Until this week...I didn't know what was significant about October 15. It's infant loss, still birth, miscarriage remembrance day.
A few years ago...every day was October 15 for me.
And I am so not alone.
When Tirzah was 8 months old we got pregnant with baby #2. Oh I was over the moon excited. A few weeks later I will never forget the grief that consumed my soul as I laid on the floor wailing. Dean took me for a long drive to drive to lift my spirits. I sat in the car and cried and cried.
The grief was multiplied by the fact that it took us over 2 years to conceive Tirzah....and fertility medication. This baby was also conceived on medication and now he/she was gone. All the "what if's" flooded my mind as I wondered if we would ever be able to have another child.
Fast forward several years to 2009. Thanksgiving Day we announced we were having another child. This would be #5 biological as we were on our way to Africa to adopt our twin boys. I was estatic. But scared...as I had no sickness whatsoever. Very unusual for me.
Then one night I woke in the night 7 times singing one line of one song. Yes I remember counting ... 7 times. The last time I was so frustrated with my interrupted sleep that I said...out loud...to God.... "please...tell me in the morning!". As I was getting in the shower...I remembered. I fell to the floor in sobs. Please God...Please....no please...
The one line...from the one song was "Heaven is the face of a little girl..." by Steven Curtis Chapman.
And I knew. I knew that I knew that our little girl was in Heaven.
The next morning I woke to the reality that she was gone.
Three months later...now having been to Zambia once...and one trip ahead of me...we tried again.
Again with medication. Then one day I started to bleed. I panicked. I went for an ultrasound to see a baby with a heart beat. The heart rate was weak. They told me to return in 3 days to see what it was like. It was again weak but stronger. I opted for another ultrasound, ignoring the looming medical bills. I had to know for sure before going around the world to Africa.
I put a fleece out for God. If the heart rate was above 130...then I would take that as His answer.
When the ultrasound tech told me the babies heart rate was 137 I burst into sobs. I couldn't even talk. I was so overwhelmed with emotion.
I was still bleeding. The doctor told me what he believed was going on and based on the latest ultrasound that showed a healthy heartbeat high in my uterus, he did not think the pregnancy was at risk.
The day before going to Africa, 5 year old Tirzah jumped on my bed. She said "oh mommy I had the best dream ever...." she went on to detail her dream of being in 'the castle' (Heaven). I stopped in my tracks when she told me 3 little girls came up to her and would not stop hugging her. They kept saying they were her sisters.
Oh...my heart. I didn't want to hear this and yet ... deep down...I knew. I knew she had seen her sisters. One of which I was praying with all my might was still going to survive.
My first night in Zambia, I woke in the middle of the night and saw our baby. Yes. I did. And with overwhelming numbness...not a tear fell. I don't remember sleeping the rest of that night. I was truly numb. It wasn't until a few days later that I was on the phone to Dean and the grief came like an enormous wave. I still remember that night in the small hotel room, creeping into the bathroom with a pillow stuffed in my mouth to muffle my sobs. I turned the faucet on to dull the noise of my grief. I was hot, sweaty...and broken hearted. God is not this the ultimate surrender...? In Africa, without my husband and children, mourning the loss again...and yet I'm here on a mission...
That loss was so deep and hurt so bad that I was 6 months pregnant with Izrael and we saw "19 and counting" on TLC where their buried their unborn child. I left the living room and went to the bathroom and it all came back. I locked the door, slid down the wall, sobbing. Deep, gut wrenching sobs. Dean gently knocked on the door and all he kept saying was "Janice...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry". It was the best thing he could say. And I mourned...all over again. I relived the moment. The hot bathroom. The song that came to me in that moment in Africa "can the maker of the stars...hear the sound of my breaking heart? Just one voice in a sea of pain..." and I knew He was holding me.
Recently Dean connected me with an amazing lady that he built a fence for. We went for coffee for hours. I have never sat so spell bound by anyone's life story.
Young. Happily married. She was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Fought through that trauma and of course this greatly reduced her chances of having children. Her lifelong dream. She always wanted to be a mom. Through 2 unbelievably failed domestic adoptions that had my heart in pain...they were introduced to the idea of surrogacy. Finally...pregnant with twins. Then the news that they miscarried. And their last chance...they were pregnant with twins again. Holding on to every hope that this was going to happen. These precious children would be loved beyond any measure. Then that fateful news that they too...had passed.
This was it. This was their last opportunity. No more chances to have biological children. Tens of thousands of dollars spent to make their dream of parenting a reality....here they were...
And as you read through a paragraph on a blog and shake your head in the sadness her story...this is someone's life. Someone's dream. Someone's horrific pain and grief. Someone's stark reality they are living each day.
For them...every day is October 15th. Every day a reminder. Their large beautiful house they built to raise their twins in....is empty.
The grief...was almost tangible as she sat across from me that day. And I wondered how someone could face each day. Where does the hope come from? Where does new purpose come from when you truly believe from childhood...that this is your calling...?
Most of us...do want to talk about it. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away. These are our children. This is part of our life-stories.
Today reminds of us all the hopes and dreams we had for our children. Today brings up, again, all the buried grief we lived on that day and the days to follow.
When I asked my friend what she wanted people to say...I will never forget her answer. She said "there's nothing people can say. They know 'know', they don't 'understand'...I just want to hear... 'I'm so sorry'. That's all".
And I know that's all that helps. As Dean stood outside the bathroom door in a soft spoken voice saying "Janice, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry"...I understood.
Today...don't assume time has healed. If you know someone who lost a child by miscarriage or still birth....remember them today. Tell them just how sorry you are.