I wrote this exactly 365 days ago which means it is the 3rd year anniversary of this memory. I am amazed by the grieving and healing process I have been on since then. I guess it is time to share.
Two years ago, in September of 2013, I walked into Any Lab Test Now. Yes, it’s really a place. After spending the past two months in another country receiving fertility treatments, it was time to find out if I was pregnant or not. I came back to a country that no longer made sense, without health insurance. And my body was so full of hormones that had been shot into my rear end that a pee stick would be inaccurate. This was the only way.
Even thought the facility was new and clean, I still felt uncomfortable there. People came in here to find out who their baby daddy was or if they were HIV positive. It was the place to go if you had something to hide.
I filled out the paperwork, and they took my blood. I don’t remember if it hurt. I had been stuck dozens of times in the past eight weeks. I think that they said they would have results in an hour. I dropped Peter off at school for his classes and we decided that we would go back together when he was done for the day.
Instead, I started to dream for the very last time. I went to the store and picked out a congratulations daddy card for him, but I didn’t buy it yet just to be sure. What if I found out my results by myself and surprised him? I had dreamed of how I would tell him that I was pregnant for so may years.
I went back alone to find out the terrible truth. The lab tech was smiling when she told me my test was negative. That was good news, right? I held it together as she happily gave me the paperwork with all the numbers on it. I’m guessing that most women who choose to be tested there do not want to be pregnant. I wanted it more than life itself.
I went numb as I sat in the car, pouring over the numbers for any ounce of hope that my dearly loved twins were still alive. But the truth hit me hard when I realized what I had already known-my womb had become their grave. I don’t remember if I cried or not.
I don’t remember anything after that. I shut down so deeply inside of myself that it would take over a year for anyone to be able to reach me.
I don’t remember picking up Peter. I don’t remember telling him. We were still renting space in our dear friends’ basement, and all that I remember is staying on their couch in horrific physical pain for days as my body shed what was left of my babies, what was left of me.
Nothing had ever hurt this badly. The pain felt so thick, it was hard to breathe. And for the next few months, it felt like it would never end.
I remember moving into the 113 year old cottage without central heat. The pellet stove would clink three times, grind away, and a warm fire would fill the tiny rooms. We were too cheap to run it at night so I remember dragging myself out of our heated bed each morning into 45 degree air, touching the frozen tile floor with my toes, wishing the sun were awake too and wondering if I could make it through another day.
I remember going back to my nanny job, and holding their new baby who I was afraid I could never love. I remember holding her as she screamed for an hour each time I tried to feed her a bottle. I would rhythmically caress her cheek and squirt milk into her mouth until she would finally latch on and be soothed.
I remember never being more than 20 feet from my husband in this small house, yet not knowing how to reach out and touch him or share my grief with him.
I remember sitting on the adorable front porch, trying to write the book I felt I was called to write, but somehow never getting past the details and into my heart. A friend told me that I had come back pregnant with my book and another that I was going to birth a book, but it just wasn’t time.
I remember sleeping next to my Bible, but never reading it. I don’t remember praying.
I remember closing the blinds and avoiding our landlord and his family who lived in our backyard.
And I remember not knowing how to live, but mostly wanting to die. I only told Peter that I wanted to die because I didn’t want to be misunderstood. It had nothing to do with harming myself, and everything to do with longing for heaven. Heaven was where my babies were and it made more sense than earth.
That’s it. That’s all that I remember, until one day five months later, I got sick. Still without health insurance, I tried to let my body fight whatever was happening. I developed hives and swelling that moved to every area of my body. I felt too sick to even fathom going to the ER. Whenever I felt good enough to go, I thought that I was getting better. This spread for a week, until I couldn’t walk because the bottom of my feet were so swollen. I stopped eating and overdosed on Benadryl. Finally, I sat on the cold tile in the bathroom, without the strength to move and thought, “I’m going to die here and nobody is going to know.”
That changed me. Death was not what I expected it to be, if I had any expectations at all. I realized that I wanted to live. I knew that someday there would be new reasons to live, that God had a plan for me that was good whether I believed it or not.
Our friends came every other week as we led a study on marriage. We fit snuggly into our tiny living room and admitted that we were struggling. One couple was pregnant with a baby due just after ours would have been. I watched her belly grow and it hurt less as time went on. Her baby is a bittersweet reminder of where ours would have been.
I don’t remember large chunks of time or holidays or my birthday from that year. Much is gone with my grief, except for what I’ve shared.
I go to nanny now and an adorable two year old happily greets me from her crib each morning. She cries when I leave and gives “kisses”, open-mouthed, long and slobbery. I love her dearly.
Our couple friends are still some of the most important people in our lives.
After “the year in the cottage”, we moved back into our house that we had rented out for three years. It felt like a mansion. The closets could have been bedrooms. When I found our bedroom closet to have a heating vent in it, I felt like the richest girl in the world.
The night we moved back in, I fell asleep in the same bed, in the same room, in the same house I had lived in for years, and when I woke up that first morning with the sun shining through those same windows, I wondered if the last two years had happened at all.
Today, in 2016 after moving once again, I am visiting with wonderful friends who have seen me through it all, got to reunite with a now three year old that I still love dearly and I am beginning to live the good life that I had to convince myself existed in my future.