Friday, March 29, 2013

Life, Loss and Trust (Part Two)

Continued from Part One...

I woke up later on Sunday morning with a fever.  I had visions of having to go to the ER but was pretty confident I just had the cold that had been bothering Julia. I felt much better than the previous days. I didn't have a headache but I still had some cramping.  Not bad. I've had worse periods. We had planned to stay home from church since Mike had to leave to catch his flight. I really wished he could have stayed home.

I was dreading telling people and talking about it.  I just didn't want to hear the well-meaning comments, "It was part of God's plan. Maybe it was for the best; you do have your hands full. Maybe it was just too soon and your body needs a rest." Ugh!  I also found fielding texts and phone calls very stressful.  I felt like I needed to respond but the girls are so needy.  I didn't want to tell them because I was struggling to manage my own emotions and really wasn't prepared to handle their questions and emotions too. I didn't want them to worry and couldn't figure out the right words to tell them.  And the headache came back.

We struggled through the next couple of days. I was definitely not a stellar mom. :(  I had my own list of nagging questions.  No matter how much people tell me there's nothing I did wrong or could have done differently, I wondered, "Was is the green smoothies?  Was I too active? Was is the skiing, ski jumping, skating, exercising at home?  Should I have gone to the doctor sooner? Is my progesterone low?  Will I need more testing?  What is my body going to do now?  Is this like having a baby or like having a period?  What if I get pregnant again? Should we be trying to avoid that? How I am going to tell people? How I am going to tell the girls?"

My mom brought over some pro-life materials that showed a baby at different stages of development including this picture.  I asked the girls if they thought the baby was alive.  I showed them the pictures of our baby. I told them that it's heart should have been beating but it wasn't. I could hear Amanda's voice getting wavery. She wanted to sit on my lap. Amanda and Tali both wanted to know why the baby's heart had stopped beating. I told them that the baby had been born like the babies in the picture and talk to them about the placenta and the sac. I told them that I didn't see the baby though but I knew it was there.  Amanda wanted to see it. I had just put it in the freezer that morning to wait until we could bury it this spring. (I don't know what the protocol is for this kind of thing. Sorry.) They each took their turns looking through the little booklet and asked me to read it several times.  Amanda and Tali kept asking, "Why?" I wish I knew too. That night Amanda prayed that God would tell me why the baby's heart had stopped beating.  The next night she asked God to tell me why and then said, "Now we're going to be quiet and listen."

After I told the girls, I began to panic a little. The following day was dance class.  I had agonized about telling the moms at dance that I was pregnant. Three of the moms are also adoptive moms. Two of them also have older bio kids but I assumed they all experienced some loss and infertility that brought them to adoption. The teacher had had a miscarriage a year ago and I knew it was a great loss for her.  I wanted to tell them about the pregnancy in a way that was sensitive to their situations.  Telling them that I had lost the baby seemed even harder.  I thought I should tell them personally and not have them hear from my mom or Amanda (I had not planned to bring Amanda. My mom was going.)  But that would mean telling six more people.  Three Facebook messages, one email and two texts. And then fielding the responses and inevitable questions.  In the end, I just didn't have time to find the words so I just had to let it go.   I don't think Amanda mentioned it to anyone.

I have been really struggling with the right terminology. To me, the whole pregnancy was a "miscarriage." But when I started to spot, would I say, "I'm beginning to have a miscarriage?" If so then, how do I describe what happened on Sunday morning?  Was that the miscarriage?  Was that when the baby was born? Delivered? Passed?  Nothing seemed right. Just saying, "I had a miscarriage," doesn't seem to do the process justice.  Perhaps, it was just my own lack of experience with miscarriage that lead me to think that having a miscarriage seemed so casual. It had always sounded just like having a period. Now I know differently. I've gone back and talked to several friends who've had miscarriages and said, "Okay, now tell me the whole story."

After hearing how quickly my body may return to "normal," I began to have great anxiety at the thought of becoming pregnant again. Not only because of the fear of suffering another loss, but knowing that I would have to be sick in order to have a healthy pregnancy. There was also all this competition with all the thoughts that are trying to see the positive side of not being pregnant any more. Now I can...lose that extra baby weight, travel without fear of nausea, get the girls in swimming lessons, wear normal clothes this summer, continue nursing Julia, etc.  Thoughts that I feel guilty for even having and thoughts that compete with the primal desire to just be pregnant again.

Mike and I had talked a lot in January about whether or not we were ready to have another baby.  We never really came to any conclusion and I really didn't have any idea that my fertility had returned until I found out I was pregnant. I was so happy because that decision was made for us.  Now we're back in that decision-making mode again.  But we had decided a long time ago that we would trust God with our fertility and the only option for us for avoiding pregnancy is abstinence.  We just really aren't very good about that one. ;)  It is so rare that we find ourselves in bed together when we're both awake and no children are awake.  Do we really have grave and serious reasons that we should interrupt that time? Not really.

In the end, I'm hearing God asking me again, "Do you trust me?"

"Do you trust me through infertility?"

"Do you trust me through adoption?"

"Do you trust me in a house full of babies?"

"Do you trust me in the midst of loss?"

Yes, because You are trustworthy.  I am not willing to give up the opportunity to be blessed simply because of my fear because You will be with me. I have nothing to fear.  Because I am learning that being open to life also means being open to experience loss.


Nena said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss and so sorry that your heart is hurting. It is sad and unjust to lose a baby. But you are right to grieve your little little ones death. Most parents begin loving and dreaming of the life to come the minute they find out a baby is expected. So give yourself time to grieve those dreams and his/her life. Be kind to yourself. Praying for you!

Lynnette said...

Thank you for explaining everything as well as you did. It's nice to know some of the the thoughts that go through a mama's brain when her heart is going through such loss.

PK said...

Oh, I'm so sorry, Katie. My heart hurts for you and your family right now. As Nena said above, give yourself time to grieve and be kind to yourself.