I’m not sure what to say. I found a way to be alone, and, of course, I want to write. I just don’t know what to say.
The baby is gone.
We went to the hospital yesterday. Olivia and Scott went with me. I was more than ready. Women who carry non living babies inside of them are strong women. That’s a special kind of torture. I never knew, and I’m sorry I didn’t, because my heart would have been so much more tender towards these sisters, had I known.
I didn’t cry.
I’m learning something about myself. I have a chip on my shoulder about crying. I hate crying. Especially in front of people. I would rather chew the inside of my cheek raw then shed a tear in front of an audience. I have heard my mom say that where tears are present, so is the Holy Spirit. Hmmm. I don’t think I want to chew on that one right now. I suspect I might discover I have some spiritual growing up to do. Can we agree to table that thought? I’ve got a lot of other stuff that needs my attention.
I was all business at the hospital. The nurse asked me to come back to a room by myself at first. She left me alone to change, and laying on the pillow was a poem. I don’t know exactly what it said. I got that the poem was about mourning the loss of your child, and it was exactly what I didn’t want to see. Just looking at it caused spontaneous tears to form. The nurse could be back any minute, so those tears were making me really mad.
My instinct was to grab that poem and throw it in the garbage. I thought I might regret that, and maybe that poem was something Scott would want to read. So, I picked it up carefully, keeping it as far away from me as possible. I put it in a folder that looked like it contained other grieving brochures and turned it upside down. There, now I didn’t have to see it. I had a few more minutes to get a hold of myself, and I did.
The nurse eventually let Scott and Olivia back in the room. That was good; having them there certainly helped me relax. All of the healthcare professionals were really kind to Olivia. That was nice. The nurse asked Olivia what her favorite thing was. Olivia asked the nurse to clarify, “Do you mean at school, or what sports?”
The nurse answered, “No. I mean, if I asked you what your favorite thing was in this whole world; it could be anything. What would it be?”
Olivia thought for a few seconds. Then she said, “Being with my family.”
Olivia for the win. How did she know the most comforting thing for my ears to hear before I had to do something so hard?
I have realized that moving through this hard thing is going to make my heart soft towards other women going through this hard thing. I know that because of all the women who have reached out to me to tell me they share my pain. One woman I love told me this. She said that when I went to have the procedure, they would give me an anesthetic, and I would love it. She said that all that pain in your heart, shoulders and neck is briefly lifted, and it is heaven.
She was totally right. Those were some sweet seconds.
One of our friends was the anesthetist. He was rolling me back to surgery, and I felt so light. I wasn’t carrying a block of concrete on my heart and back like I had been since we heard the sad news. In my drugged state, all the nurses looked funny, misformed, like an old TV that was going out of focus. I am almost positive I told our friend, “I’m totally gonna blog about this.”
And, so I did.
So, now it’s time to move on. I was a good patient. When I got home I read the folder on grief. What I learned is that anything goes. Whatever I feel is okay to feel. Some moms take it as hard as you possibly can. Some moms don’t. Both moms are right.
The best advice I have received is from someone close, who’s walked this road more than once. She told me that if you feel grief, you have to express it. She didn’t do that. She is super tough and hard working. She lost two children, two separate times. Each time, she got up and went to work the next day. You know, carry on, and all that. She didn’t even give herself much credit for doing that at the time. Then, years later, that unexpressed grief, simmering below the surface, bubbled up and poured through all the open crevices of her life. She was quite paralyzed by it.
If you think I’m not going to listen to sage advice like that, you don’t know me very well. I’ve been telling the other four people in my family this advice too. I say, “Whatever we are feeling, we have to express it. We have to take time to acknowledge that our hearts are broken. That doesn’t mean we’re going to stay stuck in this sadness, this is our way to move through it. Because, we are definitely moving through. We’re not here to stay.”
I’m trying to express it now.
I’m really, really sad. I have an image I can’t get out of my head. On the ultra sound, it looked like the baby had it’s back to me. Was he doing that on purpose? Didn’t the baby know how much I wanted him/her? I should have told him. Yes. I was overwhelmed. Yes. I was fearful. But, I just would like a chance to tell our baby that I was doing everything I could to create a safe environment for him. I was eating all the right things. I was taking my vitamins and reading up on tips for how to have a healthy pregnancy. I would have given my life for him, just like I would his/her brothers and sister. That’s what I want our baby to know. So, I’m saying it.
Life will keep going, and we will eventually be less sad. I know that because of all the women who have told me about their lost children. I didn’t know. A lot of people are good at surviving sadness. We are too.
Coincidentally, the day after my surgery was my family’s girls’ weekend. I put on a smile and participated for part of a day. It was really good. My sisters are great. They made me laugh until my sides hurt. I can’t think of any better therapy than that. I told my sisters I did not want any emotional tributes. I didn’t want any special attention on our family’s recent wound. This is the kind of family who wouldn’t dream of giving you anything other than what you asked for; I am blessed to be a part of this clan.
We did go to a beautiful spot and spent some time in worship. My soul was lifted.