Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thomas Edward Pettit

I never thought I would ever lose one of my babies, when I saw other women miscarry I felt so awful for them and I knew God would never do that to me because I am simply not strong enough.
When I got pregnant with Thomas I was so miserable I was sure this was the last baby I would carry. I’m pretty sure I even announced it to my Relief Society that I was done.  Now, ironically, I would love to have ten more! I would take the misery and the discomfort. I would take being grouchy at my husband and having little patience with my kids. I would take the sleepless nights and the extreme exhaustion just so I could hold my teeny tiny boy.
Around 15 weeks I felt my sweet Thomas kick, after that I didn’t feel him stirring so much.  When we went in for my 20 week checkup Calvin (3yrs old) had wanted to come with us. I had mentioned that it was weird that I hadn’t felt him move very much but I wasn’t too worried. I have extreme anxiety when I’m pregnant so I figured I was just over thinking things.  When my doctor pulled the baby up on the ultrasound we couldn’t see a heartbeat and the baby had passed away over four weeks earlier. How could I not know?  How could I not feel like there was something devastatingly wrong?  He had a growth of the back of his neck and had a trisomy (when an extra chromosome attached itself to a pair of chromosomes). There wasn’t anything we could have done to keep him alive.   We went home completely heart broken and we explained to Calvin that Thomas had passed away and that he wasn’t going to end up coming to our home. 
When we got home I sat crying in the kitchen and Jesse urged Calvin to go give me a snuggle, and that mom will need a lot of snuggles for a while. Calvin put his little arms around me and said “Mom, sometimes when I’m sad I say a prayer and that helps.”  What a tender mercy to have my sweet Calvin there to help bring me comfort. We knelt down and Calvin volunteered to give a simple sweet prayer asking Heavenly Father to help me feel the spirit so I won’t be sad anymore and that Thomas would come home. I feel like it was such a tender mercy that Calvin came to the doctors with us. It gave us the opportunity to hear his sweet testimony and have my boy to snuggle and feel close to.
The next couple days were a blur. We had an outpouring of love and support from family and friends.  We felt taken care of, and I am so grateful for all of the texts, phone calls, flowers, dinners and donuts. We feel undeserving of so much kindness, but we are so grateful. I know this trial would have been paralyzing without so many prayers for us.
Grieving is a funny thing. I honestly didn’t know how to grieve or what to do.  So many people would tell me “take time to grieve” I wasn’t sure what that meant.  I’d be fine with everything one day thinking yep this is God’s plan and then the next I’d be a complete mess! There were times when I said I few choice words to my husband because he was grieving differently than I was (not my best moment). But I was angry. I was really really angry. So my sweet husband got the brunt of it. I was so angry that he wasn’t crying all of the time like I was. I was so angry that he could see this as a building experience that God was giving to us to help us grow and become like Him. I was angry that he wasn’t angry. We all grieve in different ways. Jesse’s way is to take care of his family and be strong and lift us up, so that I could have my time to be sad.  A month has passed and I’m still sad, I feel like being the mom it’s just different. I feel like I have a unique bond with that baby that there was no way Jesse could have.  I carried him for 16 weeks, I felt like I knew him, even just a little.
For a while I thought “wonderful! I’ve gotten fat for NOTHING! I have no baby to show for this and now no clothes fit, and people still ask me about when I’m due. LOVELY!”  I would get angry when I could see the good that was coming from me not having another baby right away. Now we don’t have to get a van right away. Now Lenny will probably be a little less attached when a new baby comes. Now we can potty train Lenny when we want and take away his binkie without having to worry about him waking up a new baby too. Now I can focus on homeschooling Calvin. Now I have enough energy to clean my house. Now I can wrestle with me boys. Now I can finally get decent night’s sleep. Now I eat without feeling like I’m going to throw up. Now I don’t HAVE to eat every two hours.  Now my face isn’t so blotchy red from being pregnant.   Now we can go on a vacation. But every time I found something good that came from not being pregnant or having a baby I felt guilty and awful. I felt like I was trading my baby for all of these other things. In my mind if I was going to be happy about all these other nice things then that meant I was happy about losing Thomas. It’s hard when you have these expectations to get a bigger house, to get a bigger car, you wrap your mind around having three kids and one of them is extremely needy still. It’s hard when you’ve gotten your hopes up to see your other boys as big brothers soon. It’s hard when even after I had the surgery I still felt like I had given birth. It’s just hard.
But with even with this hard trial the Lord always makes himself known. He’s shown His love for us not only through other people but through the scriptures as well.  The last big trial I feel like we had was when Calvin was 18 months, we went to Utah for Thanksgiving and he had three seizures all in one day. It was a really scary time and before we went on that trip we had prayed and decided to leave his stable job and move on to something else less stable, no insurance, a lot less pay. After the seizures we were a little freaking out. As we were staying the night at His Grandma’s house getting ready to come back home she had a scripture framed on her wall. Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  Being reminded of that was a bit of an eye opener so we decided to take the leap and continue with our plan as the Lord had directed before.
 The day after we found out we had lost our baby someone brought us dinner and with it they attached a scripture.  Proverbs 3: 5-6. Funny how this one scripture keeps showing up at seriously the HARDEST times of our lives.  I know that I can’t see the big picture. I know that I forget so often that the Lord is mindful of me. I know that Thomas is His child too.  I know that the Lord has and will direct me to what will make me happiest in this life and the life to come. It has been hard to come to grips with the fact that losing my baby is part of the Lords plan and will ultimately be the best thing for me.  Not because I will sleep better, or have more energy to play with my kids, or save more money, but because this is what the Lord wants, because He has better plans for me.

Now I feel like there was purpose in it all. Thomas was with me for as long as he needed to be, as long as he was supposed to be. I know it was and is part of Gods plan. I know Thomas is still part of our family and that will never change. Even before we had Calvin I wanted to name one of my sons Thomas but it just wasn’t right. I was waiting for this baby. I knew that this was my Thomas that I had been waiting for. He is special. I feel like I fulfilled my purpose as his mom on this earth, and I’m grateful for the little time I got to spend with him. Honestly I’d do it again just to spend those 16 weeks with him.  I know that I will see him again, but I miss him. My heart aches to hold him and rock my sweet boy. Someday I’ll see my sweet Tommy boy and I’ll hold him so tight. I am grateful for this experience because I know that God has a plan for me. I know He loves me and I am willing to be a mom to any little soul even if it’s for a very short time here on earth. I now know I am strong enough, only because God lifts me up. 


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  2. I have little to say about this beautiful post, only that today I am a very proud father of a great young woman. I feel very fortunate to have had Kendra as one of my children.....I love you Kendra......(Elder Tropple)

  3. It is beautiful to hear you express in words how I felt when I lost my baby 25 years ago at 16 weeks. You are so blessed to know his sex and name! It was one of the hardest experiences in life. It took years to talk about it without emotion. God and time heals the sorrow.

  4. Kendra, my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry. Miscarriage are so difficult and I am not sure the pain of the loss ever completely leaves. You are a strong woman and a good mom.