Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What I didn't know

Two years ago, I knew I was expecting a baby. I knew life had changed. I had changed. I was changing.

A new start. A new beginning.

But there were a few things I didn't know.

I didn't know she was ectopic.

And you know what? I'm glad I didn't know. Because I didn't know, I got to experience tremendous joy for the few short weeks she was in me. Because I didn't know I'd lose her, I got to share with excitement to friends and family. I could celebrate. For those I hadn't shared with yet, I got to revel in the tiny little (big) secret I was carrying.

Her life only lasted a few weeks. We were just nearing 8 weeks when we lost her. Each life deserves some joy. And I filled that time with the joy of knowing her.

If I had known she would die, I may not have celebrated her life.

I didn't know we'd lose more babies.

Honestly, if you had told me that two years ago today would start the worst two years of my life so far, I wouldn't have been able to handle it. If you had told me that not only would I not keep her, but I wouldn't keep another baby 9 months later, and then ANOTHER baby another 9 months later, I would have lost it.

If you told me we would deal with infertility, divorce, death, cancer, accidents and unemployment in the last two years, I really would have lost it.

As it was, I almost lost it just losing one baby.

Gosh, I'm so glad I didn't know.

I didn't know we wouldn't have an answer.

Of course, the answer I assumed we'd have to our pregnancy test was a live baby. But we didn't get that answer to our prayers. The doctors don't know why we had an ectopic. The only "risk" factor was that I had a prior cesarean. (Bet you didn't know that was a risk factor, huh? Funny what they don't tell you.) But even then, at surgery the doctor said my tube had no scar tissue on it.

And it's the same for our last miscarriages. As far as they can see, I'm healthy. I'm the peak of healthy. A very healthy person with recurrent pregnancy loss.

I didn't know how much of an impact she'd make on me.

OK, so yes, assuming she'd lived, of course I knew what an impact she'd make on me. And I had assumed she'd lived. So I had dreamed of all the years ahead.  I dreamed about her first Christmas and First Thanksgiving. I thought about nursing, birthing plans, what kind of sport or hobby she'd love as a high-schooler, what she would look like, what her personality would be like, what the girls would look like playing together.

She had my dreams. She had my love. And I couldn't wait to share my life with her.

When we lost her, the world says "It wasn't meant to be." "Some babies just die." "This just happens." "This is your 1 in 4." "Maybe she would have been deformed, and you wouldn't want to deal with this." "This is nature's way." "This is God's will." "You are strong enough to handle this loss -- I'm not." "You will move on." "You can always try again." "It will be better next time -- I know it."

But in my heart, she was meant to make a mark on this world. Her life has value. And purpose.

She was supposed to be the one to share her presence. But since she's gone, I'm determined to make her life count still. I want to give her a voice.

I don't know how long I will write about her anniversaries. I don't think I will ever forget. But for now, I need to spend the day remembering her.

I didn't know I'd survive.

I never thought I'd survive the loss of a child. Now, some of you might be thinking -- a miscarriage is not REALLY the loss of a child. But, you need to know, it is.

Not that I think every loss is exactly the same. It's not as though I'm trying to compare myself to any other baby or child loss mom. Because I'm not.

But I'm just saying -- I didn't think I'd survive loving and losing.

But I did.

Not only have I survived, but I'm growing. I'm stronger, more resilient, more compassionate, more REAL, than I was before Olivia. I wouldn't say my faith is stronger, but I would say it's more personal. It's different. It's weaker AND stronger at the same time.

I didn't know the tears wouldn't always be there.

For a very, very, very long time, I cried. I cried for hours, I cried for days, I cried for months.

I didn't know the tears would slow.

But they did.

The tears still come. They came today. But they are not the harsh, bitter tears of despair. They are beautiful tears of memories.

I didn't know that the women who went through loss are some of the best friends I have, and the most beautiful, strong people I've ever known.

I didn't know that with the loss of my relationship with my daughter, how many other relationships I would form! That there is a whole crowd of women who had been there and were there to support me. And that there were women I was meant to support. I didn't know that, in spite of none of us wanting to be a part of this "club," we really were better together.

I didn't know how amazing people would be to me.

Strangers I've never met face-to-face. Church friends, old and new. Small group friends. Family. Our agency and those we've met through foster care. Friends from junior high, high school and college. People from all over -- supporting me and my family in our losses. By dropping off food, sending cards, taking care of Maddy, praying with us, reading our blog, hoping for the best with each successive pregnancy . . . All of it. Amazing. YOU have blown me away by your love and support.

I just didn't know how amazing you all would be.

I didn't know that I would grow, laugh and love again.

I didn't know if I could move forward without her. But I can, and I have. Not by choice, but by necessity. And God has given me the strength, grace and perseverance to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. To move forward with an adoption of precious little miss. To move my business forward. To keep writing my blog. To keep my faith, and keep trusting in His goodness.

I didn't know I could live with loss.

But here I am. Two years out. Missing her always. Excited to meet her in heaven.

But knowing that somehow, I'm better to have known her, even for such a short little while.

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