It’s Mother’s Day. I spent the night dreaming about my baby and how this baby will be born. I kept imagining this baby in a saline jar all chopped up into pieces surrounded by thick, bright red blood. I imagined taking this baby to the funeral home and feeling judged about the baby being in pieces. I know this baby has passed away but in some way, surgical removal feels like an abortion.
Every time I use the bathroom, I check for blood. At this point, I think I would welcome the blood. That might mean the possibility of having this baby at home, although that would complicate things dramatically. Part of the reason for the surgery is to help ensure we have enough of the baby to test. It is very important to us that we know the sex of this baby as well as if there were any chromosomal abnormalities. But by evening, no blood was seen and surgery was on schedule.
Last night we had a snowstorm. I was worried that might throw me into labor and was glad when I woke up and was still pregnant. I was really worried about our trees so I got up early to shake off all the snow. Many of them were “down.” This small aspen has become my favorite of the yard and I was sad to see it curled over into the ground. Somehow though, this tree captures my grief very well.
It looks like a sad little thing. Covered in heavy, thick snow which represents my grief. Bent over by the weight of the snow which represents my mourning. Frozen in time which is exactly where I am, not wanting to give up this baby just yet. Not ready to say good-bye. But just like me, I know this tree will recover. It’s not broken. Not one piece of this tree is broken, it’s just bent. It will stand again one day, as will I.
At church today, there was a little girl in the pew directly in front of me. She was about a year old. She had beautiful blue eyes and blond hair. She kept staring at me. She was such a distraction for me. Nearly every time I looked at her, my eyes welled up with tears. I kept thinking about all I have lost.
She was it. A little girl (possibly) but a small child to love and teach. I would no longer have that. When December comes, it will just be the four of us.
I look down at my belly, still bloated and swollen and all I want is to wrap it. I need to hide this expanding waistline, it means nothing now.
As I am sitting in church in prayer, I notice that I am not remotely upset with God about all that has transpired. I know He will carry me through this and I know this is not His fault. I am so sad that my baby was called back to Him. I just want to know and see this child. I am the mother of four children but only two are here with me. Four children! I don’t feel like a mother of four.
Joey turns to me and says, “Grandma can’t imagine you with a girl.” My heart sinks. “What could that possibly mean?” My mind drifts to wondering if grandma wished away this baby but quickly comes back to reality as Joey tries to explain. “She just said that you have boys and you love your boys.” I can’t listen anymore. I hug him, kiss him on the forehead and say, “Yes, I DO love my boys.” This was enough to silence him. I couldn’t bear the thought of this child being a girl.
I feel like I am processing this loss very differently from Ruby’s loss. I don’t think it’s because we have been through this before. It could be related to my training, as I have said previously, but I also think it’s because I approach suffering a bit differently than I have in the past. To suffer is to know love. To know love is to know God. I took solace in today’s reading, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8
The readings certainly applied to all we were experiencing. Suffering is not something we need to stop. We need to learn to love through the suffering. Suffering is a normal part of life and will never go away. As much as it sucks right now, I am okay with my feelings. I am horribly sad and scared about the next few days, weeks, and months; for what we have prepared and longed for, will no longer take place. For example, at Easter, our family talked about how this would be the last Easter with just the four of us. Next Easter, will be the same, only we will be sad that it is just the four of us.
After church we had to drive to one of the Kaiser clinics to pick up medications they preordered for me. I am to take two different prescriptions several hours before surgery. I never in my life thought I would ever be prescribed Cytotec. The word itself scare me.
On grief days like this, you tend to look at small talk a bit differently. First, I really didn’t want anyone to say Happy Mother’s Day to me. There was nothing happy about today that I could emotionally feel. Yes, I am thankful for my children and they bring great joy but I am grieving a child I never met.
While picking up the medications, the pharmacy tech explained the use for the Cytotec. She explained how helpful it can be in dilating the cervix. I wondered if she really knew why I was taking the medication. As I finished checking out, she asked if I had any questions about the medications. Then she said, “I hope your procedure goes well tomorrow. Have a Happy Mother’s Day.”
I wanted to yell at her. “Are you kidding me?! Do you know what I am having done tomorrow? I have a dead baby inside me and they are being surgically removed!” I didn’t say anything. I merely smiled and walked away. It felt so thoughtless for her to say that. I think she just combined stuff she normally says to accommodate my situation, not realizing what was really taking place.
I am nauseated and dizzy today. I wonder if my body is somehow starting to get sick from the dead baby within my womb. This baby has been dead for days, possibly over a week and hasn’t come out. I do not panic this time about the dead baby in my womb. I want this baby there because as long as the baby is there, I am still pregnant.
Tomorrow, all of that will change. Tomorrow, I will birth this baby.