(PC: Lydia Jane)
The morning of my follow up appointment my stomach was in knots. The thought of leaving the house right now can bring on anxiety. You never know what you're gonna see, who you're gonna see or what they're gonna say. When you're in a fragile place like myself memories of things and people's words can feel like huge rocks being thrown at a glass house. It doesn't take a lot to break me down and even people's well meaning words can hurt and bring sad reminders.
Home is a safe place for me. It's been a quiet place too. Everyone who comes and goes knows what we're walking through and are carrying this burden with us. I don't have to explain myself and being understood means the world. I can cry if I want to and not have to say why or look out of place. I knew my appointment was a hurdle to get over. I knew I would have to go sit in a waiting room full of healthy, happy, big belly expectant mothers. I'm not unhappy for them or would want to have others join me in my misery, but it stings. It's a reminder of my reality. I would have been 23 weeks today and probably sitting in one of those chairs, waiting.
They called me back just like a normal appointment. I stepped on the scale begrudgingly. Went into the room, sat on the table. Thinking ok, I survived the worst, the waiting room is over. While my nurse was checking my blood pressure it became increasingly clear from her questions that she wasn't tracking that this was not a routine 2 week post partum follow up.
Nurse: "Is your milk coming in?"
Nurse: "Are you still taking your prenatal vitamins."
Me: "No, I stopped and I honestly haven't remembered."
Nurse: "Are you breastfeeding?"
Me: "No. My baby died."
Nurse: "Ok, well you should still be taking prenatal vitamins."
I didn't want to talk about prenatal vitamins, or my milk coming in, and I certainly didn't have anything to say about breastfeeding. She didn't even say sorry and I just wanted her to get out of the room. I wanted to cry alone and not shed a tear in front of someone who didn't care enough to take a look at my chart. Assuming she didn't mean to skip over it, the reminder hurt like hell. To have to say that out loud, well, I can't find the words to describe what swallowing that one felt like. Death stings.
My midwife, Angel, came in and I burst into tears. She gave me a hug and from the sound of her voice I knew she understood. She knew this was hard and a loss like this is awful. We talked and talked some more, she told me I'm "normal" that "this is a part of the grieving process" and "you're not crazy." It's validating to hear things like that. I need to hear that. Grief takes time and while it's rocking you, it rocks you. Especially when you look at yourself and you don't know who you are and unloading the dishwasher seems like an insurmountable task.
Grief is something that comes from walking this road. It's unavoidable, unwanted, and often unexpected. Grief "reminders" come on days of the week and days of the month.
Monday is the day we "found out."
Wednesday was my week mark.
Thursday is the day he was born.
Saturday is the day we buried him.
August is a month I have no words for but I know God will be there.
In the Target aisle, its the side table I wanted to use for his nursery.
In H&M, its the baby clothes section.
Before we lost Bobby I was not a crier. It took a lot to bring tears out of me and even when I did it was rare when the floodgates opened. It's even humbling for me to admit, that I've cried more these past two weeks than I have in my 31 years. I'm not the Janet I was before, at least for now. My mind runs on a single track, I can't process more than one thing at a time and things that were once familiar can overwhelm me. Add in not being able to eat or sleep and at moments I feel like a complete hot mess. Distant, distracted, exhausted, and emotional. I don't want to be, but I can't help it at times. Mom guilt too. I tell myself my girls won't remember, but it's hard to not feel like you're able to be the Mom you were or the kind of Mom you want.
In a loss like this God can feel far off and distant. Aloof. Uncaring. Some days it can feel like I'm picking up the shattered pieces of this mess and trying to put it all back together. "Real life" days can feel very empty and sad. What I've come back to in those moments is that belief and faith are a choice. And it's a choice I have to make over and over and over again even when my feelings are greater than what I believe. Many times, I often see God's hand more than I "feel" His nearness, sometimes visa versa and sometimes not at all. That is what keeps me writing, I want to remember the deepest waters God brought us out from.
On my very worst days and at my very worst moments (and there have been many) God never leaves me there. Ever. The lowest valleys and the deepest pits of my darkest night, God has never left me.
"Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now." Oceans, Hillsong
"If I cannot trace his hand I can always trust his heart." Charles Spurgeon
"If we are faithless, he remains faithful." 2 Timothy 2:13