Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Six years

Maybe it's strange to do an "anniversary" post like this, but...

Six years ago today I miscarried what would have been our second baby.

October 5th, 2004.

The date is pretty much forever etched in my memory.

Back in those days, we had one sweet baby girl already and the word miscarriage was so not part of our early-twenties vocabulary.

I'd gotten pregnant quite easily with our oldest daughter, pregnancy and labor were a breeze (haha, well as much as they could be!), and she was healthy and happy. 

Horrible things like miscarriages didn't happen to twenty-three-year-olds with one healthy baby already like me.  Right?

Uh, no.  Not so much.  Because it did happen.  And, it was awful.

Really, really awful.

Emotionally devastating, physically painful and downright terrifying.  I wound up in the ER due to excessive bleeding at 11 pm on October 5th, 2004, with Kevin and baby Anna by my side. 

I'd known for weeks that I was going to miscarry--there was no heartbeat.  I opted to wait it out though and do it naturally because I didn't want a D&C.  And, I DID do it naturally, at home, during a George W. Bush/John Kerry debate (I can still hear the audience shouting "FLIP FLOP, FLIP FLOP!"), but the bleeding wasn't letting up, so off to the hospital I went.

(Naturally by the time we got there it WAS pretty much stopped.  Such is the way of things.)

By October 5th, when I actually miscarried, we'd mostly dealt with the emotional fall-out.  We'd had time to prepare.  So that day it was really just facing the physical pain and ultimately feeling grateful that my body was able to do what it was supposed to do, D&C-free.  

Don't get me wrong, there were tears too. 

But we'd already done most of that.

I know a lot of moms who have lost a baby.  There's nothing like it.  Really.  It stinks.  It's not a club I really want to be a part of, but I know I'm in good company.

Time definitely softens the blow, but when I think back to that time in my life, I can remember the sadness as if it were yesterday.  I remember the ultrasound tech not saying a word as we waited to see the heartbeat on the screen.  I remember having to go into the doctor's waiting room afterwards, surrounded by happy women with big pregnant tummies that I would not get to have.  Because my little baby had already gone to be with Jesus.  It is a horribly helpless feeling...wishing you could change things, wishing you could give life to the precious little one still inside you that you already love with every ounce of your being.  I remember clutching my eight-month-old baby girl ever so tightly, never wanting to let her go, so extra grateful for her sweet smiles and giggles--and vowing never to take the miracle of new life for granted.

I also remember contacting a couple of girlfriends who I knew had already faced this, asking them for input and support.  I would never have wished this on anyone, but it felt good to know I wasn't alone.  That there were many amazing women who'd walked this road before me.  I drew on their wisdom and strength.

And there are funny memories from that time, too, as strange as that sounds.  When we FINALLY found out that the baby had, indeed, died (there were a couple of weeks where they actually weren't sure if it was really too soon to see the heartbeat), I remember we trudged home, so very sad.  We made some phone calls and lay down on the couch.  There was devastation mingled with relief because finally we KNEW, finally we had closure.  Now there was just waiting for my body to deliver the baby.

Later that night, we went out to dinner and then to a furniture store to spend a gift certificate before it expired.  I suppose we wanted to get out of the house.  We're weird like that, apparently.

The restaurant we ate at had huge fish tanks and Anna was in awe of all the brightly colored fish.  It was so sweet.

Then...the furniture store.  (Which is now out of business, by the way.)  When we'd bought our couches and bedroom furniture several months earlier, when our new house was done being built, they messed up and shipped the wrong mirror for the dresser.  To make up for the resulting delay, they gave us a $100 store credit. 

And, as luck would have it, it was literally about to expire that day in late September.  As in, the very next day.  So armed with the news that we were for sure going to lose our baby, like any normal couple in that situation...we headed out to do some shopping.

But we couldn't find ANYthing we wanted that was $100 or less.  The store basically had a lot of overpriced, poorly made furniture.  We kept roaming around the store...Kevin kept suggesting fake plants...I kept telling him I REFUSED to buy any fake plants...and FINALLY we settled on this wall hanging that neither of us really liked.  But it was $100.

Sweet success.

That wall hanging (basically a print of some European-looking things that to this day we have been unable to identify) spent most of its life sitting in our guestroom closet.  A couple of times we attempted to hang it somewhere.  But it never stayed.  Because we both hated it.

Then, eventually, something happened to it and it broke.  So we threw it away.

I don't know why, but the whole furniture-store-saga still makes me smile.  I remember feeling strangely comforted walking the aisles of the store with my husband and baby girl.  No matter WHAT difficult things we were facing, or how sad we were...we were a family.  We would face them together.  Anna was losing a baby sibling, and we were losing a child, but God was working His grace through our lives and we had a united front, of sorts.  And sure it would have been a nice consolation prize to at least leave the store with something we LIKED--but maybe God knew that we would need a good, soul-healing laugh instead.

Come to think of it, I suppose I remember a lot of things about my life six years ago.  It was hard.  God was there.  I still feel sad that I never got to meet my sweet baby, but I believe he/she had a soul and that I will someday.  In the meantime, I like to focus on the idea that  his/her life was a gift from God that I got to enjoy and delight in, if only for a short time.  I am mom to a sweet baby in Heaven.  That too is a gift.

And of course I remember that as of October 5th, 2004, we were the not-so-proud owners of a pretty ugly painting that graced our closet for a time.  Who knew that I would one day come to see a piece of hideous artwork as symbolic of God's provision during a very dark time in our lives? 

Well, apparently God did.  Because He always knows just what we need.  And sometimes it's simply a laugh, by way of a ridiculously overpriced furniture store that sells lame-o art.

So that's what I'm remembering today.  Our sweet baby, the painful loss, and God's hand on our lives throughout it all.  Like any grief, it is bittersweet.  And so important to remember.


AbbasGirl said...

Thanks for sharing your remembrance day with us. While everyone's experience is different, I know you miss your little one. What a day it will be when we meet our little babies in heaven! Until then I am so thankful that we can rest in knowing the Lord is faithful in any and every circumstance.

Mommy Laity said...

Love you. Miss you.


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