Share Your Story Tuesday- Eloise Joy Cable
How do you begin a story of heartbreak and pain
with something joyful?
God is so good; even in the hardest, scariest, saddest moments in life, God is still good and He’s still enough. When I first learned we were pregnant with Ellie, I knew her life was meant for something big. I knew she would impact the world in a big, big way. She was evidence of God moving in our life. After experiencing several miscarriages, we saw Ellie as God answering prayers and keeping His incredible promises to us. He made a way where we felt that there might not be a way.
After our third miscarriage in May of 2018, I told my husband, Mike, that I wasn’t ready to try again that year to get pregnant. My heart couldn’t take another loss in the same year. God thought otherwise. October 27th presented itself with a positive pregnancy test.
I spent the first trimester exhausted and sick. “All day sickness” I called it. Not only was I sick with nausea and vomiting, but sick with anxiety. With the feeling of any cramp, I was running to the bathroom to make sure there wasn’t any blood. We counted down the days until the anatomy ultrasound where we would find out if we were having a girl or a boy. You can imagine our excitement as the ultrasound tech asked us if we were ready to know – she typed the sweetest, most exciting word onto the screen – GIRL.
“There’s a cyst in her brain, but it could be nothing to worry about. I’m referring you to Maternal Fetal Medicine for a high-level ultrasound just to make sure everything is okay.” Everything wasn’t okay.
At Maternal Fetal Medicine in Louisville, we were told she was in the 3rd Percentile for size – Ellie was tiny, but that was the least of our worries. The left side of her heart wasn’t functioning. We went home that night terrified and the joy of our baby girl’s life was diminished. Our parents came over and we prayed. We prayed hard and endlessly.
The next morning, we went back to Louisville for a Fetal Heart Echo. I watched as the technician performed the echo – which looked a lot like a traditional ultrasound – and prayed over this baby. I prayed that, in Jesus name, that there was a mistake yesterday and that her heart was fine. We met with the cardiologist who declared her heart perfect. The issue we saw yesterday wasn’t there. There was function in the left side. Ellie’s heart was perfect. I stared at the Cardiologist in shock. I couldn’t put words together. Mike and I looked at each other and back at the doctor and said “are you sure?”. Back at Maternal Fetal Medicine, we went ahead and had a Quad Blood Screen performed just to rule out any other issues since she was measuring so small. We would get those results a week later. Positive for Trisomy 18.
“The only way to officially diagnose this is by an amniocentesis, can you come in tomorrow?” We made the drive back to Maternal Fetal Medicine where the 6-inch needle was inserted into my abdomen and 5 tubes of amniotic fluid was taken to be tested. The next two weeks would feel like years. April 1st the call I had been dreading came: Ellie had Trisomy 18.
At the end of April, we shared the news publicly and asked for prayer over Ellie, our family, and over other families dealing with pregnancy and infant loss. From then on, we chose joy. We celebrated birthday’s with our small group, I flew to Florida to see a friend of mine, Erin, so she could meet Ellie, we took her on a motorcycle ride – we wanted to enjoy every moment we could with her.
Monday July 8th Ellie hadn’t moved all day. At 39 weeks I wasn’t too worried; she was running out of room to move around. Just to calm my fears, I went to my OB and asked them to do a heartbeat check so I could hear that calming pitter patter of Ellie’s beating heart.
Despite her being on lunch, my Doctor immediately had me come back for her to put the mobile ultrasound on my belly to check on Ellie. Where her heart would be beating, there should be blue and red lights flickering – the screen was black. There was no pitter patter, there was no color, there was no movement. Ellie had passed away that morning.
She turned off the machine and sat down, looked at me and asked what was going through my mind. Fear. Hurt. We were told repeatedly because of her lack of other medical issues, she would possibly get to go home for a few days before passing.
Several hours later, after pumping drugs through the epidural IV 3 different times, they finally felt satisfied that I wouldn’t feel as much of the pushing they would be doing to turn Ellie during the version. I think this process was more traumatizing for Mike to watch than it was for me to sit through. The right side of my abdomen wasn’t fully numb, so I felt the pushing and pulling of their hands on my stomach trying to get Ellie in the position to deliver. The last time they tried, I watched as Ellie looked like a slingshot flipping right back into breech position. It looked like the C-Section was inevitable.
I remember feeling more medication hitting me through the IV. I remember my whole body trembling without me being able to control it. I remember hearing people talk but not being able to comprehend what they were saying. I remember being rolled into the operating room and laying exposed and trembling on the table. I remember seeing the sheet being hung above me. And finally, I remember seeing Mike finally come in and sit next to me holding onto my hand so tightly.
Then the pain began. My body was so bruised from the version that I could feel every movement they did to pull Ellie out. I was moaning so loudly; they didn’t realize I was feeling everything. I remember feeling her being pulled out and hearing nothing. No cries, no baby tears. I watched as Mike stood up to look over the curtain and see her. I watched as he began to sob looking at her perfect little body. And then I remember nothing.
I woke up in our delivery room with Mike in there, one of my best friends, Jayme, our dear friend, Maggie, who was going to take pictures for us, and the hospital Chaplain, Jessica. They were asking me where Ellie’s outfit was that we had packed for her. I remember trying to describe to them where in the luggage they could find it. I remember seeing Jessica and Maggie wheel Ellie out of the room with her outfit to dress her. By the time they came back into the room I was fully awake from the anesthesia. “Meighan, are you ready to see her?” Slowly, Jayme picked her up from the bassinet and carefully laid her in my arms. She, Maggie and Jessica quietly made their way out of the room to give Mike and I some moments alone with Ellie.
She was perfect. Her eyes were closed. She had my little button nose. She had Mike’s light eyelashes. She had my thick, dark hair. She was wrapped in the softest pink floral blanket with the biggest pink bow I could find. She was everything I ever wanted to see and hold. She was exactly what I had pictured our daughter to be.
Maggie made her way back into the room so we could have pictures of the three of us. Jayme quietly asked if we were ready for my parents to come and see her. Slowly, the door opened and my mom walked in with my dad following her. They came to our bedside looking down at Ellie, tears welling in their eyes – they took in the beauty of their first grandchild.
Ellie never felt the pain of this world. She never had to practice hiding from a potential active shooter in her elementary school. She never had to hold her keys in between her knuckles walking through her college campus at night. She never had to experience a broken heart by someone she thought she would marry. She never had to experience loss or pain or hurt – she only knew warmth and love.
On the day we laid Ellie’s body in its final resting place, our Pastor at Grace Heartland said something I will never forget and always rejoice in knowing “When Ellie first opened her eyes, she saw Jesus.” Man, was that powerful. All I had wanted was for Ellie to open her eyes and see both Mike and I staring down at her; and even selfishly, I wanted to be the first thing Ellie would see. Instead, she found herself in the arms of her creator and the most amazing heavenly Father she could ever have.