Thursday, October 24, 2013

embracing the possibility. {on miscarriage, fear, and faith}

"no more kids during grad school!"

i think i've spoken those words more than a hundred (or a thousand?) times since 2009.  i look back on the year leah was born, and if i could draw a timeline of my life, that space would have tiny grey clouds hovering over it, with intermittent downpours of rain.  emotionally i disappeared.  it was a tough one, and i lost myself, not emerging from the gray-ness of it for quite a while.

"no more kids during grad school!"

was what i used as my platform, until the day when two pink lines surprisingly showed up without my wishing for them.  and i was terrified, but accepted what was and tried to smile.  following those pink lines came the pregnancy with what felt like unending months of nausea and unable-to-keep-my-head-up exhaustion followed by a house whose underbelly possessed mold that made my children and i beg for mercy as they vomited and i coughed up blood.

"no more kids during grad school!"

i continued to say, though the months with newborn june are some of the most precious i have ever encountered thus far.  i consider her my Gift for living through the most physically taxing year and not succumbing to negativity when i could feel it pulling from all sides to take me under.

"no more kids during grad school!"

i say this now still, and with fervor as we know our future for the next year or two is so muddled and unclear.  not only that, but one important thing has been missing:  the desire for another.  but, this is normal for me.

i have been content from the beginning--if we only had caleb, i would be content.  only caleb and leah, i would be content.  and now with the three, i feel the same, completely content if this is our family unit.  my problem is that my lack of desire is not necessarily an indicator as to whether or not having another child is what is best, because i'm certain that my fear (of pregnancy, labor, colic, and lonely days and nights shouldering most of the responsibility on my own, and another little body to tend to, just in general) is partially what brings about my contentedness.

and yet.

months ago, i knew something was off.  i felt strange--more drained than i was used to, more sore.  i didn't take a test because i didn't want to know.  it feels awful to type those words, and i'm worried who might be offended but i want to write honestly.  so, i waited.  two more weeks went by and i still refused to make anything official.

then, during one week that was already overflowing in stress, i felt it.  pain in my abdomen that doubled me over.  sitting, standing, or laying, i could not find relief.  i don't take a lot of medicine normally, but was unable to function or perform just the daily activities, so i took something, but even that didn't provide relief from the pain.  this went on for 2 days, accompanied with other details of miscarriage i will exclude here.  i didn't say much to anyone, because i hadn't said anything to anyone of the possibility of being pregnant.  only ben and a couple of others knew, and i preferred for it to stay that way.  it was still just an assumption of what was going on.

during that week, i wrote this.  like i mentioned, it was a stressful time.

i think what surprised me most was the feeling of relief.  then, the feeling of guilt piled on top of relief, because what type of person feels relieved about this?  i am surrounded by those who have prayed and would do almost anything to have this, but i am relieved?  

i wrestled with the words selfish and ungrateful, pushing them away with my acknowledgement of the blessing and miracle of life, and of the love i have for my children.  i knew if i could, i would bless everyone who had a desire to have a child with one.  i don't understand why those desires are granted for some and not for others, as much as i didn't understand why the desire was lacking inside of me at this time.

i know others who have felt connected from the start, only weeks or mere days of just knowing.  i have heard them mourn the loss of the connection they loved and had felt so sure of.  with each pregnancy, i struggle to feel any sort of connection--even up until my new baby is placed in my arms. it is then the feeling of an undeniable bond of love from God for this new soul overcomes me and i can't imagine being apart, even for a moment.  but when i'm pregnant, it all feels like a surreal dream or figment of my imagination, and i struggle to feel connected.

this was one of my main purposes for staying silent.  i wasn't sure how to talk about it without sounding cold or callous, though i didn't feel either of those.  i can only describe it as calm acceptance of what is, and the knowledge that my fears of "no more kids during grad school!" had been temporarily washed away.

before my pregnancy with june, and since then, we've been doing what we can on our side of things to prevent.  we jokingly said we were going to name june Three Percent, because those were the odds we had been facing when i held the positive pregnancy test in my hand.  it was obvious to me that i was clearly not in control of this situation, as much as i wanted to be.

last week, i found myself in the same boat.  drained and nauseous, sore and hyper-sensitive to smells.  i was on a work trip, and began counting backwards in weeks, my suspicions mounting.  once the idea was there, i just knew.  there was no denying it.

while i was away i was receiving daily updates from ben about his school situation, regarding whether or not he was going to be allowed to apply for next year's internship.  i could hear in his voice he was devastated and frustrated, and hadn't really wanted to tell him over the phone anyway, so i waited to say anything.

once i was home and he and i were alone to talk, we both tried to wrap our minds around what this meant for our family.  we fell asleep holding hands, a reminder we were in this journey together.

on saturday afternoon, the pain hit, one i had felt once before.  it increased as the sun went down and i lay in bed trying to find a comfortable position.  i told ben about it and saw the worry on his face.  in the middle of the night, i was woken from the pain, and more.  i knew then it was official and lay back down.  the next 24 hours were miserable, and i stayed in bed as much as possible.

after the worst was over, i rose again, ready to face the emotions i expected were awaiting me. but like before, i only felt calm.  ben admitted to me he was sad, that the idea of another sweet little baby turning into a most-likely outspoken toddler turning into an excitable child was something he was looking forward to, though he also knew how difficult it would be.  i agreed with him, the idea of it all sounded wonderful.  it was the getting there that held my heart in the place of fear.

then, i was silently reminded of my theme for 2013, eradicating fear in my life.  if fear is what is holding me back from this opportunity, is it enough of a reason anymore?  this wasn't a new job or a big move, or making myself sing a solo in front of a crowd.  could i really take a leap of faith this big?

i do not know the answers, yet.  i do know i needed to write about these experiences, if only to hold myself accountable--the words a tangible reminder of a promise i made to myself. maybe the beginning of this year was only preparation for getting me to the place at the end of it where i could let down my wall of "no more kids during grad school!"

and instead, embrace the idea of giving up control ruled by fear, leaving me open to beautiful possibilities.


ClancyPants said...

Dang, girl. ♥♥♥ I love you.

Kris said...

Very well written and honest I don't know how anyone could be offended by it. In fact I appreciate your honesty because it makes me feel more "normal" or not so alone, anyway. I never feel that "connection" right away in my pregnancies, and when/if I do I feel like it is forced or I'm faking it, but the moment I hold them in my arms I think "that whole nine months was worth it" ya know? Also I wrote of my miscarriage back in 2008. It was awful and I "miscarried" for three months and had 2 D&C's, it was awful, but I never felt as though I morned the loss of the pregnancy but just morned that the end result wasn't going to happen, if that makes sense? AND I felt guilt about it. I felt guilt that I wasn't reacting like everyone else thought I should. I felt like people thought I should be more upset and yet I didn't feel the need to have that sense of loss or sorrow in the same way as they did (or thought I should), it was weird and I hid it all inside (probably not a good thing to do) so thanks for sharing because I feel more normal and not so alone.

Rachel Holloway said...

Oh sweet friend. I completely hear you! While I have never miscarried, I remember the PURE GUILT I felt when I found out I was 9 weeks pregnant and had a 5 month old AND had a 2 year old already. I knew it was horrible to wish, but I really hoped that maybe, just maybe I would miscarry. The concept of another baby seemed completely overwhelming. But over time--literally, not until a few days before he was born, did I finally accept that I was going to have a baby like it or not. :) Brandon have me a blessing and in it he said I would look back someday and KNOW why it happened. I haven't ever been able to pinpoint an exact reason, but I feel it--I know it--and I cannot imagine life without little Spencer.
We too were in the "no babies during residency" seemed too much. And getting the DISTINCT and pressing prompting that we could not ignore was a real eye opener. To give up such comfort and a situation we are used to now, seemed like following blindly. And even still, I live in fear--that I will miscarry, since I never ever have before and it seems the odds should not work that way. I live in fear that life will crumble as we prepare to move only weeks after having this baby, hoping in the process of it all we will be able to sell our house and find a job and have the pieces fall into place. And i fear that with everything going on, I will somehow sink into a world of postpartum depression. But when you have those little glimmers--those moments of seeing a bigger picture to life than any logical sense of thinking, those to me are the blessings from God...the chance to see things as He does.

And despite the logical phrase of "no more kids right now", I also firmly believe that if you will follow those glimpses, however trying they may be, God will allow you to be part of far greater happiness than you could ever plan for yourself.

I am so sorry for your struggles and the difficulty that has taken place. You have such amazing strength and faith, and I hope you know how much I admire you.

Charlotte said...

I'm in the process of trying to put my journey of "faith over fear" into words. Just know that you are not alone. Desire for a baby has been a topic of major upheaval in my life this year... and it didn't stop when I got pregnant. As I've rolled into my second trimester I've landed in the "content with what is" phase... but that's not the same as desire.

Wish I could hug you.

Rachel Chick said...

I just have to tell you how much I loved this post. I think you are amazing and just love you. I'm so thankful that we get to "virtually" walk through this life together. It was in the stars. :) Thank you for sharing your journey and good luck as it continues.

Marc Gilchrist said...

Oh how I miss you! You have such wisdom and I appreciate it! I miscarriaged a few months ago but about a month ago finally had a D and C since my body couldn't do it on its own. I had very similar feelings to yours-the lack of desire, the guilt after miscarrying and the mourning what might have been but I so admire your faith to move forward. You are truly an inspiration to me!