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That’s the Deal

July 8th, 2007

As C.S. Lewis’ wife came near the end of her life, she told him one day that their joy would soon end; that she was close to dying.   When he replied that he didn’t want to think about it, she said, “The pain is part of the happiness; That’s the deal.”

We spent this weekend as a little family, playing at home and going on small, fun  outings.   Kenny, my sweet boy, knows nothing of the baby (or babies) we have lost this week.      Casey and I  are doing our best not to let our grief permeate our days, and instead find the quiet times to cry and wrap ourselves in each other’s arms.     The other times are filled with tickle-fests and made-from-scratch chocolate cakes and endless readings of Kenny’s current favorite, Everybody Poops.   I think that he knows that something has happened, though; I think that little kids are much more perceptive than we give them credit for.

Today at church we were ten minutes late picking him up from his  Sunday school class, and there was a tiny panic in his eyes as the last nursery worker held him in the coffee area, looking for us.   We had gone to our pastor’s office to pray with him and his wife after the service, and though we are usually among the first parents there to retrieve a little one, we were, by yards, the last today.   I looked him sincerely in the eyes and said, “Mommy and Daddy are really sorry we were late to get you; we will always be there to get you, ok?   We will never leave you.”   He was quiet for a few minutes, but was quick to forgive and move on.   He seemed to understand that whatever it was that made us late was necessary.   He’s been extra-generous with the hugs this weekend too.

I find myself wrestling with things when I think about all that has happened.   I have wept and clenched my fists and cried all the usual cries.     I have also shaken in fear with the thoughts that something worse might happen.   I think of so many others who have lost so much more, of children taken from their parents by cancer or illness or accident; of whole  families dying of famine or disease.   I weep, then wonder what right I have to weep when there are tragedies beyond my comprehension occurring right beyond my sight-line.   I struggle with getting through this, and moving on, yet not wanting to forget or failing to honor the lives I have carried, even for such a short time,  and lost.   I find myself praying, then running a grocery list through my head – or  anything mundane that can distract me from the pain I’m feeling.

I am so grateful for Casey.   And Kenny.   Traipsing through an over-sized LL Bean store this afternoon, chasing Kenny through the rows of Crocs and camouflage,  hounding Casey to buy us another kayak (ours was stolen a few summers back), and all settling for moutains of Chinese food was enough for today, just to feel ok for a few hours.   Tonight, Casey and I sat in our “chair and a half” and read A Promise Kept, by Robertson McQuilkin together, and we remembered what it means to love each other through the wonderful and the horrible, and everything in between.   He is my best friend, that man, and the best man God could have ever created for me.   Kenny is so sweet it makes my heart ache sometimes, with his earnest bedtime kisses and his facination with anything to do with poop.   Even Dudley has sought to comfort, in his own canine way.     He sighes and leans on me with such weight it nearly knocks me over when he sees me crying.

I am so grateful to those of you who have commented on the last post,  and for those who have emailed.   Thank you for the support, the stories and the prayers.   Please keep them coming.  

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Whatever My Lot

July 6th, 2007

When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll… Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well, with my soul”

That hymn has been running through my head for the last two days… I had another miscarriage on the fourth of July.   I was seven weeks pregnant (I’d known about the baby for about four weeks) and Casey and I were waiting until my eight-week check-up to start telling our family and friends the glorious news.   At two in the morning on the fourth, I started spotting a little, and since I’d lost a baby just four months ago, we went to the ER first thing in the morning to get checked out.   We were told by the sonographer that there were two gestational sacks (meaning that there were possibly twins) but no fetal poles (meaning that either the dates were wrong, or that I had a blighted ovum).   We were supposed to go in Thursday morning to look again and talk to the OB about what might be going on, but as the fireworks started that night, the bleeding and cramping got much worse.   I spent most of the night in the ER, then returned the next morning (yesterday) for a D&C.   The doctors are hoping that some of the placenta can be analyzed to determine what may have caused two miscarriages so close together.

I feel like I’ve been beaten up.   Physically, I am sore and exhausted.   Emotionally I feel like my heart has been shredded.   I am alternately numb and disbelieving, then angry and shaking, then weeping uncontrollably for the babies I will never hold on this earth.   I look at Kenny and grieve for the brothers or sisters he’ll never know.     My heart aches to see Casey with cirles under his eyes and tears welling up.   I don’t understand why, how this has happened again.   I was so hopeful.   Each moment of morning sickness, each little physical reminder that my body was pregnant, and I rejoiced, sure that this was going to work out perfectly; that  I would be happy and fat at Christmas and deliver a healthy little one (or ones) around Valentine’s Day.   My body still thinks it’s pregnant, and the nausea that wells up in my throat is like a knife twisting in my heart.  

I don’t know what else to say, or even what to think.   I look at Kenny and once again I am stunned by the miracle that he is, by the incredible gift that God has given us in this little boy.   I look at Casey and marvel at the man that he is; the husband and father he has grown into in the last few years, and I rejoice that God has blessed me with this family.   And yet the ache in my heart is still throbbing.  

Before this happened, even in the excitement over another pregancy, I still found tears welling up as I thought of the precious little baby we lost in March.   I was still grieving over that, and now this new loss has ripped the wound open again.   We are waiting on a pathology report to confirm whether or not it was twins.   Either way, the hurt is the same.

And Lord, haste the day, when the faith shall be sight; The clouds be rolled back as a scroll.   The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, Even so, It is well with my soul…

Calgon Moment

July 2nd, 2007

Kenny and I got a late start on our afternoon errands today; he napped for a little over two hours, though, so I didn’t mind too much!   But by the time we got to the grocery store, we hit the after-work-pre-Fourth of July party-purchasing rush – and in our neighborhood that means people pushing double carts of burgers, dogs and cases of baked beans, with a few dozen bags of cheetos shoved in.   We stood in line at the checkout for twenty minutes, then barely navigated the parking lot as I held Kenny and balanced loads of party-supplies teetering in the cart.

Kenny was in great spirits throughout.   We laughed and made up funny songs about the things we were putting in the cart, and the pinacle hit when I tossed a bottle of Casey’s aftershave in the cart.   Kenny said, “Daddy’s lotion!” and I said, “That’s right, Daddy’s lotion!” and he said, “Daddy put it on after shower!” and ” said, “Yes he does,” and Kenny said (at full volume in the uber-crowded store) “DADDY NAKED IN THE SHOWER!” I laughed so hard I doubled over and he crowed with comic-pleasure, “NAKED!   DADDY GETS NAKED!”   You can imagine the looks we got.

When we got home, we faced the constant dilema of how to get the groceries from the car in our garage 75 feet downhill to the house.   When Kenny was tiny, I would take him down in his carseat and leave him just inside the door and sprint.   Later, it was the bouncy seat.   Sometimes as he got older, I put him in his highchair, but he’s learning to climb out of that, so it’s no longer a safe option.   These days I generally leave him locked on the screened porch where I can see him (except for the moments I’m in the garage) and run the bags down to the door, then carry them in from the porch as he folloes me.   But today he wanted to “help” so sincerely, then tried to unlock the porch himself when I left him the first time, that I realized that the only way to be safe was to let him walk back and forth each time with me.   Now Kenny can run really fast when he wants to, but he was hungry and tired and in the sauntering mood.  

It took us forty-five minutes to get the groceries in the house, and that’s not counting the stuff for our party, which I left in the fridge in the garage.   Each trip he insisted that he carry something, so he shuttled bags of chips, paper plates and a few blocks of cheese into the house while I struggled with twenty-five pound bags at the pace of a one-year-old.   But he was intent, he was diligent and he worked really hard to carefully carry each item into the house with me in tow.   Dudley was also in tow for each back-and-forth, and that only added to the staggeringly slow pace of our venture.   Ah, but my sweet boy has a heart of gold and he was so proud of himself when we finished our task!

That’s when things got interesting.   I settled Kenny in with a little snack (trying not to spoil his dinner) and starting putting things away.   Because the day was gorgeous, I left the front door open and closed the screen door on the porch to get a breeze in the house.   Our next door neighbors came over to retrieve a grill that we just sold to them and Dudley ran out to say hello.   Except that he missed that the screen door was shut.   And ripped it right open.   Kenny, who was playing in the doorway let out a scream of hysterical laughter.   I had my head in the fridge putting lettuce in the drawer, and the scream sounded like one of intense terror and pain.  

What my heart did I have never before experienced, and I can only imagine that it must have been the sensation of my heart stopping for a minute, because the pain was fierce.   I dropped everything and ran the ten feet around the corner and saw Kenny giggling and pointing at the screen.   I felt my knees buckle and I crumpled to the floor to embrace him.   I can’t remember a time when I was so scared.   I actually thought, for a split second, that Dudley had crushed Kenny on his way out the door, or clawed him, or worse.   When Dudley came pracing back in I grabbed him by the scruff and threw him on his back and growled at him.   Kenny thought that was funny, too, but Dudley understood… somehow he knew that leaping over Kenny and through a screen door was not the right thing to do, though it was the putting Kenny in danger part that I cared about.   The screen is no big deal.

I am still a little shaky, an hour later, I must confess.   I think I need a bubble bath and a big glass of something with a really high proof…

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