In January, we found out that we were expecting. Yes, we were shocked. No, it wasn't planned (thus, the shock). It took some time to process the crazy news that we were going to be adding to our family of five. Our oldest is almost 17 and our youngest will be 12 this summer. Not exactly the idyllic spacing I had imagined, but what in life follows our ideal plans? I had a dear friend remind me of a bible study we completed together about poor Jonah in the whale which explained that life is full of holy interruptions. Things we didn't have planned that God places in our lives and they turn out to be beautiful, sacred blessings despite our initial reluctance to embrace them. I needed to hear that.
I began to embrace the idea of a new little one in the family. Of seeing my older kids nurture and love another little Poxleitner. I began to dream and imagine what life would be like as a family of six. I'll admit I was dreading the sleepless nights and the dirty diapers just a little, but mostly I just smiled at this new, crazy wrinkle in our life. I knew that nothing gives me more joy than my children, so how could I not be thrilled to have another?
We began to talk about names. The kids were very supportive and excited, but I made sure they knew that women at my age are more prone to miscarriages. I had this niggling fear because I wasn't having any morning sickness, but everyone's different, they say.
And then the bleeding began. Not too much. I did what I always do when I want more information... I Googled it. The results were a mixed bag, but there were lots of examples of women who bled, but the baby was fine. The bleeding continued and was joined by cramping after a couple days. Cramping - intense cramping - that's not good according to Google. The doctor suggested an ultrasound and it was clear our little wonder had stopped developing a couple weeks prior. We were just beginning to embrace this miracle and it was time to say goodbye.
The grief. The guilt. Did I want him or her badly enough? Did I deserve him when I so often get impatient or cranky with the kids I have? Not logical, or accurate, I'm aware, but is emotion logical?
I told the kids that this little brother or sister of theirs would be waiting for us in heaven. My mom added to that that he or she was with my dad who is already up there. I loved that image. My dad never got to meet any of his grandchildren. I can imagine he's one proud papa and that baby is well-loved by him and many other loved ones.
Mostly, I was fine. Am fine. But occasionally I feel raw, fragile. How do women go through this over and over again? You don't understand the weight of a miscarriage until you experience it. I knew it must be difficult. My heart went out to those women who struggled with repeated miscarriages. But I didn't get it.
So, I'm healing. But it's slow. I've now been not pregnant for more weeks than I was pregnant. Seems like that should be enough grieving, but I guess I'm not done with being sad. I want to be. I mostly am. The tears aren't so close to the surface, but the ache is still there. I know I need to be patient with myself, but patience has never been my strongest virtue.
We're still discussing names. We will pick one. I believe that little soul lives on and is waiting for us and he or she needs a name. Being the practical sort, I suggested a gender neutral name, but I'm leaning towards a boy name now. Morgan needs a brother. And if it's a little girl? Well, then I'm sure she'll like whatever name we pick. Grandpa will help her see the humor in it.