I have such mixed emotions about today. It’s Christmas Eve but my thoughts today have been on where my life was two years ago. I had flown back to the Great Plains to be with my family for Christmas. I had a ritual of traveling back to see them alternating every-other year. In 2007 I flew home with a lead weight the size of Texas in my heart. A little more then a month earlier I had undergone a D&C surgery after nine days of living through hell on Earth. The doctor’s words will haunt me forever, “I’m a little concerned, I’m not seeing a heartbeat.”
My husband and I had been living the bliss that comes along with a first pregnancy. What I wouldn’t give to get that ignorant bliss back. Sure, I had read about miscarriage. I knew the statistics. In my pregnancy journal I had even written a little note in the sidelines “12 weeks next week! Less then 20% chance of miscarriage!” But even though I was educated on all the facts I still thought that miscarriage only happened to other people. The elusive “statistics people”. Surely they weren’t happy healthy newlywed 23 year-olds. I imagined the statistics people to be old, deformed, crumbling.
So when the doctor told me that she didn’t see the heartbeat I went into a state of total disbelief. We had been in for an ultrasound a few weeks earlier and had seen that tiny little firefly flicker on the screen. We had been told “Congratulations!” and given a print out of our beautiful little bean. And now it was gone? How could that be? I didn’t feel any different. When did it happen? Was I doing some mundane task like brushing my teeth when her little heart stopped beating? To make matters worse I was not able to have the surgery to remove her from my body for nine days. The doctors thought that maybe I had an infection and it wouldn’t be safe to operate on me. So for nine days I lived with the reality that there was a tiny one inch dream come true dead within my own body.
So I flew home for Christmas that year with an encyclopedia of questions weighing on my mind. My family tried their best but they really didn’t know what to say to me. So they generally said nothing which made me feel even worse. I went with my Mom to midnight mass at the church that I had grown up in. A few rows ahead a tiny little baby boy with flirty eyes peeked over his mother’s shoulder. I tried several times to ignore the baby and just listen to the readings. But the readings themselves were so full of baby talk it was almost worse. Why was Mary so blessed? Why was God so selfish that he took my baby away from me? Why was God punishing me? Later in the mass my Mom made the mistake of pointing out the baby to me. That was exactly the opposite of anything that I needed at that moment. Her asking “Oh isn’t he cute?!” put me in the awkward position of having to come up with an answer. “Ummmm…. (mumbling) yeah.”
Then the hot tears came tumbling down my face. I tried as hard as I could to blink them back until they burned my skin and I had to let them spill over onto my black winter jacket. Once they started I couldn’t stop. I turned and tried to hide myself as I walked through the crowd as the Christmas incense still hung around me in the air. I felt like all the faces in the pews were people I had known from my childhood. I wondered what they would think of me. I spent the rest of the mass in the bathroom trying to calm myself down. At that time I didn’t realize where I would be today in these last days of 2009. It took another miscarriage, months of therapy and an amazing support group to get me here.
And now today when I go to mass I’m that mom with the peeking boy over her shoulder. “Blessed” doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel. It’s because of my miscarriages that I truly understand how fragile life is and how truly blessed I really am. Sometimes I wonder if women with the raw bitter emotions of a recent miscarriage will see me and my smiling baby and think that he was handed to me on a silver platter from God himself. I wonder if they figure that I’m a young mom so I must have had an easy pregnancy. Sometimes it just amazes me how life can turn around so quickly. Suddenly I’m on the other side…feeling almost guilty, unworthy of the little angel who is asleep beside me. So this Christmas I am on my knees thanking God with all my heart that he chose me to bring this beautiful life into the world. I now understand that he didn’t have to. He chose to. Thank you God and Happy Birthday Jesus.