Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankfulness During Loss

DAY ONE:  I went in to see my midwife on January 19th, 13 weeks and 4 days pregnant.  She and I went over all the normal stuff, you know, blood pressure, weight check, etc.  Then it was time to finally break out the Doppler and listen for that beautiful heartbeat.  I was so excited because she had done a low-intensity ultrasound at the previous appointment a month earlier and I SAW his/her heart fluttering so quickly and it just brings joy to my soul to know that I'm growing a beautiful baby within me.  We kept finding MY heartbeat (which was becoming elevated the longer it took), but she was sure that she heard the baby swim by.  So, she turned on the ultrasound again.  She said that the spine looked great, look there's an arm with all fingers extended like waving hello, but *I* couldn't find the fluttering heart like before.  Finally she addressed that.  She showed me where it should be, she searched all over in different positions but it just wasn't there.  At that point, I could go home and sit and wait, or I could go have a high-intensity ultrasound done so that I knew for sure one way or the other.  Of course I chose the latter.

The second ultrasound showed the same, only in much more detail.  The heart was not beating.  The umbilical cord wasn't even pumping blood into the baby's body.  There was no blood flowing to him/her.  My baby measured 13 weeks 1 day.  That was just 3 days ago.

I tried to keep my tears in as much as I could until I got out to my car.  After all, it was a place devoted to ultrasounds and there were sure to be pregnant women coming and going happily and I sure didn't want to rain on their parade.  Why should my sadness have to spread to someone experiencing joy?  However, I sat in my car for quite some time and let the tears flow.  "But you know I love my children more than anything.  I love my babies.  Why take one from me when you know I love them all so much?"  I cried until my head ached, my face ached, my eyes burned, and I just didn't have anymore tears.  Kind of.  Just not enough to stream down my face like a faucet.  I felt like I was a downer to the world as I drove out of the city, getting caught at nearly every light with cars next to me at each one.  Did they see me?  Did they wonder why I was so sad and crying?  It wouldn't matter to anyone else.  People were on their phones complaining about life and work, or making plans for the upcoming weekend.  People were living their lives, just as I had been a few hours earlier.  No one knew about me and my life.

I kept crying on and off as I made my drive out of the city and most of the way home.  I didn't want my kids to see me until I could control myself better.  I felt guilty for being hungry, but I had just a tiny little snack of a lunch and was hungry before I got to my appointment, and it had been a few hours, so I was really hungry.  I went by Subway's drive thru, sat in the parking lot, and made my facebook post.  I had already had to talk to Ben, and I texted a good friend of mine, but I really didn't want to rehash it over and over again for each individual.  My body ached from the crying.  I couldn't quite talk without it starting the tears again.  That dear friend texted me as I was sitting there. 
This is what she shared with me:

"The mother who laid down her little child, being deprived of the privilege, the joy, and the satisfaction of bringing it up to manhood or womanhood in this world, would, after the resurrection, have all the joy, satisfaction, and pleasure, and even more than it would have been possible to have had in mortality, in seeing her child grow to the full measure of stature of its spirit... When she does it there, it will be with the certain knowledge that the results will be without failure; whereas here, the results are unknown until after we have passed the test." -Joseph Smith

This gave me so much comfort.  It meant that, if I was right and resurrection took place around the time of the start of the Millennium, I would have the chance to spend the Millennium doing the thing I enjoyed most, being a mother.  So I am choosing to focus on that as I await the eventual labor and delivery I will experience as this baby passes from my body.  What an amazing opportunity that will be, to raise a child that I know will "grow to the full measure of stature of its spirit," to know that this child will be guaranteed the results that I wish for each of my children.  It may hurt now, but it is going to be such a wonderful experience that I am choosing to be thankful for, to look forward to, rather than being angry that I don't get the experience I thought I'd have here and now. 

All of this isn't to say that I'm happy or perfectly fine.  I am so fearful of delivering this baby.  I'm sorry if this is too much for anyone or at all offensive, but I'm fearful of how my baby will look.  At just 13 weeks gestation and deteriorating the longer he/she is inside me, will the baby look like a baby?  Since I'll be at home, what do you do with the body?  Right now, we're thinking we'll wrap him/her in a blanket homemade by family and use a small wooden box to bury our baby beside the apple tree we planted last summer.  I would like to give the child a name, so I am hoping that gender is apparent, but if not, I suppose I'll choose an androgynous name that I like.  I am fearful of talking to my children about this.  Keith is the only one that knows, and we had just finally told him this week.  I don't think I want them to see this baby's body.  I don't want to scare them or make them sad or fearful.  If I can just remember that quote above and my current feelings, hopefully I will make it through this delivery and burial as unscathed as can be hoped for.  I know it's going to hurt, and I fear that emotional hurt.  But I have the gospel to comfort me.  I have eternal truths to get me through.  Where would any of us be without Jesus Christ, His gospel, our Heavenly Father's love, and the comfort from the Holy Ghost?  I don't know how anyone gets through this without all that.

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