Tomorrow we begin our Sunday School rotation. Jose will teach Grades 3-5 and I'll teach the 3-4 year olds. I love those kids and am excited to see them, but of course a little nervous too. I was pregnant the last time I taught. The kids didn't know that and won't remember. But some of the parents will and they may not have heard about our loss. The "first interactions" after loss can be awkward and difficult. We get through them but I never know what to expect. Tamara wrote a wonderful post about the words that comfort and hurt those who are already in pain. I highly recommend this for people who don't know what to say to someone grieving
On Monday I go back to work. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. More "first interactions." I sent an email to coworkers who knew about the pregnancy to let them know about our loss so they could "hide" from me on Monday if they wanted to. :o) I totally understand. I sent them the link to our blog so they could read the whole story. I knew I would break down if I tried to explain everything over and over. I love to talk about Chloe and share our story, but since I'm already nervous about returning to work that might have been too hard. I would really scare people if I had a breakdown in the copy room! I'm pretty sure my eyes will well up several times when I talk to people who understand and truly care and I'm OK with that. I'd like to prevent a sob fest though.
Yesterday I finally met, in person, my friend Jayne from perinatal hospice. We spent three hours talking and getting to know each other. It was wonderful!! She is so precious and was such a miracle in our journey with Chloe. I can't wait to see what God has planned for perinatal hospice in our area. I was so fired up after our lunch - and it has been months since I've felt like that. It was a great feeling.
Before I met with Jayne I read about the death of a baby to SIDS. It was another blow to a family that was already hurting. My head couldn't comprehend the fact that they had experienced another loss.
How would the children make sense of it?
How was everyone coping?
How could this happen again?
And so soon?
I know that God will bring good from all this and I'm not supposed to be able to understand His ways. But I can't even get a grasp on the facts - forget trying to find meaning. I was excited to see Jayne but I was also feeling numb and shaken from reading another story of loss. Talking with Jayne reminded me of how grateful I am for the support she gave us at one of the lowest times in our journey. There aren't words to describe the impact she made on me the first time we spoke. I am forever grateful for her kindness and empathy - it changed our lives.
And it ignited a passion in me about helping other women get the same support and information when they receive a terminal diagnosis. It made such a difference in our situation and I know there are many women who don't have the same opportunity. I don't know what to do with this passion yet, people say that I will be more effective helping other mom's once I have a healthy baby on earth. I trust their judgement but my heart aches knowing that women are receiving fatal diagnoses every day and walk away alone, without information or hope. It doesn't have to be like that! And it doesn't have to cost a ton of money! All Jayne did was talk to me on the phone and everything changed. It can be like that for others. I don't know what it will look like but I'm going to keep "squawking" about it to OB's, genetics counselors and anyone else who will listen in the hope that they will give women the opportunity to name and hold their babies. And the contact info. for someone who has been down this road so they won't feel so alone. They can contact me.
If you relate to this, I would love to hear your story. What support did you receive? What was your experience? I don't know what I'll do with this information, but I want to tap into this passion while it is aflame. If you are willing to share, I would love to read your story.
If you are an OB, Genetics Counselor, L & D nurse or someone who comes in contact with families who find themselves on this journey, please give them this blog address. Please let them know they don't have to walk this road alone. There are so many of us who would like to love and support them in their pain.
The day we got home from the hospital after Chloe was delivered I was talking with a new friend whose journey looked very different from mine. When her Dr. saw there was not heartbeat during her prenatal visit he gave her the address of the family planning clinic that would take care of her. She was in shock and didn't know what to do or what options were available. She followed his advice and is still angry about how he handled it. She was never told she could deliver her baby, hold her baby, find out for sure she was a girl. Take pictures, love on her and share her with family members. She was never given the opportunity.
That pain doesn't just "go away." She is still hurting. My heart aches for her and reminds me what a gift it was that I was given options and information. I want more women to have stories that echo mine, not hers. She is doing wonderful things now to support other women who are hurting - God is using her and her pain. He is bringing beauty from ashes. I believe that with more information people wouldn't have to work through so many ashes.
I'm beginning to get back to life. But it is a new life. It is richer and more meaningful because of my daughter. I'm forever changed. Her legacy is important. I'll keep talking about her, perinatal hospice, support for couples who have experienced a loss and anything else that I hear about that helps. I'm not trying to save the world, but if it makes a difference for one...
Making a Difference
An old man was strolling along a beach one day. In the distance he saw a young boy and girl reach down, pick something up and throw it back into the sea.
Drawing nearer, he saw that the sand was littered with thousands of small stranded sand dollars.
The children were patiently picking them up, one at a time, and returning them to safety below the water.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Saving sand dollars," replied the children as they continued about the job at hand.
The old man, somewhat jaded by age, thought the children's actions were futile.
"But the beach is littered with dying sand dollars. What possible difference can you make by doing this?"
The young girl bent over, picked up another, and threw it with all her might. With a plop the sand dollar sank safely below the water. Then, turning to the old man, she said with all the wisdom of a child:
"I made a difference for that one."
This story came to mind yesterday at lunch with Jayne. And it came to mind again while writing this post. As I typed the story, I have to laugh...we live on Sand Dollar Ct.