Saturday, October 27, 2012

life after 'M': part 1

I never {I mean never} expected my first post in years to be about what I am going to be sharing over these next couple of posts.  I wanted my first post in my new blog to be about being newly-married, learning to give up my nomadic ways and choose to dwell, living and doing incarnational ministry in the inner-city of East Baltimore, learning what it means to be Jesus and show love to our neighbors, and all that comes with a life dedicated to these things.  I started and stopped several "introductory" posts, assuming I had writer's block and that nothing would be good enough.  God clearly had another plan, a story that now needs to be told in order for me to find healing and hope again.  This, my friends, is my story about life after M.

Recently finding out that we were pregnant came right out of left field, like an unexpected curveball that brought emotions of excitement coupled with fear.  We weren't necessarily trying to get pregnant, but in our words we "weren't not trying not to get pregnant," which in hindsight seems like the exact same thing. The results were surely the same, or so we thought.  But then came M.

I had unknowingly been pregnant for 8 weeks.  Actually, throughout my journal I swore up and down to the Lord that I felt "off" and pregnant, and that the tests were lying.  I took several tests over those first few weeks, but not one was positive.  I eventually stopped testing and chalked my extreme exhaustion up to stress or allergies or the flu.  Besides, anytime my husband suggested we wait a bit longer to have kids, I assured him that I was convinced God had made me barren and unable to have children, {in my mind} some type of punishment for my past or something.  To my husband, I only made this comment jokingly, but deep down {and if I'm honest}, this has been a fear of mine for many years.  I want to be a mother more than I can even explain in words.  I have always wanted to be a mother.  Anyone who knows me can attest to that, especially my dear {and patient} husband, who began shooing off my requests for a "honeymoon-baby" well before we started premarital counseling.  He {very, very wisely} wanted to kick-start our ministry in the city and grow as a couple. I wanted to kick-start our ministry and grow as one big happy family with a couple babies on our hips.  Who can blame me for wanting that? 

Before the miscarriage {at approximately 8 weeks gestation}, our baby had hands and feet, fingers and toes. She had eyes and eyelids, newly developing lungs and a brain beginning to learn to communicate with her tiny little body.  She actually wasn't yet a he or she developmentally, but in my heart, I'll always see her as our sweet baby girl.  No bigger than a kidney bean, a grape, a bb pellet, a raspberry.

The night that the miscarriage happened, I didn't know what hit me.  Intense pain and cramping consumed my body and left me feeling lifeless and exhausted.  And then the bleeding started.  That time of the month, I assumed.  My husband made dinner that night while I rested on the couch.  Little did I know, a miscarriage had come and gone like a thief in the night, only in his arms he carried with him our sweet little raspberry. I wouldn't even know she existed until two weeks later. 

The next morning, I took a pregnancy test {another negative} and wrote the following words in my journal: "No baby, but I guess that's understandable considering the horrendous night I had last night.  I would willingly go through all that for a healthy baby... but just because?"  I drug myself to work the next day, and the next, convinced that God had poured out the full curse of Eve {and that stupid apple} onto my uterus.  In my journal I wrote to the Lord: "one day I'll be able to write, have kids, and raise and teach our children... sometimes I feel so saddened by the 'not yet.'" 

I decided to try to put the "not yet" away in my pocket and focus on the "right now": my husband's wisdom teeth surgery, our first Sunday at a new church in our community, our annual fall trip to see friends from college, sweet little elderly clients at work whose problems {poverty, depression, failing health, pending death} seemed much bigger than mine.  I got as busy as I could before the nausea kicked in, right smack in the middle of our trip to Lynchburg.  I took a nap, sucked it up and went about the rest of our trip as planned.  When Monday morning came, I went to work and told my co-worker that I felt "off."  She told me to take a pregnancy test, to which I thought to myself 'oh, great, some more negatives that only confirm I'm either crazy or dying.'  I decided to go ahead and test anyway. 

After work, I went to the dollar store {yes, i'm a cheapo} and requested three tests at the check-out counter.  The attendee, younger than I was, chuckled and blurted out "Three? I guess you just want to be sure, huh?"  I smiled and nodded my head politely, thinking to myself that test #1 was prove that I was ill {and clearly not pregnant since I had tested a thousand times already}, tests #2 & #3 were to save me from this girl's smirky inconsiderate comments the next time I thought I might be expecting.  I came home and peed in a cup, the good-ol-fashioned way.  Four drips onto the cheapo test with the little plastic squeezy-dropper thing.  Then came the silent waiting.  I couldn't stand it.  {What was I waiting for anyhow?}  I peeked at the test a few seconds later and saw nothing but the control line.  I left the room, folded some clothes, and casually returned to the bathroom to check again.  Two lines.  I squinted my eyes to look again, held the test in the light, then switched to different {maybe better} light, squinting a second, third and forth time. Maybe my eyes were broken? The second line was faint, but there were definitely two lines.  I was pregnant. 

{{ to be continued }}

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