I wrote yesterday about the lowest point in our years of infertility. Today is the anniversary of one of the highest.
Three years ago, when Gummy Bear died, it was an awful Christmas. I honestly don't know how we survived it. After losing so many babies in one year and the one pregnancy that had seemed ready to go the distance, I had no hope.
I think one of the hardest parts (for me) about infertility and loss is that there is so little that our society does to help us with the grieving. There is no memorial service, no plaque, no marking that a little body or soul was here. If your loss is prior to 20 weeks, you don't even get a birth certificate and, in some states, you don't even get that after 20 weeks. I was fortunate to have an employer with excellent benefits and was able to take a few days off with each miscarriage, more for my emotional recovery than for the physical, but I always was back at work within a day or two, simply because I knew that it was what was "expected."
Even though I put my game face on, even though I kept putting one foot in front of the other, I was a broken woman. I had very little hope or faith left in me. I was grieving so much, mourning the loss of what had been taken from us and desperately sad that we would never have a real, live baby.
My husband had a wonderful idea on New Year's Eve 2006. He said we should write letters to our Angel Babies and put them in a balloon. We then should "send" that letter to them by releasing the balloon over the Puget Sound. It was a cold, dreary day when we wrote those letters and sent those balloons skyward, but I felt my heart get lighter as we did it and I was happier than I had been in weeks. It was finally the memorial service that our children - and we - deserved. It was the start of hoping again. The next year, we were barely pregnant at New Year's, but I still had hope. Last year, we had our four month old with us, and I was filled with gratitude.
This year, we are going to let Will pick the color of balloons (for anyone that wants to do this, one balloon is just barely enough to carry even a small note upwards - so we do a whole dozen and we can see it in the sky forever - we have even attached glow sticks and blinky lights - wonder what people must think!). We write our hopes and dreams for the coming year on the letter now, as well as a few words for our sweet babies, and when we release those balloons, we are saying goodbye to the old and bringing in the new. And never forgetting what we have been so sweetly blessed by, both here and in heaven.