Friday, September 14, 2012
The Seventh Station
This week would have been the due date for our little one who we lost to miscarriage back in January. I had been preparing myself since the beginning of the month to get through the day of the baby's ETA. I kept telling myself that it is probably going to be a hard day and that it is ok if it is tough, God will get me through it. I warned my husband that I might be more sensitive that day. I did not schedule follow-ups with any clients on that day so that I was free to grieve in my own way. The day turned out to be not as difficult as I thought. During my prayer time God gave me an overwhelming sense of peace and thankfulness. I am so thankful for that little life that was created and that I got to be pregnant even for a short amount of time. I know many of my sisters dealing w/ infertility may never experience that.
It was quite amazing how we found out we were pregnant. I was at Peak+17 and still no CD1(cycle day 1), so I decided to take a test. I am no fan of pregnancy tests, I will wait until I absolutely have to before I take one. My husband called me from work and asked if I had taken one yet and I said no that I was going to wait until he got home. Well he was running late and I could not wait so I drank a very large glass of water and took the test. The test came out negative and my heart sank like it usually does around CD1. My husband got home and asked if I took it, I said yeah and that it was negative. He asked me how I was doing and I said "surprisingly I am doing ok, I know we will be parents someday just not now I guess." He hugged me and said we should call Dr. Awesome to ask what is going on and if we needed to go see her. We left it at that but I was curious of when the best time to take a pg test was so I looked it up online. Turns out I took the test at the wrong time, the best time to take a test is right in the morning upon waking.
So the next day which was the feast of the Epiphany Jan 6th, which also happened to be our 6 year anniversary of being together and our 5 year anniversary of engagement, I decided to take another test to confirm that it was negative before I called the Dr. Well that time the test read positive and I squinted just to make sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me. Then I thought it was wrong so I took another one a couple hours later and it was positive again. My head was spinning and I was thinking "wait a minute, this doesn't happen to me i don't get pregnant. Do I?" I called the Dr. and she immediately orders blood tests because I was a high risk pregnancy. I talked to my husband at work but I did not tell him over the phone, so I said I had an Epiphany/anniversary present for him. I made him a card w/ his favorite St. Joseph prayer in it. When he got home he read the card and could not believe what I was telling him. We hugged and rejoiced, then I told him we had to hurry to the lab to do the blood draws.
A couple of weeks later we were met with sorrow as I started to miscarry in the early hours of the morning. I will not go into detail about that day or those weeks that followed. All I can say is that season of Lent that came shortly after, I really experienced it and united myself to Jesus and let him and my husband be my comfort. Here is some reflection and writing I had done during that time:
"The death of a child no matter how early in their life, whether in the womb or out, is a tragedy. As the thoughts of “it could be worse” and “count your blessings” clashes with the authentic emotions that I am trying to feel I am left confused for what to feel and think. The unauthentic thoughts of “count your blessings” and the other phrases of that nature when we are going through tragedy do not and cannot bring us closer to the sufferings of Christ. If we do not work with the very nature of intellect, will and emotion that we were given then we will never truly know the love of God in all its glory. Emotions are a tricky part of our nature to navigate; we must fight with our intellect a lot to scratch the surface of our emotions. I am doing that very thing as I write this. Anyhow enough intellect for now. I told my husband the other day that I feel so empty. I do not feel empty like there is no meaning in life for me. I physically feel empty, though I was only 5 ½ weeks pregnant and even though the baby was the size of a sesame seed, I felt so full for that short time I was pregnant.
There is usually a period of time in our lives where we go through a period of awkwardness when we feel we are not good enough or less than. This usually occurs as we go through puberty. For someone struggling with infertility, the less than feeling never quite goes away. There are always those days, despite your rational reasoning, that you feel not good enough. It is a woundedness that hits us deeper than anything because it hits us at the core of our masculinity and femininity; the ability to produce life. God said “be fruitful and multiply” well we’ve been trying that for 4 years! Every time I hear bible passages like that or people talk about having their “quivers full” I feel embarrassed or like a reject because that is not our situation.
It is times like these when I feel less than feminine. God created women to carry and bear life. Infertility sometimes makes a woman feel less feminine and more like a hybrid species. Losing our baby to miscarriage has only made this feeling worse. Sometimes I blame myself and my body because for so long I could not get pregnant and when I finally did I failed to nurture and grow the life within me. I also feel like I am not a good enough wife because of it like I get an “A” in cooking class of wife school but I get an “F” in fertility class. Rationally I know this does not make logical sense but it is how I feel sometimes. I will say that God has drawn me so much closer to himself in all this. I feel like I am tucked under His arm and that the taunts of the enemy no matter how loud they are, He manages to fight them off for me. My heart continually emanates the phrase “O, Lord you are my rock and salvation. In you I seek shelter, in you I find comfort.” I love that our Trinitarian God is so powerful to dispel the darkness of “less than” and allow us to be His."
That Lent I did a couple of stations a day from the Stations of the Cross. The station that always stuck with me was the seventh station, Jesus falls the second time. The reflection in my missal says:
" I am afflicted and greatly humbled, I roared with the groaning of my heart. My heart is troubled, My strength hath left me, and the light of my eyes itself is not with me. Thy burning wrath has swept over me, thy terrors have confounded me. They have encompassed me like water all day long, closing around on every side. Thou has put far from me friend and neighbor, leaving darkness as my companion. In thee, O Lord! I have hoped, thou wilt hear me, O Lord my God! For I am on the verge of ruin, and my sorrow is continually before me. Forsake me not, O Lord my God, do not thou depart from me. Attend unto my help, O Lord, the God of my salvation."
This scripture and station helped me to get through those dark days following the miscarriage. Uniting myself to Christ and His sufferings helped me to put it all in perspective and allow me to draw closer to Him. I am so thankful that Christ does not leave us alone in our suffering and that our suffering has a purpose as it sanctifies our souls. There is a church in New York called Holy Innocents and they have a wonderful organization there where they help heal and bring closure to those women who have gone through a miscarriage. They will email a certificate w/ your baby's name on it and write your child's name in their book of life and lift them up at their special Mass once a month. We miscarried so early that we did not have a funeral Mass or burial so this brought peace to my restless heart during that time. Every time I see that framed certificate I thank God for the life I got to carry.