I don’t really think there’s an eloquent way to break bad news: We have welcomed and lost another baby. Yep. Ugh.
Today I painted my toenails in hopes of hanging on to some shred of dignity. I also took a shower, which is a big deal on days like this. I did nothing to my hair, though, which means it’s a wavy, floppy mess. I’m wearing no makeup, since it would just end up in a salty smear on my pillowcase at some point today. I’m swollen in the middle, far beyond my waist’s usual boundaries, as evidence that my body has been denying the reality of the baby’s death for a few weeks now. My stretchy shorts are a little, uh, unflatteringly stretched. I think about those verses in Psalms about being like a brute beast before the Lord on days like this. I’m glad my toenails look good.
Grief is funny, because even if I don’t think I’m overwhelmingly sad, unloading the dishwasher still seems like a task requiring significant emotional stamina. (At least I have a dishwasher, though. The hand-washing stage of the kitchen remodel was particularly difficult for our marriage.)
This side patio I’m sitting on has caught a lot of tears for a lot of babies over the years.
In my experience, the first trimester of pregnancy would be nothing to complain about if you get an actual baby out of it eventually, but when you don’t, it’s really annoying. I was so excited about coffee tasting good again that I drank two pots this morning. Now I’m agitated and shaky. It doesn’t help that I’m anxious about the possibility of needing a minor surgery during the course of this process. That’s pretty common, but letting the body proceed naturally, as has been my experience twice already, is far preferable. I don’t want to ignore the fact that this is hard work for the body, not just the heart. There is very little dignity in eating cottage cheese (protein!) out of the container and baby spinach (iron!) out of the bag for lunch like I did, but I think that’s the best fuel I can give myself. And really… if I use a plate, I’ll just end up putting it in the dishwasher and then having to put it away in the future. It’s probably best to save my strength.
No matter what difficulty comes, there are always gifts — and this is the one I’m really grateful for right now: Some girls I’ve been best friends with for eight years are visiting in a few days. These are the sort of friends who won’t care if I don’t clean the bathroom due to crying jags or impulsive crafting, and will bring fancy cheeses and wine and kleenex. It’s humbling and scary and wondrous that the cross-country road trip they scheduled before the baby existed is turning out to be a perfectly timed expression of God’s care and love, almost like it was planned that way. They will probably need to vacuum the guest room and put together the air bed upon their arrival because I can’t really see myself summoning the strength to take care of that.
But, like I said, I painted my toenails. So at least I’ve got something pulled together.
[What can you do? What do you say to someone who just had a miscarriage? I've written about it before, so mostly... if you want to say anything, just tell us you are sorry, that you love us, and that it's okay with you if this is a big deal for a long time. And please remember, if you want to say something about the future or some divine purpose in this, that God does not owe me a baby or an explanation. You do not have the power to promise that I will get either one. I'm sure I'll share more about that later when some of the shock and hormonal rush wears off, too!]