Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Beautiful Thing

The most beautiful thing in the world is to wake up in the morning, lying on your back, and when your hand rests on your belly you feel the bottom of your ribcage poking out and a nice little curvy indentation below it.

I woke up like that this morning, and my first foggy morning thought was, this is the most beautiful thing in the world. There is something really amazing about being able to transform your body right before your eyes. To feel it changing and becoming stronger under your fingertips. What a marvelous thing this is.

And it is also marvelous that this experience made me smile and gave me peace.

I have had a longstanding aversion to feeling that nice curvy place under my ribs. (Not that I have HAD one in years. It was more like... run your fingers over the fat, try to poke in and prod to locate where the ribs might be, and then a large mountain of flesh curving UP to a pregnant-style belly). Pregnant-style...

When I was 20 years old I was newly married and so excited to start a family. I was thrilled to find out I was pregnant just 2 months after the wedding. I had a beautiful pregnancy that resulted in a perfect, golden-haired blue-eyed baby boy, the love of my life. Although the labor was 13 hours long and tortuous, as soon as I held him in my arms I looked at my husband and said, "I want to do this again."

And so it was a blessing to me when just 4 months later, the day after Christmas, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I have a picture of me that day, sitting with my four-month-old son and just glowing. We were thrilled. It turned out I was due right around the time of my son's first birthday! How exciting! I just knew it would be another boy. I dreamed of how close they would be. Best friends and brothers. I sketched pictures of my son with his new little brother, who I already had named Justin. The months went by and I was full of joy. Everything was going wonderfully.

When I was nearly 4 months along, I went to the doctor for my regular monthly checkup. I took my baby son with me for the routine visit. The doctor listened for the baby's heartbeat, but he couldn't find it. "It's pretty early to hear it," he said, "but let's just do a quick ultrasound to check." I smiled. I would get to see my baby. What's better than that? I had already had one ultrasound when I was 9 weeks along. I had seen my baby wiggling around in there, its little heart flickering steadily on the screen. It was beautiful.

The doctor came back with the ultrasound machine and started looking around. I watched the screen waiting to see my little son. There he was! He looked perfect. Little head, little arms. But... not moving. No flickering little heartbeat. The doctor turned the screen away from me. He took some measurements and said, "we have a problem." He explained to me that my baby was no longer alive. "I'm sorry," he said. "But at least you have HIM," he continued, gesturing towards my infant son, asleep in his carrier.

The rest is a blur. My baby was gone. My dream, shattered. I did find comfort in my son, but my heart was broken. I sat in my bedroom and cried and cried, rocking my baby son, sorry I was not giving him a brother.

I had to wait a week to get back in for the "procedure." It is too graphic to describe here, but suffice it to say, the drugs the doctor gave me that would "make me forget everything" during the procedure did not work. I have vivid memories and it was traumatic for me. I saw everything. It is etched in my mind. And when it was over, and I was lying on my back on the recovery table, I put my hand over my beloved pregnant belly, and instead of a baby bump there was an indentation. I will never forget it. I felt hollow. My baby was gone.

After that I never got back down to my pre-pregnancy 140 pounds. I began emotional eating. I hemorrhaged a few days later and had to go back in. The doctor said he could not guarantee that I would ever be able to have more children because of "extensive scarring." I was devastated. I hit 168 pounds and have stayed above that weight ever since.

I had been an only child and my dream was to have a large family. I would look at my son and wonder if he would also grow up an only child. Thankfully and blessedly, I did go on to have more children. I had another loss, a twin, but I also now have five living children who I gave birth to. I feel incredibly blessed to have them.

And so when I woke this morning and felt that little indentation, the miracle is that it was a beautiful thing. It made me happy. I am not afraid of it anymore. I certainly have a ways to go to get anywhere near the 168 or 140 pounds of the past, and I still have a pretty big "pregnancy-style" lower abdomen when I stand up, but now I am GLAD it is shrinking and I am happy to feel my body returning to normal. Truly happy.

And to Justin, wherever he may be, I love you little son, you will always be my angel.

16 comments:

Teale said...

Thank you for sharing something so personal like this. I enjoy reading about your life outside of just weight-loss, and that includes the happy and heartbreaking times. I'm so glad that you were able to find beauty in that curve this morning! Time heals!

ryry the adventurous said...

Lyn, this was incredibly personal and touching. What a fantastic circle of life this is for you. To be able to relate such a sad moment from such a sad time to a happy moment in a happier time. You are amazing, and we're all here with you.

new*me said...

The loss of a child has to be something you really never get over. Thank you for letting us peek into your life at such a tender time for your heart and soul. I know he is looking down at his mommy with pride.

Arachne said...

Lyn, we are sisters in this tragedy. I sent you a note. Peace.

Once Upon A Dieter said...

One day, you'll see the little ones you lost i Paradise. I totally believe this. They'll know you're "Mama," too.

Five children. Girl, you're quiver of blessing overflows. Allow me a little twinge of envy, ok?

The Princess--who always puts her hands on her tummy these days to feel it slowly get lower. Love mornings when it's noticeably flatter.

Lynne said...

Thanks for sharing - being real. You are terrific!

ptg said...

Oh God, here I am at work with tears in my eyes at your story.

I know it took incredible strength for you to share that and I *thank you* for all that strength and all that love that you shared.

Congrats on everything...and I'm sure that Justin is watching and waiting to see you again.

kaitlin said...

My mother had three miscarriages after having me. Needless to say, already "having me" was not much of a comfort in dealing with such trauma, but people would still say this to her. I suppose they were trying to help in their own clumsy ways.

Ceres said...

Thanks for sharing something so personal.
I love that morning feeling as well :-)

Joy's Journey in Weightloss said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Emotional eating is such trickery. It feels so comforting at the time. Congrats on such a positive new time in your life. You are a courageous woman!

Ellen said...

My angel left me when I was 30 weeks along. They told me it couldn't happen, that I was safe, but it did. Ever since then, I've eaten too much and cared too little. What did it matter how my body looked when my soul was broken? The loss of a child, at any stage, is a hole in your heart. Sadly, some of us have chosen to fill that hole with junk food. Glad you've been able to change. I'm still trying hard to care.

Sheri said...

Thanks for sharing Lyn. Losing a child has to be one of the most difficult things ever. I went through it twice before having my girl. She will be the only child for me. Although that isn't because I haven't the ability to carry. It's because I haven't dated in the 15 years since her father left. Emmaculate conception has only happened once.

Heather said...

Such a powerful story. Thanks for sharing it. Am very glad to hear life is coming full-circle for you and that the healing that time seems to promise, seems to be coming to you. I love reading your blog. Keep up the good fight, you're such an inspiration to so many of us.

Dinah Soar said...

Lynn...your little angel is with the LORD..safe in the arms of Jesus...and you will be able to see him again one day. I know you suffered a terrible loss and miss him, but one consolation is that he will never have to suffer in this life and is experiencing pure bliss and perfect love in the next one.

Heather said...

that is such a sad story, but thanks for sharing. on the positive side...it IS a wonderful feeling to put your hand on your stomach and feel your bones!

April said...

I remember how it felt when they thought I'd lost my son. I felt destroyed. They couldn't find the heartbeat either so they scheduled an ultrasound for the next day. Those were the longest 24 hours of my life! Luckily, he was okay. I almost lost him again at birth (he's 8 now) so even when he's jumping up and down on my last nerve, I still realize that everyday with him is a blessing. I could almost feel how you felt that day.