Thursday, June 01, 2017

Is miscarriage really that big of a deal?

The moment I see the second pink line, I am all in. In the twenty eight seconds of intense, sweaty anticipation, I know nothing. But as soon as that second pink line shows up (faint as it may be) on the bulk pregnancy test I bought on eBay,  I am fully vested. My mind and body immediately begin preparing for the next Keefe Kid. My brain and heart warp time and I can literally see this baby. I visualize this child. I recognize the teenager. I watch the high school graduate. I'm there at the wedding day. I'm kneeling in wait for the next generation. A whole life. From diapers to diapers. In five seconds. 

Then comes How do we tell Daddy. Pinterest. Google. How do I let Daddy know that you're here and you're coming? And your siblings...oh, how your siblings have been waiting for you! Just wait until they hear you're on the way! I already hear "Please let it be a Boy" and in seven seconds I am completely in love with you. Terrified. But so completely in love. 

It takes about another three seconds before the underhanded and despicable spiritual attack begins. *What If*s flood my already saturated brain with its dangerous and toxic cocktail of estrogen and progesterone. The scared prayers begin. Not my will but yours, Lord. Help me. 

Trauma has a peculiar way of stealing your joy in the instant you feel it. The perpetrator says Don't celebrate.  Don't share the news.  Because What if. What if you don't have this baby. Do you really wanna tell everyone you lost another baby? It's so awkward and weird. Is it really that big of a deal? Maybe they didn't even know you were pregnant. Add to the pain that so many people think you shouldn't be pregnant again anyway. What if you tell them and they are relieved? What if they say that!? What if they say things meant to comfort and only testify to your fear. Maybe I am too old. Maybe we already have too much on our plate. Maybe my body can't handle it. The Lies of trauma are meant to isolate and shame and stunt and shake. 

So we wait. We anticipate. We pray. I freak out. We pray. I drink more water and I eat cleaner. And I start to feel some freedom from the fear. I start to gag when I brush my teeth and Sometimes when I lie down on my left side my heart flips and beats like a bat out of hell and I know. I know it's real and the knitting as forming has begun. You're really on your way. 

Until the blood. The blood comes and it is like I've been shattered from the inside. How can this be. The panic and the disbelief and the fear and the phone calls. The please pray texts. The phone calls and the waiting. And the googling. Is it? Could it just be ok? And 23 hours and 100 trips to the bathroom later it is not ok. And hormones shift and minds bend and husbands still need you to function and children still ask for cheerios and toilet paper and all you can do is blink. Blink and bleed and gush and examine and pray and cry. And I think this is going to kill me. Really though this cannot be right. I think I'm going to need a transfusion and a padded room and I never wanna be in this bathroom again, studying sanded grout and counting tiles.

And then ultrasounds. Occasions that for many are joyous and beautiful occasions. But for the mom who has miscarried, it brings a sick feeling down to the soles of my feet. My joy stolen again by trauma and lies.  My husband reminds me that God's got this and I try not to hate that phrase. 

The warm jelly. The small talk. The wait. Wait. Wait. The concern on her face. The furrow in her brow. The searching. The silence. No...that's my heartbeat. Up to 148bpm lying flat on my back as still as a body can possibly be. More silence. Then the Apology. The I'm sorry. No. No. No. Not again. Please. Keep looking. Please. Let me try. Another apology. The dream vaporizes. And the blackness of loss fills the room and my lungs and I'm sick. Tears. Tears. Tears. Tears. Quiet tears that flood my ears and drown the silence. Quiet tears as not to make Nancy feel any worse. Sucking breaths and spit and snot and coughing cries come later on the drive home that's never long enough. There are no grainy black and white photos to share. 

Several foggy days pass. My doctor gives me options. None of them are good. Wait it out. Have surgery. I've done both. I still have this baby. But I don't. I hold inside me a billion would-be moments and possibilities gone. So I am like a walking coffin. Waiting for a funeral that will never happen. 

We tell the siblings. Some cry. Some cry quiet tears. Some cry gut wrenching sobs. Some smile and hug. Some ask why we never told them. And I wonder why and I hurt for keeping something so precious and wonderful and exciting a secret from them. I want to shield them from pain but I rob them of the joy that makes it all worth it. They pray for me and the baby with Jesus. Alex keeps his hand on my shoulder. Mine should be on his. His pain is just as painful. The severity of loss for him can be even more complicated than mine.  Condemnation and guilt and shame and sadness know no bounds. 

So we walk around stunned and shocked for a few weeks.  Or years. I try not to think of what could have been. I try not to think about how I never want to go through this again. I try not to make any rash decisions about any aspect of my life. I pray and thank God for friends who cry along with me. Who remind me that my baby was a real person. A real person with a divine soul and a sacred purpose. A real person with a family that grieves the loss and feels the absence. 

And for this reason I am so grateful to the State of Florida for recognizing the authentic losses women and men face everyday in miscarriage. I'm thankful that healing can begin for so many just with the acknowledgment of the humanity of our babies. 

With acknowledgement of loss I gain the perspective of my children who have an invincible faith and hope in the reunion of Heaven. When people marvel at our seven children, my kids  quickly reply that We have four more. People balk and gawk and kids say The other four are in Heaven. With Jesus. We'll see them one day.  We know one is a girl. 

Yes. Our seven becomes eleven. And we are eternally grateful for each and every one of them. Each has made an indelible and eternal impact on our family.  They were Keefes. And they always will be. 

Prayers and blessings and handholds and neck hugs for those experiencing pain and grief and loss today.  Praying you will feel confident and hopeful in the day you're reunited with your little one. 

Sidenote: What doesn't make sense to me are the parameters chosen for the miscarriage law.  Most babies are miscarried between 7 and 12 weeks and yet the state only acknowledges miscarriages between 9 and 20 weeks. Why place parameters on the certificates? 

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