Quiet dark room, me sleeping. BAM! Door flies open, sunlight spilling in, squeals of delight.
"MOMMY! WAKE UP! We MADE something for YOU!" Toddler has been placed on my bed and is jumping with glee. Grade schoolers are whooping with delight. Preschooler is trying to manually open my eyes with very sticky fingers.
Meanwhile, I had been in a very deep sleep (finally, after a pre-dawn coughing fit from one sniffly kid). And I had been dreaming that I was kissing one of the cutest guys from my college years, whom in real life I had been too shy to talk to. I didn't know the day nor the hour.
"Uhh... whatsuhthis? Wha..."
"HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOM!" They apparently started a day early. Cheers of delight. Preschooler shrieking, "Come on Mom! Get up! Walk. Don't look! Close your eyes!" No problem there...
Sleepwalking to the living room, I beheld the following scene. Naturally, they wanted to take pictures of my joy, which is apparent I think from me there, wrapped in Dan's bathrobe:
Ah. Bliss. LOL Here's the lovely hostess of the "tea party"
As I age (in wisdom and grace of course), I see my own mother coming out in me more. One of those ways is the answer to, "What do you want for Mother's Day/your birthday/Christmas, Mom?" And the answer truly is, "A clean house and happy kids. Please!!" (Read well-behaved in "happy.") But somehow, these are the very days when the most heartfelt (read "messiest") crafts are needed to express their love and affection. The most recent: dipping their hands in glue so that they could make a glitter handprint.
I foresee months of glitter in every corner of the house, and oddly appearing on my hair and face, particularly when I am out and trying to look professional.
It's worth it. All the glorious mess, though I still want a clean house and some peace and quiet (which I have right now, so I'm spending it with you.:) But their love for me is about as needed as sleep for me right now.
It's been a rough few days. I went out once every day since Wednesday, and broke down, in public, each time. The first was when I determined to go to the last Bible study session; there's a morning and an evening session available, and this was the first time I went to the evening session, so I didn't know anyone. This normally doesn't faze me, and I wanted to see the last video segment. I mean, it was Beth Moore!
But I should have been tipped off that I was not as well as could be hoped when I stopped at Walgreens for one thing and one thing only: dinner. Looked like this:
Yeahhh. So, we were discussing questions like, "How do you see God working in your life?" And I had been quiet, and taking notes, and pretty fine. Then the leader looks over at me pointedly and says, "This side of the table's been awfully quiet." So I smile, and start to talk... but my voice sounds oddly quavery, and quite before I know it I'm sobbing out my story to a room full of strangers. Me, who can stay dry-eyed through "Steel Magnolias" and "Old Yeller" played back to back. Me, who likes to listen primarily, and mostly talk when I think I can make people laugh.
I finished my story. Sighs of sympathy all around. Some confused looks. The leader says, "Your faith is beautiful. What's your daughter's name?" I think, while blubbering, it sounds like "Purr-fect-chewa"; they seemed further confused. Then, "And... I'm sorry... I realize I don't know your name honey..."
Now I'm chuckling and sniffling. "That's funny... I was thinking the same about all 25 of you." So now 26 of us are laughing. Whew. Time to sneak away to the bathroom, fix makeup, grab more tissues, take deep breaths in the mirror. Open the door and find two women had followed me to make sure I was "all right" and give hugs and share their own sad stories. (So many people have gone through this!! Virtual hugs to them/you all!!) Giving me their phone numbers in case I want to talk. I'm apparently collecting the phone numbers of strangers who have been through pregnancy losses... but I'm not a phone person. Talking to a stranger feels strange... But nothing strange about grieving on the world wide web, right? Ha. I might as well give up my selective Facebook "I've posted" group and just open it up to all my friends... if I keep going around blubbering they might as well see why in the blogging. :S
Speaking of which, so, in the morning, I go to a mom's group. "MOPS: Mother's of Preschoolers." Coffee and childcare, my favoritist! And I'm fine through most of the meeting. But then someone's giving away a dress... a tiny blue sailor one, that matches the ones Cecilia and Felicity have. One I would have tried to find to buy if... I blinked through that one, but then we were supposed to write prayer requests down and... strike two. Tears. Hugs.
"What can we do to help? Really... let us know, something?"
Retroactively fix my placenta? I mean, other than that... the three c's: chocolate, cash, child-care? What makes this "better"? Prayer always helps... And, the newsletter offered meals for moms in trouble...
So I'm getting more prayers. And I'm back on a meal train. :) Welcome back to the seven pounds I managed to lose. :) Ah well. It does make things easier for my family, since I now have doctor's appointments so frequently it's a part-time job.
And... I'm sooo not myself. I don't usually cry in public... I'm simply not leaving the house today so I can assess how I actually am doing. Unfortunately, finding out the autopsy results was close to as bad as finding out she was gone, for me. Because, when I sat on the exam table looking at that quiet ultrasound, the first question was, of course, "Is she really gone??" But the second was, "What happened?" And my body failing her was my "worst case scenario."
So my triggers for breakdown have increased by a zillion... suddenly it's not just the "before... after" stuff of when she was alive, and now she's gone... Now it includes breathing air... because it has oxygen and... And food, because it has nutrients and... Trimming the stems of the bouquet I got today because I think too much and I have looked up so much about vascular processes and how preeclampsia deprives the... "Normal fetus." "Diseased placenta." A seeming ocean of tears left to cry.
No, I'm not trying to dwell on it. It just keeps finding me. I know this will get better, and more answers will come through a bazillion blood tests and doctor appointments, and peace will increase as I process this news. But as one dear sweet, trying-to-be-helpful older lady informed me, "Sweetie, you'll never get over this. My sister is 66, and she still cries when she thinks about her miscarriage." Note--This is not nearly as bad as, "God took your baby in His mercy because maybe, if she had lived, she would not have been saved."!!! (sadly, this was actually said to a friend of mine going through the same trial. I'm glad it was not said to me, so I don't have to deal with both loss and homicide guilt.) I foresee a "things to perhaps try to refrain from saying" post in the future... Oy.
No, we don't get "over" losing our children, but I do expect to get through my grief...at some point...
Ah. I was given a helpful hospital hand-out visual I will share, just explains it all, eh?
There you are. Just get like a "you are here" sticker to move through this lovely Xerox and you will find your way, huh?
I do think, and am grateful, that my faith is kinda giving me a bit of a bridge over that "despair" part. I don't feel despair. I mean, even on the darkest night when I'm up crying and whispering to her how sorry I am, over and over, I can just see her smile and say, "But Mom, I'm not. You have nothing to apologize for." Love is what lasts. Love is what matters.
I do, finally, feel quite a bit of anger, though it's all self-directed. It's unreasonable, but hard to shake: I thought my body and I had an understanding, you know? I mean, aches and pains and auto-immune shenanigans I expect, but you do not mess with my babies, right? I gave up having a full-time career to be a stay-at-home mom, and darn it I expect to be crazy good at this, in every aspect (no, I'm not competitive at all, why do you ask?:) And that certainly means providing all my kids their basic needs... and heck, I have been complimented on my placentas in the past... no really! "This is one healthy looking..." okay, you probably don't need labor room details. TMI. But take my word for it, I thought my body had this pregnancy thing locked up... pride can sneak in the silliest places, huh?
I think it's a common mom thing really, in any situation: we expect that we will always give/be/act/provide the best for our children. Because we want to so very badly, we sacrifice so much, and we try so hard. What a shock to realize that that's not always the case. How humbling to think that our children, actually, need more than we can ever give. And how relieving that they have Him, too, because we're only human, after all. :)
I wish we were currently all together on the beach with margaritas to celebrate... nevertheless, Happy Mother's Day, all you moms, grandmoms, mom-figures and aunts, moms of kids here and in heaven. Let's live each day in love, loving on every day, so that we never have any true regrets. Real love makes you a "good mom," no matter the circumstances. And through the glitter and the spills and the missed nap times this weekend, see the love that comes right back at you.