And Then There Was Just Sweet Relief…

As I clicked on a draft to write this post, my eye caught my last post titled, “Bittersweet Relief.” A few short days later, I am truly writing about something with nothing “bitter” about it. A dear friend and soul sister of mine just gave birth to a very sweet, very healthy, baby boy.

She has three beautiful kids at home and, now, this little one she will take home in a few days from the hospital. From the outside, we probably look like two very different people considering our geographical location, family structure, and day-to-day activities. What people passing her at a baseball game or at the park may never guess is her family didn’t come so easily. Last January, as I was acknowledging Adam’s due date at home, she was in the hospital, giving birth to a sweet little girl, little Olivia, born many weeks too soon.

When I heard about Olivia, I reached out immediately, trying to see how I might help her tackle this crazy sadness and overwhelming disbelief she undoubtedly was feeling; I wanted her to feel less confused, scared, and alone. We were old summer camp friends and hadn’t talked in over a decade, but that made zero difference. Our paths had lined us up perfectly to take care of each other through some of the darkest, scariest months we had experienced. As the months passed, we were able to connect through sharing our grieving processes, our pregnancy fears, and little details about Adam and Olivia, whom we both agree must be connected now in their own way.

As I struggled through more miscarriages, she had the experience and compassion to understand what that really meant. As she struggled with hope and trust as the weeks of her pregnancy flipped on the calendar, I was there to do the same for her. Although our journeys are somewhat different, they are very much the same, and – today – we get to celebrate the pure light that comes after the darkness.

Today, I am going to celebrate the miracle she has (we have) been given. I feel a great sense of relief and joy. In the not hopeless days I have been experiencing, this is a great chance to pause and – what else – steal a little nectar.

A Bittersweet Relief

Week 13. In most pregnancies, this is around the time mothers start to breathe a sigh of relief because their babies made it through the most delicate weeks. Now they can, more assuredly, trust their pregnancies, and maybe even make joyful announcements to family and friends. I am relieved for a very different reason: this week, my relief comes because I have been declared officially NOT pregnant.

This feels especially counter-intuitive since I so desire a healthy pregnancy, yet I know it is a natural feeling for my situation. After a full two months of knowing this was not a healthy pregnancy, I don’t have to worry anymore about the small probability of surgery, if the doctors will call with results before the weekend, or if my left arm will scar over like my right has, from all the blood draws in the last few months, leaving my phlebotomist having to find a nontraditional method for entry.

More than feeling like a victim, these situations just amaze me. Until I started having pregnancy complications, I have mostly felt on the healthier side of things. My “now” is opening my mind up to all people go through whom are actually sick. I have an acute sense of compassion I didn’t have previously. I just didn’t get it. Now I know…I get to walk away and heal; others aren’t so lucky as they undergo a lifetime of complications, medical bills, and friendships that can’t withstand the emotional toll required.

So, although my relief is bittersweet, my outlook is bright. In the past week, I’ve been lucky enough to have two dreams about adopting our little boy or girl. (One was about a little girl named Roberta and the other was about a nine year old boy whom I think was even Caucasian…?) I know all of my experiences are now encouraging me to refocus my energies on this beautiful adoption journey. I am thankful I am finally going to have full resources available for bonding and there is nothing bittersweet about that.

Banishing the Negative List

Sometimes, in the midst of the struggle, the God power beckons. He beams energy into us, or out from us, at the same time our challenges are making us numb. I’ve been fairly, relatively, unemotional about this last miscarriage and my life’s misdirection in general. I feel unsurprised. I wish I felt more hopeful, but I don’t feel hopeless – and I think that is worth noting. I don’t feel abandoned, and I am fighting my ego’s wish to feel misunderstood or vulnerable. Really, there is no need for those emotions.

Instead, I am steady. I have endurance. Laughter visits me. I have room to care about others. This extra space was not present a year ago. I will call that progress of spirit. Without being able to control circumstance, lightness still has a place in our home. Not in every moment, but we do not give into the desperation. For us, this is an important goal.

My husband and I have been fighting against what we call our “negative lists.” It’s so easy to feel like the protective glass table-top breaking last night – or the zillion other random things like that which have been happening (I’m trying not to concretely create my negative list in this post) – aren’t so random at all, and that we have some curse to lift. Refusal to live in a fruitless state of mind is the best way forward for us, whatever and wherever forward is (sometimes forward looks backward or completely upside down).

We are, instead, trying to create small moments of gratitude in the midst of the chaos. Nothing is final and there is great beauty all around us, including our four children whom we can’t wait to get to know better one of these days. This is not the way we expected many things in our life to unfold, but…

…we will keep living and keep creating, knowing we have some soul shaking-ly good moments to look forward to whenever the time is right.

A Leftover Type of Day

Happy Angelversary, A.G. Today, my leftover sadness, tears, pain, and outrage are being acknowledged – just for a moment – as I let them pass by on their way again. Today isn’t a day for a lot of words. Today is a day to get back in bed with all my clothes on and be comforted when my dog and husband join me – my Hollywood burying his face in me and my husband stroking my hair.

We aren’t taking all day, but just a little time to recognize what we remember, like leaving the hospital almost exactly 365 days to the hour without you. Like getting a big hug goodbye from the nurse, Kay, who walked us out to our car and was there with us 3 out of the 4 days and nights we stayed in that dark room where I faded in and out between reality and heavy, drug-laden sleep, missing you. When the tears stream down my face, I let them fall. When I can’t breathe out of my nose anymore, I take in the oxygen through slow, deep, mouth breaths.

These leftover moments have a place today, although life has moved on and my spirit has outgrown this as a constant place. Dear, A.G., thank you for teaching me my biggest life lessons and for making me grow more than I thought possible. Thinking of you with sweet mama’s love today and everyday, always.

The Calm After the Storm

I believe the storm may finally be over. It’s a dangerous thing to put in writing because, as soon as I think I know something, life will prove me wrong.

I am not pregnant, my job situation is still a mess, adoption is two years off by my best estimate, and I still have to baby my dog, Hollywood, in order to keep him healthy from meal to meal. But, for the moment, I feel the eye of the storm has passed and now I just have to keep moving through the aftermath, picking up all the windblown pieces of my life.

We got my genetic test back yesterday and my chromosomes are normal (enter little happy dance here). I am learning to love working part time. The adoption keeps steadily moving forward as I dream of learning how to braid cute, curly hair and nourish beautiful dark skin after bath time. I have continued to cherry pick moments in life that give me happiness…and happiness is surrounding me.

I feel more appreciative than I was able to feel most of this year. All year I felt an outpouring of compassion for others and a true spiritual awakening, but I am finally accepting where my life has led me in this moment. I feel joy bursting open in my soul from simply participating in my life.

As our dear Adam’s birthday approaches, I know my heart will never be whole again, but it may have grown deeper and wider. I am forever changed and this “new normal,” as I’ve coined it, is getting more comfortable, although laced with a sadness that I will always know. Through the sadness, though, space for the next chapter has finally been created.

I will revel in the fact that my deep breaths aren’t restricted with the anxiety and struggle that has been plaguing them for the last two years. I will continue to embrace the joy in the small, everyday moments. I will cherish the right-now, whether this truly is the calm after the storm or just a little break before the next blow. Either way, I have right now, I can breathe, and I feel peace.