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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Longing

I don't know why, but I have been full of longing lately. Longing for my babies who are in heaven. And especially for the one who would have been Jacob's twin.

When I first found out that I was pregnant with only one baby again, I had a very hard time dealing with it. Yes, I was happy for the one who was growing and healthy, but I also grieved for the one who already went to heaven. I wanted to hold that baby in my arms! I knew that it would be very hard (that is a vast understatement, I am sure!) to have twins, especially with a toddler to take care of as well. But it didn't matter what my head knew, my heart wanted both of my babies with me. It didn't matter that I know that baby is far better off being in heaven, wrapped in God's embrace from the start, never knowing any of the sorrow and pain that life on earth can bring. Experiencing only the joy of God's presence. I still wanted my baby. And I told God that. Over and over and over. I cried to Him. I yelled at Him. I prayed that the first sonogram was wrong. And eventually I came to acceptance. And I was profoundly grateful for my one baby growing strong and healthy. I thought that I was beyond all that grieving.

But it turns out that I'm not. Even now, in the midst of struggling to keep up with the needs of ONE baby and a toddler, knowing that I would be a completely exhausted basket case if there were two babies and a toddler, I still want my other baby. (This is where you ask if I am absolutely crazy, and I guess the answer is that yes, I am) I find myself longing to know that other life. And I don't want to wait until I get to heaven. I want to know that baby now. And I cry about it. And I ask God why. And I don't hear an answer. I will probably never know...at least not on this earth.

I wonder if deciding to go ahead with in vitro was a poor decision after all. I resisted the idea for a LONG time...until I found out that we could donate any embryos we had left to another couple. Once I found that out, my resistance began to crumble. My moral reason for resistance was gone. And the rest of my resistance wasn't very hard to whittle away, particularly after we discovered that my insurance would cover the process...at least partially. But I never thought about the fact that we would have babies who were conceived who would not survive long enough to be transferred or frozen. And I never thought about the fact that I would know exactly how many babies were transferred into my uterus, and that as a result I would know without a doubt how many babies have died. And I never thought about the fact that the knowledge would hurt. Did we forget to let God decide how to handle things, and this grief is a result? Did we not have enough faith to allow Him to do things His way? But then, God is the one who allowed men the knowledge of how to do in vitro. And there was plenty of grief before, when we thought we might never have a child. There are no easy answers.

If we hadn't done in vitro, even if those babies had been concieved, I would never have known, and I wouldn't be longing for any of them now. But since we did make that decision, I would not go back and undo it, because that decision brought Samantha and Jacob to us...and I would not trade life with them for anything. I would not even trade this sorrow and longing. I would rather have it with them than not have it without them.

I don't know why...but my attention has been drawn to several people in the last few days. These weren't stories I went searching for...I'm not sure why I happened across even one of them...much less several. They are women who have lost their babies. Some whose babies died while in utero at a very late stage of pregnancy. And some whose babies died within minutes or hours of their birth. And I have bawled as I read their stories, and as they shared their pain and anger...and their never-wavering faith in God.

I didn't experience what they did. I didn't have a grief so consuming that I couldn't get up in the morning. My grief didn't really interfere with my living my life at all. I didn't have to try to comfort my small child and help her understand why her new sibling wouldn't be able to come home. I had a baby to hold at the end of each of my pregnancies. One who would live and grow. Who would make me laugh and who would make me scream in frustration. One who would show me that I can love more than I ever realized was possible. One who would love me even when I don't deserve it.

But in spite of that...I find myself almost envious that they saw the face of their sweet child who is now in heaven. I don't want to go through what they did, but I do want a face to picture when I cry. I want people to give me the right to cry instead of telling me that I should just be grateful for what I do have. I want it to be "acceptable" for me to long for my child.

I also want the faith that I see them displaying. The faith that their first reaction is one of stating that God has not changed and that he is worthy of praise, NO MATTER WHAT. That He has a reason for allowing their tragedy, even if they will never know that reason. And that they can praise Him for that reason without ever knowing it. The kind of faith that my children can see in my life every day. The kind that they will learn by watching me in every ordinary moment. The faith that has these women drawing closer to Him every day, that has them leaning on Him when they cannot stand on their own anymore. I long for that close relationship with my savior, the one that I think I once had, but somehow misplaced.

I read this prayer several years ago and pray it often now. "God, since I can't hold my babies on my lap and teach them about You. Please hold them on Your lap and teach them about me."

And God, then please hold me and help me to know You more, and help me to show You more.

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