It's amazing sometimes for me to think how far I've come in the last 6 years, in terms of motherhood. I can recall almost every detail from each IVF we went through and each miscarriage. Yet, when it comes to actually talking about it, it's still hard....still painful.
After my 1st miscarriage, I put together a memory box, full of momentos from that pregnancy. It included ultrasound pictures, congratulations cards from friends and family, a pregnancy calendar my sister had given me and a few pregnancy books I had been given as gifts. As wierd as it may sound, I had even saved all the home pregnancy tests I had done after having received the results from my beta (just to convince myself that I was STILL pregnant).
It also held all the sympathy cards we received after the loss of our pregnancy, flowers that I had dried and saved which we had received from friends and a little porcelain angel that a good friend had sent me, along with a beautiful poem.
It took me months to finally gather the strength to put all those special things in a box and tuck it away inside my closet. I never had any intention of opening the box for quite some time....until my next 2 miscarriages.
The 3rd miscarriage was especially hard because we had become attached to that pregnancy more so than the others. We had had the opportunity to see and hear the baby's heartbeat on 3 different occasions and had allowed ourselves to believe for just a few weeks that we were "out of the woods". Then came that fateful day when, at an ultrasound appointment, I learned that we had lost the baby.
Once those memories were all inside the box, I closed it and put it in my closet and never looked back. I had no reason to...I knew the memories were there and, of course, they were always in my heart.
Anyone who has been through the same thing will tell you that those memories never quite go away. You get past the grief but your heart never fully recovers....there will still be that small bit of emptiness that you will carry around with you for the rest of your life.
So, years have gone by and I'm now a mother to 4 beautiful children. The memory box is still in my closet, though I had never looked through it....until recently.
I was in our bathroom one day getting dressed and Bella was in there talking with me, while trying on some of my sandals and shoes. I left the bathroom for a few minutes to go downstairs and grab some clothes out of the dryer.
While I was gone, for just those few minutes, she had gone into one of the closests in our room, found the memory box and had emptied the contents of it out onto the floor. I walked into the room and saw her looking through everything. I was immediately stunned and speechless.
She asked, "Mommy, what is all this stuff?" and I couldn't answer her. The words were stuck in my throat. She held up an ultrasound picture from our 1st IVF pregnancy and said, "is this an X-ray?" Looking at that picture literally took my breath away. I remembered the exact moment when my RE had handed me that picture...it was still so clear in my mind.
I said, "I'm not ready to talk about this with you yet....let's start putting all these things back in the box". She continued to look at the other ultrasound pictures and she said, "Can't you just tell me what THIS is", as she pointed to the picture of a perfectly formed baby that we would never get to hold in our arms.
What could I say? How could she possibly understand this, at such a young age? I couldn't bring myself to say anything at the moment. I just looked at the ultrasound pictures, the HPT sticks, the cards....I flipped through the pregnancy calendar which I had already begun to fill out with excitement and hope. I think another little piece of my heart broke....
I finally said, "It was a baby....." and she looked at me and then back at the ultrasound picture again. She asked, "Who's baby is it?"
Again, I felt that lump in my throat and I tried my best to stifle the tears that threatened to come. I answered, "It was our baby...but it just wasn't meant to be...God wanted our baby up in Heaven with Him". She touched the other ultrasound pictures and asked, "Are they all the same baby?" and I told her that there had been 3 babies but that they were all in Heaven now.
Now I know I complain an awful lot about how sassy Bella can be but, for some reason, I think right then she sensed that this was as far as I could go on the topic. She stood up and wrapped her arms tightly around my neck and she whispered to me, "It's okay, Mommy. You have us now".
It's moments like these that I cherish the most. Somehow children can sense our emotions and they know exactly what to say, right when you need to hear it the most. Even though we may not realize it, children are capable of healing our broken hearts, just as much as we heal theirs.
And I said back to her, "Yes, I know and I'm so very lucky, aren't I?"