Saturday, January 2, 2016

A December Winter

I've sat here staring at my computer for many minutes, long moments of time where my mind was utterly blank. I watched the people across the apartment complex leave the apartments, hop into cars, walk dogs, and yet I am still left blank. My mind has become a dormant thing within my skull. Much like the winter, somehow my life is covered in snow, cold...buried...asleep.

Why, you ask. There are lots of explanations. From the biological standpoint: depression, loss of ambition, still recovering from shock. From a spiritual standpoint: waiting, silent in prayer, being still. 

It is quiet moments in these kind of days that I find myself truly confronting what I've been avoiding for a month. My December held some happiness, but it gave me a great sadness beyond what I can explain.

I know the loss of a child. In 1998 my daughter was stillborn. At 26 weeks of gestation, she died within me: complications of hyperemesis and the medication used to control it. That grief was clouded by the pain medication I was on; yet on December 2nd I experienced this pain again, this time full force.

For 3 years my husband and I have been trying to conceive. Not even the admonitions of some family members deterred us. We wanted another child. 

That night I had severe abdominal pains. I thought: complications from my old gall bladder surgery. The pains were horrendous, beyond any pain I had ever physically felt. My husband rushed from work and then rushed me to the ER. After what felt like hours and hours of waiting and of the harshest pain roiling through me, I was heading back to radiology for a CT scan. Before the scan, my test results were checked. Congratulations! I was pregnant.

I felt such joy, but in the back of my mind was an ominous thought: something was wrong though. Ten minutes later, after a transvaginal ultrasound we received the news: I had miscarried and it was an ectopic pregnancy. 

Our spirits were crushed. To know that we were to have a baby and then to learn it was not to be was more than devastating. Everything flew by in a strange blur of memory. I was crying because I didn't want to abort. The doctor assured me the baby had not survived and this wasn't an abortion. Surgery was scheduled. Because of my pain, rupture was suspected of the Fallopian tube. 

How many tears passed? I don't know. I was crying. I was praying. I was wanting to be held by my husband. Instead, I was on the surgery bed to have my ruptured tube removed.

When I awoke, it still seemed unreal. My husband was there. Soon I was released to go home. The doctors and nurses were so sympathetic and caring, but still I thought of nothing. The world no longer seemed real.

Days and weeks followed. I healed physically. I broke down one morning in my husband's arms. But yet, I am still empty.

The loss of a child, no matter how far along in a pregnancy, is soul ripping. Coupled with the longing of a child, the joy being ripped away from horrible news, and then seeing where ever you look children in the arms of parents make you numb with grief.

Tears are dry. The heart clenches painfully over a hurt that I still cannot understand fully. The joy for what I once did: write, paint, and read no longer have any appeal. The pretending that everything is okay has sapped my strength.

All I can do is stand still and wait for the Lord. And sometimes that is all we can do. He knows our grief, our pain, our hurts. He knows our hearts, even if we don't or can't put into words. Every silent plea, every unspoken prayer, every mangled thought He hears. And He comforts. Part of life is to experience the pain of loss which in turn draws us closer to Him. 

Even though I still face days where I can't think or do, where I stare outside at the snow and watch people, I know that the day will come where my heart will be healed. 

We all have our winters to bear.

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