Thursday, November 20, 2014

Born of My Heart (Part 4)

I realize I left my story in a sad place yesterday. You can read Part 1, 2 & 3. 

The truth is that there is really nothing happy to say about miscarriage.

Before I tell you about those days and months after losing our baby, I want to talk a little bit about the fears and doubts that tend to stalk an infertile woman.

After flirting with Foster Care, I started obsessing about having a baby...or more to the point, "not having a baby."

I lost some of my "Susie Sunshine" outlook on life. Everyone and anyone seemed to be able to get pregnant. Well. Not everyone, but you get my drift.

I tried really hard not to let every conversation be about my childless state. I started feeling just a little bit sorry for myself. Just a little bit. People just didn't understand. I was impatient with folks who seemed to take their kids for granted.

Of course, I've matured since then (I hope). Most of us do the best we can. We are imperfect people. It's easy to get distracted with all the garbage we've involuntary (or voluntary) brought into our lives. Bills. Relationships. Health. Life.

My mom also talked to me. I have never been allowed to mope for too long. I had been thinking of having a baby in terms of my worth. I must not be worthy enough to be a parent. How could this person be worthy, but not me?

She told me that to procreate is part of God's plan. It is built into our biology...into our DNA. In fact, even "rabbits have babies." It has nothing to do with their worthiness. It is simply something that happens in nature. My inability to get pregnant had nothing to do with my character. It was just part of life.

Listen to me. You are worth more than this broken body you inhabit. Your ability to love isn't doesn't depend on functioning ovaries.

I also understood that I couldn't stay in this "obsessive mood." I have some addictive behaviors that run in my family. For the same reason I don't take narcotics for pain I have also had to learn to redirect my obsessions. I also can't speak for every infertile gal. We all come with different sizes and colors of baggage. It was my goal not to be defined by that baggage (no matter now much I thought I deserved to carry it around with me). I was more than my ovaries. I am more than my ovaries.

When my husband called the High Risk clinic and told them I had most likely miscarried, they told me to come into the labor and delivery emergency room. Thankfully, they didn't let me linger. I was ushered back into a dark little room filled with beeping sounds and blinking colors.

The staff were so gentle. I lay on the table with tears running down my face clutching Troy's hand. I saw the empty womb on my ultrasound. I could feel the blood rushing from my body.

It was determined that I had suffered a complete miscarriage. A DNC wasn't necessary. They sent me home with a super dose of ibuprofen. I had lost so much blood I almost passed out sitting in the wheel chair waiting for Troy to bring our car around.

I went home, laid in my bed and slept.

I actually got up the next day and went to church. I really should have stayed home. I think I thought that I needed to prove something to myself. Instead I spent most of the day crying. There were those who hadn't heard that I had lost my baby. I had a few well-meaning folks pat me on the head and tell me not to "worry about it." I was young and would doubtless have a house full of kids.

Being that I like to do my suffering in private, I'm surprised I even went out of the house. I think I was able to manage as well as I did because there was still that other little baby. The baby who was going to be born in October.

We went and picked out wallpaper for the bedroom. I put a few little outfits in the closet. We talked a few more times with the birth mother. Some how the idea that I was going to be holding a sweet baby boy in my arms in just a few short months helped me get out of bed every morning.

A week after I suffered the miscarriage the birth mama called me and told me that she had changed her mind.

I was calm. I asked her if she was going to keep him. She told me yes. I later found out she gave him to family members. I don't think she could stand to think of not being near him. I understand that. But I can tell you it shattered my heart. There is something that happens when you are an expectant parent. Even if you aren't the one going to be delivering the baby. I already had so much love in my heart for him. I had lost 2 babies in 2 weeks.

I really, really struggled during the days and weeks that followed. I was angry. I was hurt. I was in pain. I didn't understand. I had decided not to go back to my classroom. Instead I took classes to finish my degree. It was difficult. My major is Early Childhood. At the time I was going to be certified to teach P-4th grade. I was also supposed to have a specialty in those early years. Birth-5. That particular semester in school was basically a nightmare. Don't get me wrong. I had wonderful, supportive friends. They coddled and protected me. I had terrific professors. But this semester our emphasis was on Birth-5. I left more than one classroom in tears. I had my favorite stall in the bathroom I could hide. I had to observe daycare nurseries. You will remember that a daycare nursery was where I got my start. I could barely even touch a sweet baby toe without squalling.

So I was a mess. To put some of this in perspective I need to tell you that I started my classes just days after the birth mother had changed her mind. Just weeks after my miscarriage.

I learned a lot about myself during this time. I had already been challenged with obstacles. I knew my meddle. I knew that I was tougher than I could ever imagine, but I also understood that that ability to cope had little to do with me. It was God's strength. Not my own.  I think one of the most painful experiences occurred when we had to go back to the High Risk clinic for a checkup. I sat in the waiting room with all the expectant mamas. I felt empty. I was so weary. My lack seemed so obvious. What was wrong with me?

I want to leave you today with this thought. It is in those times of emptiness when God can do His work. I had to be empty for what was coming. Around late September 2001 I got this phone call. It would be a call that would change our lives. Would I brave enough to take a risk?

I'm sure you probably figured out what's coming next. I'll talk at you soon.

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