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The Things That Get To You

It’s weird, the things that get to you… especially when your heart is already fragile.

I only cried twice yesterday… once while reading a sympathy card and the poem enclosed with it, and then when I went to bed, when my hands automatically rested on my stomach.  I quickly pulled them away like I had burned myself – it’s empty!  Sometimes I think if I can only convince myself – if I wish it hard enough – Shiloh will still be in there.  Then I remember that I won’t be feeling those kicks.

Shiloh

This morning, I was emptying the trash from upstairs.  The basket in our bedroom doesn’t get filled very quickly, so when I emptied it’s contents, my heart lurched at the various items.  Silly, really… at the bottom were some granola bar wrappers, the ones I bought because my morning sickness and nausea wouldn’t allow me my daily smoothie or some of the other healthy things I was trying to eat.  It was one of the first compromises I made in my diet, and I started buying a few boxes a week.

There was a bag of Cape Cod BBQ chips, which I don’t usually buy because of my tendency to eat the whole bag… which is exactly what happened and I lamented the fact that it would probably cause me to gain ten pounds and I had so much more of my pregnancy to go.

Then there was the plastic bag from the hospital, the one they give you to hold your shoes, clothes, and other valuables while they do what they have to do.

And tissues, lots of tissues, for those tears.

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My Life is But a Weaving

A family member sent me this beautiful poem that brought me to tears, along with a note of sympathy for what we are going through.  I looked it up online, and there are some different versions – some giving credit to Corrie ten Boom, others simply saying “Anonymous.”

In any case, I wanted to share:

The Weaver
My life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors,
He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
in the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares,
nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.

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One Week Later

*Disclaimer: I continue to speak honestly – and at times graphically – about my recent miscarriage.  If this bothers you, stop reading now.  Writing this down is helping me get through everything, and I hope that this might help someone else who might be going through the same thing.

One week later…

I lay in bed last night, thinking that a week ago, I went to bed not knowing what lay ahead.  I had stretched out on my tummy and watched a show on Netflix, wondering how much longer I could comfortably lay on my stomach like that.  Then… the early morning… and the cramps… and the blood… and my life will never be the same again.

I feel like I have no more tears left.  There’s just this lingering sadness, the same emptiness that permeates every fiber of my being.  Except now, there’s anger and impatience creeping in… not at God or my situation necessarily… but I don’t have room for dealing with The Every Day and it’s getting to me.  I feel like I was allowed a couple days to rest and recover, but that time has come to an end and I have to buck up and “get on with life.”  After all… my kids need me, right?  But when they’re yelling at each other because “give that back!” or whatever, I just don’t care.  I know they’re little people who don’t understand what I’m going through, but keeping it in perspective isn’t coming easily to me right now.

I do what I have to do… get up, sometimes get dressed, make meals, do school… but I have no interest in other things right now.  My sewing machine and piles of fabric are gathering dust, I might remember to fold the laundry if it bothers me enough, I guess the dishes need to get cleaned… but who really cares?

Even though I’m not crying every second of the day now, certain things open the floodgates. Addy, poking my belly and talking about the baby in there; I kept telling her the baby was gone, the baby died and went to heaven, but she kept insisting… so I left the room in tears and Phil took me in his arms.  I wish he didn’t have to work so I could stay in his arms a while longer. 

I don’t feel like going anywhere, seeing anyone… afraid of bumping into someone I know and I just can’t keep my shit together or pretend like everything is normal or deal with the sympathy… but I ran some errands and it was hard.  Passed the church where my kids went to VBS last month, where I picked them up after my ultrasound and breathed a sigh of relief that there was “just one in there” and showed the picture to Phil, to a friend who already knew we were pregnant.

Going to the store and seeing baby clothes, thinking how I was just waiting to find out whether I was having a boy or a girl so I could buy a few things – don’t really need them, but it’s always nice to have some brand new baby stuff.  Had just asked some friends to borrow some of their things.  Don’t need them anymore.  Walked down the aisle where I had walked a few times recently, shopping for a baby shower… planning a shower for my sister-in-law, our babies who were supposed to be so close in age. 

Getting a weekly pregnancy update telling me how big my baby is now and how I’m feeling at 13 weeks… despite canceling my membership so I wouldn’t receive those updates anymore.  Seeing ads for maternity clothes everywhere, putting my maternity clothes and pregnancy books away, thinking of all the future dates when I won’t be pregnant, won’t be celebrating a birthday, won’t won’t won’t…

I know God “wipes my tears away” and “heals the brokenhearted” and all that… but honestly, though I’m not mad at Him, I’m not feeling particularly comforted by His promises.  Yes, I will see my child in Heaven one day, and my mourning may not last forever, and eventually whatever… but this is NOW.

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Shiloh

*Disclaimer: I continue to speak honestly – and at times graphically – about my recent miscarriage.  If this bothers you, stop reading now.  Writing this down is helping me get through everything, and I hope that this might help someone else who might be going through the same thing.

I’ve needed something tangible – something I can hold and feel – to fill this emptiness inside.  Of course nothing can replace what I’ve lost, but it’s been so hard to navigate the waters of grief. 

Phil came up with the idea to plant a tree in honor of our baby.  We chose an early Spring flowering tree, since the due date would have been March 1st.  The Rising Sun Redbud is supposed to be a brilliantly-flowering tree with leaves that turn all sorts of beautiful colors after the flowers fade and fall (bonus: bees and butterflies love it).  Phil did a wonderful job clearing a spot in the front yard, making a border of stones around the tree, and filling it in with mulch; at some point, we’ll plant flowers underneath and add a memorial stone.  Before adding the mulch, he poured the remains that we saved from Thursday – it will feed the soil and give nutrients to the tree.  Our loss will give life in another way.  I picked some flowers from around the yard and we all sprinkled petals on top of the soil.  Then Phil prayed; it felt surreal.  I can’t believe we’re planting a tree for our baby that’s gone. 

One of my favorite things to do as soon as I find out I’m pregnant is scour baby name books for my favorites.  My list has dwindled, since I have a formula for choosing the right name – but I love reading the names and their meanings just the same.  I already had a girl’s name picked out – had one before I even got pregnant – which led me to believe we’d be having a boy.  Just one of the many things we will never know – would he have had red hair?  Would he be rambunctious like Josiah?  Extra trouble like Addy?  An artistic reader like Gwen?  I thought about it for a while, talked about it with Phil, and we decided to name the baby.   

Some people think it’s silly to name a dead baby – one that was never even born – but as small as a 12-week baby is it’s still a little person created by God and nurtured by its mother.  The fact that it didn’t have a chance to grow and be born is no fault of its own.  I wanted the name to be gender-neutral, for obvious reasons, and have a special meaning.  It wouldn’t necessarily be something I would choose for a living baby, and I didn’t bother with a middle name.  The name we chose: Shiloh.  It means “peace,” “place of rest.”  We wanted to acknowledge the fact that we lost a little person who should have become part of our family.  And this little person – Shiloh – has already changed my life.  On the memorial stone for our Shiloh Tree, Phil will carve the baby’s name along with the words: “God has you in His hands.  We have you in our hearts.”

credit: etsy.com/shop/HoneyThorns

I fell in love with that quote when looking for other ways to memorialize our child.  I found some beautiful infant loss jewelry on Etsy, and ended up ordering a bracelet from Honey Thorns – similar to this one, but personalized with an angel wing charm and the March birth stone.  Phil grieves differently than I, but I knew he would like something just the same, and we decided on a necklace he could hang in his truck – something like this, without the key ring.  I’ve toyed with the idea of making necklaces or bracelets for the kids, but they seem to be so accepting of the situation, I don’t want to needlessly remind them of my own sadness.

It’s a fine line – wanting to remember what you’ve lost, but not wanting a constant reminder of your sadness.  It feels strange that I’m otherwise healthy, but I feel so dead and empty inside right now.

Some other links I’ve found helpful:
Selah’s “I Will Carry You
Gary Barlow’s “Dying Inside
Daughtry’s “Gone Too Soon

Scriptures for Miscarriage
Faces of Loss
A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small” – Dr. Seuss
Once you are real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.” – The Velveteen Rabbit

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One Day at a Time

*Disclaimer: I continue to speak honestly – and at times graphically – about my recent miscarriage.  If this bothers you, stop reading now.  Writing this down is helping me get through everything, and I hope that this might help someone else who might be going through the same thing.

It has been a few days since we lost our baby, and I don’t know how I will ever find “normal” again.  Phil says one day at a time, but even that seems too hard.  It seems like I should be wasting away with my grief, but I think I’ve actually gained weight.  Food choices aren’t a top priority right now, and I don’t care how I look. 

I hold the only picture of the baby we have – the 8-week ultrasound – stroke the little image and say how sorry I am that I couldn’t keep it healthy.  I hold the picture close to my heart, thinking it was supposed to have been one of many ultrasounds.  I’ve always hated having to go to the specialist every week during my pregnancies, the only consolation that I would get to “see” my baby each time… but this time, I only have the one.  I have nothing else to hold.  At first I was glad I hadn’t made any baby stuff, but then wished I had a blankie or something so I could hold it close to my face and dry my tears.

I wished I had asked the doctor if they found the baby when they cleaned my insides.  I wanted to see the baby I had grown for three months, told the kids about, shown them photos of what it looked like at each stage.  I wanted to see the tiny hands and feet, see if it were a boy or a girl.  I asked Phil to sift through the bucket of blood and tissue he saved that morning – maybe our baby was in there and we just didn’t see it.  I was suddenly desperate to find out. 

We didn’t find the baby.  My midwife asked the doctor, and they didn’t find it either.  She told me that it’s likely we missed it – perhaps it got flushed away with my initial panic that morning – or the baby died sometime before the miscarriage and decomposed so we couldn’t see it. 

I started going over the last couple weeks, horrified that I didn’t know what was happening… but relieved at the same time.  Some mothers know their babies have died, and wait for the inevitable miscarriage to begin.  Mine was sudden, shocking, but I can’t imagine just waiting for it to happen.  I realized my baby was probably dead at my sister-in-law’s baby shower, a beautiful time of celebrating new life.  How could I not know?  My dreams were suddenly dead, along with everything else. 

I told the kids we couldn’t find it because God took the baby straight to heaven.

“Emptiness” seems to be a resonating word with me right now.  I found this beautiful, simple poem at Naming the Child:

The Empty Place
Since you’ve been gone
there is a place
inside of us
that is shaped like you
so empty now
that place which is filled
with so much love
for you.
-Juliana Bibas