Wednesday, March 19, 2014

You were real

Sometimes I look down at my (relatively flat) stomach and think, it wasn't real.

After five-and-a-half years of failed cycles the first go-around, and two-and-a-half years of no luck during secondary infertility, you start to believe your body is just not capable of making another human being.

And sometimes it's hard to imagine that it's even how any of us are designed. 

It was extremely difficult to wrap my mind around the idea that I was pregnant with Luke. For a long, long time after he was born, I'd just look at him and think, in utter disbelief, how did this happen?

It seemed like a dream.

So if a pregnancy that ended in a living, breathing child felt surreal to this sub-fertile woman, then you can begin to imagine what a miscarriage does to my very confused brain.

It's all so hazy now - the positive test on Thanksgiving morning, telling our families, the first appointment and seeing our doctor again (she was so happy for us). Not eating deli meat or egg yolks, not working out even though I could have. Looking at baby name websites against my better judgment. Falling asleep at night knowing I had two guardian angels with me. 

Sometimes the memories are so far away that I question if they ever really happened.

But then there are the reminders I see every day.

There are the ones I keep around on purpose, like the St. Catherine website that I keep open on my phone's browser, which I referred to for prayers during my pregnancy and now can't bring myself to close. Or the date on our bulletin board we use for school, which still reads December 11, the day before my first OB appointment.

There are the reminders I see when I'm not trying to remember, like the bright white hand towels used on the day of my miscarriage. Or catching a glimpse of the tag that reads "maternity" on my pajama pants that are too comfy to give up.

And there is the reminder I can go to when I'm in the mood, or when I worry none of it actually happened. It's a little white box that lives under my bed, filled with everything we have that has anything to do with the pregnancy and loss. Sympathy cards, letters, the program from the memorial service and a little stuffed green frog they gave out to all the grieving mothers that day. And a tiny blanket, knitted by my mother, which uses yarn from each of the three blankets she made for Clara, Luke and Esther.


There's the positive test - one piece of indisputable evidence that it was all very real. One of only two pregnancy tests of mine that have ever been positive.

And there's the other indisputable proof - the photographs. They stay on our fridge, sometimes hidden, sometimes not. They are prized possessions.



Of course, I'd rather be reminded tonight by little kicks. And a five-month-pregnant belly. And an updated photo on our fridge of a cute little profile, or one with an arrow announcing the gender surprise.

But that is not our story. Not this time. So I have my box, and my treasures, and my memories. And for all of that, I am thankful.

God has provided for us abundantly. And while the memories are painful at times, I rejoice in the little soul who is forever part of our family. Who waits for us in Heaven.

It may seen hazy, it may seem surreal, it may seem all like a dream. But you were real. And we love you.


"I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind." - St. Bernard

20 comments:

  1. How beautiful. We don't want to forget our children that are waiting for us in heaven, your baby is real and is forever existing with the Holy Trinity. I have a framed certificate for our Cecilia that I need to hang up in our bedroom. I didn't get an ultrasound so I don't have any of those pictures but I treasure that certificate because it's the only outward sign I have of our little one.

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    1. That's a great idea to frame your certificate. You made me think that I should frame our u/s pictures too. The kids were looking at them the other day and I freaked as they started to wrinkle them. It would be nice to give them a permanent place of importance.

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  2. Great post. I had a friend email me yesterday telling me she was going to be running a marathon and wanted to honor those babies that never made it here with us on Earth. She is dedicating each mile and wanted to run a mile in honor of my angel. I was so honored and appreciative that someone recognizes that even though the loss was early that that child is still our child and will always be a piece of us. It has been almost 5 years since we lost our first child and it is still very much real. I think about that child all the time! Prayers your way that your heart will continure to heal.

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    1. That is really beautiful what your friend is doing!

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  3. So sorry that you are going through this. What a wonderful mother you are! Praying for you and all who are struggling with infertility and loss during this Lent.

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    1. Thank you so much for the prayers. I don't know if I'm really being a wonderful mother lately, but the prayers do help with that too :)

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  4. i found your blog several years ago when we were trying desperately to conceive!!! its been encouraging to read your thoughts on infertility, pregnancy and loss.
    i found this fb site last night and its already been encouraging to read others who are in the same boat as i'm in........ mothers, who have children, but have either lost a child or are experiencing secondary infertility...... maybe you would like to join?
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/WishingforRainbows/

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    1. I've been looking for a group like that, actually. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  5. Those reminders are so hard but also so joyful. Loss is so hard to accept, contemplate and deal with. A while after my first loss I was listening to a talk on marriage and the priest said that that uterus is the only organ in the body that is empty (well, most of the time [stomach?]) and that it seeks to be filled. So it is a loss felt physiologically, too. I had a hard time with my first loss up until the due date, which was the hardest day, but then things got so much better. Prayers for your healing.

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    1. E, that's so interesting what he said about the uterus. And glad to hear it got better after the due date. I am dreading that, but at least there is hope that it'll get easier afterwards.

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  6. Yes she is so very real and alive and at the foot of Christ. Doesn't it boggle your mind sometime to think about having a child in Heaven? I know I take it for granted and obviously would much, much, much prefer to have them here with me, but at the same time I am glad they are being taken care of in Heaven. God willing, we will get to meet them someday. Little Catherine, pray for us!

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    1. Yes, it does boggle my mind! And, at least for me, it feels really weird and awkward to ask for their intercession. I do it, but...just weird to say it. I'm sure that will get easier the more I do it. I'm so blessed to have had that image placed on my heart of Our Lady holding Catherine Gerard, so I try to focus on that. Just seems surreal.

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  7. This post is really beautiful Karey. Thank you!

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  8. Oh, that little blanket…it brought tears to my eyes! What a special gift from your mom. Beautiful post, K!

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  9. Such a beautiful post! You are such an incredible person, Karey. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

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  10. Hi,
    Do you really love God?
    If ye love me, keep my commandments. -John 14:15
    True Sabbath is Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, RC changed the Sabbath day and admits it:

    “Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change (Saturday Sabbath to Sunday) was her act… And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things.” H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons. Nov. 11, 1895
    How important is to observe the Sabbath
    But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.’Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.…-Exodus 31:13, 31:14
    Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Matthew 5:17

    At the judgement day you cant say you haven´t been warned!
    http://www.almightywind.com/sabbath/truesabbathday.htm

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  11. Isn't it crazy how it all fades into a blurry dreamlike memory ... the shock, excitement, nervousness, then loss ... followed by grief ... which seems to require unpacking, layer by layer.

    It is a good reminder that yes, she was real. She was here, and now she is in heaven. I needed to read this.

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  12. Sometimes I wonder if it was real, too. Like maybe I just imagined it all... I have a box under the bed too, that I go to when I need to remember.

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  13. Our 12 year old son died 5 months ago. We have a lot of pictures and all his things...and yet sometimes I catch myself having a hard time believing there actually was a time that he was in the flesh. Thank you for posting this.

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  14. I just found your blog today and have read and read and after 2 hours have just the beginning of your beautiful story. Thank you for your continued commitment to reach our to those of us who still have empty arms..........May God richly bless you and your family!

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