*this post was originally written for MOPS International and published in their weekly emails in February of 2014*
My husband and I were driving the other day and crossed an intersection that brought a flood of memories. Nearly 12 years ago we were in an accident in that intersection. A sweet old lady had turned left into our car. As we talked about the accident, Hubby made a comment that he felt so bad for that lady that day. Tears filled my eyes as I told him at the time of the accident I couldn’t feel badly for her. I had too much else to feel at that moment. I realized a grief that I have rarely acknowledged and not fully processed.
It was December, an ordinary day that was like no other. I woke and got ready for work. In the early hours I was always alone at work which I loved but that morning I needed. I turned on my computer and went to the restroom. I started bleeding. I screamed. I wasn’t spotting, I was bleeding. I cried out, “Not my baby! Please God, no. Please no! “I sank to the floor, pulled my knees to my chest and sobbed as I rocked back and forth. I put a note on my boss’ desk that said I was sick and wouldn’t be in, and I drove home.
It was the longest 10 minute drive I have ever made. I cried so hard my glasses fogged up and I couldn’t see. I was distraught. I sat at home, alternating between gut wrenching sobs and staring into space. I realized I couldn’t be at home, it hurt too much. I aimlessly wondered around Wal-Mart and Costco, looking for any distraction until my husband would be home to hold me. It seemed that every woman I passed was full with child. Hand on my belly that was no longer carrying life, I let the tears flow silently and freely down my face.
The next day I had a scheduled appointment with my infertility doctor who confirmed what I already knew; my body was rejecting this pregnancy. We talked next steps in the infertility journey while my brain was in a fog of grief. I only remember hearing the words that my baby didn’t implant properly in my uterus and that we needed to do an artificial insemination next month. Somehow I made it to the car for my husband to drive me home while I tried to process the words I had heard and the pain in my heart. It was on the way home that our car was hit.
I remember sitting on the edge of the car door after the accident. I remember the poor old lady asking if I was ok but all that I could think was “Lady, please just go away. Please, please, please just get out of my face.” It was surreal. The paramedics asked the questions they do, which I tried to answer until they asked if I was pregnant. No. No, I’m not. When did you have your last period? Yesterday. I snapped my answer as the knife of grief went through my heart yet again. Somehow I made it through that day and those weeks. Seventeen days later I laid on my doctor’s table as we did the procedure for the artificial insemination that resulted in a pregnancy that did implant and brought forth my oldest son.
I acknowledge the miscarriage now but I rarely allow myself to think about or feel the grief. In the early years following, my husband and I would sometimes ask each other, “Do you ever wonder about the baby we lost?” Any grief I felt would instantly be overshadowed by guilt. If I felt grief over the loss of that child, was I saying that I wished for that baby instead of the incredible son that God has given me? I wouldn’t have this child who blesses me daily if the child that we lost had been born. It has been a complicated journey of acknowledging that the miscarriage did happen and it grieved me and yet being head over heels in love with the child that God did allow me to hold in my arms. The loss of my baby was quickly overshadowed by the joy of another pregnancy that did come to fruition. Now, nearly 12 years later, I realize I need to feel the grief of our loss.
I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. And I have just now come to the realization that grieving the loss of my baby doesn’t mean that I don’t love my son. It means that I have room in my heart to love all four of my children, even the one I never held in my arms.