This season has been full, then empty, and then somewhere in between. This season of holidays was warm, full, and had more joy than ever before in one little (but huge) way...we were expecting our first baby! We found out right before Thanksgiving that we had gotten pregnant just weeks ago after getting off our birth control. This was a really big surprise because the doctors have been telling me for years that we might have a hard time conceiving because I had low progesterone causing me to not ovulate regularly. We were so surprised and excited that it happened just weeks after getting off the pill!
We tried to keep our secret from our family over Thanksgiving, but with the wine flowing and sushi being a favorite meal, I was unsuccessful in being sneaky. We told my family that we were 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, but decided we really wanted to wait to tell everyone else on Christmas after we had our ultrasound. The timing was too perfect not to nail the best Christmas gift ever.
I had a really good first 8 1/2 weeks, just very tired and hungry, but really if you know me, you know this is totally normal. I was so excited to also be pregnant with one of my best friends, just weeks behind her. It was so fun to have her to share every step of the way with, talking sore boobs & our pants starting to get snug.
A couple days before my first check up at 9 weeks, I started spotting and tried not to panic. I knew some spotting was normal but the longer it went on throughout the weekend, the less hopeful I felt. By Monday afternoon, I had started to naturally pass the baby. It was awful. I tried to remain optimistic because I have had friends have miracle babies through worse. But ultimately, our babe was gone that day. It was awful. Two days before Christmas, the day I should have been 9 weeks, we said good bye to our little bug.
I am far enough away from that day now to think a little bit more clearly, and process the pain as much as possible for now. I see God's tender hand in it all, protecting me, sheltering me, and healing me through it all. I was so sad to not have seen our baby in utero at all, but in that same thought, I am so deeply thankful to not have had to have seen the baby there lifeless. I am thankful that my body did it's job in letting my baby go peacefully and that I didn't have to have a D&C on top of everything.
Processing it all has been the weirdest of it all. You are just so sad. There isn't really a better way of saying it. I did feel some anger, but mainly just a huge heaping pile of sadness. I think in the beginning, I was angry that I wasn't pregnant and that I would get pregnant again. I didn't want to start all over again, I wanted to be 10 weeks next Monday. Obviously, not being realistic at that moment. I realized that it wasn't about the baby, that feeling was selfishly just for me. The aching hurt of the loss of that baby is deeper and more complex than the part of me that stomps her foot and says, "No! I want it now." That deeper part of the ache of a loss is still a mystery that I wind through each day, trying to learn something as I go.
Christmas came and went, different than any other. Different because we lived in Washington without any family. Different because there was this underlying sadness in me. I rejoiced in the birth of my Savior, clinging more than ever to the promise that His birth was, but my eyes held back tears. Tears that fell in the kitchen as we made Christmas dinner. In that sadness though, that day was still so full, that day was full indeed. That day was filled with friends that feel like family. Full of face timing with our families across the country. That day was full of rest, new light, the promise of a Savior against all odds, and learning to heal.
This season of life feels like the season that I see all around me. Bare tree limbs, cold brisk air, decomposing leaves and twigs all over the ground... The joy comes in the fact that the stormy rain is breaking down each fallen leaf, nourishing the ground, and deepening my roots in the ground. When spring blossoms, summer comes, and fall graces me...this will all make sense and my roots will be that much deeper. This will be a time we reflect on fondly. We will think of this season with admiration for it's bare beauty. It's simplest, cold, wet, bare beauty.
This season is full of too many lessons to count right now. I am still only beginning to understand the half of them. One that was presented to me so perfectly the other day was the importance of being there for each other. Showing up, showing love, being love, and sending love. I cannot tell you how loved I felt going through our miscarriage. I felt so deeply cared for, prayed for, and felt for. It was even the "likes" on instagram and facebook, and it was without a doubt the comments full of love and thoughts. It was the women who reached out by texting, messaging, calling, and emailing me - sharing with me their losses and stories. I cried. I cried reading each and every single one. What a pain our hearts feel in the loss of the smallest babe. We felt loved and cared for in the meals people dropped off. The flowers that we got. The cards full of loving words. There are too many ways to count that our friends, family, and coworkers went out of their way to show us that we were not alone. That we were cared for, that we were loved deeply, and our baby was acknowledged and loved too. Acknowledging our little bug was so deeply important to me, that was why I shared. I couldn't go on and act like I wasn't just pregnant and hadn't experienced everything I just had.
Which leads me back to what I have learned through this...show up. If you want someone to know you care, show up. Be there. Simple as that. You don't have to have the right thing to say, in fact, you can actually say the words "I don't know what to say." but just be there. Reading through Job the other day, I was moved as this is what his three friends did after Job had lost his children and all of his land, and was in terrible health... they showed up. They were moved, they came to him, they cry and weep, they tear their robes, and sprinkle themselves with dirt. They wept with him there for a full week. Not one of them gave some huge great sermon to Job, it actually says no one said a word for they saw his suffering was great, they just showed up. He had just experienced something no words could fix, so they just shared in his pain. That is a beautiful portrait of friendship.
Or as my client said the other day, when she was asking her friend who had lost a child in the past what to say to her friend who had also just lost their child, she said "Show up and shut up." People do not expect you to have the right thing to say. There rarely is anything right to say other than, I love you. If you can't say that, find a way to show it. A pastor I heard the other day said the number one importance of a ministry marked life is the willingness to put your body in the middle of the mess. We can't be afraid of the lack of words, condolences, or knowledge to stand in the way of loving one another. Don't be afraid that you are overstepping your boundaries by saying something, by bringing someone dinner or by showing up. You might be the only one who does, or you might be the one who says something that truly gets through.
Each day is a step towards health, emotionally and physically. Mentally preparing and eagerly awaiting the day that I get to be pregnant again. The blessing that it is to grow a child in your body will never be lost on me. The love that I feel for that sweet babe who is with my Mimi and Josh's grandpa in heaven will never lose that place in my heart. That baby made me a mom, Josh a dad, my parents grandparents, and marked the beginning of growing our family.
I'm thankful in this desert season, this season of winter, where things feel empty. I know the beauty of each season, and I thank God fully for this trial. I don't believe (and kind of hate the saying) in God giving us only what we can handle, I believe that our God is fully for us. Trials, pain, hurt, disappointments, failures, losses...those are fire that our good Lord uses for good to refine us. Lord refine me through this flame. Let my life look like you and give glory to your holy name.
Thank you all for your love, your prayers, your thoughts, your gifts, your blessings, and the true friendship through not just the good but through the hard. I will sincerely cherish it forever.