Today I took some pictures of Lincoln for our family Christmas card while he enjoyed his first real snow. Watching him stomp around in his tiny boots and giggle with each new discovery was overwhelmingly joyous! The freezing white fluff was such a mystery to him, and seeing the wonderment in his eyes when he discovers something for the first time always makes me feel like I’m in a beautiful dream. It was magical.
Yet, despite his unending joy and my indescribable love for him and these moments together, I felt the tinge of pain that I have been pushing back these past few weeks.
I had a beautiful vision for our Christmas card this year. My plan was use it to announce to our friends and family that we were once again expecting! But my plan had to change.
My doctor had scheduled an extra ultrasound because although the previous imaging showed that we may be having triplets, (yes, you read that right!) it was too early to say for sure how many babies were thriving. It was at that ultrasound, a few days before Thanksgiving, that I learned we had lost our babies at just about 12 weeks along.
Sadly, I am no stranger to pregnancy loss. This is one thing, however, that doesn’t seem to get easier with practice. Certain things get easier. Things like being able to tell the instant your ultrasound begins that something isn’t right. And the long, terrible silence that ensues because the ultrasound technician doesn’t want to break your heart; she’ll wait and have the doctor come in to do that. But she knows what has happened, and I do too. Even when you know, the silence is long and painful.
Undoubtedly, there are some things that get harder, too. I was so, so sick those 12 weeks of pregnancy, due to the fact that my body was compensating for a pregnancy with multiples. Accepting those months that felt miserable and unproductive is harder when you don’t get a baby in return. And unlike with my previous miscarriages, I already had a clear bump. It didn’t take long for Lincoln to notice mommy’s funny belly and to start kissing it with his slobbery, open mouthed smooch. Seeing my belly shrink was hard. Having my baby boy still kiss on it periodically is also hard. I love him and it melts my heart every time he does it. But it’s hard.
Telling the people we love and who had already come to love our unborn babies is hard. It’s hard every single time.
Seeing pregnant mommas in the grocery store and at social gatherings is hard. It’s not that I’m not happy for them. I am SO happy for them. I look at them and see one of the most beautiful things that I think exists on this earth. But it’s still hard. I see them and I remember what it was like to grow a life, and I wonder if I’ll ever experience it again.
Unfulfilled plans are hard. Plans to share our news with extended family at Thanksgiving dinner, plans for Christmas cards, for moving bedrooms and creating nurseries. Plans for a spring birth and plans for navigating life with two (or more) kids under two.
But those were MY plans.
I am so grateful for one thing that is different this time around for me. My son. He is a living, breathing, constant beacon of hope in my life. He is the most powerful testament I could ever receive that GOD’S PLAN for me and for our family is more beautiful and perfect than I could ever dream possible. Had it not been for my miscarriage in 2014, the loss that caused me to deeply question my faith, my darling little boy would never have been conceived. Every day I am overwhelmed by the gift that he is to my life, and every day I wonder how I could possibly be so blessed to be his mother.
This loss hurts. I am sharing, and sharing much sooner than I did with our previous losses, for two reasons.
The first is that I’ve learned that it helps me heal. Keeping my pain a secret, while it is sometimes easier, is not healthy in the long run.
The second reason I am sharing is because pregnancy loss is not something a woman should have to experience alone. When I did it alone, I blamed myself. I questioned my faith. I felt guilty and worthless. I feared so greatly that I would never be a parent, and slipped deeper and deeper into a depression that was not easy to break free from. I felt so alone, and while I know I am only one person and that I can’t change the things we feel and experience through pregnancy loss, I want other women to know that they are not alone.
I’m not going to stop making plans. Tomorrow I plan to bake Christmas cookies. I can’t wait for Lincoln to taste his great grandma’s recipe for the first time. I plan to read Lincoln a Christmas story every night until Christmas day. I plan to cherish the Christmas card I’ll create this year, and to give thanks on bended knee over and over again for the curious, adventurous boy in the picture. I plan to spend my days loving him and this life fully. Mostly, I plan to trust in the Lord, because I know His plan is more glorious than I could ever imagine.