Let's take a step back for a moment...... to the 21 days after our loss.
BUT FIRST: Here is a little background info about me:
Being 5'2" and spending most of my life 100 lbs soaking wet... most people say that I look sweet and innocent. BUT- I am not what you would call a naive person. I am not oblivious to the evil nature of this world we live in. Part of that comes from being the daughter of an officer. I was taught at an early age how to fend off an attacker, when activity looks suspicious, when to call for help, when to run and NOT TO TRUST ANYONE... unless you really know them. The other part of that comes from the things I have witnessed in this world. I know physical pain... in many different forms. I have witnessed violence. I have witnessed death, on more than one occasion. I have had my heart broken... again and again. I have caused broken hearts. I told people I was a Christian because I was "saved" at the age of 13, but I was not living the life. I thought I was living a "good enough" life. I did NOT do drugs. I drank, sometimes in excess. I cursed... a lot. I thought... "overall, I'm a good person... so that's enough right?" Ha. It hurts me to think about how oblivious I was to the life I was living. The only person who ever pushed me on this issue was Mike. He challenged me on my beliefs... and I hated it. He was right... and I would find out in time just how right he was about so much... but I'm jumping ahead of myself...
The Physical BreakdownI knew what was happening. I was losing the baby. I knew the technical parts of it. I would bleed, I would pass the sac, I would bleed some more and then it would be over. That's it right? That's what happens? I was only 8 1/2 weeks pregnant. No one had prepared me for the torture my body would go through.
In the beginning it was just cramps slightly more severe than a period. Then I was given drugs to help "move things along". Never was I told by the doctor that I would experience contractions. Contractions?! Seriously? Isn't it bad enough that I have lost my child so early... but now I have to go through labor-like contractions!? Holy cow - the pain. It felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach. Over and over and over again. I would throw up over and over and over again. Seriously?! I've been throwing up for 8 weeks now and I still had to experience the pregnancy symptoms while I was losing our baby?! Yep. In the years prior, I had passed several kidney stones... that pain didn't compare to this. Those 12 days were pure hell. Relief finally came on that 12th day. When I passed the sac... in a bathroom... at work.
So this is the burial my baby gets huh? The same as when a kid's goldfish dies? Wow. This just gets better and better.
The DepressionAfter the initial shock of the miscarriage wore off... after we returned from Nashville. The depression set in. The realization that I would actually have to face everyone again... my friends... my family. It was torture. During a time like this you really learn who cares about you. I mean TRULY cares about you. Their response to a situation where there is no good response really gives you get insight to a person's true character. I got what I expected from my immediate family. They were so worried about me. They admitted they didn't know what to say, which was good because frankly neither did I. I only knew one person who had ever lost a child, my mammaw (she lost 2 actually, still births before my mom was born). I never heard from most of my extended family. No one else could put themselves in my position. I felt guilty that I was causing these people that I loved so much pain. I felt so much shame that I had lost my husband's child. I felt worthless. I felt lost. My friends reached out to me, they brought us food and flowers and offered support the best they knew how. The people at the church we had only visited maybe twice reached out to us through my friends. I couldn't understand how or why these people cared what happened to us when they did not even know us. (Those "people" would one day become our family. That part of the story is for another time.) My best friend even said the greatest thing anyone said to me at that time... "Maybe God decided that you and Mike made a pretty awesome angel that He wanted to keep for Himself. I like to think that's what happens". I still have a screenshot of that text message on my phone. I read it still... although at the time, I didn't fully believe it. If God loved me... why would he do that to me? What am I being punished for? Is this what I get for how I lived out my teenage years and early 20s? I hated myself. I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out again. I didn't want to make that post on facebook... telling the world that our child (and all our dreams for that child) were gone. But I had to... we had told so many people.
Let me tell you this... when a tragedy happens... EVERYONE has something to say about it. Even though most people mean well (most not all), people will always say things that will make you feel worse. Here are a few of those things:
- This is God's will. (REALLY? God's will was for my child to die? Thanks for that, you could have at least added an I'm sorry for your loss with that, but no)
- There was probably something wrong with the baby. (So... even if there was, my child deserved to die because they weren't perfect?!)
- Oh, you're young, it will happen. (Just because I'm "young" in your eyes, that makes my pain and my loss less significant?)
- I mean, it's not even a real baby until a certain point anyway. (Now this one came a few months after our loss but I think it is still worth mentioning here... I have no words for this one. Just a sharp stabbing pain in my heart that people actually believe this.)
- God wouldn't give you this if you couldn't handle it. (I will probably ruffle a few feathers with this one... but I have an explanation for this... and we will get into that more towards the end of this post)
The ANGER.Anyone who knew me then, knows that anger was never something that was difficult for me. I was good at it. I could argue about anything. I was a fighter, and I would almost always win because I would fight until I was done and didn't care whether the other person was done or not. Part of me kind of enjoyed it, getting that kind of emotion out all at once. I would scream... I would yell... I would throw things. I would do anything I had to do to get MY point across...
Also... I was always the "fixer" of the group. If anyone had a problem (no matter how mild or serious) they would call me, I would think it over and devise a plan. I could fix any situation... whether it was to get them out of the situation, make the situation better/easier or anything... I could fix it. I would get things in action immediately whether it benefited me or not, I loved them so I would fix their problem. I was GREAT in a crisis. I could put emotion aside to see a problem for what it really was, looking at everything rationally, and fix it.
but I digress...
After a release of the tears, I felt better, for about 5 minutes. Then I got mad. I got madder. Then Mike went to spend some time with a friend. I was home alone and I was LIVID. I lashed out. I FREAKED out. I screamed at the top of my lungs... I think I might have even spit fire a few times. To whom? God. I was pissed. In that moment, I hated God. And, boy, did I let him know. I screamed until my throat was raw. Things like "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?" and "DON'T YOU KNOW ALL THE S**T I'VE GONE THROUGH IN MY LIFE ALREADY?" and "HOW CAN YOU GIVE BABIES TO PEOPLE ON DRUGS AND TEENAGERS AND ADULTERERS BUT YOU RIP MY BABY RIGHT OUT OF MY BODY" and more horrible things that I would never like to admit to myself... much less an audience. At the time I meant these things. I was BROKEN through and through. I was broken in a way that I never thought I could be broken.
I could not fix this situation. There was literally NOTHING I could do. I was LIVID over this fact. I let God know exactly how I felt. It was NOT pretty. This went on for hours. My best friend and my mother literally had to come pick me up out of the floor because I used all of my energy and had nothing left. Then I felt ashamed. Did I really just curse out loud to GOD?! For HOURS?!? Now what have I done. I was honestly surprised that lightening hadn't struck me down right then and there.
The AwakeningI slept that night, after the release of anger. Most of those nights had consisted of nightmares and tears and pain. But this particular night... it ended in peace. God spoke to me that night. (**GASP, maybe she really is crazy**... at least that is what I thought at the time.) His message was clear, though the words are hazy now, the message is STILL clear. "Child, you needed to get that out. Don't be ashamed... don't you know I can handle ANYTHING? It is okay to be angry, it is okay to be sad... I know you think I have abandoned you, but I'm here. I can take anything you need to give me." I woke up the next morning thinking I MUST have lost my mind if I thought God spoke to me... but there was no denying the peace I felt after that.
When I say I felt peace, I don't mean that everything after that was easy or perfect. It still hurt like hell. I still juggled depression with my daily life, and would for months. But, it was bearable. A girl I went to high school with reached out to me about her losses. She told me it was okay to feel what I was feeling. I had someone to share the burden with. I cherished this gift of friendship and sisterhood she had given me. That made it easier. Even more bearable. After my breakdowns, Mike opened up more often about his pain too. Even MORE bearable. Maybe I could survive this after all.
I began reading the book Heaven is for Real. If you've never read this... do it. Unexpectedly, I came to a chapter where the main character met his sister. A sister that he didn't know had existed. She was in heaven. She had been born to Heaven. His mother had lost this child when she was only 6 weeks pregnant. That was a concept that I desperately wanted to believe but was so unsure of. I felt like this was another sign from God. "I am The Great Caretaker, your child is in My arms." Maybe it was true... my child... born to heaven. A painfully beautiful thought. I was comforted so much by this idea. An idea that I would eventually come to realize as truth.
I was healing, but I had a long long way to go.
Ruffling some feathers..."God will never give you more than you can handle." A beautiful thought. There is even a Christian pop song that says this "He said, I won't give you more, more than you can take and I might let you bend, but I won't let you break... and no oooooo I'll never ever let you go ooooo... don't you forget what he said" A beautiful song, but He never says that. It isn't true. Don't believe me? Show me the verse in the bible. It isn't there. (Don't get me wrong, I know this is said to bring comfort and peace to someone that is hurting, I don't think anyone ever says this with an ill will. People say this when they have no words but they want to help.) YES there are countless verses that are encouraging through hard times. There are countless verses about overcoming hard times. Let's be honest here... the Bible is not a fairy tale. It's honest. It's brutal. Above all... it's beautiful. He DOES say that he will never abandon you. He DOES say that He will work all things for HIS glory and our good. The saying should be, "God will never give you anything that HE can't handle." He is the creator of all things... He made man out of dust. He can handle your problem. And mine. I was broken. I was broken BEYOND what I thought could be broken. I NEEDED to be broken. I needed it so God could put me back together... properly. And that was a hard lesson to learn. Sometimes things need to be broken down, taken apart completely... so they can be put together the right way.
That's precisely what He is using our situation to do.
Stay tuned... this portion of the story is still just the beginning. I was not prepared for what would come next, but I was learning to trust God. I was skeptical. I was cautious. But I had taken the first step. The first step is always the hardest.