Today I woke up with a warm little surprise laying next to me in bed, Evan. It is not often that I wake with him in the bed snuggling with me as he is an early riser. We went down stairs where we milled around for just a bit in order to wake up where Grayson was. Then the three of us decided that we would spend the day in town running errands. We had Christmas gifts that needed to be returned and of course the kids had money burning a hole in their pockets. So after having a cup of coffee reading for just a short time and a shower off we went. The nice part was I didn't have to do any of the driving as Grayson chauffeured us around all day, and did a great job I must say.
It's interesting how after such a tragedy the things that you notice when you are in town. There have never been more pregnant women, babies or sets of multiples in the world. So cute, smiling and laughing, having a great time with their families as I was with mine just with the sadness attached. We noticed the nice family in Dillard's with the cute little girl riding in the car stroller waving like a beauty queen. Then the pregnant mommy standing behind us in line getting lunch with her toddler and husband, and finally the four nearly due (or at least it appeared that way) mommies in the return line at Kohl's. What an emotional day it is any time I venture out of the protected walls of my home. But it was almost over; all I had to do was grab a few groceries for the week and I would be done.
So into Schnucks we went..... and just as I rounded the corner in the meat department there she was. Rachel is a pediatrician that I work with at the hospital and has come to be a friend as she has taken care of Grayson each time there has been an occasion where she has needed to be seen in the ER. Then care the dreaded question....how are you doing? That's when the tears began to roll and she seemed a bit confused. So then I struggle to get the words out. "You know we lost our girls over the Thanksgiving holiday?" Tears well up in her eyes as well as it was obvious she had no idea and was probably wishing she had never asked how I was or even ran into me. With my kids by my side I struggled to pull it together and briefly explain to her what we had been faced with as Emmalyn and Annalise had developed TTTS and of their birth. She expressed her condolences and love and I expressed how grateful I was to have seen her. And the truth is, I truly was. It was nice to have bumped into a friend in town and been able to tell of my precious girls. How I wanted to cross the counter and give her a hug a decided that I better just keep it together because if I ventured there, I might just lose it. So teary eyed, I continued my grocery shopping and checked out.
Quietly as we rode home I thought about the encounter and how terrified I am of returning to work next week. I know that there will be coworkers that are super supportive, loving and understanding. I know that I will run into others that have not yet heard of our loss. And still patients that will never know the sadness that lay within my heart. The mere fact that I am returning to the same environment that I lost my girls is pain enough. I dread facing those that care for me. Those that might want to touch me, talk to me, comfort me. I dread watching the first birth take place, helping a mother nurse her newborn for the first time, and even more helping the first mother that must face losing her baby. One thing I have definitely changed my perspective about is what really a baby is. You see often as labor nurses before a certain gestation it's a miscarriage, or extremely early it would be referred to as products of conception and then after 20 weeks gestation it would be a stillborn. But the truth is.... no matter what the medical world calls it, it is a baby. Some mother and father's precious little baby. Someones sister or brother, grandchild, niece or nephew. Someone extremely important from the very moment of conception. I know that God will give me the strength to face each of those situations in time. Until then I must trust as I know that we are all in the perfect place at the perfect time.
Through my recent reading and healing I can across a line that stands out to me from the book Empty Cradle, Broken Heart. "Life is supposed to be a deep experience, sometimes complicated, even difficult and painful. Therein lies its richness." And that I am coming to understand extremely slowly. However, as I walked away from Rachel this afternoon, I believe that I was walking away from one of those rich experiences of God's perfect timing.
May God Bless each of you and for those of you that have been spared a loss, hold your babies close and tight, for they love you as much as you love them.