It has been six months since I lost my Ezraela Eaven. Her due date has come and gone. She would have been 4 weeks old. When I look down and I see that my arms are empty, my heart heart breaks. There is a certain song we sing at church and every time I hear it I cry. Each verse of the song makes me relive that terrible day. Seeing a new baby, reading birth announcements or gender announcements on Facebook still makes my heart sink. As I write this at my favorite bagel joint, my eyes are still tearing up. I still remember the day that she was born dead and I held her in the palm of my hand.
However, as time has passed I have been able to see a little bit of sunshine through the rain. Despite the fact that I am a melancholic, I have always tried to be an optimistic person, looking for the good in things even when they are devastatingly horrendous. With all of the suffering I have experienced in my life, that is the only way I have found to survive it. (However, if you know someone who has had a miscarriage or is suffering, don't try to find the bright side for them, they have to find it on their own. There is nothing worse when you are experiencing trauma and someone tells you, "Well, at least you can...")
It's not that you discount the bad, but you look at it with your rose colored lenses to find some good in it all.
|My Sweet Alexandria, So Full of Life|
When we found out we were pregnant last September Alexandria was only 2 and 3 months old. She was just learning to really talk and in so many ways she was still in the "baby" phase. Since then, she is potty trained, she can dress herself, she is starting to get a little bit closer to coloring in the lines and can turn on almost any light in our house. She is becoming her own person. When she was younger, we would try to determine who she was more like and now we have determined she is just Alexandria. One of her recent developments is carrying a conversation with me while we are driving. I used to be able to make phone calls while we were in the car (usually to my mom), but now Alexandria wants to talk to me. She wants me to hear her and acknowledge her. We have our trying times, but we laugh so much. The other day she was running around the house and she slipped on a huge box that she had been playing with. She completely wiped out. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen. So, without checking to see if she was okay (I know, horrible mom), I burst out laughing. She looked at me and it looked like she was going to cry, but since I was laughing she laughed too. We laughed loud and long. I have gotten to know my little girl and honestly, had Ezraela been born healthy, I'm not sure we would have had that time. Because of Ezraela's death I have learned to cherish these moments with Alexandria because at any moment she could be taken away from me.
I have been blessed with a pretty large circle of friends that are from my church and mom's group, but I don't know everyone well. There were a few girls that I really admired and wanted to get to know them better, but the opportunity did not arise. Since I lost Ezraela, they have become some of my closest confidants because they have also experienced a miscarriage. In a texting conversation last week when I was having a break down, one of the girls knew exactly what to say to make me not feel guilty for what I was feeling. When the conversation was winding down, she told me, "Cry on my shoulder anytime. You can always tell me to shut up too and just let you get it all out." I know that as long as we both are living, I can contact her with my grief. And she will be there for me without judgement, only love.
In the last six months I have had several people tell me that they have given my blog to someone they know that recently suffered a miscarriage. Writing is cathartic for me, but I also do it to help other people. My sister in law has had four miscarriages since last summer and two very dear friends of mine have lost babies as well. My writing and willingness to speak about my struggles during my recovery has opened up a door for others to speak openly about their suffering. Not that I am taking credit for the results, but I know that God has put those women in my life for just that reason.
Laid bare, grief gives us an opportunity to rebuild and grow up a second time. We may find our way to new lines of thinking. These can ultimately leave us comfortable in our own skin in ways we had never thought possible.
In some ways I feel that because of my miscarriage I have been given extra time. Time to write, time to pursue an agent for my book, time to enjoy the summer, time to focus on Alexandria, time to get to know my husband better, time to focus on my relationship with God, time to impact the world in a way that I would not be able to if I had a 4 week old right now. Time to enjoy the little things in life that I would have barely glanced at if I hadn't lost a child.
Losing a child has given me a whole new perspective on life. When I'm sick or I'm flaring because of my IC or when I'm out of patience because my 3 year old has worked my last nerve. When my day goes nothing like I planned or when someone cuts me off on the highway. I constantly remind myself that nothing that I have experienced in life is worse than delivering your dead baby when you are 18 weeks pregnant. Nothing.
It is impossible to be unchanged by grief. It deepens us. Perhaps hardens us, but also opens doors and softens bits of us, as well. Mine is a story of moving through the pain of losing a loved one I thought I could not live without and coming back on the other side with a better appreciation for life, as a more deeply loving and engaged human being. I would give all of my hard-won wisdom back in a nanosecond if it would mean the safe return of my daughter (hello, bargaining), but that is not to be.
|20 Mile Cycling Trip on Grant's Trail in St. Louis With My Mom|