Extending Grace

I've been thinking a lot about my miscarriage experience.  Last night as I lay in bed, I was thinking of it, and I was remembering the amazing nurse I had.  For the life of me, I can't remember her name, but she was tiny (maybe five feet tall) and absolutely adorable.  She was sweet as could be, and sat next to me on my bed as I sobbed, her hand on my back, assuring me that I wasn't alone.  

Even though I was so very utterly alone.

She shared with me that she had suffered two miscarriages, one at 13 weeks, and had yet to carry a baby to term.  Her brutal honesty, and the kindness she extended me regardless, took my breath away.  If I were her, I thought, I would hate me.  Here I was, crying about losing my fourth baby when I had three perfectly healthy, beautiful children at home.

The more I think about her, the more I want to emulate what she showed me.  Grace.  She didn't diminish my loss because she knew that doing so would not diminish hers either.  Instead she hugged me and loved me through my loss, because she, too, knew how that loss felt.

In so many, many ways, having children made my miscarriage easier to bear.  They are a great distraction, proof of God's plan for my life, and a reminder of the things my body did well.

But in some ways, honestly, having children made dealing with my miscarriage more challenging.  My emotions, which came at whim, often unexpectedly, constantly had to be swept under the rug.  Or, in those moments when I couldn't "keep it together", I had to explain to my children, "Mommy's just cry sometimes...  For days...  And weeks... On end..."

(I never shared with the boys that I was expecting.  I had planned on doing so after my first doctor appointment, but that appointment ended in a D&C, so we never did.  It was hard enough for me to deal with the loss and we decided it would be best if they were kept in the dark so I didn't have to deal with their emotions as well.)

Because of those beautiful boys, I wasn't allowed to curl up in bed for a few days and mourn what was lost.  There was breakfast to be made and laundry to be washed.  In short, there was life to be lived.

Having children also makes a miscarriage harder because you know exactly what you lost in that sweet ten week fetus.  That was a baby.  A sweet face with kissable cheeks and pudgy wrists with fingers that would have wrapped around your own.

That baby was a little piece of magic, like your other children, that you and your husband created.  A tiny perfect being that was to be loved and celebrated.

For some reason, though, it wasn't meant to be. And with time, you will grow to accept that.  

Until I had a miscarriage, I am sorry to say that I did not understand it.  I thought that what was lost was not a baby, but a pregnancy.  I now know that what is lost is a pregnancy and a baby and all the mama's dreams for that pregnancy and baby.

I am grateful for that amazing nurse who understood exactly what I was going through and didn't cast any judgment.  Cause I truly believe that when we're down and out, we all need a little grace extended.



Anne Harvey said...

Ugh! I can't imagine! I am amazed by you though and the strength you have shown. God is good. Your boys are beautiful! Isn't it funny how it seems like God always places the right people in your life and knows just what you need in certain moments? I have a feeling that God will use you to be comfort to others just as that nurse did. You are great!

Ashley B said...

Oh Shelly....while I've never experienced it myself, I have walked alongside other women who have and man, it's so hard. Be assured of my prayers.

Holly Parlier said...

I'm so glad you had such a good nurse. I cannot imagine how hard that was for you, being a plane ride from your family. And how hard it was on your husband too. I have never experienced loss like that, but I know just as soon as I see the positive test, we are dreaming about the baby and thinking of the future. I know you did the same. The baby was and is real and is now your little saint in Heaven. Hugs, more hugs, and lots of prayers today :)

Tabitha Studer said...

This is really beautifully written Shelly- your reflections and insight are amazing. Sending a wish of joy to you and that nurse today. Xoxox