"Well, I guess it's time to choose to get back into the swing of things."
This is what I said to myself two weeks ago after days and days of avoidance and hibernation.
That is what I do and I've found that I achieve it with excellence when I'm working through stages of grief and discouragement.
Until a week ago, I will admit that I had yet to utter a word in prayer about the loss of our baby. I had prayed. Prayers for the boys and the bills. Prayers for loved ones and the difficult situation at work. Surface prayers...
I just didn't know what to say.
I still believe to this day that I'm not angry with God. I wanted to be-trust me. I wanted to accuse Him and blame Him for what He allowed. I wanted to stand on my right to ignore Him simply because it felt like He'd let me down. I was even envious of people that could utter the words "I had faith but God failed me!"
The thing is that somewhere along the way, truth has invaded my heart. It's become belief for me.
I believe that God is faithful to His children. I believe that He is good all the time. I believe that He is the creator of all life thus He has every right to take it. I believe God gives us every good gift and that at no point is He a thief of something that would be right for us.
I believe He loves me with an everlasting love that is deeper and more rich than anything I could put into words.
I believe that while it is not the most glorifying to Him, He can handle my moments of indifference. He is big enough to hold onto one that wants to push away. That while it may seem that He is "across the room from me" instead of near me...He is near me.
I believe that this miscarriage is God's grace in my life to reveal my heart and draw me to Himself.
I can't tell you how surprised I was to have both pregnancy tests be positive this time. I was totally shocked! It truly was unplanned and unexpected with my fertility issues.
Every trip to the doctors office week after week and watching the development of our baby only seemed to bond our hearts more to this child.
It became increasingly hard to not imagine the "magical" ending that included another addition to our family. My heart became full in expectation of my arms being full. I spent nights looking at my swelling belly, willing it life and praying for its safety.
The day that I found out that the baby had died, I was heading to the doctor's office with my mother-in-law who was visiting for a week. What seemed like an out of the ordinary fun experience came to be truly providential.
They put me on the ultrasound table and as my mom-in-law and I looked at the large screen tv that they show you the baby on, my heart was slower to accept what my mind was quickly processing. I knew what to look for. This was my 7th ultrasound in 12 weeks.
"I can't believe it. When could this have happened and I didn't realize it?"
My mom (so much less of an in-law) came right to my side. Unlike the last baby that took me days to cry over, this one brought tears that I could not control. I was even a little embarrassed. I felt bad for the doctor who was consoling me. I noticed the nurses who all took the time to hug me in the hallway...they didn't know what to say. I was told that I would have to have surgery. I was too far along to miscarry on my own. I could lose my uterus.
I rushed the surgery because it is horrible beyond words to know that you are carrying a dead baby. They scheduled it for a few hours later and before I knew it, I was laying in a bed on the maternity ward, wishing the minutes away to when this part would be over. Again, the nurses were wonderful. From rubbing my arm to helping me understand that this was not my fault-they made all the difference. Matt made the calls and prayed for me. He was there for me while letting me turn away to be by myself.
They arranged to do an ultrasound before and after the procedure. We insisted upon this. I just couldn't accept it. I wondered if a mistake had been made. Maybe..just maybe they got it wrong and life was what I was expecting.
The days that followed were as surprising to me as the pregnancy and the loss.
First, I was overwhelmed by the love and compassion that I received from the people and children that I work with. By the time I miscarried, I was showing and nearly every student at our school was excited with me. My fellow peers sacrificed and were patient with my morning sickness and rejoiced over every doctor's appointment that brought a new picture of our little one. They are like family and they grieved themselves for our loss. My home was bombarded with calls and food and gifts and flowers and with them came notes of real personal sadness that I would never have expected.
Secondly, was the surprise of family members that reached out across the miles and relentlessly called and sent notes to let me know I was loved. Even when I pulled away they came running. My mom and sisters are my true friends. I've had meaningful conversations with sister-in-laws that have cried with me, understanding my pain from experience. This loss has brought a closeness that I believe was part of the purpose of my sweet baby that is in heaven now.
Lastly, I was surprised by the deep loss that I have felt and that has lingered. I find myself constantly comparing my response to this with the last baby I lost and how long it took me to get beyond it. I compare it with other women and how they handle miscarriages. I think that I should be better...feel less hurt, not still cry when it is mentioned. Then I remind myself that grief is grief. You cannot compare it or put a time line on it. You just have to walk through it. Grief never goes away, you just learn how to live with it in joy.
People have given us books on grief or "How to handle the loss of your child". They sit on my desk. I don't want to read them. I don't want to be "okay" with the loss of my babies but I know I must accept it. I must have faith that things are as they were planned to be long before even my own existence.
I'm surprised at the absence in my home. It feels like someone is not here who should be. My arms are empty and they shouldn't be. I'm suddenly barren without preparation.
I know that the key to healing is praise. It's thankfulness. It's choosing to live by faith that God knows the bigger picture and if I could see with His eyes, I would have ordained this for myself.
It's getting up and making your bed and putting a nice meal on the table in service to those you love.
It's sitting in the bathroom another morning, crying and forcing yourself to crack open the Bible and face what God has for you to learn. It's changing your gaze from His hands to provide you with something to His face-that will teach you something.
It's putting a turkey in the oven when you don't feel like celebrating and playing "Silent Night" on the piano as you think about another baby...the one that came and took care of our greatest need.
And the hardest one for me...It's accepting that life is not what we thought. It's not the final act. It's not one to have roots in. It's not where we set our hearts. It's a vapor and it's temporary.
For now, honestly, that truth makes my day a little "gray" but I know that God hears my prayer for the return of joy in living. And I keep on praying for that...