April 27, 2010

When Words Heal

When a friend said this, it was water to my soul:
“You have a mother’s heart and that is why you grieve so much and so hard. You have a mother’s heart and that can never be taken away and that will never change.”

And my counselor confirmed that I am not crazy and I have not gone off the deep end to grieve this much and this hard. He says:
“Your grief is how you honor your babies’ lives. So your tears, in essence, are hugs and kisses that will never be given to your babies.”

And when a friend, who miscarried at four months, said this to me, it brought me to my knees:
“This baby was supposed to be born and held and kissed. You were supposed to meet this baby.”

And as I sat in her kitchen and watched her make wedding cake, a friend who delivered her baby stillborn perfectly summed up what this journey feels like:
“It’s icky.”

And when I put myself out there and shared some of the darker parts of my heart, I heard:
“I am praying for you.”

And when I went to the Lord yesterday and could only utter this:
“Heal me.”

HE said:
“I will.”

April 13, 2010

When God Met Me at Starbucks

Me: I’ve been thinking about You…..just haven’t known what to say.

God: I am always thinking about you.

I lost my second baby last week.

I know. I was there. I was there when your baby’s heart beat for the last time. I was there when no heartbeat was found. I was there when you wept in the exam room by the glow of the ultrasound screen. I was there when you left the office and rode in a cab back home. I was there when you opened the front door and that wave of helplessness and grief overcame you. I was there when you went to bed crying and when you woke up crying. I was there the whole week you stayed home waiting for your baby to leave your body. I was there the moment your baby left your body. I was there all the time. I never left you. And I am still here.

I know You were there. I felt You there. I felt Your presence in the exam room. I made room for You in the back of that cab. I hoped You would meet us at home and You did. I slept at night because You were watching over me and I got out of bed each morning because You promised to take my cup. You watched over my body and You allowed me to be at home when the baby passed. And You washed over me with Your peace when I looked at my baby and saw no signs of life. I know You were there and I know You are still here. But I feel like You have forsaken me. Like you have forgotten about me and let my baby die.

I know you do, but I haven’t forsaken you and I haven’t forgotten you.

But it feels like you have.

The enemy is whispering this to you and he is lying. Don’t listen to him. Listen to Me and believe Me when I say that I have not forgotten you or forsaken you.

But why did You let this happen? Is there something I did or didn’t do that caused You to take this baby away? Is it because I did not thank You each day I carried this baby? I tried to be cognizant of that- I tried to remember to do that each day because I was thankful. You know I was thankful, right?

I have not taken this baby away to punish you because you did or did not do something. I don’t keep tabs how many times you thank Me for a gift I have given you. You could have not acknowledged this baby as a gift from Me at all and I still could have chosen to let you keep this baby.

But why did You take my babies?

There isn’t an answer I can give you as a grieving mother that would bring you any measure of comfort other than to remind you that I AM good and loving and I work for the good of those who love Me. You can’t understand My purposes now, but I love you and I am working for your good.

You’re right, that’s not comforting……at all. I love my babies and wish they were here with me.

Dear child of mine, I know you love those babies. There’s no question about the love you have for them. You will be with them again one day. I promise.

Do You remember when I was small and played “mommy” with my dolls?

Of course I do.

Do You know the love that leaps out of my heart when I am with children?

I do.

Then why won’t You give me a child of my own?

It’s not time.

I want to crawl in a hole and disappear.

I will find you no matter where you go.

You always know where to find me.

I do.

The pain is more than I can bear.

Give it to Me.

And what will You do with it?

I will turn it into something beautiful.

How can losing two babies be turned into something beautiful?

The same way that the death of My Son could be turned into something beautiful for all of mankind.

You promise to make all things new.

I do. And I will.

Is there hope?

There is always hope for those that love Me.

But I am promised nothing.

You are promised Me.

And that is supposed to be enough?

It is more than enough. I AM more than enough.

It doesn’t feel like it. I don't know what else to say now.

You don't need to say anything more. I know how you feel. Sit with Me a little longer, child, and we will weep together. I know your sorrow- I will take this cup from you. You are weary, I can see that. Your heart is crushed and you have no hope. It is good to sit with Me, for I have overcome the world and your tears of mourning will not always be.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed." Revelation 21:4

April 8, 2010

Our Second Glory Baby

A letter of grief written in three parts

To My Baby:
We saw you on Friday- your little heartbeat was like a twinkling star on the screen- and it seems we lost you on Saturday. A mother knows when something is wrong with her child and deep in the tucked away parts of my heart, I knew on Sunday that you and I were not going to meet the way I had hoped. So when it was confirmed on Monday that you were no longer with us, there was little surprise but just the heartbreaking realization that a mother’s instincts are often right.

My sweet second baby dead in my womb and raised to heaven in the arms of Jesus on Easter weekend. How very appropriate.

I could not bring myself to look at the ultrasound screen as the midwife and technician looked for your heartbeat. But on the way out of the room, both your daddy and I took one last look at you on the screen as we left the room. There you were in all your splendid creation- so tiny and wondrously made by your Maker. It pained me to know that when we left the room the lights would be turned back on, the linens changed, and the screen erased so that the room could be ready for the next patient. Didn’t anyone want to sit in that room and weep over you like I did?

The morning after we learned of your passing, there was a thunderstorm in the city and I think it was especially for you- creation was mourning you. Heaven put on a fierce display of tears and loud and angry booms and that, my sweet baby, was a perfect reflection of your mom’s heart and spirit. It still is.

We chose to come home and wait for you to make your passing out of my body- I can’t tell you how much agony this still brings me, for the thought of you and me being separated like this is unbearable. You were conceived naturally and in this home and by God’s grace and provision, you passed naturally and in this home. I felt the pains of you being separated from inside of me and while I have never been one for pain, I chose this way because it was the only way I could think to honor your too-short life. It was the closest I would ever get to delivering you.

You are loved so very much by me and your daddy. You were not a replacement to our first baby, but rather you were a happy second addition to our family. It does a mom’s heart good to know that her babies are with each other in the presence of Jesus. Oh sweet babies, how loved you will always be; I eagerly await our reunion.

And now we are left to grieve you and cling to and try to make sense out of God’s promise that He works for the good of those who love Him. It’s hard to see the good in your not being here and I suspect it’ll be that way for as long as I live.

You are gone from my womb and I am left to wonder what I could have done differently to have kept you longer. But I know there was nothing in my power that could have kept you here. Your daddy wonders if you were too perfect for this world. Maybe you were.

There is no replacing you. You will always, always be my sweet second baby. And I will always be your loving mom.

To You, Reader:
Nothing can prepare you for the time when life leaves your womb lifeless. Nothing.

I have learned some things about myself and done/said some things through the process of losing two babies and it’s not all that good, really. I have come to think that I can negotiate with God and barter with Him with the hopes that He would let me keep me just one of my babies. What can I give up that would make Him want to give me a baby of my own? And if there is ever a next time, should I pray more and ask for more specific things like “Please God, let my baby have a heartbeat and be in a normal size sac so I don’t have a higher risk of miscarrying”?....I was just praying for my baby to have a heartbeat all this time. I have found myself telling the Lord that I would find it appalling if He did not give me children of my own. I have suspected that He has been withholding His favor from me in this area of my life and have quietly argued with Him while other women go on to have second, third, and fourth babies. I have questioned whom He gives babies to and I have told Him in no uncertain terms that I should be at the top of His list. I have wondered if there are only so many babies to go around and if that’s the case, where do I sign to put my name on the list for consideration? And in moments of desperation, I have shamelessly pleaded with Him to tell me what I need to do to have a baby of my own, as if He would have me answer some silly riddle to figure it out.

What am I to do? How can I have hope after losing two babies? Does anyone out there know the deep, deep sorrow I feel to have lost two babies and come home to a quiet house?

Unfortunately yes, there are people out there who know how this feels and to you, I ask: Is there a book I can read or a song I can listen to that will come at all close to putting into words what I cannot? When does hope come again? And when it comes, will I know it or feel it or see it? Will the day come that I do not want to crawl into a hole every time I see a belly swelled with baby? Did you cry each time you reached for your pre-natal vitamins after you lost your babies? Do you ever wish people would hurt as much you hurt? How long will other people’s baby joy bring up my own pain? And back to the subject of hope- how long will I feel hopeless? Is it normal to feel bitter towards women who are pregnant yet feel equally drawn to them because they are experiencing something I can only dream of, something that all together eludes me? Do I look like someone who lost two babies- am I marked for life? I don’t feel like laughing or smiling- is that okay? Will Mother’s Day be as horrible as I am expecting it to be this year? Seriously, is this really happening to me?

After my first miscarriage, I had to endure some really insensitive comments and while I know people mean well, I think people end up saying the most insensitive things in situations like this out of ignorance. So let me help you know what not to say, not just to me, but to anyone who has ever lost their baby.

Please don’t tell me that I will have a baby someday- you don’t know that. I am promised nothing.

Please don’t talk to me about the hope of future babies- in case you haven’t heard, I don’t have a lot of hope right now. And I am not ready to think about that. I was still grieving the loss of my first baby and now I am grieving my second baby. My two babies are all I can think about now.

Please don’t try to speculate what went wrong this second time around. Don’t assume it is anything I did or didn’t do. Or because we did not wait long enough to get pregnant after my first miscarriage. We waited exactly the amount of time we were told to and there was no reason to think that we were putting our second baby in jeopardy by getting pregnant when we did.

Please do not quote statistics or tell me that this is normal and happens all the time. I could give a hoot about statistics and there is nothing normal about seeing your baby in a toilet bowl. Absolutely nothing.

Please do not compare your pregnancy with various complications with my pregnancies. If you ended up with a baby in your arms and got to take them home, there is no comparison.

And to God:
I am quite speechless. Words elude me and only grief finds me when I come to You. I might be angry with You, but I don’t know if I am…..yet.

You say that you work all things together for the good of those who love You and while I believe that for others, I don’t believe that for me. Why are You asking that I go through this again? I feel like You are torturing me.

Do You see the agony this is causing? Do You see how I struggle to find something in my day to look forward to? Everything was so much brighter, so much happier before. And now, everything appears dull and barren.

Do You find it ironic as I do that not only do I not have any children of my own, and apparently won’t any time soon, but I spend most of my time taking care of and making plans for other people’s children? I don’t know if that’s a blessing in disguise or…..or what, I don’t know.

Do You know how much I loathe being the person whose story others will read or hear about and then they will go on to say things like, “I am so glad that is not me…..I am so happy that I have my children……Thank goodness I never had to go through that”?

I don’t know what to make of this and I feel too weary to walk through this with You. You’ll have to carry me most of the way, maybe even all of it.

In the mean time- and I don’t know how things work up there, but if it’s possible- please give my babies a kiss for me and tell them I’ll be home soon.