It’s been almost 9 weeks since the day of my ultrasound. The day I was looking forward to for so long, longer than you may think. I was pregnant, and my girls were old enough to really appreciate and learn from my pregnancy. I had invited both of my older daughters to come to the ultrasound with my husband and I. I was so excited, and so were they. We were going to find out if it was a girl or a boy, and I was going to start teaching them about the wonders of having a baby. We were going to watch videos on prenatal development, I was going to let them help me pick out new clothes, get the room ready, meet with a doula, tour the hospital, and a birthing center, etc. I was so excited, I was just waiting for the time when they could see the ultrasound, and feel the baby move.
That time never came however. I’ve experienced many ultrasounds, including a few traumatic ones. I had it when the ultrasound tech stops talking, but keeps looking, and then suddenly they are gone, but will be right back. That is never a good sign. There is silence in the room. No one knows what to say. I pray, silently, and squeeze Brad’s hand. We’ve been through this before, several times. I plead, let it just be a small problem. MaryAnn scared us like this, but she is beautiful. Please let my baby be alive. Although, I’ve seen enough ultrasounds to be able to understand when they are looking for a heart beat – and the little lines that should have been wavy, weren’t. How can I go through this again. Oh, my girls are here. I had such high hopes, such plans. This will be the second time Rebecca’s been with me to hear the news that there isn’t a heart beat. We’d already seen this baby’s heartbeat 7n weeks ago, and I heard it only 4 weeks ago.
That was brutal, the 16 week checkup, the doctor had such a hard time finding the heart beat. I had been so worried, and it seemed like it took 10 minutes for him to find the heart beat., and it hurt so bad, as he pressed the little wand into my lower abdomen over and over, here and there, trying to find the heartbeat while I tried not to breathe, and pray, and not cry all at the same time. Finally, thankfully, he found the heartbeat, and sent me home.
The tech came back in a said that the doctor wasn’t available right away and to just keep waiting. I told her I didn’t want to wait, for her to just tell me what the problem was, that I had been through this before. Honestly, after that I don’t remember. I hope that in my silent prayer I had gotten to the “Please be with my girls” and “help us through this” and “Thy Will Be DONE”. After that I was numb. And in denial. and shock. I wanted to know the plans, and go home and cry, by myself.
Many parents are surprised by the emotions they feel after a miscarriage. They often feel shock and disbelief. Life seems unreal for a time. They express depression, anger (directed at themselves, their mates, a doctor, God, or even life in general), guilt, irritability, lack of interest in normal activities, sadness. Many experience irregularities in sleeping or eating. Some feel anger or sadness in the presence of babies or pregnant women. (Coping with the Heartache of Miscarriage, Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard, Ensign, July 1989)
I've felt these feelings, asked these questions, found peace, and yet needed to revisit them again, and again, as I've had multiple losses, and anniversaries of those losses. I’ve learned how to handle grief, and forgotten. I’ve bottled up the emotions, and tried to move on, not realizing what that was doing to my attitude, my personality, my relationships, my soul. I’ve mourned. I’ve cried. I prayed. I’ve read many books. I’ve healed, some. I’ve found peace.
I’ve brought more children into the world. I have learned to love them a little more. To cuddle them more often. To treat them a little more tenderly. I’ve become more Christ-Like. I hope. I’ve struggled. I’ve grown. I’ve had another miscarriage. I’ve regressed. I accepted, on some level, God’s plan for my life. I tried to bypass grieving with a blanket statement of faith. That didn’t help. The pain came out in other areas of my life, for nothing can ever be created or destroyed, just rearranged.
It is birthday time again. Yesterday was Kyle's birthday, and usually we can celebrate his life, short though it was, but this year is so much more difficult, as the grave has been freshly dug to bury his sister with him, and we once again have to wait for the grass to grow and blend in with the surroundings.
I will have to patiently answer questions like, "How come Holly doesn't have a headstone?" and "When will they be alive again?' I will have to be brave, and calm, and set a good example for my kids, even if I feel like laying down on the baby grass and crying and crying. October is still a long ways away, and we've already said "goodbye to Holly" and it wasn't even time to say "hello".
Grief is not a behavior. Mourning is a behavior that occurs within grief. Generally people believe that when the socially recognized period of mourning has ended, so does grief. Grief continues, with episodes of mourning. (CiCi found this somewhere – I wish I knew where.)
Grieving is never done. If it was it would be like saying we never loved. Doctrine and Covenants 42:45-46 tells us the mourning is appropriate, even when we know that death is part of the plan, and that our babies will be saved eternally.
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states, “Mourning not only is appropriate; it is also one of the deepest expressions of pure love" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Death and Dying). We had more than a moment with Holly and Kyle, our love grows even in our grief, we strive to live our life so we can be with them, again, in the eternities.