Friday, April 17, 2009

My Unanswered Prayer

I stood there in my bathroom before leaving for the hospital, looking down at my hands on my stomach and scared in a way I'd never been before.  I didn't care if it was normal or not to talk to your stomach, I did it anyway.  "Stay put, you just stay right there.  Please, little one, just stay in there."

My husband was working on the railroad, unable to come home in time to be with me. I ventured to the hospital alone, holding back the tears, trying not to panic.  After more than 5 years of marriage, I was pregnant for the first time.  I wanted nothing more on the face of the earth than this baby. I would gladly trade everything I owned for the chance to have a child. And I was spotting.  I'd started a couple of days before, and called the doctor.  They stated since it was light, it was fairly common in pregnancy, but if it got worse to call them.  It got worse and I called, prompting them to request that I go to the hospital to have my hCG level tested.

I went to the hospital, and I waited alone for more than an hour while waiting for the lab to process the results and contact the doctor, who spoke to me on the phone. My levels were good. I could go home. I had an appointment for Monday afternoon (this being late Saturday afternoon) to make sure everything was well with the baby. I was able to relax, to stop shaking. I breathed a sigh of relief, thanked the Lord for my blessing, and went home.

Within hours of being home, things got worse.  My spotting increased greatly.  The doctor was able to get me in before office hours on Monday to re-test my levels.  In the meantime I was to rest and wait the eternity for Monday morning to arrive.  My mom came to help me out, and brought my 3 year old niece to give me something cheerful to think about and focus on, and along with my husband the four of us set about playing the waiting game. I fought back the tears, and tried to be brave.  And I prayed.

I prayed for the chance to be a mother. I prayed for the beautiful little being in my body to be strong and alive.  I prayed for the strength to make it through whatever the outcome.  I know I shouldn't have, and I know that God doesn't bargain, but I tried.  "If only you will let this baby live, I will be the best Mother ever.  I will do anything you want me to. I will devote my life to my child and give all the love imaginable and more."

Monday morning finally arrived and my husband drove me to the doctor for the additional blood test.  I couldn't breathe all the way there, my chest was closing in and I was in a panic.  They took my blood and told me they would call me with the results.  I broke down and cried all the way home.  I couldn't be brave any longer.  I was scared, and sad, and afraid to be hopeful.

I was in my bedroom when the doctor's office called me with the test results, sitting on the foot of the bed with my husband next to me.  My hCG levels had decreased dramatically. I had lost the baby, and there was nothing they could do.

When lives are touched by enormous grief, there is no predictable outcome.  Some rage, Some go numb. I lost myself.  There was no time or place, I wasn't aware of myself or of my husbands arms around me.  It was grief and pain and great sorrow, and it surrounded me and swallowed me whole. I had no sensation of anything except the heavy weight of a grief I couldn't escape. I can't tell you how long I was gone, only that the scariest moment in my life was to lose myself like that.  To know that I could go over the cliff of grief and possibly not come back.

I was brought back by the sound of my mother's question from the doorway, "It was bad news, wasn't it?"

I snapped back into myself and became aware of the arms of my husband around me, the dampness on his face from his own tears, and the realization that my prayers had not been answered. 

The next months were some of the hardest I've ever had to endure.  I wondered endlessly, was it my fault?  Did I do something to cause this?  More than anything I wondered Why.

I had a difficult time dealing with my loss.  Over the next year and a half I would often think things like, "This would be M's first Fourth of July, would she be scared or fascinated by the fireworks display?" For in my mind she was a girl, and we had already picked out the perfect name for a little girl.  Meridian. 

I never talked about it, my unanswered prayer.  It took years and counseling, and still this is the first time I've ever told the whole story.  Eventually I realized I had to let go of my grief.  I will never know why.  There's a part of me who wonders if God was being merciful, that miscarrying between 10 and 12 weeks was much less painful than at 30 weeks, or losing the baby after she had been born. 

Whatever the reason, I am now on the other end, having dealt fully with my loss.  I know that not all prayers are answered.  On an evening in December of 2001, more than two years later, after the cry of my newborn son lit up my heart, I learned that some prayers are answered but not necessarily when you ask for them.  For it was on that evening that my prayers were finally answered and I felt the great joy of becoming a mom.

This post was entered in April's Write Away Contest, which is hosted by Michelle at Scribbit.  Each new month brings a new topic,a new prize, and a new opportunity to enter.  



Scribbit said...

I don't think I could have read this through if I didn't know you had the comfort of a son as an ending--that emptiness is so difficult and the grief so strong that without knowing you had another chance that had turned out happily it would have been almost to sad to finish! THanks for entering such a sweet post.

Traci said...

I can not imagine your grief....I am so glad you did get to experience the joy of pregnancy!!! You sure got some cuties!!!

for a different kind of girl said...

weeping...and hugs...

I started to miscarry the morning I went to my 10-week week check up with the baby I fully believed to be my daughter. It was a horrible experience, compounded by the fact that I had a myriad of health problems through the remainder of the year as a result, and doctors telling me, essentially, that I needed to 'buck up and move on.' You don't. I mean, you do, in a sense, but you never forget. Every spring, I have a beautiful hummingbird bush that blooms outside my front window to remind me of her, and while it's sad, it also is beautiful.

Huge, huge hugs.

Mom said...

I'm glad you have finally put this heart break time in writing. Being with you at that time tore my heart out because I knew it was something I could not fix. All I could do is hear you cry a cry I never want to experience again if anyway possible. I know how much you wanted that baby, but as you said your prayers were answered with two handsome boys. Now you have the chance to experience the love you gave me. I Love You! And good luck.

Jafael said...

I'm so sorry!

Antique Mommy said...

This broke my heart. I love how you told the story with depth and truth and wisdom and hope you recognize that in doing so you spoke on behalf of many. Beautifully written. Peace and grace to you.

Honey Mommy said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I am sad for your loss and can't imagine how heart-breaking it must have been.