Monday, March 18, 2013

Due Date

Today is (was?) my due date. It’s been 5 months that I’ve known I wouldn’t be holding a baby this month.

Peter is a part of our family. Not a day goes by that the girls don’t talk about their little brother. Sandy can be a bit domineering and Abby likes to remind her that, “I’m a big sister!” Sandy says, “Yes, you are Peter’s big sister but I am Peter’s bigger big sister.”

The girls talk about their baby brother so casually, it brings up questions from people we don’t know well. “Oh, you have a baby boy at home?” Well, not exactly.

At my first appointment with Sandy, I asked my doctor how long we should wait to tell people we were pregnant. I was 9 weeks pregnant. He said everything looked good on the ultrasound and to go ahead and tell whoever we wanted, that miscarriages were very uncommon once an ultrasound had showed a beating heart.

I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy with Sandy. With Abby, we had some hemorrhaging that was very scary, but it all turned out okay. I felt a bit invincible. Sure people have miscarriages and lose babies, but it didn’t seem like it could happen to me. Now that it has all of that invincibility is gone. Now there is so much fear of getting pregnant, fear of losing another baby. Fear of putting myself through that again, but mostly fear of putting my girls through that. I think the girls have dealt with this in healthy ways, but when I think of how little death I had come into contact with before my late teens, it makes me ache when I hear my 2-year-old say she has a baby in her tummy and it’s dead. She says it so matter of factly. But should a 2-year-old really be that matter-of-fact about a dead baby?

I woke up this morning feeling very melancholy, but I had to stop and think about why. My body fought so hard to keep Peter, even after we knew his heart had stopped beating. And, somehow, my body knew that today was his due date.


Megan said...

My heart aches for you. What a hard day and hard experience for your family and girls. I was almost 4 when my dad died and 10 when my 4 month old sister died. I can still remember how matter of factly I felt about death as a child. Everyone dies and my daddy died. Sometimes I couldn't understand why it was such a big deal for everyone. It wasn't until my teens and even adulthood that I realized how heartbreaking it was for a man not yet 30 to die leaving a wife and 4 year old. But don't fear, I am grateful (hope that doesn't seem weird) to have always had a very matter of fact approach to life and death. Someday your girls will know that Peter left this world too soon. For now follow their lead they are doing all the right things.

Meg said...

Dates are hard... especially due dates without a baby. I hope that you did something nice for yourself that day. I remember my first due date came and went with my first pregnancy and I still was not pregnant (I miscarried at 12 weeks). But I can honestly say that when I had Tru I didn't feel anymore sadness for what could have been. I'm sure it's hard with kids. We didn't tell Tru about this current pregnancy until he noticed that my tummy was getting bigger. Mostly because I didn't want to break his little heart if things didn't work out. It's hard to know what to do in that situation. I hope that you and your family can continue to heal.

James said...

Megan, my heart goes out to you and Bill and your girls. This can be so tough. We have gone through several miscarriages as well (I think the furthest along was about 11-12 weeks), and I can't honestly say which is harder, when you aren't sure if you'll ever have children, or after you have had a couple children and know how delightful they are, and are longing for more. Either way it is never an easy thing to go through- especially for the mothers. If you ever want to talk to another mother who has been through this too, feel free to give Nikki a call. Fortunately for your daughters, I read once that children don't fully comprehend death until they are around 8 - 10 years old. And I remember we also struggled with the idea of when to let people know. Sometimes we didn't say anything until it was physically obvious. In the end, we decided to tell people early, because we felt a lot of power and strength from the prayers of others, even or especially after the miscarriages. You'll be in our prayers. Let us know what we can do for you. As the weather gets nicer, we'd love to have you all over to our place.