Part One: Surface Deep
When the ultrasound tech said the "other one," I was already numb before she said the words, "not viable." I had only ever been considering one baby, no other possibilities even crossed my mind and I could not seem to connect with the concept, even in the face of it. I expressed 'appropriate' surprise and let the dim reality of the fact that there were at first, TWO babies, and now one, settle in only surface deep. I, thankful for the one that survived, drove home. On the way, as I thought about it I couldn't really get hold of any feeling in particular, that resembled sadness. The only thing that I could identify with was oddly, a certain gladness. Glad about the one that survived of course, but twins! My aunt had twins. From little on, I had always dreamed of having twins myself. Twin boys, I thought…. Just knowing that I had conceived them made me happy. I smiled at the thought.
As I think back on the days that surrounded learning about the other baby, I am filled with wonder. Wonder, at the amazing strength of a woman and the amazing love of God. What a Father He is to His children. How He does protect us. How He gently guides us into the heart-lessons & healing that his Sovereign Will declares.
Part Two: There Would Have Been Two
When the day came, well after Isaiah's birth, that it became obvious the time had arrived to revisit what I had set aside, I recognized it plainly. I watched him, somewhere around six months of age, in all his squishy-sweetness, sitting in a cloth diaper, atop a fluffy baby quilt…and I let my mind remember; There would have been two. I visualized it, and saw them there...two, sitting side by side. My heart overflowed and streamed down my cheeks in quiet warm tears. It was not everything I was feeling. It was a beginning. It was a decision to enter into a feeling: Loss.
I entered into it, not knowing entirely what to expect. I had known from watching my husband struggle to gain for himself, access to wounds of his past, that they were well guarded and his subconscious protected them fiercely. In this, I knew that this situation for me too, held secrets, too valuable to continue to protect.
Part Three: Mounting Tensions
Having four kids running around doesn’t exactly give a mom a chance to just get away by herself for some soul searching. After dipping my toe into the pool of my own emotions, without really meaning to, I pulled it out and walked back into the demands of day to day life. Every day that went by, I doubted that I would even get a moment to myself much less the block of time that I felt I needed to process things. After many years of trying to put puzzle pieces together, my husband was officially disabled and in the midst of a very difficult low point in his illness. We were also coming to grips with the fact that our new baby had life threatening food allergies, which made anything other than exclusive breast-feeding impossible. Just these two things alone would have been enough, but homeschooling, which seemed to rollercoaster up and down with the home environment, was starting to suffer. To twist the knife a little more, some close family members were beginning to pressure us about that very issue, as well as making some uncomplimentary remarks about our decisions as to how to properly care for the medical health of our kids. Unfortunately, rather than voicing their concerns in the open, so we could might have a chance to talk about our decisions, they chose instead to air their grievances to my husband in private, which was just the added stress he needed to sink deeper into an already swirling whirlpool of anxiety and depression… Suffice to say, I already had a lot on my plate. And yet, the urgency to deal with the loss of Isaiah's vanishing twin was still heavy on my mind.
I asked God what to do. Well, that’s what I set out to do, but what it turned into was “me” talking to “myself” and then “me” shooting down every idea “I” had. I thought:
“Well, if I just carved out a little time here and there, I could just…”
“Yeah right. When do I even get a minute to myself, much less any “real” time to be alone, pray, think…cry? No. I haven’t even left the house alone since the baby was born.”
“Okaaay. I could try processing as much as I could at home, and if I have a hard time, I could just ask…”
“…Who? Keith? With the condition he’s in right now, I can’t go to him with anything - without it becoming his problem. And if he starts blaming himself….No. Not an option.”
“But - there’s always church. I could call one of the ladies….”
“YES, that’s all I need; someone trying to be “helpful” asking me if they can clean my bathroom or take the KIDS for an hour?? The baby could end up dead! No one else can take care of him but me. FORGET IT.”
I was at a standstill. I had convinced myself that I was out of options...that at least for now, dealing with this would have to wait.
***Thanks for reading...more to come.***