I've been squeezing my babies a little tighter today.
It's my son's birthday (for lack of a better word), and for once I've actually slowed down enough to notice the big achy hole in my heart. To cry, because it hurts, and not worry that the kids might see me crying. To mentally estimate the difference in size and abilities between a 7-week-old and a 4-month old, and then immediately feel horrified that I did it because my 7-week old is beautiful, sweet, precious and (of course) I don't want to trade him. But there's still that hole, because you can't simply replace one person with another.
I know that there was nothing we could've done to save his life. That God is in control, and works all these things for good - for his own glory, and my sanctification. That it's truly a blessing that I miscarried during the night before my ultrasound and we didn't have to deal with the drama and pain of a tubal pregnancy. But those things don't take away the simple fact that living in a fallen and sin-cursed world is heart-wrenchingly painful sometimes.
There was a moment, that morning, when everyone else was still asleep. The pain had intensified during the night and awakened me, and then the bleeding suddenly got heavier. If we hadn't had an 8 AM appointment, I'd probably have called in to try and get one. But as it was, I sat there in the bathroom: shaking, trying to clean up, repeating Sta. Teresa's "Nada te turbe" over and over, and staring at a little white balloon floating in the bloody water. I almost fished it out.
I can't tell you how many thousands of times over the last year I've wished I had pulled that little coracle of membranes out of the mess. That I'd looked inside it and seen his face, held his tiny body - if even for just a moment. But I didn't. I told myself that I couldn't "go there" - I had kids to wake up and dress, breakfast to cook, an appointment to keep. I couldn't think about it right now. There would be time later.
After the ultrasound and resulting consultation with the OB and a talk with our family doctor, there were phone calls to make and more calls to answer and children to comfort and dishes to wash. There were the forced smiles trying very hard to be not-forced, the memorized spiels focusing on how it could've been so-much-worse (and it really, truly, could have been). I "lost it" exactly once, cried for all of 3 minutes, and quickly pulled myself back together before the kids saw me. And then suddenly, there was a new little one, much sooner than I had hoped, and I felt like I wasn't allowed to grieve for Edmund, because I ought to be thankful that the new baby was healthy and growing and normal. It's not that anyone told me not to grieve, but . . . How do you hold two such BIG emotions in one heart at the same time? So "later" never really came.
Until today. Today I am "going there" - I am remembering, and I am crying, and giving my newborn extra hugs and kisses, and I am finally saying "Yes, it could've been worse, and I'm thankful it wasn't, but my baby still died." I'm dealing with the fact that it hurts, instead of pretending it doesn't. It hurts in the very depths of my being. And I'm coming full circle: Solo Dios Basta. Only God Suffices.
Blessed be your name, on the road marked with suffering. When there's pain in the offering, Blessed be your name . . . You give and take away, You give and take away. My heart will choose to say: Blessed be Your Name.