Today was the birthday of Joe’s Uncle, who died two or three years ago. He and his wife had no children, so they treated Joes family almost like their own children. I to mourn his death and remember fond memories of him.
Today also,marked the due date of the baby I carried the longest (14 weeks). It was my second miscarriage and I had just stopped holding my breath hoping that meant this was a viable pregnancy. But just two weeks, into my second trimester, I would find out otherwise. My heart was torn up and I felt so broken.
I remember our late night visit to Women’s Hospital in Greensboro because of some severe cramping and some traces of blood. We got to the hospital and the mid wife on call for our Drs office was awaiting my arrival.
They took us back and the first sign of concern was not being able to hear a heartbeat. Several people tried and couldn’t find it. So then came blood work and an ultrasound. Which concluded the baby had indeed died. Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday – so I would have to wait for over 24 hours before they would perform the surgery. It was the longest day of my life, spent in bed.
My D&E was scheduled on my MIL’s birthday. So this baby is meant to be remembered. I had a total of 7 miscarriages and several years later would have 1 more. Following the loss of the first 7 I began to suffer from infertility. I did the specialist at Duke thing and we tried meds and finally I said stop – I can’t handle this any more. I would wait, full of stress and anticipation, to see if I had conceived each month – when I did I sort of distanced myself from the pregnancy. Hoping and praying that between, before , and during each of my checkouts that I would get confirmation that everything was alright (that never happened).
So my main mixed emotion is the grief and pain that I still feel (everyone else has moved along in their life). I suffer and am down each year at this time. Yet on the flip side I know that if I had carried to term any of those pregnancies – my current littleman, who is adopted, likely wouldn’t have been with us. The simple thought of what his life might be like if we hadn’t signed papers choosing to make him our son, is extremely scary. He could be deceased, addicted to drugs, homeless or in the social services care department and bouncing between foster parents home. With us he has a house, food, toys and unconditional love.
So today we honored Uncle Steve, I grieved alone, and yet was thankful for a child whom I believe was a gift of God.
Miscarriages are kept brushed under the rug for the most part, yet for women the grief is real and painful (and sometimes the dad also). I think we need to, as a church at the very least, find ways to help parents process the loss of a child before birth or at birth, we need not be afraid of it. Great healing could occur if only we gave the gift of listening and honoring their loss.
Today was indeed a day of mixed emotions and I was grateful for the most part that I could just stay in bed and rest.
As a challenge I encourage folks who have suffered miscarriages to share their stories and those who have not to be good listeners and offer love and support – don’t let us suffer alone anymore. Lastly, when gathered as women talking birth experiences be mindful that this can trigger emotional responses from those for whom would never experience birth pains and breast feeding options.
Let us bind together and turn a once taboo subject into a story and journey we are willing to take with someone who’s had suffered a great loss.