18 July 2011

This Tooth’s for Holly.

My face is numb, I’m afraid of it not being numb, that’s not entirely accurate, I’m afraid of the process of getting from the present feeling of numbness to the normal state where I am not aware of my face. Pain is in the process.

My regularly scheduled dental appointment was last week. It had been the 6 months since I had last seen my dentist and gotten a exceptional checkup with no cavities.A lot had changed in the last 6 months though and I knew going in that I had at least one tooth that had a cavity. Sitting in the dentist chair getting my teeth examined I finally realized why I was so upset about this dental visit. Hormones. Pregnancy Hormones to be exact. For some reason the hormones involved in pregnancy seem to wreck havoc on teeth.

I was no longer pregnant, and the dentist never even knew that I was pregnant, yet in my teeth was the evidence of my pregnancy and I had to tell the dentist about Holly’s brief existence. It’s not easy to talk about death of loved one with those I know and love, but summoning the words and courage to tell people, close friends or virtual strangers, of the death of my baby is so difficult. Knowing that it is going to be a shock, and then watching their reaction, and then their insecurity in how to react is emotionally draining.

I was a little more prepared today – a week removed from the discovery of the physical damage – and another week of emotional healing  - for the pregnancy made the experience fairly normal for a restorative dental visit.

The analogy is poignant though,  Pregnancy has changed me, and my family, both physically and emotionally.Immediately following the discovery of the death of our unborn baby we were numb. We knew that because of the faith we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and of his loving atonement for us, for his death and resurrection we will have the opportunity to someday be with our babies again. This faith is what carries us through the trial, the numbness, the process of returning to a new normalcy. However, right now we are in the midst of the pain.

We are coming out of the numbness, and the pain is manifesting itself in outbursts of anger towards each other. In avoidance of time together, in late nights, in excessive sleeping in, and extreme business so that we can avoid our thoughts, our feelings, or emotions. Yet they are still there, and if we don’t deal with them soon they may haunt us for the rest of our lives. Like my need to have faith in my dentist and the work involved in saving my pain I need to find a way to help my family heal from the pain that Holly’s death has caused in our lives. We may also need to revisit the experiences of the other losses in our lives, just like I have to go the the dentist again next week to have another cavity filled.

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