Monday, October 17, 2011

Waiting for a Miscarriage is like Waiting for a Storm

I blogged about this pregnancy here, and, in that post, acknowledged this fear. I wrote:
It's early. I've miscarried before. I've written about miscarriage, which is shrouded in silence...The truth is that I believe miscarriage -- if more openly aired -- might help with grief... Also, I respect -- deeply -- those who choose not to announce early. But, also, I believe that if someone wants to share news of a pregnancy, they shouldn't have to whisper news of a loss. Loss is part of life.

And so, today, I'm writing about something that is part of life.

I've known for weeks. The body knows, but it also holds onto hope; just as my mind knew and I also held onto hope. The doctor confirmed, but said to wait and see. Patience -- this is the lesson that life keeps teaching me -- again and again. And it's like waiting for a winter storm because you don't know how deep the snow will get or how long it will take to dig your way out.

We waited -- for signs that I was still pregnant, that things were still progressing. We waited for the start of the loss. We were suspended in between -- both pregnant and not. We told some people that we were waiting, but, other times, we accepted congratulations, which could be hard. I remember one of my friends (a wonderful writer) saying she admired the way I could make a human being from scratch. Are congratulations in order? Yes, but not because Dave and I accomplished something; but instead I do believe in a congratulatory awe that human beings make other human beings from scratch -- the miraculous arrangement of cells.

To be honest, Dave and I didn't expect to have a fifth child, as I mentioned in that first post. We both imagined four children, and, when we had our youngest, we felt like everyone had finally arrived, as if the idea of our family were a boat and all the passengers were aboard. But we also quickly fell in love with the expanded version -- a fifth child, like discovering a stowaway. I received so many emails -- people who had children later in life, people who came along to older parents, and people who were part of big broods. I held onto each of these stories, tightly. (Thank you to all who sent them in.)

I will say that this miscarriage is different from my first, which Dave and I wrote about here -- for an anthology called About What Was Lost. In part, this miscarriage is different -- every pregnancy is different -- because this one didn't feel like it disrupted the fulfillment of my family -- that inexplicable, deeply personal longing.

It was different because we'd also suffered an incredibly hard month for other reasons. The threat of loss was everywhere, for a time. And, for whatever reason, I accepted being pregnant -- let myself feel that joy -- and I accept this loss -- and am starting (just starting) to allow myself to really feel that loss. A trust in nature or God or something beyond me... a belief in simply existing moment to moment -- in that mix of love and loss ... because what is one without the other?

And there's the insult added to injury -- the emotional toll and then the physical one.

We braced for the winter storm until it seemed like it would never come, and, only then did it arrive. It's a kind of resolution. We're no longer both here and there, no longer waiting, no longer suspended. Snow is piled in a drift against the front door, but soon we'll start digging our way out -- or should I say digging our way back...