8 Years. I know I have written about this before, but here we are again. This week marks the due date of our first baby 8 years ago. Truly I cannot believe it has been 8 years. In so many ways, I still feel every little feeling from that day and the months, and years, that followed. Sometimes I feel like my sadness should've passed by now. It hasn't. Sure, I have the blessing of time, perspective, and family, but I will always be sad that sweet baby is not here. I think I will always be sad that I don't know this baby right now, and I don't know why. I guess someday I will. And for that, I am grateful.
Tragically, this year our experience and those feelings have been brought back to the surface as we have witnessed another sweet, sweet family very close to us experience a miscarriage. I remember the disappointment, the devastation, the questions, loneliness, wondering, IF, WHEN, What did we do (or not do)? WHY (why us, why now, why, why why)... I remember all of these things and a thousand and one other thoughts and feelings we had, but you know what I have realized recently? That is MY (and Ben's) experience. It does not compare to others. AND that's ok. I have always felt that at least if we had to go through this and be so devastated, AT LEAST we would be able to relate to others and *help??* others dealing with similar situations. Now I know that our experience is all our own. It is not the same. We all experience so differently. How unfair of me to assume that my ability to relate would equate with easing the burden of someone else's experience. I realize now that the best I can do is sympathize. It just is sad and disappointing and can be utterly devastating. AND as much as I want to, I can't make it better. I can't even make it hurt less. Oh, how I wish I could. I wish that all the pain and sadness we went through would mean others wouldn't have to. Alas, such is life.
Enough with my new found realization. On to more...
Because of these recent experiences, Ben and I have also had the chance to contemplate WHAT we learned, HOW we grew, and (could it be?) how we were BLESSED through tragedy... I feel like I need to document so that I will always remember and always keep my perspective.
*We feel like we grew so much as a couple. Before I miscarried, Ben and I plugged along in our own little worlds of work and school living and loving without *many* cares in the world. We were so in love. We were worried about how we would provide for and protect and properly nurture and care for this new little baby, but overall we were just head over heels in love with life and each other. Once I got so so so sick, for the first time in our married lives, I had to rely upon Ben. It was not cute, in fact, I was so sick the last couple of weeks of pregnancy (they didn't know why at the time, but later found out because of the partial molar pregnancy, my pregnancy hormones were 500 times that of a normal pregnant woman) that I had no ability to work, or really take care of my home or myself at all. I learned for the first time (as I think you only can through experience) just how dedicated and unconditionally loving and caring and worried Ben was. He helped me in every way. He prayed for me, and over me. He took care of everything and was an unwavering beacon to me as we trudged through the darkest days of our lives. I'm not sure there was any other way we could've grown so close. All of a sudden, we were devastated, but we were driven.
*We were given a sudden dose of reality, appreciation for the goodness of life, and the fragility too. As young 20 somethings, we were so idealistic. Everything was fine in life and somehow "worked out." After witnessing the fragile mortality of my life and that of our unborn child, I think we both learned not to take anything for granted. I didn't immediately miscarry. My water broke after throwing up so violently one night. So, when we went to the emergency room, I was still pregnant. Our baby was still alive. As we watched in the ultrasound room, our baby's heart was still beating. Our baby was moving around. AND we knew there was no medical way that things could end well. Our baby was not developed enough to survive, due to the partial molar part of the pregnancy. Basically, the mole had taken vital nutrients from our baby and prevented baby from developing appropriately. This was at 18 weeks. Nothing has ever broken my heart as that did. Even 8 years later, I can remember distinctly the blanket of horrifying sadness knowing what was coming to our sweet, innocent baby. Oh, that is a day I never want to relive. But, you know what? Ben and I learned how incredibly precious life is: everyday, everyone. What a blessing a healthy baby is!
*We learned exactly what we wanted. All of a sudden everything was incredibly clear. Before we lost our baby, I knew I wanted to be a mother. I always wanted to be a mother. I just had a huge idea of what I could do and wanted to do. I wanted to do everything, and Ben wanted me to too. This is very personal and very specific to Ben and I, but the minute I started thinking outside of my grief, I knew all I really wanted, ever, was to be a mother; to raise a family and be by my husband's side forever. All of my professional, educational accomplishments fell to the side at that moment. They truly meant very little compared to the opportunity of being a mother. We knew at that very moment beyond a shadow of a doubt that our singular goal was to have a family and raise them up to the Lord, to do His will. Everything else suddenly became a means to that end.
*We learned personal sadness, embarrassment, shame. It seemed like no one got it right. People were sad for us for a few days (outside of our close family) and that was that. Life for them went on, as it does. For us though, we were the ones the sad thing happened to. Then we became the sad couple that couldn't have babies. Some judged us for being married without kids for so long, others tried their best to explain explain explain. Explain my medical history to everyone and anyone. Explain our devastation and try to make it better. There were so many kind words, some mistaken kindness, and some insensitive things said. There were many, many tears some in public, most in private. Ben learned how to deal with that too... especially on Mothers' day and after baby blessings. And so we learned to deal with feeling bad, being patient with ourselves, our sadness, and others' insensitivity or misunderstanding.
*We learned about patience and timing. I learned that sometimes it just doesn't happen. Even when we were living our best and trying our hardest, it just was not Heavenly Fathers' will for us at that time. We have had to apply this life lesson to so many things that have come since then, but I first learned it, or truly experienced it, here. Tragically miscarrying our first baby and then not being able to get pregnant for 3 years, was difficult. I spent the entire 3 years pleading for the opportunity to be a mother. I worried the whole time that perhaps I never would get that chance. I wondered if I had done something wrong. Was I being punished? Were we not good enough? It sure seemed that way. I looked at everyone else as having the perfect life. In the end, I truly do believe there were life lessons we needed to learn this way, there were places we needed to go, things we needed to do that could not have happened any other way. It was certainly not our plan, but I do not regret this difficult path either, but I won't lie, I'm still sad...
I apologize for this gush. My heart was just so full. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me and our first sweet little baby (and all of us). I know without a doubt that He loves us incredibly, unfailingly, and beyond anything we can imagine. One reason I know that, is because He allowed us the opportunity to struggle. He knew the anguish of our hearts and yet He knew exactly what we needed to gain from that experience. Only a truly loving parent could do that. He knows our hearts all the of the time. He was with us in our darkest times in that hospital room, and every time someone thought unkind things about us and every time I came trudging home so enveloped in sadness after church or wherever we were. He put people and blessings and learning experiences in our lives to lead us to where we are today, to be the parents, the couple, the eternal family we are today. We certainly are not perfect, but I want to say we really are grateful. Grateful for our blessings and grateful for all of our trials. I know someday we will understand. We will know why and it will all be ok.