Monday, June 18, 2012

Painful Blessings

Some things I tried to understand simply cannot be understood until it's been experienced first hand.

About a week ago, I found out I was pregnant.  Again.  Now, for those who don't know, I have three little boys.  They are my life right now, whether I like it (most days I do) or not (which comes and goes).  My boys are ages 5, 3, and 1 at the moment.  My youngest turned one in May.

So, finding out I was pregnant wasn't the jump-for-joy kind of experience.  But, although logically I was thinking "Oh, here we go." and trying to talk myself into the reasons this was a good thing, I couldn't help feeling this little smile inside.  It was like a creeping feeling of happiness that I couldn't suppress even though I logically fought it and didn't want to tell anyone about it.  It just wasn't a good time, I kept telling myself.

Then a week went by of me keeping this little secret to myself and trying to grow used to it.  There was this secret little smile within me about this untimely blessing only I (and my husband) knew about.

I was also feeling mixed feelings of gratitude.  Because a cousin of mine recently had a tragic but beautiful circumstance in her own family where she was told at about 6 months pregnant that her baby had something called Trisomy 13, and her little growing beloved one would not live much past birth and most likely would be premature.  I had followed her story over the last couple weeks, my heart hurting for her.  The baby was born and was healthy enough for her to take this little angel home with her.  Her mother was there and wrote emails to my mother, which were forwarded to me.  I followed the story, holding my breath.  Each moment with that baby was a blessing for her.  I think about if this were me, and I would be afraid to sleep.  The baby, little Elsie Jubie Lee, lived for 10 days.  I couldn't make it to the funeral so I thought hard about how I could possibly show my support.  I ordered a beautiful picture of Christ holding a newborn and planned to frame it.  Then I also ordered a book called "Gone Too Soon" which has scriptural and spiritual comfort for those who have experienced miscarriage, stillborn, or the death of a new baby.  Before sending the book, I decided I would read through it in its entirety since it isn't so long.  I received the book shortly before I found out I was pregnant.  I read it for about a week, packaged it up as a gift, and sent it.

The next day, I miscarried.

And my little smile was gone.

All I can say, is the Lord knows me.  He knows me more then I know myself.

I had suspicious symptoms at a barbeque at a friend's house, but by the next morning it became more clear what was happening to me.  I lay in bed with my mind blank.  I kept asking myself how I felt and couldn't answer myself.  Until my husband asked if he should stay home with me that day and I began to cry.  All I could think is, "Oh.  This is how I feel."  Later that day, I went to the doctor to see on their screen the little sack where the baby should be and there was none.  I was told there was really nothing I did wrong.  99% of the time, it is something that went wrong with the cells and the fetus.  It was just not right.  I understood.

But what I couldn't understand was why I had to go through this.  Why did the Lord give me a pregnancy when I wasn't looking for one, and then take it away?  Why did He give me a blessing I wasn't certain I wanted only to take it away before I could realize how much I in fact wanted it?  I still don't know the answer the this question, but I do know one thing.  I have learned, and I have changed.

Before this, I took everything for granted.  Pregnancy was easy for me.  It was something that just happened.  I rode it like I was in a boat floating over waves without oars, relying on someone else to guide me safely, and being happy that way.  Now I realize what a miracle healthy pregnancy and childbirth really is.  I also have learned so much about sincere service.  So many people can try giving well-meaning advice or words of comfort that just plain ISN'T comforting.

I don't want to hear "They're in a better place." or "It just wasn't the right time."  I don't want to hear "Now you have a reason to try harder for Celestial glory." or "This baby was just an angel, not meant for life in this wicked world." or "One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, so it's pretty common."

It might be a better place, but it's not with me.  I know it's not the right time, but why this "here you go, or not" thing?  I already was trying, and I didn't need another excuse to feel unworthy.  AND I believe every spirit son and daughter of God gets to live on this earth.   They all get a chance at life.  I don't understand where they are or what they will do, but God does.  And just because miscarriage is common, doesn't mean it's not INCREDIBLY heartbreaking and PAINFUL!  But all this aside, just stop it.

Words don't help anyway.

The week after this happened was like a single day.  Days just passed, and it forever felt like the miscarriage began yesterday.  I tried doing laundry and it lasted all week.  Time just passed.  I knew this was a sign of depression.  I attended a temple session where I slept through it (eyes open or shut).  Then my husband's birthday came and went, we celebrated the next day with dinner and a movie where I felt a little more normal, then it was my birthday and we went to visit family for a reunion.  By the end of that day, I felt outside my own body.  Maybe I didn't drink enough water.  Maybe it was the heat and wind.  Maybe it was just a combination of everything.  But I cried again on the way home.

I'm exhausted.  I'm physically so tired.  But I'm also tired of feeling this way.  I don't know how to feel better.  I want to just pick up and do things.  I try to stay busy, doing what I should, but if I'm honest with myself, all I want to do is lay on the couch all day and watch movies.  But I can't do that with these three small children climbing out, over, and through everything and their mothers.

So I clean.  And I hope to feel better.  And my heart goes out to those other mothers who experience miscarriage later in pregnancy when there are more procedures needed.  And my heart goes out to those other mothers who experience the death of a fully grown baby, whether still in the womb or in their arms.  And my heart aches for their pain.  And my heart aches for their crazy hormonal emotions, which everyone experiences after childbirth anyway - but the upside is that there is a baby there.  So what if there isn't one?

 I love you, women.  All of you.