I don't know where the time has been going lately, but it's really flying. Summers always do seem that way I guess, but in the years we spent struggling through pregnancy loss, time always seemed to pass so slowly no matter what the season. The weeks and days (and especially the nights) would drag on, yet before I knew it I was facing another Christmas, New Year, and birthday with an empty womb and empty arms. Somehow the years piled up more quickly than I expected while we were slowly trudging through day by day.
Now, for the time being, I don't mind that time is marching on. One of my favorite things to do is turn the calendar to a new month and count the weeks until our due date in September. I'm so eager to have this baby here that I want the next few months to go quickly even though we're not "ready" in terms of having everything done.
But with all the joy and all the things we have to keep us steadily busy for the next 12 weeks, those years of infertility and loss are always there. They are in the past, hopefully once and for all, but they don't go away. The old familiar hurt is there when I hear of someone experiencing loss. I still feel funny (jealous?) when I hear a pregnancy announcement from someone very young, newly married, and totally oblivious that anything could possibly go wrong.
I still miss the babies I carried before Lily. They were here, they were loved, and they were celebrated before they were gone. And besides missing them, I don't think I could ever forget the huge, aching emptiness I felt inside. The future was so uncertain when it came to whether or not we'd ever get over this hurdle. Could I be okay if we never had children? Would I be destined to live with only the memory of six tiny babies that we never got to see or hold? Will we be able to adopt, and if so, where would the finances come from? How could we ever have a successful pregnancy after six failures? Would we ever beat the odds somehow?
So many questions. And while some of my questioning and wondering has been put to rest, the feelings of loss are always there. And yes, the fears are still around, too. I think they always are when you've had a history of loss. I still pray so hard for this child. I talk to her and tell her how much her Daddy and I love her, and how hard we tried to get her here. I tell her what a miracle she is already, and I pray God's protection over her life.
Because the reminders of what we've lost are everywhere. Lily will wear clothes and play with toys that were bought for her siblings years ago (although, trust me, she has plenty of brand new things that are just hers!). She will probably grow up wondering why we look at her with such awe, why we call her a miracle, and why we get choked up every time we thank God for her in our prayer time.
It's not that I need reminders to remember where we've been. I don't, but sometimes they come unexpectedly. I've been able to do a lot of reading in the past few weeks, and the last two books that I finished from my reading list (The Forgotten Garden and Sarah's Key) had some element of infertility or miscarriage in the plot. I had no idea when I added these works of fiction to my list at the beginning of the year that they had anything to do with that topic. One of the books was well over 500 pages long and the infertility element didn't appear until more than 400 pages in.
I don't necessarily mind when a book talks about infertility or miscarriage. Actually, I'm glad that people are beginning to see that it's a real and terrible issue that a lot of women face. I'm glad it's being talked about so much more than it used to, even if it is in a novel. But sometimes it catches me off guard. Sure, I use books as an escape from real life. I always have. That's what is so great about getting lost in a story! Sometimes it feels too familiar, though. Sometimes I'm not prepared. I wasn't expecting to have big, fat tears rolling down my cheeks because I can relate to the woman who feels like she's at the end of her rope because her body has betrayed her. She feels a familiar ache in her abdomen and fears the worst. She feels her hopes and dreams begin to crumble when she realizes that her pregnancy is over. She feels like a failure as a woman and a wife because she can't have a baby. She feels empty and desperate and alone.
I know those feelings because they are always there.
And I'm ready. Ready for my mourning to turn to dancing, and ready for my tears of grief to become tears of joy. But, rest assured, even when the time finally comes, I'll never forget.