(There are two stories I know I must tell before I can continue my series on PPD. This is one of them.)
Measuring the tangible is easy. During Pumpkindoodle’s last physical it took about 10 seconds of her standing on a scale for us to learn that she weighs 34 pounds and is 40 inches tall. Nothing to it. But the intangibles, it’s not so easy getting those vitals. How does one measure loss, fear, or sadness? They cannot line up next to a growth chart to be labeled. Only their beholder comprehends their mass.
Six years ago, The Professor and I learned we were going to have a baby. Immediately, I was in love. Not with a dream or a hope, but with my baby. My baby, conceived just five weeks prior to the exciting revelation. We bought books, talked about baby names, and guessed the gender. My husband guessed boy, but I felt certain that she was a girl.
Panic set in when a nurse shared her concern regarding my blood test results. But my doctor quieted my anxiety, “She should not have said anything to you. Results vary. Everything is fine.” Three weeks later, scarlet spots of blood alerted me that my baby was not fine. In fact, she was gone. I never held her, or even felt her tiny foot flutter inside my tummy, but she was loved with intensity. And I missed her.
My doctor tried to comfort me with statistics. His nurse scolded me to pull myself together lest my tears upset the happy mothers-to-be in the waiting room. My legs trembled as if I were walking a tight rope without a safety net. Through blurred vision, I entwined my trembling fingers with those belonging to my husband and we walked toward our car.
Many people meant well, but few understood my pain. The most common response was a sympathetic “I know someone who had a miscarriage and now she has two beautiful children. Don’t worry, you’ll have another baby.” My heart churned with sorrow and anger. Outwardly, I smiled and thanked all who offered solace. But inwardly, I shouted, “She wasn’t a goldfish. She was my baby and I wanted her. I wanted this baby.”
Friends, I do not know the blistering agony of losing an infant or a child. I cannot compare the pain of losing a baby nested inside my womb for eight weeks to losing one who lived inside of me for 30 weeks. Truth be told, I don’t think we are suppose to compare. I think we are to take each loss when it arrives and allow ourselves the time to grieve; and to invite comforting arms of Christ to hold us while we crumple and cry.
I do know that for eight weeks, I was a mother. And I know that I desperately ached to know the life who once grew inside me. The Professor and I named her Little O, because that was the size she was when we first discovered her existence. We grieved, we let go, and we embraced a new life. But that first little being, while insignificant in the eyes of many, will never be forgotten. She’ll always be a part of me and owner of a piece of real estate in my heart. And one day, although it’s too much for my puny brain to understand how, I’ll meet my little O in Heaven.
The hurt of a personal loss is immeasurable. Also immeasurable is the love God has for His children. And though I cannot get my ruler out to scientifically prove it, I know without a doubt which of the two quantities is bigger.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5 a (NIV)