Heartbreak.

Part one, here.

Dr. Holmes talked us through our options, professionally and with great care. He got emotional with us and shared in our grief. He'd tread our path himself.

Alejandra clasped our hands and prayed silently over each of us, individually. She hugged us and wiped tears from her eyes as she left our room.

I was grateful there was no one else in the waiting room that day. I don't think I could've faced a room full of pregnant women with healthy, alive babies in their wombs. Not that day.

 Then came all the hard parts, starting with telling the boys that the baby in mommy's belly had gone to heaven. Jake, my sweet, sweet boy, reacted in denial: "No, Mom, go lay down. I want you to be sick again!"

Oh, how that cut me to my core, to hear the pain in his little four-year-old voice.

Thanks to my particular insurance plan, I could not get immediate approval for a D&C. I spent those next few days doing the following:
-grieving our loss
-feeling immense anxiety over possibly delivering the fetus at home
-feeling twinges of anxiety that there had been some mistake and my baby wasn't dead and they were going to kill it in surgery
-battling what turned out to be a bladder infection, which explained the random gushes of fluid
-allowing my body to still believe it was pregnant, fearful that my slightly distended abdomen and continued nausea would betray me to the un-knowing public (reason number 5,854 why you should never, ever ask a woman if she's pregnant unless you're 100% sure she actually is)

Our loving and caring congregation members continued bringing us meals, and with each one came a new opportunity to say, "Thank you for the food, but actually, we lost the baby," which felt like a strange choice of words because I didn't lose my baby. I knew exactly where it was.

It just wasn't alive. 
 
The boys spent the weekend with their grandparents in Flagstaff, which gave TJ and I a chance to process, to lean on one another. Also we saw Beauty and the Beast, which might always make me cry, but I don't mind. It will help me remember.

My D&C finally came, and with it a sense of closure. I came out of anesthesia momentarily confused, and then reality came trickling in and brought fresh, silent tears. The blankets draped across my lower half were warm and heavy, comforting. TJ was brought in and he held my hand and stroked my forehead and we spoke softly with my nurse about losing babies and also hope.

I can actually talk about the details without breaking down. I can discuss what happened with a sort of detached familiarity. The hard parts come quickly and quietly, a catch in my throat, and suddenly I can't breathe. Warm tears prick when something reminds me of "when I was pregnant." I used to only think of my pregnancies and their happy endings: two beautiful, energetic boys, full to the brim of light, life, and laughter. And now I have a third, and it just ended. No reward. No outcome.

A friend told me to think about my baby, to remember and allow myself to be sad. It feels odd sometimes, because I knew so little about my baby, and at first I felt timid, unsure how much grief was appropriate for something I only knew for about 5 weeks. I don't think there really is such a thing as an appropriate amount of grief for a loss, though there are certainly losses that are more devastating than others. Loss is loss.

So here I am, two months later. I've learned just how many women silently bear this burden. Chances are, even if you don't know she's lost a baby, you know someone who has. I distinctly recall moments in my life before, hearing of friends and family who had miscarried and I would always say or think, "I'm so sorry, I can't even imagine you're going through. That must be so hard."

Well, now, to some extent, I know...and I think that is sometimes why we experience hard things: to be able to say to one another, "I know your pain. I've walked your path. Lean on me and I'll help carry you in your sorrow." After all, that is what our Savior does for us. That is the other lesson in Hard Things: to learn how to turn to Him, trust in His infinite love, mercy, grace, and hope, and let Him carry us. As Isaiah says, "Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows."

And yet, as the Psalmist wrote: "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

I believe that families are forever, and because of that I believe that someday we will get to hold our baby and raise our baby. I am so grateful for the hope this brings me! I'm grateful to be able to share this belief with my children, so that they too may find joy and hope. And even though this has been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, I know that it has changed me and made me a little bit more into the woman God needs me to be so that through me, others might feel of His love. I'm so grateful for the love and compassion I've been shown, for the service I've been given, and for the sisterhood I've felt from the women who've lifted me and carried me through this. I'm grateful for the way it brought TJ and I closer to one another, for the way he picked up my slack and fulfilled more than his share when I could not.


So even though this Mother's Day brings some sadness, I can honestly say that it has also brought joy. I am so grateful for motherhood and all that it has taught me, for the refining and shaping and soul-wrenching heartbreak it brings. As they say, though, God loves broken things.

"And by His kind and ready hand,
His own sweet life is woven through
Our broken lives, until they stand
A New Creation—'all things new.'"
-George Blair

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