After pain of loss, couple has Hope
DeKALB – At last, the George family has Hope for the holidays.
Hope Charlotte George was born to her parents, Renea, 32, and Wes, 33, of Ashton at 1:09 p.m. Oct. 30 at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital. Their road to parenting was circuitous, if not downright bumpy. After suffering three miscarriages – two in 2015 and another the day after Christmas in 2016 – they’d decided to cease fertility treatments.
Ironically, that’s when Renea got pregnant, the natural way, with Hope.
“We had so many tough conversations, just to decide what routes we wanted to go to start our family,” Renea said, describing the decision to stop the treatments. “It’s hard to draw a line and, if we get to this line, are we going to continue?”
Wes said because of their strong Christian faith, they were averse to IVF.
“There’s a lot of ethical issues for us with IVF,” he said.
The holiday week is a bit more exciting for the couple, since some family members haven’t yet met Hope. But they know all about the Georges’ struggles. They made a conscious decision to talk about it, to let people know what they were going through.
“There’s kind of an emotional taboo of what you can say about it,” Wes said. “We just broke through that, very intentionally. We had to put effort into it. We said it’s good for us to heal.”
He said at the time of the first miscarriage, he was in Florida for work, and his brother and sister-in-law, who’d also gone through miscarriages, bought him a plane ticket and urged him to come home.
“They handled it very differently and separately, and it hurt their marriage,” Wes said. “They didn’t want us to go through that.”
The past few years have been eye-opening for Renea, who works as an obstetrics scrub tech at Kish Hospital. She’s had many conversations with mothers who’ve lost pregnancies, and she’s able to grieve along with them.
“I’m able to be more sensitive to their feelings, and I know what to say and when to say it,” she said. “You can tell by body language when it might not be the right time to say something.”
The Georges regularly took advantage of the Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support group on the hospital’s campus.
“It’s a safe place to come in and vent,” Renea said.
They agree that no two couples grieve exactly the same way.
“But what’s important is that you allow yourself to grieve,” Renea said.
She and Wes initially decided to email family and friends to let them know about the miscarriages they’d suffered. Similarly, Wes said, those trying to grieve but unsure how should visit the support group’s Facebook page, as something of an icebreaker. Another Facebook page he pointed out is the DeKalb Area Miscarriage & Infant Loss.
“It might be easier for someone to start there and see what people are sharing, if they’re not ready to do it face-to-face,” he said.
As for Hope’s arrival, that was exciting for the Georges’ extended family and Renea’s co-workers, many of whom got to meet the little bundle of joy for the first time Dec. 17.
“It’s our favorite thing to do – to take care of people we know,” said Tami Johnson, OB department manager. “We’re a small community hospital, so we’re taking care of neighbors, former classmates and co-workers, of course.”
Having been part of countless births, Renea found it surreal to be the one delivering.
“There was no way to prepare myself for that,” she said. “I’m used to being on the other side of the drape.”
After 30 grueling hours of labor, doctors decided it was time to go with a cesarean section.
“I thought I’d want a clear drape, so I could see her arrive, but I changed my mind,” she said, laughing.
In no way, shape or form was she disappointed to have the C-section.
“We’ve come so far,” she said. “All I cared about was getting her here healthy.”