Due date

Today is the day.

I took a few sleeping pills last night. I don’t sleep. And I wanted to make sure I slept as long as possible today. For sleep to take up as much of my day as it could. Wanting to be more unconscious of the reality of this day. Hoping to be numb to this day marked on the calendar all those long months ago.

I woke up too early. And there was a sudden onset of rain. Pouring down. Like the tears running down my face.

My due date. All I’ve been able to think about are the what-ifs. The should-have-beens. The if-onlys. I should have an almost two year old running around. I should have gone through the pain and agony of childbirth. John holding my hand, encouraging me, smoothing the hair from my forehead. I should have a newborn placed in my arms, John and I grinning like maniacs at the joy felt. The big kids in love with their newborn sibling. I should be tired and overjoyed and humbled at the precious baby I carried for nine months.

But instead, I birthed a baby so tiny I could hold it in the palm of my hand. There was pain and agony. But there was death instead of life. Instead of a newborn, I held a nineteen year old girl in my arms and she hugged me so tight as we cried together. Instead of tears of joy, they were the tears of a broken heart.

I don’t want to feel like this. I don’t want to have this deep sadness. I’ve been carrying grief for so long. It’s always there, tucked away in a corner of my heart. Some days it’s a quiet whisper. And then there are days like today and yesterday and the day before that. And it comes roaring back, sharp and jagged and it hurts to breathe. And heavy. So heavy.

My sweet, sweet sister-in-law sent me this beautiful painting. The four yellow roses symbolize my big kids. The two buds are my babies. I love this painting. I love that she had the artist include my big kids. As a stepmom, that recognition means so much to me. My kids. My six kids. My four born in my heart. My two that were born into heaven.

I don’t think a mother, a parent, ever gets over the death of her children. I know that there will always be that longing for them. All the what-ifs and should-have-beens and if-onlys will run through your head. And you’ll remember the days marked as birthdays. And you’ll dream of all the possibilities. And you’ll cry over the finality of it all.

I’m sad. I want to rail and weep. I want to know why. I want comfort. How I long to be comforted. How I long for something, some part of this, to make sense.

As I sat outside this morning after the rainstorm had ceased and a gentle breeze blew, for a brief moment, so brief, there was a stillness to my heart, a comfort.

Em leaned over me as I sat and we cried together and I sobbed, “I want my babies” and she replied, “I know”, and there was a comfort.

In the book I’m reading, they quoted from Psalm 102 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me; in the day when I call, answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned like an hearth. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread.”

And the crying out comforts me. The knowing that for generations and generations, people have cried out and God hears. He hears the heartache. He knows.

None of this brings back my babies. My tears aren’t wiped away. My heart still aches. But I’m hanging on to these small moments of comfort. Clinging to the God of all comfort. They give me hope that one day, I’ll have more moments. And then more. Until one day, He wipes my tears away.

Today was a hard day. And it all won’t disappear when a new page is turned on the calendar tomorrow. Today I should have birthed a baby. Tomorrow my arms will be empty.

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Grief journey

I wept last night. I wailed. Once I started, I could not stop. Hot tears poured down my face, soaking my pillow. And the brokenness of my heart became the guttural cries from my throat. Melding together in the ache, in the rawness.

John held me. Pressing kisses into my cheek, my forehead, my hair. Desperate to comfort me.

But there is no comfort.

I see my baby. On a plate. In the bathroom. Because when you’re miscarrying there’s no time to pretty things up, to make things right. There’s blood everywhere. In the toilet. On the toilet. On the floor. In the garbage can. And it just keeps coming. And you’re numb. And you’re in disbelief. And yet you know exactly what is happening. And you can’t stop it. And your baby drops into the plastic bag (because I was not going to have my baby drop into the toilet) and you bear down. And there’s blood. And it lets up. And you gently scoop up your baby. And it fits in the palm of your hand. And it gets placed on a plate. And that memory is seared into your heart.

And I wish, how I wish, that I had a different picture in my head.

I’m so sad. I’m so sad. My due date is coming. And there’s just emptiness.

Love

John and I talked this morning. He held me and reassured me that he is here for me. We talked about the kids. We talked about the baby. And I cried some more.

And then I went to bed and slept for six hours.

And this evening he and Em went to Lowe’s and picked up a different soil for the baby’s garden. The lavender and kalanchoe have been dying. So he researched what kind of soil was needed and he re-planted the flowers.

I’m so thankful for him. Thankful for his strength. Thankful for his steadiness when I’m all over the place. Thankful for the grace he extends when I’m an emotional mess. Thankful that he plants my flowers for me.

Re-charging

It’s a little after 2 in the morning. I’m drinking coffee. Caffeinated. Black as can be. I was laying upstairs in bed for hours, not sleeping a wink. Feeling frustrated. John snoring beside me. And some nights when I can’t sleep I come down to the living room and I try to get some rest on the couch. Except now, now I have a college girl who is attached to the corner of the couch, on her phone, at all hours of the day and night. I came down after midnight and told her to go to bed. My nerves are fried. There is nowhere to go in this house to be on my own. And for an introvert, the life is being sucked out of me. Because I have made myself available for her because she has a gazillion questions as she fills out applications for a summer job. I love her dearly. But she talks non-stop. And I have to keep encouraging her to stay on track. Or she will read memes to me, one after the other. Or will read articles she finds interesting. I love that she’s sharing her interests with me. I am so happy to be helping her with her applications. But I’ve got to find a way for me to re-charge in peace and quiet. And not at 2:00 in the morning!

Truthfully, the kids coming home for the summer has been on my mind a lot. I am overwhelmed at the thought of them all being here. Don’t get me wrong. I love them. I want them here. I miss them. But I shrivel a little inside.

I still cry a lot. I don’t talk about the baby. Obviously, over Mother’s Day weekend we talked. Although that weekend sucked through and through. But John is so preoccupied with work. He’s got so much going on. I feel a bit like an island. Alone in my grief. I don’t talk about it. I cry alone.

So, the parts of me that desperately need quiet, space to think and gather my thoughts…those are going to be few and far between. And I panic a bit thinking about that. I’m already trying to hold it together with one kid. Now three more in just a few weeks. I don’t know what to do.

When the kids are home, John becomes less involved with me. His focus is the kids. The kids and work.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this.

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever!

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever,
I will sing, I will sing,
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever,
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord.
With my mouth will I make known
Thy faithfulness, Thy faithfulness,
With my mouth will I make known
Thy faithfulness to all generations.
~ Psalm 89:1
Music: James H. Fillmore

It’s a new day. Singing this in my quiet time this morning. Yesterday was rough. And yet, good in its own way. A lot of emotions. A lot of tears. John bought me hydrangeas in honor of #InternationalBereavedMothersDay. (Could there be a longer name?!) I baked cookies for him for the week. Moments of sweetness.
Today is quiet. Cloudy. Gray.
But reminded as I sang…faithful God. He is steady. He does not change. And He gives and gives and gives…His presence, His love, His faithfulness, His goodness, His strength, His peace, His comfort, His wisdom.
I’m so thankful to start this new day with Him. I’m so thankful that even though there’s heartache and tears and questioning, He’s here. It doesn’t faze Him. He is here. And He loves me. So comforted knowing that.

#findingbeautyintheordinary #morninghymns #somewhereinSanAntonio #thisismystory #writeitout #newmercies #faithfulGod #lifeafterloss

International Bereaved Mother’s Day (May 5th)

Mother’s Day. It’s always been a tough day. Being a stepmom. The kids don’t acknowledge me unless John reminds them. I get it. I think we’ve only had one Mother’s Day together, our first year as a family. And I have a wonderful relationship with my (step)kids. But I’m not their mom. As much as I love them and adore them and raise them. I’m not their mom.

And my babies, the babies that grew in my tummy for that too-short time, my babies aren’t here.

So I get a bereaved mother’s day. And that sucks. I don’t want to be a bereaved mother. I do not want this. This hurts hard-core. I think about them all the time. I think about their due dates. I think about what age they should be. I think about what they would look like. I think about what our life would be like. And I think about their deaths.

I hate that Mother’s Day fills my eyes with tears. I love my (step)kids so much. But I really, really wanted these babies. My babies. I really wanted a part of John and I.

A friend on Instagram makes jewelry. For a long time, I’ve wanted something…something tangible to have, to see, to remember. And she makes these tiny circles, representing families. Families are forever. So I got six circles. For my two babies and for my four (step)kids. For my family.

A bereaved mom. A stepmom. No babies to call my own. No babies to hold in my arms. Feeling the loss deeply.

My babies are in heaven. I will see them again. My (step)kids are coming home for summer. I will see them again.

But today, today my arms are empty.

Gifts

I love when God reminds me of His gifts. I had written my previous post this morning and then went to hang my sheets outside on the line. I never got to do that in Sheboygan! Our trees were too far apart or too far from the porch and it just never worked. But here in our tiny little yard, the clothesline exactly reaches from the back porch pillar to the fence. And I love, love, love the fresh scent of line-dried clothes and sheets. What a gift to get to do this every week. Thank You, Lord, for tiny yards and fresh air and sunshine that dries my sheets!๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿงบโ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ™Œ

#findingbeautyintheordinary #somewhereinSanAntonio #thisismystory #writeitout #perspective #Godsgoodness #givingthanks #agoodgoodFather