I Carry Your Heart With Me.
I have been blessed by four healthy, energetic babies, now 3, 5, 9 and 14 years old.
I have also been blessed by the presence of a sweet baby that only stayed with me long enough to touch my heart…Whose heart I carry with me, and I am never without it.
I LOVE this poem, it accurately describes how I feel for those I love…especially those I love that I can no longer hold in my arms, hug or laugh with… it describes the love of a mother for her child.
Some years ago, sometime right in the middle of my 4 children, I was pregnant.
I was excited…I had baby names picked out…My kids had just begun talking about “their baby”… I imagined she was a girl, and I secretly named her Rhea…
Like many expecting mothers, I speak to my baby’s, from the moment I know they are with me. I sing “you are my sunshine” and “summertime” out loud, so my baby can hear. Many mothers bond with their baby from the VERY beginning, and I am no different. One day, a month after confirming the pregnancy, I suddenly felt as though I couldn’t “connect” with the baby. For the first time, I felt silly singing out loud, and had nothing to say to the baby.
It was still early, 11 weeks, 2 days, when I visited my dear midwife friend, slightly cautious, but hopeful to hear the sweet-fast “cathump-cathump” of my baby’s tiny fetus heart. We listened, and listened, repositioned the Doppler, for what felt like a couple dozen times, but nothing. Of course I already KNEW. I believe, in her heart, a mother knows. I was not ready to accept this, not yet, I held out hope that an early ultrasound would show the beautiful flashing orb of light, that is the visual representation of a fetal heartbeat.
In full denial, as a single mother, and unable to find a sitter, I unwisely dragged my 7 and 3 year old with me to the closest ultrasound clinic, at the local hospital. As I envision it now, a home birth mother, accustomed to the loving, gentle hands of a midwife, on the verge of a messy divorce, and carrying this giant wish, “God, please, let my baby be okay!” waiting in the big hospital, all alone, I just want to run up to myself and give that Momma a BIG HUG!
The next is as you guessed it, me, laying on the crinkly table, with a funny gown, slit in the back, pants off (totally unnecessary), dark room…an unfamiliar, but kind woman technician pours the cold jelly on the ultrasound wand and takes her measurements on my firm belly bump. I was no rookie Momma. I KNEW. But hope is a funny thing, it HOLDS ON.
I could see for myself, the tiny perfect rounded spine of my 2+month old fetus on the screen, she had no flashing-light heart, no movement. Just still, calm, at peace. I could see it in the technicians face, her somber mood. I liked her, she was a woman, maybe a mother, maybe not…but a woman, like me. I wished for her to tell me. She gave me some excuse, “I am just a technician, I cannot decipher the test results, I must have the radiologist discuss the results with you, he will be in shortly.” I KNEW.
So I waited, my 3 year old started to act up…we waited for so long. Finally, it was as I expected, the very tall, young, male Doctor nervously took me to the hallway and as he showed me the door, I heard him mumble some technical stuff but all I heard was “fetal demise”, “lacking heartones”, he confirmed what I already KNEW.
I was heartbroken, but also… relieved… to hear reality confirm what I already felt, my baby was no longer with me. Relieved, for now, I could cry, I could learn to say goodbye, I could mourn.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. NIV
9 days passed in which I tried every natural miscarriage remedy to help the natural physical process of expulsion along. I tried everything natural, herbs, tinctures, acupuncture, chiropractic, acupressure, prayer…everything.
We did some blood work and found that I had what the medical profession calls a “Molar Pregnancy”, also known as a gestational trophoblastic tumor, a rare malignant cancer of pregnancy. Essentially, what started as a normal pregnancy, was taken over by the tumor, and the fetus could no longer survive, where the cancer was growing rampant.
Due to the cancer, I looked 5 months pregnant. It was painful to be in public, for fear others would ask about my pregnancy. I became increasingly weaker and had lost consciousness a few times (true fainting), it became clear that the only solution was surgical removal. With help of a wonderfully kind OBGYN, I underwent a D&C, much like an abortion, except instead of a termination, we were removing cancerous tissue, and deceased fetal tissue. When it was over, the pregnancy hormones in my blood plummeted, and I fell apart.
My dear friend, Barb, drove me home…she brought me some movies, she loved on me and then left me alone to be with my mourning. One of the movies she brought me was perfect. Juno. My pain was so different, but to watch quirky teenage Juno survive birthing her baby and GIVING her baby to the adoptive mother, just made me feel bonded with all women that have lost a child.
I did not know it then, but God gave me a priceless gift in Rhea’s life and her death…
God gave me the gift understanding, through experience, of compassion in its simplest form.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. NIV
I have a special place in my heart for mommas that have experienced pregnancy loss. No loss is more significant than another, saying goodbye to your baby, or your child, is the stuff that gut wrenching, raw real mourning is made out of. I am grateful for Rhea’s time in my life, I now know she taught me so much more than I ever hoped, and in his infinite wisdom, true to His word, God made all things work for good.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. NIV
I made a miscarriage box for my baby Rhea. I put pretty stones, some sage and sweetgrass, a baby dress, a bracelet of mine, and a letter, and in it I wrote,
“I Carry Your Heart, I Carry it in My Heart.”