Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When words are not enough....

There’s a hurt from which I’m not sure that you can recover…I think that it cuts so deep that you will always feel the pain. It might be dull, it might be manageable, but it is always always there. Like the spot on my stomach that is tender to the touch, even 16 years after giving birth to Addy the Musician. I asked my doctor why it hurt so much, and he figures that there are stitches there from where he sewed the fat pad back in place. (the fact that I had a fat pad is almost as disturbing to me as the knowledge that he had it essentially off and then sewed it back on!) To this day, I can tell you where that spot is, because if I touch it just right, the scar is still there.

Of course, I’m talking about losing a child.

I cannot imagine losing a child and getting out of bed the next morning. A friend once pointed out that I would get out of bed because I still have other children, but I disagree. I would want to bring them all into my bed with me and protect them from the world.

I even dread my children leaving home. I know that it must happen, and that I cannot stop the hands of time. I just hope that when that day comes, I will be strong enough to survive. I love having my children in our home, and I think that I would love to have them and their families in a great big compound so that we can be together always.

This deep and abiding love was born the moment that I learned that Tux was going to be coming to our family. I was about 6 weeks along, and not yet feeling any morning sickness or discomfort. I began to feel some discomfort, and freaked out . I cried, I prayed, and I hoped. My doctor told me that it was merely my uterus growing rapidly that caused the discomfort, but I still worried.

I was anxious throughout my entire pregnancy with Addy. I don’t know why, but I had the idea that I was not going to get to keep this baby, and so I was worried to get too attached. Even driving to the hospital, I felt concern that I would not be bringing him home.

My worst fears came true when I found out that I was pregnant with Todd. I began to spot, then bleed, and then outright hemorrhage. I was on bedrest for two weeks as we waited to see if I would miscarry. It turned out that I had placenta previa, and it was the placenta attaching near my cervix that was causing the bleeding, but it was a nerve wracking two weeks.

I would sob every time I saw the bleeding that meant that I might be losing my baby. I begged my Heavenly Father to let me keep him. I had a priesthood blessing that said that this ‘surprise would bring great joy to my family.’ It didn’t promise a baby, but it was encouraging.

Hubby would tell me that it was okay, that I was probably worried about nothing. Well meaning people would tell me that it would be okay. But NO, it would not be okay. It would never be okay if I lost my baby. I talked with a cousin that had endured early pregnancy bleeding, and she, too, felt that no amount of encouragement could lift her spirits. Nothing that anyone said could take away the fear and pain.

This pregnancy was difficult all of the way through. I was on restrictions for most of the pregnancy, on bedrest at the end. Todd was ultimately premature. The fear never ended.

I have someone that I love very much who is struggling with this fear right now. I know that fear, I know that ache. I know that nothing that I can say will make it better, and that is heartbreaking. There is nothing to say, nothing to offer, other than the support that someone who has been through this can offer.

What I do know is that my children were my children from the moment that I learned that they existed. I don’t care how many cells they were, or how perfectly or rudimentally formed they were at the time. I got to see Todd in an ultrasound when he still had an egg sac, and he was still my baby. I could see his tiny heart beat, and he was a person to me. I would have grieved their loss the same whether I was barely pregnant or had raised them. The hurt would be the same.

Another cousin recently lost a baby at 19 weeks gestation. The hospital that she gave birth at was incredibly loving and allowed the parents time with their baby, giving him little clothing and blankets and letting them say goodbye. What compassion they showed to a family that had lost a member, when often, it is considered merely a miscarriage, and not a lost life.

For this reason, I could never choose to terminate a pregnancy for any reason. Nor could I participate in IVF, where multiple eggs are fertilized and frozen. I would have to carry each of them, like Octomom, or allow them to be adopted. I could not destroy even that early stage of life.

When I was carrying the older boys, I wondered when their little spirits entered their body. Tux was insanely active in utero. He bounced off of the walls the entire time. We fought over my ribs, he teased. He rarely slept or rested.

This is exactly Tux’s personality, even now.

Along came Addy, who was more laid back. Once a day, he would slowly roll over in my stomach, barely making a ripple. No fights over vital organs and who should or should not be stepping on them. No stretches that made me want to gasp as my bones were pushed apart with great force. And true to this, Addy is my more laid back child. He sleeps more, is less wild and active, and generally acts exactly as he did before his birth.

Todd is much like Tux, wild and crazy and active. Both in, and out. You cannot convince me that their spirits are not with them right from the beginning.

To anyone who has ever lost a child, whether that child was full grown, or barely bigger than a dot, my heart goes out to you. To even breathe after such a loss is commendable. I wish that there were something that I could say to make the hurt go away, to ease it even slightly. All I can offer is my love and support, and that is not enough, I know.

We always wonder where the lesson is in each life trial. For some, we may never know. We just have to have faith and continue to trust in our Heavenly Father. He will keep us and comfort us, and use each experience for our own good. We can’t let it shake our faith or keep us from loving again.

To my sweet loved one that is suffering, I wish that I could take some of the burden. My arms are around you always. I wish that I had more to offer.

I’ve always believed in the power of words, but at this time, they seem all but powerless.

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