Monday, January 30, 2006

Hope in Other Babies

I wonder now if God wasn't protecting me somehow, preparing me for this to happen. When I found out I was pregnant with Bailey, I blogged once about the happy occasion, and then only once more before abandoning this blog for two months. In my head, I was blogging all along, with inane little monologues about my changing taste in food and about the weight I was gaining. In my pregnancy with Ray, I put on the pounds like there was no tomorrow. Gaining weight was new to me, and it was absurdly fun. This time, for some reason, I was gaining weight more slowly, but still slightly faster than the experts suggest. By about the thirteenth week of the pregnancy, I had put on 13 pounds and was having a blast trying to stuff myself into my largest pair of non-maternity jeans. My early pregnancy pants from the last pregnancy were capri pants, not something I can wear in January, so I knew I would have to go out and buy just one pair of small maternity jeans to get me through until I needed the larger pairs left over from last time. For three weeks, I picked up a pair at Walmart (correct size, easily affordable) and looked at them for 10 minutes or so before putting them back on the rack and walking away. Didn't make any sense at the time, especially since I was holding my jeans on with rubber bands around the snaps to buy me another inch or so.

Now when I read back on my last two posts here in November, it is painful, and I am both grateful and dismayed that I didn't record more details of the pregnancy. At the time, I thought it would last for 40 weeks, and there was plenty of time to capture the magic and the hilarity of pregnancy. Never once, in either pregnancy, did I worry that I might lose the baby. It just never occured to me. And this time I kept having the hardest time remembering what week of pregnancy I was in. With Ray, I subscribed to an online newsletter that was sent to me during each week of the pregnancy, describing exactly what was happening with the baby and with my body. I guess I felt more confident this time, because I did not re-subcribe to the newsletter, with the net result being that I often had to count on my fingers and toes to remember what week I was in.

Painfully, I am having a very easy time pinpointing the week of pregnancy that I should be in now. I was 16 weeks along when I lost Bailey, and I struggled into church yesterday, knowing that I should have been 17 weeks along then. I know two other people who are expecting babies within two days of when Bailey was due, and I have no intention of being around them for even a minute during the next five months. I do not begrudge ANYONE their healthy pregnancy or their healthy newborn. I just don't want to be around someone who will be living the exact timeline that I have been robbed of. A girl in our church was in the same hospital I was in, giving birth in the next wing while my doctor was telling me that my baby only had a 50% chance of making it. Amazingly, I was happy for this other girl and her family, and even encouraged in some odd way, knowing that this acquaintaince was down the hall, bringing new life into the world.

The morning after I lost Bailey, when I had woken up from the hour and a half of sleep that sustained me for about 48 hours, I heard a new baby squalling not far from the door of my room in the new and beautiful Family Birthing Center. I smiled and said something about that being a hungry baby to Preston and to the incredible nurse that was tending to me. The nurse asked if it bothered me, but I said no, that it was the most beautiful thing I had heard in days.

Preston and mom both mentioned that every time they went outside after I had been moved to labor and delivery, that they had to walk by the window where the newborns are displayed. Both of them said that it did not bother them. Preston was even asked once by a stranger in the hall, during the day I was delivering Bailey's lifeless little body, if he was waiting for a baby to be born or if he was visiting one. He blanked for a minute, and then replied that he was waiting.

When it was time for me to leave the hospital, the nurse asked if I wanted to go out the back way, instead of being wheeled past the baby window. As much as I wanted to see those babies, to receive some affirmation that life was continuing, I did not want any of the new moms, or their families, to see me being wheeled out without a baby in my arms. I didn't want them to wonder where my baby was. I didn't even want them to be aware that this kind of thing had happened right down the hall from where the happiest event in their lives had just taken place. It was an awful, indescribably isolating feeling.


Anonymous said...

Sarah...I am confident God is with you through this to faithfully lead through the next months. And as Yolie talked about your family breathing for you, others also can have faith for you at this time, if yours is not at this point right now. One thing I noticed after my miscarriage, is how many women have experienced such losses. Before it happened to us, I don't remember hearing many women talk about it. Maybe they did, and I just wasn't tuned to such discussions. There is an odd "fellowship" about such losses. I imagine you are also discovering this. I know God will one day use you to encourage other aching hearts, as He places women in your life who will need to hear how God helped you deal with your grief and questions. One day. This may sound odd right now, but in time, sharing our story with other grieving women becomes a precious way to honor our child. Maybe that's part of it, "odd things" becoming precious. When I lost our baby on Mother's Day of 1986, I thought it was a very cruel irony. Later, it became the most precious day to remember and honor our child who was born directly into heaven. Doesn't that sound odd? I'm thankful, since it was to happen, that God chose that special day for me. But again, all of your grieving and healing and learning about yourself will be in your own time. No one can rush us to a place we aren't yet ready to be. Keep writing for yourself. I still treasure the journaling I did after my miscarriage as a way I honored that life and traced the path of healing in my own heart.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your profound loss. I'm praying that God will surround you with His comfort and His peace.