If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever. Winnie the Pooh

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pain & Healing

I have three, practically perfect in every way, children. If I could have looked into a crystal ball as a 20 year old, I would have gone through life giddy and laughing with the knowledge that I get to be the mother of the three most amazing little people on earth. How blessed am I?! Beyond belief.

I told Claire's birth story. And as much as I'd love to tell the story of my Madeline & Maxwell--the surprise twins, I must tell the story of my dear angel babies. The babies I never got to meet. The babies that changed me forever.

This is their story....

I was so happy to be pregnant for a second time. It was shortlived because within a week of finding out I was going to have a baby, I lost my baby. Lost.



I wanted answers but the doctor had none to give. Well, no answers sufficient to my broken heart; It happens to many women...it's very common....chromosomal abnormaility....blah blah blah. I wanted to know what I did to cause this. Running too much? Lifting weights? Not taking my vitamins every day? If I could blame myself, then I could make sure it wouldn't happen again. No. You did nothing wrong. Get pregnant again, you'll see...you'll have another baby.

So we did. We got pregnant again. I cautiously worked out. Cutting back on the intensity of my running and lowering the weights I'd use to tone my body. But every day I was waiting for something to happen. I suppose if you wait long enough for anything, it will happen.

And it did.

I remember seeing the blood and feeling two things simultaneously; disbelief and that I just knew it was going to happen again feeling.

I fell to my knees. I prayed. I begged; God, please don't. Please don't take my baby. Please, not again.

Going to the hospital confirmed what I already knew; my baby had died. Two babies in less than 4 months. My doctor told me I would be able to pass the baby on my own or if I preferred he could take it out for me. It. My sweet baby. My boy or girl. I would never know. He called it an incomplete abortion. Abortion. That word felt like a slap to my face. Abortions were for women who didn't want their child. I wanted my children.

I needed to be alone. I went out by myself. I got my haircut and that is where I first felt the twinges of contractions. I went shopping and gripped the shopping cart, sweat beading on my upper lip. I drove home. Nearly doubled over with the pain.

Home. Please, just keep her away from me. I begged Chris to take Claire to another room. She knew something was wrong but didn't know what. He wanted to help but helping with Claire was the best he could do.

I got on all fours and rocked with the pain of the contractions ripping through my stomach. Chris came in the room. He had put Claire to bed. I felt delirous from the pain. The pain was doubly intense; I was having strong contractions and I knew there would be no pink, crying lovely baby to show for all the pain. I wanted to die. At one point I fell asleep. Chris curled up on the floor beside me. He wrapped his arms around me. Later I found us both asleep in bed. That next morning I knew it was over. No more pain. I felt empty inside.


I went through a very dark time. I was angry; at God, my body, the doctor, even my husband, who thought maybe we shouldn't try for any more children. I walked away from God. I felt so alone, wanting to focus on my daughter and all the good in my life, instead I became consumed by fear; would I ever have another baby? What was wrong with me?

Fear was not the only rotten, black emotion eating at me. Anger. It was filling my heart. I went back to work in the Fall to find out one of my old students, now in 8th grade, had a baby. The hate and anger at God raged inside me. How could He be so unfair?


Little did I know He was always there. How could my God let this happen to me? Why would He do this? I called Him names. He held me tighter and I struggled in His embrace. I wanted nothing to do with Him. And yet, He never left my side. In my struggles, in my anger, fear and hurt, He was there. Always. He didn't cause my pain but he held me through it. He didn't cause my miscarriages, but He lovingly healed my heart. He forgave me. And all along, He had a plan. He knew what my family needed. He knew what I needed. And for this, I get on my knees and thank Him for knowing me, His child.

I still ache for my sweet angel babies. I will always remember the moment I found out I was pregnant with them. I will forever remember their birthdays.
February 1, 2009.
April 2, 2009.

But my heart was healed. God continued to love me as if I was a tantruming child and He was the ever so patient parent. I humbly asked for forgiveness and He gave me that, and so much more.


Monday, February 8, 2010

New Experiences

As an adult, there are very few things in life that you get to do for the very first time. It seems like childhood and adolescence takes that right away. Tasting a new dessert, riding a rollercoaster, driving a car, kissing your first boyfriend, getting your first job. As an adult...it seems like it's all been done.

Luckily for me, having a baby would be a whole new experience. You can read as many books as you want, watch a million episodes of A Baby Story, but nothing, nothing prepares you for having a baby.

July 5, 2006: 12am.
My day had arrived. Or, her day had.
The pain was mild; a fluffy white cloud moving slowly throughout my tummy. And still, I knew it was the day. The day I had been waiting for since I found out I was pregnant. The day I would meet my daughter. So many questions: what would she look like, smell like, sound like? Would we love each other instantly? Would she know me? Would I know her? Can I do this? What will my life be like after she's born? And on and on.

I'd like to say I was brave. That I had faith in my body and that I would have her 'naturally'. But the reality was I was scared. After all, it was a whole new experience for me. When was the last time I'd tried something new. Really new? Oh yeah, when I went rocking climbing a few years before. Rock climbing....having a baby....rock climbing....having a baby. I'll let you decide which is more significantly life changing.

The pain is a little blue bouncing ball. Boing-boing. I know baby. I want to meet you too. I tell Chris that we'll need to go to the hospital. Now? he mumbles. No....not now, later. That was his cue to roll over and resume snoring. Men! How do they do that?! I called my mom to let her know. She immediately jumped in the car and began the 7 hour drive. Oh sweet mom. Her first grandchild would be born today. I knew I didn't have to ask her to come, she wouldn't miss this new experience for the world.

The pain was a blue-green fish swimming lazily in my tummy. Coming, going, coming and going. Chris packed things in the car, showered, ate breakfast (Really!? How do they do that?!!) and helped me into the car. The hospital was only a 20 minute drive but somehow he turned down the wrong street. Oh sweet, nervous Chris. My hands were clenched as my blue-green fish began to swim faster and faster. But it's ok. It goes away.

Ouch! Hoping the nurse doesn't have to check for progress very often. So much worse than my own pain. 4cm. I get to stay. Do I have to stay in bed? It's so much worse when I'm lying down. I'm every nurses worst nightmare. I have a birth plan. No IVs. I want to walk. So I walk. It's better if I'm alone. I can focus on the pain. I can be a fisherman and catch my little blue-green fish and hold it and release it.

The pain is a yellow star blinking in my tummy. Mom and dad arrive. Sweet Mom rubs my back. Oh! I realize instantly I'm one of those types. Please don't touch me. Everything hurts. I hope I don't hurt her feelings but I'm pretty sure she understands. Dad who knows all about being a man takes Chris to get something to eat.

The yellow star is no longer blinking. It's always on. Why are there no breaks in between contractions I wonder? This isn't what it's supposed to be like. My body laughs at me; silly, new girl. It knows what must be done. It's doing what it's supposed to be doing. I move to the room. I sway. I sit. I stand. I hold my breath. I clench my fists because the pain is turning into a fiery red ball . Chris comes in and I see the worry in his eyes. He knows. He knows I'm hurting. The nurse asks me if I want an epidural. No, I groan. You won't get a gold star by doing this to yourself she states. But it's best for the baby I think. I have to do this naturally, for my baby.

The pain is a raging, red fire in my tummy. Make it stop. Please! Begging for what I said I didn't want. Please, I can't do this. Suddenly, there is relief. I hear the music that has been playing all along in the background:

Lord you have my heart.
And I will search for yours.
Jesus take my life and lead me on

I no longer focus on the pain. There is no pain. Just relaxed sleep and sweet comforting music. 7cm my nurse whispers to me. You made it to 7cm before you got the epidural. Maybe I should get half a star?

There is no pain. A white cloud is static in my tummy. But it's time. Time to push. Push?! I can't feel anything. How do I push? Try. So I push. The nurse looks surprised and yells for me to stop. She needs to get the doctor.

Hello. You aren't my doctor. Nevermind, doesn't matter. I want to meet my girl. My girl. So I push. I see the disappointment on his face. I can tell he's thinking we are going to be here a while. No! I can do this. I focus all my energy and push. I'm doing it right. I can tell. Chris is holding me, encouraging me.

And suddenly she's here. So beautiful she takes my breath away. So very beautiful, I see my husband crying for the first time in my life. She's on my chest, crying. Crying so loud. We cry together. Black hair and pink skin. She looks just like Chris. So beautiful, so perfect. My Claire Rose. My heart. She is more than I could have ever hoped, dreamed or imagined. I know her and she knows me.

Happy birthday, Sweet Claire Rose. My firecracker, my moon, my stars, and my sky. My girl.

All this time I was waiting for you. From the moment I was born, I was meant to be your mother. You've been part of me my whole life. I was living my whole life for this day to come. I had no idea God be so perfect. So good. So loving. So very giving; when he chose to give me, you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Just Breathe

The day is here.
It's so cold.

Everyone looks confident.
I wonder how I look.
I know how I feel.
I feel nervous.

There is electricity in the air.
You can almost reach out and touch it.
So many smiling faces.

Suddenly we are running.
I am running.
Running, breathing, running, breathing.
I wonder where the road will take us.
I wonder if I can finish.
Will I finish?

My body feels like a machine.
It's as if someone programmed me, put in a battery pack and set me off.
My legs are moving.
My arms are pumping.
And still, I'm breathing.

Miles pass....people cheer and encourage.
I greedily take it.

Not prepared for hills.
Runners walk.
I will not walk.
I lean into those hills as if they are me and I am them.

Still, my body moves.
I'm a runner.
My legs are strong.
My mind is stronger.
The doubt has left me.
I can do this.
I am doing this.
13.1 miles.

I've left my body.
I float above and watch from the outside.
So beautiful.
The ocean waves come and go.
My body moves.
My breath is steady.

My body is a machine.
Better than a car.
So quiet.
Runs on water.
And air.
And Faith.

Half way there.
No pain.
I can do this.
But I need water.

My body is asking, pleading, for water.
I run.
I run.
Where is the water? my body asks timidly.

I reach for it.
My body thanks me.
I thank my body.

Slower then faster.
Even faster.
All I want is to be done.

My head fills with the comforting sound of music:
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love
Some folks just have one,
Others they got none, aw huh
Stay with me
Let’s just breathe.

Oh sweet music.
It takes my mind off what my body is beginning to scream.
So tired.

Please let the end be near.
I see it.

Thank you legs.
You knew where to go.
You carried me the entire way.
So far.
So very far.

My husband is hugging me.
I'm hugging him back.
Or maybe he's holding me.
I have nothing left.

My children.
I carried them for so long.
And it was the thought of them that carried me.
My sweet, sweet children.

We will meet again.