This week I posted on my (admittedly) seldom-used Mommy BLOG about an amazing gift my Heavenly Father gave me. And because I usually post about the "writer" side of this blog, I'm going to spend a few minutes talking about the "Mormon" and "Mommy" parts. :) You'll probably want to read about my experience and then come back to this page and finish my post here.
Go ahead. I'll wait.
I don't talk about my miscarriage much because it's not something I like to dwell on--just like I don't talk about being robbed at gunpoint when I was 20 or being inappropriately touched by a member of the family I was babysitting for when I was 18. These are negative things. They happened--I dealt with them and moved on. I credit my faith with that. But still, these experiences helped to mold and shape me into who I am today. And, sometimes, it's something you need to talk about.
We named her Lily. She'd actually died at about 8 to 10 weeks, but we didn't know until I started spotting and went to see the doctor. He did one of those invasive ultrasounds and saw that there was a body, but no heartbeat.
I will never forget the image on the monitor of my still, silent baby. It was July 17, 2002.
The doctor offered me the choice of going through the procedure to have the baby's body removed or to wait and let my body expel her on its own. Neither idea appealed much but I couldn't stand the idea of her tiny body dropping into the toilet on some unsuspecting day. So we opted for the procedure.
When we went to the hospital later that night, the nurse gave me something that would "fog my mind" so that I wouldn't remember the procedure. It didn't work.
I remember everything. I remember the sound of the machine as it sucked her from me. I remember looking into my husband's face because he was trying to keep my mind engaged so I wouldn't focus on what was happening. I also don't believe my daughter's body becoming medical waste is much better than it becoming sewage. But first trimester miscarriages are common--almost normal--so I didn't think to ask if there were any other options.
The doctor assured me I was healthy, that these things "just happen," and that I'd likely go on to have healthy pregnancies after this. I was even right on target with statistics, since one in every 4 (or 5, I don't remember which he said) pregnancies end in miscarriage, and that was my fourth pregnancy. My daughter Rianne was born a couple years later.
So while I get to confuse every doctor when they ask my medical history (I have had 5 pregnancies, I have 5 children, but I had one miscarriage--because my second pregnancy was twins), beyond that it almost never comes up.
Until this week. Until my vision. Until I met her.
I had lingering questions. I wondered about her. I wondered if we could really, truly count someone who's heartbeat I've never heard or felt as part of our family. I know now. God has granted me this incredible, unexpected gift, and I am so very grateful I fail to find the words to adequately express it.
Best of all, I know Lily is safe. I know she is favored and protected and I don't have to worry about her. I worry constantly about my children here on earth, and it's kind of a relief to know I don't have to harbor those same concerns about my heavenly daughter.
And I can still remember how it felt to hold her in my arms (in my vision). It was such a real, tangible experience I can't simply call it a dream.