Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2 little lambs

Yesterday I had a hard time waking up.  This is usually not a problem for me, but I had a heaviness in my body that made it difficult to move.  I skipped my morning workout and made my way into the kitchen.  My stomach was aching, a nagging pain that persisted and I couldn't figure out why.  A rush of warmth ran through my body stopping right at my heart. My body remembered the date, my brain didn't.   I didn't say anything to anyone, not even my husband.

I was 3 months pregnant with our fourth baby.  I had only told close family and friends and a few co-workers because it was obvious that my belly was bloated all the time.  Just like the previous times, we had gotten pregnant quickly and the only thing I was nervous about was that our next baby was going to be so close in age with Jack, four kids in 5 1/2 years. We were crazy.

The previous week I had had my blood work done and things looked good so I was surprised when I got a call from my doctor. He said that he wanted me to have tests done again because my numbers had dropped since my first round early on.  He said he just wanted to be sure everything was OK.  So I left on my lunch break and despite already giving enough blood for a vampire thanksgiving, had even more blood drawn.

The next day as I was picking up my son from pre-school,  my cell phone rang. I cheerfully answered and I could tell by my doctors calm tone that he was going to tell me bad news.  My son's class was outside so I took the call in his classroom. I paced back and forth past the paintings, blocks and dolls as my doctor told me that I was going to miscarry.  I didn't want to believe this so I kept him on the phone by asking the same question. "Are you sure?" hoping he would give me a different answer.  He didn't. He told me what to expect, cramping, bleeding… I had already tuned him out.

I stood in the classroom staring out the window at my son with a secret that only I knew.  I didn't want to believe it was true I stood there until one of the teachers startled me.   I fought back tears and put on a happy persona and retrieved my son.   As we drove home it was silent and the only sounds I could hear were those of a swarm of angry protesters outside of the University which I work. Pro-Life activists were protesting because President Obama was the Commencement speaker.   Planes flew overhead with  Pro-Life banners.  They waved a horribly graphic photo of a dead fetus. Screaming that it is not a choice, it is a life!  It felt like they were screaming at me.  I wanted to scream right back, no it's not a choice, if it were I would have a live baby inside of me instead of a dead one.

The images they held were too much for me and I couldn't hold back the tears.  They didn't stop for 3 days.

Despite believing that the doctor was wrong, he wasn't.  He had explained the pain, what it would look like, when it would likely happen exactly as it did.  I woke up at 4 in the morning and miscarried.  Don woke up to find me in the bathroom crying, repeating that it was over, it was over, it was over.     He was still trying to process the information I had told him the night before.  The reality was jarring for him as well and he didn't know what to do or say so he left me alone. Very alone.

We had become so confident in our baby making ability.  Having 3 babies without any problems gave us a false untouchable cockiness.   The best way Don helped me was by calling everyone who knew.  I couldn't say the words.

I felt foolish mourning a child that nobody knew about.  A tiny baby that was never born still was able to leave a huge empty hole in my body.

I vowed that I could never do this again.  I couldn't see past my failure to carry a baby and felt like it was all my fault. Eventually Don convinced me that we should try again. With hesitation I agreed.  Three months later we got pregnant and miscarried again.   The second time was just as hard as the first. And that solidified my argument that something was wrong with me, something I did or didn't do was causing my body to reject babies.

I don't know if the pain deep in my belly yesterday was a coincidence or a body memory but it briefly took me back to that moment.

It's hard to silently mourn something that didn't physically come to fruition, and whose presence was only felt by me. My other son's don't even know it happened and at times I feel bad about not acknowledging their sibling's existence. But it would only cause them pain and  I can't burden anyone, especially a child with a pain that they could never understand.

Any mother who has carried a baby knows that feeling.  That feeling that each child I carried felt distinct and unique and those two were not any different. The amount of meaning attached to one's life can't be determined by the amount of time they spend on the Earth.  I would be lying if I said I didn't miss them.

People say that when you miscarry you grieve what could have been. No, I grieved what wasn't.
And it is done in solitude.  And I understand that.

When I awoke this morning the physical pain was gone.  As I checked my phone I noticed a photo I had taken the day before and had set as my home screen. It is of two little lambs at a farm where my son had a birthday party.  I smiled and thought sometimes signs are given to you that you miss.

I woke up our fourth son and gave thanks that we didn't lose hope.

And recognized that although the outcome for those little souls wasn't survival, it doesn't mean they are not alive in me. I just have to take the time to notice the good things all around me.

1 comment:

  1. Noelle, thank you for sharing your story. I understand your pain as I miscarried in January of this year. I have written about my miscarriage story and grieving process and found it to be healing. I hope that you have found the same in sharing abut the lives of your two little ones.