The calendar is divided BC and AC, and I feel like my life's calendar is divided along a line of its own: BM/AM. I wrote about this in another post, but my life has recently been defined by what it was Before Miscarriage and what it's been like After Miscarriage. It's been two years since our battle against IF started. It's difficult to really think about all that we've lost, but I also must reflect on what we've gained.
The month of January had started out sadly for me with the death of my close grandmother on New Year's Day. Her death was not unexpected, but it was still sad to say good-bye to her. One of the things that I was most sad about is that my grandma would never hold my newborn baby. If there was one thing she loved, it was a new baby to fuss over in the family.
January 21, 2006 was a Saturday. This was the day that we found out that we were expecting. When that second line came up, I was actually dizzy for a moment. We weren't planning on a pregnancy - not yet, anyway. But we were still thrilled. Our whole lives changed in that exciting moment that we found out we were going to be parents. In a way, I felt it was very "circle of life" that my grandmother's passing would be so close to the arrival of a new soul into our lives.
We threw ourselves into changing our lives to accomodate our coming little one. We cleaned our house with vigor and put it up for sale. We were determined to move to a smaller house so that my husband's salary could sustain us. We only had a little over a week with that pregnancy, but we dreamed about and loved that baby to distraction. I started a journal for the baby, and one entry is particularly heartbreaking for me to read now:
"I am going to make myself enjoy these precious months that are just for the two of us, because right now, I can make everything safe and wonderful for you, and I won't always be able to do that for you later on. This I think will be the very most difficult thing as a parent."
Oh, the innocence of those words. The innocence that would be ripped from me just four days after writing this entry, when the bright red blood brought me to my knees in terror and disbelief. Despite my care and concern for our little one, I had failed in my first and foremost responsibility as a mother - keeping my child safe. The first night after we lost our pregnancy, I had a horrible nightmare, in which I kept searching for my child. I would go from person to person, begging for help in finding my lost baby. No one would help me.
And the nightmare would continue. Over the course of the next eleven months, I would lose four more pregnancies. Each loss would further alter the person that I was, the person that I have become. For awhile, it seemed as if the worst part of the nightmare was that no one took our losses seriously and that we had to suffer alone, without any assistance. We finally got some help, took a break, lost another early pregnancy, grieved and tried to move on.
Yes, there has been so much sadness these past two years. There have been rivers of tears, mountains of anguish, paths of pain. If I had known two years ago what I know now, I am not sure that I would have had the strength to put one foot past the other.
And I am not so cocky or confident to believe that it could be over. I know there are still many more hurdles to face. This pregnancy gives me hope for the future, but there are no guarantees. I might not be at the end of this journey yet. If I knew for certain what I still have to face, I might not have the strength to go on.
But what I still have, even after these two long years, is hope. That hope has been bruised, bloodied, and battered. There have been times when it has all but disappeared. Somehow, though, it has always struggled its way back, refusing to be completely beaten.
I also have a firm rooting in what to be thankful for and what to prioritize. This pregnancy takes a higher order than anything else. That wasn't the case in our first pregancy, when material matters took first place.
My marriage has weathered the storm and come out better on the other side.
I have learned who my real friends are - and who I can count on for support.
I have gained new friends - both in real life and here in the blogasphere.
I am generally more compassionate (although I sometimes have less patience for people who complain about the "little things").
I have a better relationship with God - I know longer ask God for things, but instead pray for acceptance and peace in His will. And I don't pray for myself first, I pray for others.
These two years have taken things from me, that I cannot deny. I do not wish this life lesson on any person. But I also take stock of what these two years have given to me and know that I am a stronger person. I know that even if this is only the beginning of our journey, I can and will handle what lies ahead. I honestly hope for a smoother path, but I know that I will prevail, no matter what the obstacle.
Hope is not dead. We will be parents.