I have got a-maz-ing friends. The sense of community and love I got when we told everyone was enormous. Lots of simple "I'm sorrys" and "we'll pray for yous." It was also helpful to hear what other people have done with regard to the body and a burial, as I was completely lost.
Unfortunately, we were unable to recover the body from the hospital. (They swear what I swear was the baby was just a blood clot. But I don't think they checked very thoroughly after the ultrasound). While at first I was okay without the body, lately the lack of tangible evidence that my baby ever existed has been getting to me. The only proof I have are cramps, lots of blood, and two hospital bracelets. I haven't yet worked up the courage to cut off the bracelets because once the cramps and the blood is gone, I'll only have them. I ordered a "remembrance" necklace off Etsy (I'll share the link once I've confirmed it's a quality piece). I hope having something I can look at and hold will help ease that grief.
We did talk about naming the baby, but trying names on felt very awkward. Neither of us feel like we need a name to bring closure. I'm not sure what we'll call this baby, or if we'll change our minds and give it a name later. But that's where we stand right now.
Despite some random bursts of tears, the truth is that we're pretty okay. Matt and I mostly go through the day feeling pretty normal with bouts of sadness. But really, I'm pretty okay. I'm not mad at God. I'm not angry at all. I know very damn well that "it" can happen to me, whatever tragedy "it" holds. It's not fair, of course, but I'm not bitter about it. I made Matt stay home with Abigail while I went to the hospital (the ER in the middle of the night is not a good place for a 2-year-old), but I never once felt alone. I remember feeling very enveloped in God's love on two very distinct moments as I laid in my own pooling blood on the hospital bed. Last night I honestly thanked God for the two very brief months that I got to be pregnant with that precious, little soul. The baby is not here, but it's still mine.
So many thoughts pin-balling around. A friend mentioned that she realized after her miscarriage that this process is incredibly confusing, and which each passing day, I find myself more and more confused as well. Physically my body is acting like it just gave birth, which is only confusing because my mind sometimes forgets that it's not pregnant anymore. Emotionally I don't know how to process the loss of a child I never got to know.
But intellectually is really daunting for me right now.
We have lots of unanswerable questions and have been scouring the Catechism looking for answers. The question of "do Catholics believe unbaptized babies go to Heaven?" is one with a long history of debate, but I was particularly struck by paragraph 1257, the end of which states that "God has bound salvation to the sacrement of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments." So we are praying a novena to the Lady of Sorrows for our baby's soul. Mary is a really good person to talk to when it comes to dealing with child-related grief.
I also wonder when babies get their own guardian angels and if, while in utero, babies share their mother's guardian angel (then getting their own after birth). If we do, I find that incredibly soothing. One more being who can share the memory of my unborn baby.
Ugh, so many tangents I could take, so many more paragraphs I could take up to try to
Until I can resume exercise and burn all my energy pounding on the sidewalks of Chicago, I'm throwing myself into preparing for my 5th anniversary, which we're celebrating this upcoming weekend. We had some super amazing plans (kayaking through downtown Chicago), but we cut them back when we realized that we'd need about a $200 budget for all our adventures. We now plan to just have dinner and drinks and wander around downtown. We found a babysitter for Abigail, and the alone time will be much needed (about 4 months since our last date night). So I'm putting my energy in to creating the perfect outfit, hairstyle, shoes - I even shelled out $8 for manicure supplies to give myself super-fancy nails. I'm really glad for the distraction from all the confusing details of this recent turn of events.
But I want to come back to the thank you part. Thank you for your thoughts, words, prayers, texts, emails, flowers, and promises to be there if I should need to call in the middle of the night. The sense of community, the knowledge of the net of support behind me, promising to do whatever to support me - it keeps me going. It makes me stop and count my blessings.