For the past 17 months, we’ve been trying to get pregnant, pregnant, or recovering from pregnancy loss. It’s somewhat amazing, and certainly heartbreaking, to consider what has transpired over these many months.
A year ago on May 23, 2016, our second pregnancy ended 17 weeks in and flipped me upside down. I had back pain that evening and decided to go to bed early after putting our daughter to sleep. As I slipped into bed my water broke, fear and worry consumed me and within the hour, I went into labor. I tried to shake what I knew was reality: That this pregnancy that came so easily, that we planned for and wanted so badly was coming to an end. If James had survived and come to us after a full-term pregnancy, he’d be about seven months old today. (Losing James blog post)
Holding our son was such a surreal experience. I’ll forever be grateful for the time we were allowed before having to surrender him but when I think back it seems like an out-of-body experience. So many decisions had to be made at that time that I was in no way prepared for. And the heavy weight of unfairness and guilt hung over me.
What went wrong? Why was I able to carry him as long as I did only to lose him now? Did I cause this?
Here we are a year later and those questions remain. Our heartache of losing James was proliferated by a second loss when our third pregnancy ended on Christmas Day. Within a seven-month period, I had two pregnancies and miscarriages. I thought we might give up but my husband said we’d try again. After all, we did this once, perfectly.
Our first pregnancy was my dream pregnancy and resulted in an awesome birth experience and the opportunity to hold and raise a lively child. As I’ve said before, without our daughter, this past year would certainly have driven me to my knees. I’ve had and have moments—lots of moments—where I break down, when I hurt, when I long for those lives and ask myself the ‘what-ifs’. I also have mild moments when my emotions just bubble to the surface: The sight of newborns or a glowing pregnant mama; when Connie is drawn to babies and enjoys time with playmates; when I look at the mementos that we have for James; and when I anticipate our next pregnancy. So much is internalized, probably for the best of those around me, though it is a constant.
So while today is a hard anniversary to acknowledge, my son’s life is worth honoring. Tonight we released a sky lantern in his memory. As we hiked to the spot where we were married, lit the lantern and watched it sail away, more tears fell and the what ifs lingered. This is another chapter in this lifelong journey of healing.
This morning on my way home from dropping my daughter off at daycare, I was randomly flipping through the radio stations looking for music during a heavy radio talk time when a familiar song suddenly came through my speakers: Thy Will Be Done. Immediately I was glad for the random occurrence. Later this morning, as I looked outside, an eagle flew over the farm. He is with me always.
Rest in peace with our Lord, my son, until I can hold you again.