Wednesday, December 3, 2014

17 weeks.

Today I would have been 17 weeks and 1 day. We would have already found, or been close to finding out, if our baby was a boy or a girl (my gut leaned toward boy). I would have been anticipating Christmas with a round belly, long past showing because this was after all, my 6th pregnancy. Friends and family would have long been told, and we'd be discussing adorable names that are uncommon, but not a nightmare for people to spell (though they still get my daughter's name wrong). I surely would have had a cheesy smile plastered to my face everyday. 

But 7 weeks ago I felt the telltale signs of an impending miscarriage. I spotted for a couple days off and on, but so lightly that I could convince myself it was just activity or nothing. Yet at 10 weeks to the day {and almost to the minute}, I said goodbye to this gift that I had been over the moon to receive, and wasn't near ready to let go of. I labored for hours with a baby I knew was already gone. I cried in a bathtub alone in the middle of the night while my family slept. I called for my husband when I couldn't stand or even sit because I felt like I would pass out, and instead just laid on the bathroom floor. I felt relief when the worst of the pain was over, yet longed for it because it was all I had left. 

Our children hadn't known I was pregnant. In the beginning when we found out {at 5 weeks} I had been antsy to tell them and felt like if we didn't, it was demonstrating a lack of faith. But over time the dread of seeing their excitement turn to heartbreak won out. I had borrowed a fetal doppler from a friend and had imagined letting them listen to it as we told them what it meant. 

Instead, we held them and told them that I had been pregnant, but that we had lost the baby. Another brother or sister in Heaven. Another sibling my little girl could not hold.

She took it the hardest. My son was more concerned for my pain, but my daughter cried so many tears and was so heartbroken. Neither of us knew why this had to happen. I could only hold her and tell her very sorry I was. I know she would be such a wonderful big sister. And even though my son was a little more detached from it, I know he would be an amazing big brother. He already is to the little brothers and sisters of his friends, and to the kids he served with in the nursery at church before we moved. He adores little kids and is so great with them. Oh how I long to nurse another baby while our older children read nearby. As my older kids get to experience all of their favorites through new eyes of a younger sibling. I'm not ready to let go of those little kid days and yet the evade me. 

I am slowly healing. The physical reminders are mostly long gone, but the emotional ones are always there. Friends that are pregnant. Protruding mommy bellies passing me at the store. A calendar ticking by the days, bringing me farther, farther from those fleeting moments of joy and pain. 

I don't know what God has in store for our family. For this belly that fluctuates from barren and nearly fit, to pudgy and full of baby. I don't know if this chapter is closed for us. Everyday that passes brings me closer to an age where, short of a miracle, carrying babies is a no longer a possibility. I do know that this was never in my hands. And while I struggle with anger over things that I will never understand, I try to lay it down and trust in the One that does. It's hard. And there have been many tears and questions. I live under no delusion that I will understand this side of Heaven. But if there's one thing that's certain about times like these, it's that I can either run from God burying my face in my hands and engulfed in my pain, or I can run to Him and know that He loves me and, somehow, has a reason for letting me go through this. For letting me say goodbye to four babies that were so deeply loved and are missed everyday. And that's what I hold onto. 

Four days after losing my baby, we stood on the lawn at Cal State San Bernardino, letting our four white balloons fade into a cloudless sky amidst hundreds of other white balloons. 

Letting go.