I got a new tattoo today.
I got it because 10 years ago this week I walked into work talking to my unborn child. A miracle. 11 years of infertility, a conversation between two friends at a baseball game that led to my getting a job at a fertility clinic, a random conversation with one of the doctors about how long I had been married had all led to this moment, my unborn child and I having an inner dialogue. It was also 10 years ago this week that I walked out of work trying to grasp the reality that my child was no longer living.
I’m not really sure there is a word that best describes what I felt in that moment when the doctor told me there was no longer a heartbeat. Devastated, heart broken, crushed, disbelief, angry, confused, numb would be a few. Also loved, supported and blessed. I was surrounded by coworkers who took such good care of me. Hugged me and cried with me.
The bus ride home to tell Adam is a blur. I do remember collapsing sobbing at the top of the stairs in our apartment. Adam turning around and asking me what was wrong and me blurting out that I had lost our baby. I remember calling our parents and them expressing their sadness at our loss. I remember our friends coming over later that night or maybe it was the night before my D & C and just sitting in silence with us. We have amazing friends.
I remember after the D & C my recovery nurse telling me she had been in my shoes and to not go home and sit but to go out and do something fun. I don’t remember what we did but I know we didn’t go home right away.
My pastor asked me to have a memorial service for our baby. I thought he was crazy. Why would I do that? I just want this to be over! Women have miscarriages every day and they don’t have memorial services for them. Exactly he said. Just think of all the women that may have never been allowed/given the time to grieve for that child they lost.
We didn’t know the sex of our baby yet. So for the memorial service we decided to give it the boy name we had picked out. Everyone thought we were having a boy anyway. Then something amazing happened. I was at work early one morning about a week after losing the baby. It was a Friday I think and the memorial service was to be on Saturday. I was sorting the faxes and there was a report with my name on it. I took a peak at it and sure enough it was the report from genetics lab. These results normally took 4-6 weeks to come back. I found it miraculous that they came back in 1 week and the day before the memorial service.
Our baby had been a girl. A girl. That little life that I had been talking to was a girl. A daughter. A whole new flood of emotions came over me.
We named our baby Eliana Jane. Eliana meaning “my God has answered.”
I remember struggling with the intensity of my emotions over this loss. Do all women feel this way? I knew women who had had multiple miscarriages. Did they feel this way with every single one? I couldn’t imagine going through this more than once. Was my emotion intensified by my struggle with 11+ years of infertility? 11 years of praying and hoping? Was my emotion intensified by my faith in a God who is good and the struggle with why he would give me the desire of my heart after years of crying out to him and then take it away? I struggled with is it okay to feel this way? To this day I still struggle to an extent with this. Is it okay to feel this way? To have such strong emotion?
Losing Eliana brought me to a crisis of faith. Would I choose to trust God even when I didn’t understand the why?
I’m not sure why miscarriages are not spoken about more openly. That being said I think that trend is changing. I think for the longest time women were expected to grieve in silence. If the baby wasn’t born yet was it really a loss? That mentality stinks and I am so glad women are stepping up and being vocal about the losses that truly do affect us. They change us. Not everyone who loses a baby is driven to a crisis of faith like I was. I have come to this conclusion. Grief is different to everyone. We all feel and grieve in our own way. Every situation is different. However you grieve whatever the intensity of your emotions it’s okay. But it’s important to find a healthy way to grieve. For me it was writing a letter to my girl in a journal I had started when we began our journey with IVF. It’s getting the tattoo this week on the 10 year anniversary. It’s writing this blog post. Hillary Scott wrote a song called, Thy Will after she had a miscarriage. The song’s words speak exactly what my heart was feeling when I went through our loss.
As I relive this time in my life I am struck by the faithfulness of God during that time, his provision, his working out of details. The people that surrounded us were the best. I couldn’t have asked for better people to walk through this with us, challenge us and support us. From our family to my coworkers, to the staff at Kofinas Fertility Group, Kofinas Perinatal, that recovery nurse at Methodist Hospital, our friends, our congregation and our pastor and his wife. Even in the midst of a storm there can be blessing.