My mom recently commented to me on what a different Halloween this is from last year. Today, we are anxiously awaiting the birth of this sweet little one God has blessed us with. On this day last year my husband was working in Boston and I was having a D&C to put a final end to our second pregnancy. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away...blessed be his name. Last year I was helping my parents pass out Halloween candy, resting, recovering and mourning our loss. This year I will be with my sweet Kit and we will be passing out candy, anticipating B's arrival and feeling so much gratitude for the healing & gifts of this past year.
When I found out I was pregnant the second time I was so happy. I honestly didn't have that much fear. I believed what everyone told me when they said, "These things happen once...and then you will have a perfectly fine pregnancy." I had no reason to believe that this baby wouldn't make it. Our anniversary baby. That's when I was due...right around our anniversary. Kit was heading to Africa just when I was going to be 8 weeks along. That's the earliest they would schedule an ultrasound to check on the baby's status. As much as I wanted him to be there, I didn't think I could wait another 2 weeks to find out how the baby was doing. Plus, I figured everything was fine and I'd have a precious little picture to show him when he got home. I never imagined that the time he was in Africa would be some of the longest, loneliest days I have ever had.
I had my mom go with me to the appointment, just in case. We had a long wait and I was glad she was there. When the ultrasound tech did the scan she pointed out the baby and said, "There it is. The baby is measuring about 6 weeks." Well, I just lost it. I knew the baby should have measured 8 weeks...and I knew in my heart at this stage that wasn't good. The tech was confused and my mom explained what I had been through. The tech tried to console me and pointed out that the baby did have a heartbeat (even though it was slow) and that maybe I was off on my dates. I knew I wasn't off on my dates. I knew something was wrong. After that I had to stay and talk to a nurse. My mom tried to pump me with hope and reassurance that everything was going to be ok. I met with the nurse who could offer no explanations or suggestions other than for me to come back in a week to check the growth. Having to tell Kit about this appointment when he called to tell me he had arrived in Africa safely totally sucked. He was so excited to be there...and I so wanted him to have an amazing trip. But, at the same time I needed his strength and I know he wished he was with me.
I ended up waiting a week and a half to schedule the next scan since I was supposed to go to Chicago for a conference that week and Kit would still be in Africa until that time...and I definitely wanted him to be there. So on October 8th we had the ultrasound that showed us the baby had not grown and his heart had stopped beating. This did not come as a surprise to me at all. While I was definitely choosing to remain hopeful, I knew in my heart this baby was not going to stay with us. In fact, I think the only reason I was able to stay hopeful was because of Lisa...our great ambassador of hope. Right before I had the first ultrasound she found out that the leukemia had returned. If she could be hopeful in the face of her fears...so could I.
That week and a half of waiting for the confirmation was a time of deep prayer and introspection. That weekend I was alone so I spent Saturday at a retreat center right outside the city that has great trails and a prayer labyrinth that I love. While I was walking the labyrinth I placed my hand on my belly and prayed a simple prayer...dear God, be with me and this baby. Over and over like a mantra I said it. And as I walked I felt the Spirit telling me that I was this baby's mother and that I shouldn't disconnect from him just because I was scared. I felt something in me realize what a precious and holy gift it is to be the vessel for a little soul. How amazing conception is! From two little cells a miracle begins and God breathes life into existence. What a gift to be a participant in this process. It was a remarkable realization for me. I finished walking the labyrinth and stepped onto the trail leading to the lake. As soon as my feet hit the trail something inside of me said, "Now let him go." I nodded my head and knew that I was not going to meet this baby here on earth. But, as I was walking to the lake I felt that God was telling me not to worry...I would be a mother to an earth baby one day, it would just be a journey to get there. When I got to the lake I took a big seed that I had found and dropped it in the lake to symbolize letting go of this baby...and accepting God's will. This is why I wasn't surprised when we found out the baby was gone.
I know some of that may sound hokey and "out there". But, it was probably one of the few times I have truly felt God's presence with me. And I don't think it has anything to do with His presence...but, more to do with my openness to Him during that time of desperation. I would like to say that I carried the peace of that day with me over the next month...but, I really didn't. I had moments where I would remember and know that God was with me. But, mostly there was a lot of sadness and anger and "why me". I tried to miscarry naturally, but it just wasn't happening. And having to have a D&C felt like the devastation-icing on the cake. Although I can say now with the gift of hindsight, it was the best thing I could have done.
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. I feel pretty emotional after reliving the journey of those days. But, I think it's important for me to honor that baby and the lessons that he brought us. It's also important for me to acknowledge that God has answered his promise and has given us another chance to be parents.
Here are some pictures from a trip my friend Amber and I took to the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky in mid-October last year. We had this trip planned before I knew about the pregnancy or miscarriage...but, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. This monastery has always been one of my happy places and I was glad for the peace and quiet while I was struggling with so many questions.
Abbey of Gethsemane
Stolen Moment with the Deer