Today is a significant day for my husband and I. Today marks my 20th week of pregnancy and six months since Lydia's birth. The 20th week of pregnancy is important because it is the half-way point of pregnancy and it differentiates the loss of Isaiah** after this point as a stillbirth and not a miscarriage (medically defined). Tomorrow, weather permitting, I have my fifth sonogram.
And six months since Lydia's birth. Six months ago we were holding Lydia in our arms after 16+ hours of labor. Six months. It sounds like a long time, but six months isn't so very long. I have read that most people can only tolerate another's loss for about a month before wanting the grieving person to get back to normal. I've heard this thought reflected in senseless comments of others made towards me or my husband. I want to shake them and tell them to judge only after they've buried a child. The remarks never come from someone who has. Grief takes time. Most people seem to forget that we are still grieving her loss while celebrating the pregnancy of another child.
Six months. Six months of time in which we have endured Lydia's due date, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Painful days to say the least. Six months of grieving, learning to live without the daughter for whom we had prayed and loved. Times in which we have found comfort and support and times there have seemed to be none.
Reflecting on the past six months I can identify how my grief has changed. From the first weeks of not being able to sleep at night, waking up in the middle of the night, overcome and consumed with it all to a grief allowing more functioning in the world. Seeing babies in stores (particularly in church) causes pain, but it has been some time since I have felt the urge to scream and throw things in the store. A grief that is ever present, overwhelming at times, still bringing anger, questions, and sadness.
Six months ago I was holding her in my arms. That is the sole reason I resist this passage of time. It takes me further away from that bittersweet moment. Closing my eyes I am back in that hospital room. My husband, OB, and one very kind nurse were in the room. A final push, an exhale of relief, and Lydia was placed on my stomach. My first emotion was joy. My first thoughts of admiration, love, and amazement at this beautiful baby. I was struck by the perfection of her form. I felt such a possessiveness of her, my daughter; a protectiveness for no one to hurt her little body or dare make a comment.
Isn't she beautiful? I remember asking the nurse. She agreed. Lydia looked perfect. Such a perfectly formed, beautifully shaped body. Such a healthy weight and size for her gestation. No marks of damage, accident or illness. Then why wasn't she alive? The questions still haunts me with many times my only conclusions being something I did or didn't do. A failure on my part.
Finding joy in our daughter and experiencing the best of a closure possible given the circumstances. Six months ago I was able to hold my baby. Indescribable sorrow, profound loss, feelings that this was more than I could bear engulfed me. Yet those moments with her were ones I wish had been prolonged. Ones which I wish I could experience again.
An anticipatory joy for the future and a remembrance of the past today. I continue on this journey of grief while walking the path of another pregnancy.
**After I posted this blog, my husband read it and stated it sound like losing Isaiah was expected or anticipated. That is not the case. I do not want to lose Isaiah nor is there any indication that may be a possibility.