Magnificence and Miracles in the Meantime

On a random day about a month ago, I was enveloped by a very real feeling of happiness. It is hard to articulate, but I felt thankful and comfortable. I found myself in a good place, and I was counting my blessings on my drive home from work. 

Shortly after this day, I discovered I lost the baby growing inside me. I was not necessarily shocked but deeply saddened by the words that quickly passed through that doctor’s lips. In sharp contrast to the warm enveloping feeling I experienced just a few days prior, I suddenly felt alone in a cold environment surrounded by medicine, science, and ill people waiting to be examined and treated. I was reminded how life can change so quickly. 

As days and weeks passed, I was overwhelmed by a warm response from my friends, family, and co-workers. The words of hope and encouragement helped me significantly. Something dawned on me though. Life was not going as according to plan. My timetable was screwed, and that frustrated me. This child who would have been 2 years and 2 months younger than my first would no longer arrive. What I originally thought of as the ideal “2 years apart between children” would not become a reality. I would have to accept that if my family did grow, it would not be as soon as I had planned. It was as if life handed me a red Sharpie marker and slashed an X in the calendar of my dreams. March 28th, 2014 would no longer be a day to expect an addition to my family. It will instead be an ordinary Friday in the late spring, or still winter in our unpredictable North Dakota tundra.

So my brain starts to think of new time tables ─a different dream, a different due date, a different plan on this proverbial calendar in my mind. But as muster up the strength to move on from this loss of plans, I realize there is some personal growth to be offered in this experience. I say “in the meantime” I will find joy in all the good things around me, most importantly the daughter I have been blessed with. But I am slowly learning that I do not want to live my life enjoying things “in the meantime.” I want to enjoy them simply for what they are…not as stepping stones to something greater, rather for how truly special they are…just as they are. I want to move past the thoughts of “while I wait for…” or “someday when I have…”  Instead I sincerely want to value all that is in front of me rather than what is planned ahead for me on life’s unknown calendar.  

Although this red Sharpie marker that slashed an X through my plans felt harsh (like a big F on a paper I’ve worked so hard on in school), it serves to remind me that: 

 Magnificence happens in the meantime. 

 Miracles happen in the meantime. 

The “meantime” is my life—new adventures, sudden sorrows, unplanned joys—not just in big events, but in the everyday occurrences. The old adage of “smelling the roses” (or smelling the violets in my case) holds true. Each day is a true gift, even with the twinges of pain and sorrow once in a while. It’s all part of the package and this grand calendar. Perhaps instead I can take multicolored Sharpies and mark it with miraculous and magnificent events that happened this very day instead of what was planned for the future—a funny word that our toddler said for the first time or the little things my husband does for me to make my life easier (allowing me to sleep in, making a Sunday breakfast, just to name a few). 

I do know I will need to be reminded at times of what John Lennon realistically said, “Life happens while you’re busy making other plans.” So today my plan is to not have a plan. Instead, I will capture all the magnificence as it naturally comes. Here’s to this beautiful crisp autumn day and a little cuddle time with the babe and pup (after all, who dislikes time with a babe and pup?)

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Tasting the Bittersweet: Where Do We Go From Here?

A new task has been added to my Mondays—going to the lab so my physician can monitor the HcG levels to ensure my body is recognizing the pregnancy is no longer viable and the “products of conception” have passed.  As suspected after some pretty shocking and painful physical symptoms, the level is going down significantly. It’s bittersweet, really. Yes—it’s good that my body recognizes that there is no baby growing inside me anymore…but on the other hand, there is no baby growing inside me anymore. It’s sometimes hard to articulate how I feel, as some of my grieving is set aside by the job of raising a 1.5 year old. In fact, she is my saving grace. 

However, there are moments when I’m reminded of this loss. I am now acutely aware of pregnant women of all shapes and sizes. I sometimes catch myself watching a woman from the backside betting to myself that when she turns around (to pay the cashier for example), that I will spot a baby bump. Sure enough, I do 95% of the time (Ok, so that percentage is a slight exaggeration, but my point is that every woman, her aunts, sisters, cousins, friends, and even grandmas seem to be pregnant right about now). That is another bittersweet thought—to celebrate the joy of conception, healthy pregnancies, and their upcoming arrivals…but on the other hand, it’s those women celebrating this and not me. It was supposed to be me too. 

You often hear “life is not fair.” This is a cliché I know to be true, especially now. It’s easy to ask, “Why me?”  but then I have an internal retort prepared already for myself—“Why not me?”  Why would I be immune from the 10-20 percent of women whose pregnancies end in miscarriage? My physician told me that this is probably a low number and only accounts for documented pregnancies and in fact, 1 in 4 ends this way. So—to better grasp what this looks like statistically, I decide to create a visual. I cut 10 pieces of paper. On 8 of the pieces, I write, “healthy.” On the other 2 pieces, I write “miscarriage.” I put them in a container. If trying for three children , I pick out 3 pieces of paper. First: “healthy.” Second: “healthy.” Third: “miscarriage.” Fourth: “healthy.” Well, there you have it—1 in 4 were labeled “miscarriage.”  I do understand that odds, percentages, and statistics all vary due to the woman’s age, health, lifestyle, etc, but with all factors being simple- it was kind of interesting seeing it this way. Although I don’t want to be just a “statistic,” it helped me understand the odds…in maybe an odd way. 

So my husband and I ask ourselves “where do we go from here?” We have decided to focus our time and energy on our new home and to our daughter, who is learning so fast, I can hardly keep up. In fact, she now says, “Mom, I got you!” Yes, my dear daughter, you do. You have my heart for sure. 

Despite the bittersweet pangs that I often feel now, I try to be mindful. I think it’s important to allow myself to feel whatever it is that I am feeling, acknowledge the feeling, then move through it. Most currently this involves some sadness, loss of future plans and hopes, some anxiety, and a little fear of the unknown. 

Yet another cliché I will throw out there is “this too shall pass.” Yes—it will. In the meantime, I will write about it.