (Romans 4:18), and so they agreed to do an ultrasound to verify so that I could have peace if we needed to go forward with a d&c. Thankfully, the little placenta came out a little while after the ultrasound and the bleeding began to slow.

When the placenta came out, I asked the OB if there was a baby that I could see? Apparently, something went wrong very early in the development so that the gestational sac & placenta grew, but my baby didn't develop enough to be visible. That was a little disappointing, but I was thankful to I know I hadn't flushed my baby. I had been worried about that.

Shortly after that, Nathaniel went home to take care of the boys, so Laura could go to work. While he was gone, I posted on Facebook for prayers, texted updates, read responses & cried. Emotionally, the hardest part was typing over and over, "we lost our baby." Those are the worst words ever. :(

I also started looking up names for our angel baby and compiled a list of maybe a dozen names. I wanted the name to express something hopeful and the idea that my baby was in paradise. Phoenix was my favorite, the idea of rising from the ashes & new birth/new life and it echoes the idea of beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3). Nathaniel immediately picked it from the list when I showed it to him when he returned. All I did was hand him the list and told him I liked some of them better than others (but not specifically which ones) and his heart was just completely in tune with mine. Next, I suggested Eden or Bliss for the middle name, and again, Nathaniel picked my favorite: Bliss. Phoenix Bliss Collelo. According to Nathaniel's mama, it's a girl. I like that idea.

So because the bleeding slowed and my hemoglobin levels were decent, we were able to avoid the d&c as well as a transfusion, and we were very thankful for that. My mom visited me in the hospital, then she was the one that watched the boys so Nathaniel could return to my side. My sister Rachel also dropped everything to drive all the way from St. Cloud to be by my side. After we got discharged and I had rested a little, I came downstairs to find my mom & all four of my sisters in my kitchen with a huge vase of roses. They also cleaned our house and stocked our fridge with ready to bake meals. We were so blessed by their love and care, as well as all of the love and support I received from friends and family in texts and messages and comments on Facebook.

Now both of the doctors made sure to tell me that it wasn't my fault and not to blame myself. It was very sweet, but I wasn't blaming myself. I mean, sure, randomly I wondered if something happened when I got sick at the end of September, or if I ate something bad, or whatever, but those were just kind of passing thoughts that I brushed off. God doesn't speak in guilt and condemnation, so I'm not going to pay attention to that crap.

What I know is that I put all of my heart and soul into praying for LIFE for my baby these last few weeks ever since my concerning ultrasound that was behind dates. I did everything I could and had so many others praying with me, too.

I'm not angry at God either, because I know His heart was for life for my little Phoenix Bliss, and He's holding her for me close to His heart in His loving arms until I can (Isaiah 40:11). If you are wondering if life really was His will, just think, in His perfect, original plan, no one ever would have died! We would have lived forever in the paradise of Eden! So in every case, for every person, I am fully persuaded that His first choice, His perfect dream is for a long, full, beautiful life. You can always know you're praying His will when you pray for life! But, sadly, sin entered the world, and now death happens. :( And the thief is the one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but my Savior comes that we might have LIFE abundantly (John 10:10). So I know who I'm mad at.

Somehow or other, because of this fallen world, that dirty little sneak thief stole my baby from me, and that's NOT okay. He had no right and no authority BUT it's not defeat, because my little one was received into the arms of Jesus in paradise and vengeance belongs to the Lord. He also redeems and restores. So I will get beauty from these ashes, and joy for my mourning, and praise for this heaviness. I am praying, believing, and declaring that I will personally get back a double portion for what was stolen, twins for the one that was stolen, my joy girls for my mourning. The enemy will be sorry he messed with me, because he has only added fuel to my fire! I will have even more passion in prayer for little ones and I will get back many times over what was stolen as I see victory for other mamas in healthy little babies born against all odds, miracles not miscarriages! Yes! Miracles, not miscarriages!!! I have a word and a promise over my life that I am a supernatural midwife and I will see babies come back to life. And I will pursue seeing that word manifested with even more determined passion than before. If God is for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31) Besides, we already know who wins in the end. And He always leads us in victory! (2 Cor 2:14)

I also needed to reaffirm, I completely believe in the power of prayer. Absolutely. Nothing is impossible with God! (Luke 1:37) And my God is the God "who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were." (Romans 4:17) He said, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." (John 16:24) So He is able, He is willing, and somehow He partners with our intercession to release or enforce what Christ already completed on the cross. [Read Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets for a fuller scriptural explanation of that!] I don't know how or why all of our prayers didn't result in a miracle baby, BUT I know that our prayers counted. They moved Heaven. And because of all that I and others poured into this, we have greater authority to pray for this for others. The power of those prayers said for Phoenix Bliss will be added on top of future prayers. So I will continue to stand steadfast, asking, seeking, knocking, knowing that He hears and He answers.

It sounds strange, but I feel like I this is not as hard as I expected. I'm crying, but it's not consuming me. I have smiled and laughed with people already. And I know that is completely God carrying me through this! I keep thinking of the story of David in 2 Samuel 12. His son is dying, so he fasts and prays for his baby. When the child dies, he gets up, cleans himself up, and goes to worship. I love that! He worships! His servants are understandably confused by his actions and he tells them “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” I relate to this in the feeling that my grief and anguish were almost worse in anticipation of losing my baby, in the uncertainty, but now that it has happened, I have peace in accepting it by God's grace. I will go to my baby, but she will not return to me. I will join her someday.


Thank you for reading the story of my precious Phoenix Bliss and all of my rambling related thoughts! I love you all and I want you to know that I'm doing okay given the circumstances. I appreciate extra hugs and continued prayers, and don't worry if you make me cry but don't be surprised if I don't either. The tears come and go unpredictably right now. I am so grateful for all of your love, support, messages, and prayers. Reading through all of your messages of support helps me grieve. I am being carried by His Peace and held in His Comfort. Love to all!

1 comment:

  1. We will continue to lift you and Nathaniel and the boys up to the comforting arms of the Father. You are a strong woman and your testimony will be a light and encouragement to many. Cry when you must, laugh when you can. Hugs to you Shelly. Lots of hugs. Love, Sharon