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Five days

Our induction is scheduled for Thursday, March 9. We have five days to go. I have spent the entire pregnancy not knowing whether we would make it this far. Now that we have, I find that the huge burden of responsibility for another’s life still has not been lifted from my shoulders, even though I am seeing one doctor or another three times a week. Monitoring of fetal movement still rules my life, and my brain. And in that regard five days seems an eternity away.

And also, the end of this pregnancy is bittersweet. This is my last pregnancy. Feeling their babies move is what many mothers cite as their favorite part of pregnancy. And it has been mine as well, and there are definitely times that I savor the movement, but I hate that it has also become such a source of fear and anxiety, something that most moms in “normal” pregnancies, oblivious to the fragility of life, will never experience. Just one more hard fact on this planet where my baby died.

Rise up

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry-go-round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you [4x]

When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you [4x]

All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
We will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh oh
We’ll rise

I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you oh oh oh oh oh [3x]

—Andra Day

Vision

Some people are probably going to find this post a bit … out there. If you don’t believe in visions, heaven, the afterlife, etc., you might want to skip it.

I have heard of or read about many grieving people saying their loved ones visit them in dreams and it brings them great comfort. I haven’t experienced that—in fact for weeks, I don’t think I had any dreams at all—and so I’ve been kind of pissed off and bitter about it.

Separately, I’ve been going to acupuncture for a few months. It’s something I always wanted to try, and my grief counselor suggested it. At first I went twice a week and now I go every other week. I talk to the acupuncturist about what’s going on and what emotional state I would like to move toward, she selects points to put the needles in, and then I lie on the table for a really long time.

The first session walloped me. The needles allow energy to flow and, just like the acupuncturist warned might happen at first, that initial treatment seemed to dislodge a hell of a lot of negative emotions. I felt overwhelmingly sad and hopeless for several days. But the energy kept flowing, and eventually it lifted.

The best way I can describe the sessions is that they “dislodge” emotions that are stuck, and when I’m lying on the table I can often physically feel them move up and out. I usually feel lighter when I walk out the door or later the same day. It’s a bit insane and I don’t pretend to understand it, but it seems to be helping, so I keep doing it.

This session was a bit different from normal. Beforehand, we talked about some uncertainty I’ve been dealing with in my professional life, how some of the depression seems to have returned even though there’s been no clear trigger, and how I try to ignore those feelings and find things to distract me so they don’t overtake my life. She said that wasn’t healthy and suggested that instead of ignoring the feelings, I find some way to acknowledge them, through a saying or some other sort of ritual, and then move on. We talked for a bit and then she put the needles in and left.

Almost as soon as she closed the door, sadness overwhelmed me and I started crying. And then I started having a vision.

I could see a little boy of about 5 years old standing in a field surrounded by fog. He seemed far away at first. But eventually, in my vision, I was able to go up to this little boy. I couldn’t really see his face, but I hugged and kissed him. Then he said, “I love you, Mommy.” My heart burst, the tears flowed, and I whispered, “I love you, too.”

This part of the vision kind of faded in and out for a bit; it always returned to the little boy standing by himself, enshrouded in fog. But then, after a while, I was beside a stream in a gorge. He was at my side, but I couldn’t see him. Then I started seeing other streams, and some lakes. Some I recognized and some I didn’t. I can’t explain it, but I felt like he was showing these places to me.

Then we were hovering above the earth. I could clearly see the world turning below me, the cloud cover and the blue oceans. I had an impending sense of doom and devastation—and the strong feeling that he was telling me my future, my purpose, lies in helping to prevent the human race from destroying itself and all other species on the planet. He was urgent, and sad, and he wanted me to help.

We talked about God and heaven. I got a vague sense of who else is with him. He said, “You don’t have to be sad, Mom. I’m OK.”

Then he said, “God speaks to those he believes can make a difference. It’s up to them whether they choose to listen.” I thought about Syria, the refugee crisis, the Paris attacks, and the turmoil in the Middle East. He said, “That’s a battle for others to fight; that’s not your cause.”

Eventually, the vision faded. It’s hard to explain, but I don’t think I was controlling it; I felt like I was just receiving the thoughts and images. At one point early on in the vision, I did try to control it; I tried to visualize walking through a field of tall autumn grass with Luke, Zack, and Zoe. But those images kept being replaced by the little boy standing in the fog.

I’m overwhelmed by this and don’t yet know what to make of it; my first priority was to get it down on paper so that I would remember. I do know that the vision brings me a great deal of peace and a new way to connect with Luke, whether real or imagined. I’m not sure it makes a difference which.

Away but Never Gone

The moon’s on its way to its nightly shift
The frogs fill the creek below
The tall grass waves a farewell to the day
The wind moans sweet and low
The heron tucks his head in his wing
The fish in the lake float along
The sun sinks from sight
Away but never gone

The dawn brings the dew like a thousand jewels
A nest rustles high on a bough
A blue egg stays warm in the cool of the morn
Under a red breast of down
The clouds turn and stretch, the moon checks its wrist
gathers itself with a yawn
And winks to the sun
Away but never gone

And all o’er the world as it turns and it turns
the stars twinkle off and on
And we come and go
Away but never gone

-The Wailin’ Jennies

Rainbow

The day before I Delivered a Dead Baby, the day we found out Luke was gone, it rained for the first time in weeks. Stormed hard. We actually lost power at the house.

On the way to the hospital that night, as we were driving on the highway, my husband saw a rainbow.

As we approached the exit to the hospital, there was another rainbow directly above the exit.

I think I was kind of pissed or annoyed at the time. If the universe was trying to send me a sign that things were going to get better, a rainbow seemed like a small consolation.

When we got home from the hospital, I started looking for online support groups for women who’d suffered pregnancy or infant loss. I kept encountering the term “rainbow baby.” I didn’t know what that meant, so I looked it up.

From the Urban Dictionary:

A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth.

In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.

The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.

So, there’s that.

I know some people will look at this story and think the rainbows were just a random coincidence. I did too, at the time.

But how bleak would this universe be if it’s nothing but randomness? Who would really want to live in a world like that?

Like many, I’ve struggled with my beliefs for a long time. But this experience has pushed me in the direction of wanting to believe there’s more. Otherwise, I don’t see a way out of this darkness.

Faith is a choice. Today, I choose hope.