Sunday, January 31, 2016

Warrior

Say the word "warrior" and often people will conjure images of vikings, roman soldiers, and the like. Often you will think of someone bloodied from battle, armored, and fierce looking. I'm sure no one would imagine a housewife, in comfy clothes, making dinner or mopping a floor.

Warrior means a person who has or does show courage, aggression, and vigor. Therefore, *I* am a warrior.

Divorce didn't shake me.
Cancer didn't shake me.
And miscarriage will not shake me.

Through every hard time I have never asked "why, me, God?" It wouldn't matter to me, why... Because I am unshakable. The women in my family are strong, valiant women. And we always take what ever life throws at us, we build a platform from it, and we stand upon it all. My daughters will become unshakable, too.

I have scars. Deep emotional wounds. Each one reminds me of how I overcame a trial, each one is a story of how I took something bad and made it work for my benefit, eventually. I'm not sure how I will use this hole in my heart, I have no idea at all. So I just remind myself... I am a warrior. And I am unshakable. And I wash another load of clothes...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Violet

How do I tell this story? Do I start with the part about how I gave up? When I accepted that I'd never carry another baby in my belly? And I settled on going to nursing school...

I decided to go to nursing school. Because I wanted to be more than just a mom. And I love the medical field. So, I sent in my application with the fee and started reading reviews on stethoscopes so I'd know which to choose when the time came. I made a plan for before-school-care for Lola. And I even had a plan for ensuring I had easy prep dinners stocked in my freezer  because I'd obviously be too busy to cook from scratch like I do now. I was as ready as I could be.

And then my period was late. Not one or two days late. Buy five days late. Maybe I was experiencing perimenopause after all. I'd suspected it for a while. Now I had proof! Everyone said I was too young for "the change of life". But clearly, I wasn't. Because I was five days late, y'all!

I don't know why I ran out and secretly bought a fistful of pregnancy tests. Why in secret? Because I never really gave up hope. I couldn't stop wishing that one of the last 13 months would have resulted in an addition to the family. We both wanted that desperately and we just denied it because people think three kids are enough. Because our house is too small. Because we aren't knee deep in money.

So there I was, in the bathroom, watching the seconds turn into minutes, waiting to see... One line or two? Two. Two lines. I was pregnant. Oh, the irony! I finally apply for school... And NOW I'm pregnant?!? Thanks, life. Thanks a lot. (Was that moment of ungratefulness a catalyst for what was yet to happen?)

I called my Love to the bathroom so he could see what I saw. He was hiding his happiness, I later found out, because of my frustration with what to do about nursing school. But in his heart he was overjoyed. It took me a day to become excited about having another baby. Once I was happy, I was VERY happy, though.

We pretty much told everyone right away. And then I started thinking about all the baby gear we would need... So I bought a few things... Even though it really was too soon. I couldn't help it! I was so happy! I was so very happy.

A few days later I began to have mild cramps and figured it was just my uterus stretching. I was spotting a little but the nurse on the nurseline said that was not uncommon, as long as it wasnt bright red I should be fine. The next day was uneventful and so I told myself to relax. But I couldn't. Something didn't feel right. Something had changed. I was very aware of the cramping in my lower belly. And I was worried.

Thursday morning I woke up to what I feared- bright red blood, severe cramping, and that 'punched in the gut' knowledge that I was loosing my baby. 5 weeks and 4 days was all I had with this baby, only six of those days did I know what a gift I had inside me. I called the doctor. They told me to come straight away.

I left the doctors office with a tear soaked shirt and stood in the elevator for over ten minutes, ugly crying, before I realised I never pushed the 'down' button. I stabbed at the button visciously as I cried to my mother on the phone. I walked to my car and dried my face because I had a prescription to pick up for my son at Target. It must have been Cute Newborn Baby Day at Target, because that is all I saw, as I stood there with my contracting uterus. Babies... Everywhere.

Once I was home I went upstairs with a basin and mentally prepared myself for what was coming. I told my body to just open up and allow the loss to happen. The pain was radiating from my back, around my hips, and down my thighs, just like a real labor. Within the hour it was complete. I was empty, even in my heart. My Love was at work, getting the play by play on his cell. My panicked messages telling him that we lost our baby. I cried so hard. I cried as I collected what had once been life and sealed it in a tiny four ounce jar. I cried as I text my mother and told her we had to place this by the beautiful bush in her back yard. I cried as my uterus still contracted to expell any remnants. I cried because i had nothing to hold.

My teenagers had no idea what to do in those hours as my heart was ripping apart, the look on their faces told me they wished they knew what to say or do... But what could they do or say? They hugged me. And that was enough.

Everything since that hour has been a blur.

We decided this baby should have a name and let Lola choose what that would be. She adamantly chose Violet. Later I looked up the meaning of Violet, and though no meaning is given for the *name* Violet, the *color* violet represents the future, imagination, and dreams. Which is incredibly appropriate.

I didn't know my heart could break this way. Losing a baby is a special kind of hell. I think of Violet so often. I wonder what Violet would have accomplished in life, what Violet would have looked like, and if Violet would have been a girl or a boy. And if a boy... Violet would not like that name!

This past week I have been carried along by the love of my family and friends. Some who have been in my shoes and wept over their own loss, some more than once.  I'm so grateful for this group of women who showed up so strongly for me when I needed them most.

I have no idea how to carry this experience with me through life- part of my heart is in Heaven now. How do I balance this hurt and still make room for what is good in life? How can I smile genuinely and fully from now on? Sometimes I start to laugh at something funny and I catch myself... It feels vulgar to feel joy right now.

I think of this child all the time.

And I have no baby to hold.