Saturday, May 24, 2008

Remembering

I had an early miscarriage between my children. Please bear with me as I feel the need to recognize that life today.

Here is my only picture of a child I will one day meet:

Some women are able to shake early miscarriages easily as "not meant to be." I wish I could have, but I am not such a woman. It felt like the loss of a child to me. Not the same, I am sure, as losing a child who had the privilege to be born - how could it be? The grief of two women having an early miscarriage is not even the same. I would imagine that the grief of two women losing a born child is never the same either. Circumstances are different. Situations are different. Support systems are different.

One of the blogs I read regularly, and pray for regularly is of an amazing family. They lost a baby at 3 months old. The dad has since had an accident and is paralyzed from the neck down. Their lives have changed in unbelievable ways that I cannot begin to understand, and I don't pretend to. They have been a remarkable, inspirational example of what it means to have to rely on God, and not in an "everything is perfect because I have God in my life" way - but in a "this really sucks, but God is helping us through" way. She is very real, and I appreciate that.

She recently wrote an heartfelt guide about how to "just be" with someone who is in deep grief. It was a great post that was all true and good to read. Some things cannot be fixed and we shouldn't try.

She did not mean to be hurtful - I know that. But, she made this comment: "Those who had had early miscarriages cannot possibly know the grief of losing a living child, or of a having a birth where the baby was too young to survive. We held our babies. We saw their faces, Saw the potential for life. Don't get me wrong, I know miscarriage is heartbreaking, but please don't compare it. Comparisons are nasty, especially at the beginning of the grieving process."

You know what, she's right. Comparisons are nasty. The point of the above sentence was that we should not "compare" grief. We should not make someone else's grief about us. We should just be with them and let them grieve. And she is absolutely right.

I have been guilty of mentioning my miscarriage when others are grieving. It is the deepest pain I have ever experienced. It's all I have as a connection. It's what I think about. Her post was a good reminder that grieving people don't need that connection - they need support. And hugs. And prayer. And someone to listen.

Just like I needed when we miscarried.

Because I didn't get to see my baby's face.
I didn't get the chance to see with my eyes my baby's potential for life.
I didn't get to find out if it was boy or a girl, though my heart tells me it was a girl.
I didn't get the opportunity to cradle her in my arms.
I didn't get a chance to name her.
Or see her smile.
Or hear those precious baby noises.
Or anything.

We desired to have our children close together. My brother and I are only 16 months apart. I love being part of a close sibling pair. We shared friends, we had classes together, we got along well most of the time. I want that closeness for my children.

We never did anything to prevent another pregnancy between the kids, and we started actively "trying" when we could. It took over a year, as it had to conceive Punkin. But, we were finally pregnant. We did one of the super early tests because we were with family for a few days and we thought how cool it would be to maybe be able to tell them that we were expecting face-to-face. So, we did. It is a precious memory to see the grandparents faces when we told them.

Ten weeks later, I began to bleed.

Ten weeks is long enough to attach, to dream, imagine your kids together, wonder what they will be like. Gain 8 pounds.

My heart stopped when I started bleeding. The pregnancy was very different from Punkin and Little Man. I never felt sick. I mentioned to my husband so many times that I "just didn't feel right" that he finally asked me to stop saying that. When I began bleeding, I knew it was not good. I went for an ultrasound, and found that there was no heartbeart and that based on the baby's size, she had quit growing several weeks before.

Two days later, early in the morning, I did hold my baby in my hand. She was about 1 or 1 1/2 inches long. She nestled into the very inner of my palm. She looked exactly like those pictures you see of babies at 7 or 8 weeks gestation. I could see her backbone on its way to being perfectly formed.

I heard many of the same things that the mother mentioned above wrote of:
"It's in a better place."
"It just wasn't meant to be."
"Something was probably wrong with it anyway."
"You can have more children."
"At least it was early."
Eyes that say, "You're being dramatic - it was so early. Get over it."

My heart said, - "I wasn't ready for her to be in a better place. I wanted the chance to love her here." "What are you saying - my baby didn't matter and I'm supposed to just forget about it?" "I don't care if something was wrong with her - I would have loved her anyway", "How do you know I can have more children? It took us a long time to conceive this one!" "oh, there is a good time to lose a baby?"
"I'm not just being dramatic. I lost my child. And it hurts."

I know that my early miscarriage was God's design for me and my child. And I have complete faith and trust that everything worked out exactly as it should have. It's not about that. The grief of an early miscarriage for me was the grief of hope, of potential life, of moments that I wanted to have, of a lost dream.

It is not the same as any other grief, including the loss of a born child. And I am not trying to say that it is.

But, can I just continue her guide and say a miscarriage IS a loss of a child? I was on the couch for 2 days while I was miscarrying. And I had a 2 year old. Mostly alone. Was I supposed to go to the grocery store while my child was literally falling away from me? Was I supposed to fix dinner?

5 plus years later, how much my heart still aches for that baby and what might have been.

I think her comment hurts because, self-centered as it may be to feel this way - once again, it feels as though my loss is pushed to the side. As if to say, "It wasn't THAT serious. It was THAT great of a loss."

And honestly, maybe not to her, as she and her family have experienced what may be more intense, serious losses - I haven't experienced those so I honestly have no idea. I would imagine that to be true. But, it is the greatest loss of my life. My greatest grief to this point. Yes, I am a lucky and blessed girl. But, we can "well, at least you didn't...... " for quite a long time, and even when we find the one woman who has experienced the greatest loss in the whole world, it does not take away my grief over my lost child one iota, nor would it take away hers. Or yours.

One friend brought me a meal. She will be my friend forever.
One friend gave me a teddy bear for my baby that would never be. She had walked this road before.
One friend gave me plant.
My pastor came and sat awkwardly on the edge of the chair and tried his best to say the right thing. He did not succeed.

I felt, and continue to feel, very alone in my grief. It was so early, that my loss doesn't seem to matter.

No one, including my husband, remembers the date that we found out we had lost our child. Or that the day we brought Little Man home from the hospital was the one year anniversary of that day.
No one remembers the date that our child could have been coming into the world or having a birthday.
No one remembers my child.

Except me. I remember and I will never forget. She is my child and someday, in Heaven, I will get to meet her and see if she is really a girl and what she is like. Who God designed her to be and her purpose in being in my body for a few weeks. And, oh - I look forward to that.

16 comments:

Momma Roar said...

This really touched me - very deeply! I very much appreciate you taking the time to write this and share it with us. I hope that in writing it out, it has helped you as well.

I struggle so much with what to say...my 2 dearest friends here are fighting constant, daily struggles dealing with loss and the other dealing with a medical condition. I always feel at such a loss...but I will remember your words: "they need support. And hugs. And prayer. And someone to listen."

Thank you again for sharing this - and for allowing me to hear this!

Sending BIG HUGS!!!!!!!!

Sincerely Anna said...

Thank you for this post that was so candidly written, and I appreciate everything you said. I do the same thing with trying to connect with my own stories, and I should know better than that. We just need our friends (and others) to be respectful and offer support and prayers, allowing us to talk about it even if years have passed (and another child has been born). You gave me a lot to think about.

~Just A Thought Ginger said...

After experiencing this twice in my life I can feel your thoughts and pain. It has been 25 years ago this July that I lost my first child. The pain never leaves.

I have walked in your shoes. I have planned and waited and dreamed along with you. I watched my life change in an instant with the loss of my children.

This post is right on the money. The Word says to bear one another's burdens...weap with those who weap.

I can only thank God that through this time in my life I grew closer to Him and learned compassion for others on a whole new level.

Jeanine said...

My best friend had Rheumatoid Arthritis. One day, years ago, I told her that I felt guilty for complaining about having a cold or headache around her because she lives with so much pain every day. Her response? She told me I shouldn't feel guilty because, to me, that is the worst pain that I deal with. We all have a level of pain or suffering that we are "used to". I think it is much the same with grief. That is the worst pain you have experienced. Have people gone through worse? Of course. But that doesn't mean the grief of your miscarriage is not very real. Like you said...you cannot compare grief.
Praise God that you know your sweet little one is with Jesus. I don't know how anyone could bear it without Him.

tlm said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. In my work, I am sometimes with mothers as they are giving birth to little ones like yours. I will think of your words the next time I find myself in that situation.

Another friend who had experienced a miscarriage explained it like this: in my mind, I had looked so far ahead already - to the birth, school, dating, even grandchildren one day - I lost ALL of those possibilities with the child. Her explanation helped me to understand how deep and far-reaching the grief for the loss of someone known so briefly could be.

Thanks again.

Christy said...

I have been there and still am. You know all about that...

You are right, no grief is the same and isn't even predictable. I am the only one who mentions the two miscarriages I have had. I am the only one who seems to remember, who seems to still hurt over it. But I remember and I think always will.

This post was beautiful, even though it clearly shows your pain it still helped me to know that you are right where I am-everyone is different but we our grief should still be accepted as what it is.

LucisMomma said...

My heart aches for you and for me as I read your post. I lost my unborn baby at 10 weeks, too. Saw the ultrasound at 6 weeks, heart beating, then at 10 weeks the womb was just empty. It was as if God ahd taken the whole baby away. My doctor was stupid. She's a woman, she should know better than to say what she didn't say. She didn't even say I'm sorry. I was angry for quite a while. My DH doesn't remember dates, either. He landed in Afghanistan on the due date for that child and he had no clue the pain I was going through when he left on that trip.

I'm so sorry for your pain.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Catherine,

this was so heartfelt and touched me deeply. I am so glad you shared so honestly.

I had a friend experience a still birth in the hospital and the couseling team met with her and gave her a pamphlet that listed out the things people would say to "make her feel better" that would upset her.

She heard every one of them. Heartbreaking.

Weep with those who weep...not lecture them, try to explain it away, or fix it. Just weep.

Thinking of you today. God bless.

Heidi Jo said...

you were able to put your feelings into words so well.

having gone through this more than once, and experiencing different levels of grief with each one, i know first hand that grief and loss are unique to the individual.

as you said, even our spouses don't feel it the same as we do. their loss is unique to them.

praise Jesus for our healthy, vibrant earthly children...and praise Jesus for our whole and complete heavenly ones!

Penless Thoughts said...

This is so touching. I had trouble reading through my tears. We can NEVER share anothers pain and we can only imagine it. But we do know pain and we must be careful to allow others their pain and just "be there" for them.
Susan

Christy. said...

Thank you for this post, it was beautiful! On Friday was the 5 year anniversary of my Mom's death and it really reminded me how every loss is painful in it's own way.

Blessedw5mom said...

HI! Found your site thru your comments on CF husband's site.

I am so touched by this post ... I've lost two precious babies to miscarriage. Its a very lonely type of grief ... I'm not sure how anyone ever survives this pain without Christ.

Thank you for posting so open and honestly. God Bless you!

Julie said...

I'm not sure how I found your blog...I think it was through a comment you left on another blog.

Thank you for sharing. I also have experienced a miscarriage at 10 weeks. You expressed my thoughts so well..especially that noone remembers.

It's a difficult and lonely grief, when I realize we wouldn't have our precious Andrew if not for the loss of our first child.

I can't wait to meet my baby someday!

Thank you, thank you for this post. The date of my miscarriage is coming soon: I needed to read this.

Kristina said...

Girl, I am so sorry for your loss. I've always thought that if I had a miscarriage, they've have to lock me up. And yet as women, as mothers, we keep right on going, barely pausing because we know the 2 year old has to eat and that life, somehow, goes on.

You've really given me more inspiration with this story. Although I have never had a miscarriage, I feel like I lost a child when my marriage disintegrated. Truly I think it was the worst part. Much worse than the betrayal.

We were going to have a second child. I knew in my heart she would be a girl. Her name was going to be Sara Elizabeth Alison, Sara Beth for short, named Elizabeth for various family members, Sara for friend and Alison so she could share her middle name with me, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother.

Perhaps you've give me the strength, the inspiration to write about how I cried when my ex took my son's bassinet to the consignment store because I had been saving it for Sara Beth. I wanted her to sleep where her brother had slept.

Maybe now I can articulate that loss.

Thank you girl. Through your loss, you've helped me with mine. And you're so right. You can't compare losses and I'm so glad you've shared that with everyone.

mandy_moo said...

I found this post from Angie's blog. How sweet of her to ask everyone to share their losses and pray for each other.

It is truly hurtful when others try to brush our pain aside. Like you, I am the only one who seems to still remember my loss; like your husband, my husband does not even seem to remember. But I remember vividly. All the dates. The day I saw no heartbeat on the ultrasound. My horrible 21st birthday 3 days later. The day I flew to Utah to let my mom care for me. The agonizing time I spent in the hospital ERs, with my mom holding my hand. And the due date of my little one that I would never hold. We will never forget our little ones, and maybe that is the greatest blessing of all... it should encourage us to live our lives worthily so we can be with them again some day!!

Anonymous said...

My wonderful supportive husband was grieving along with me. He understood that the loss was from my body, and my grief was different than his. But I remember his saying, "everyone at church was asking about you." But then he added wistfully, "No one asked me how I'm doing."
Marty D.