I haven't much been in the mood to write, journal, record, even photograph anything lately, yet I've been very much longing to express my own emotions to possibly just understand them.  Six months ago, this was the type of photo I was planning to take right about now. (I have no idea who the lucky woman in this photo is courtesy of the world wide web.)

At 8 months pregnant, I would have had a pretty big profile to photograph, and I think that it would have been beautiful.  We didn't get to meet that child on this side of Heaven.  Just a little over two months later though we were thrilled to find out that we were again expecting...the best part of the "how-we-found-out" story is that one of the dear CK Sisters at our school sent me a message one day asking, "Do I detect the glow of an expectant mother?"  My response was, "I don't know, but now I will certainly have to investigate."  Of course I wasted no time at all getting to the store to buy a box of those magic little sticks that offer the answer I was looking for.  Just for the record, I don't even waste my time anymore buying a box that contains only one!  Two is a must...three is a bonus, for when the extra little line doesn't show up, it is just necessary to double check, and when it does, it is just FUN to double check!!

 And of course I can't follow the instructions...I'm just much too impatient!  Who can really wait for the morning's first stream anyway????  NEGATIVE??  That can't be right, I mean when a religous Sister inquires, there must be divine knowlege there right??  Well, I couldn't justify not following the instructions for the second test...those little suckers are expensive!  So wait until morning I would...and then wouldn't you know it?  I was caught up in my normal morning routine of feeling my way along the walls to the toilet, eyes not yet fully opened, vision cloudy from slumber--and--there you go!  I forgot to pee on the stick!!  Oh the agony!  Now I would have to wait yet another day!  This went on for five days until I finally wised up and put the box by the toilet!  But that glorious morning when I remembered, the second little line did indeed appear (meaning I would now have to go buy another box just so I could be sure!!)  I remember thinking how amazing it was that someone--anyone would have that gift to detect this, especially so very early!!  This certainly would be a very special pregnancy for many reasons!

We were elated to be pregnant again!  Another chance!  Maybe this would reduce the sting a little more when May rolled around.  We still would not have THAT precious baby, but even in our grief, this new life was such a welcome gift.  While I admit, I was a little scared of the weeks to come, I also reminded myself on a daily basis, that women have healthy pregnancies after a miscarriage all the time.  This pregnancy too was in God's hands.  The kids even asked if everything was going to be alright this time.  "If this baby dies, will we bury him next to Annelise??"  Of course, but let's just pray and plan to meet this baby.  My hormone levels we great, I felt great, and it was so good to be planning again for a new addition.  So comforting to have this opportunity again after wondering if we would or could. 

Our news was well received by the kids.  They have always been excited with the announcement of another sibling.  I am grateful for that, for I know families whose kids are disappointed.  Every day my prayers included asking God for the strength to let go of my worries and trust Him.  I was so eager to reach that magic day when we would hear this little heart beat and know that all was well.  March 19th, on the Solemnity of the Feast of St. Joseph, I went to the doctor for just hear baby's heartbeat.  I admit that I was nervous, but excited.  Again, I just wanted to know that everything was ok.  It was at this point last time that we learned our baby was no longer living. 

There was no heartbeat to be found.  The doctor searched and searched.  Not to worry...sometimes it is just difficult to detect, but an ultrasound will do so, and so within the hour I was again, waiting eagerly to see that little peanut squirmming around inside of me.  Again, no.  "I'm sorry, it appears that something happened a couple of weeks ago, and your baby is not alive."  And then what follows...I don't even really know what that is.  Denial?  Saddness?  Confussion?  Anger?  Numbness?  Again??  Fear. 

It's been three weeks.  Nothing has been the same as the "one before".  What was physically debilitating last time has not limited my physical ability.  Business as usual, right down to the half-marathon training schedule.  I should be relieved, and I am, but I'm also extremely frustrated, disappointed and saddened.  What happened in a matter of hours last time is taking weeks this time and we're not sure if my body still harbors a lifeless, tiny baby or if we missed "finding" him.  This is such a common occurance for women, but it dawned on me this time especially what a culture of death we live in as even the most caring health care professionals may overlook what a difficult process this is.  My ultrasound again wasn't the normal happy "this is baby's right leg and baby's tiny little stomach...", rather a very quick scan and measurement clicks and silence.  No tangible momento in the way of a picture.  No lingering listen to that swooshing rythym.  No "do you want to talk about it?"  Just the to procede from here.  I was angry...this is still a baby!  MY baby...not just a file or case or unfortneate event...this is my BABY, and I already love him and you have no idea how incredibly painful this is, because even though I have seven, I still WANT this one!

Again with the "what is wrong with me?"  "What did I do wrong?"  "What is God trying to tell us?"  And then, as if I wasn't doing a good enough job beating myself up, patiently listening to well-intentioned comments like, "I think God is trying to tell you that seven is enough."  "I think someone is saying you should be done."  "Maybe God knows that you just can't handle anymore."  "Well, you are almost 40."  WHAT??  In my normal defensive response, I can't help but think, "So you don't think I'm doing a good job with the kids that I have?"  "Do you think that I am OLD?"  At the end of the day, I have a hard time believing that God would make his point that He doesn't think we can handle another by teasing us in such a painful way.  "Maybe something is wrong with you.  Maybe you need to make sure you don't get pregnant again."  How do I begin to explain my deep, deep love for my children and a longing that goes beyond the novelty of maternity clothes and congratulatory wishes to carry, hold, nuture and raise another child?  What do I offer to convince those who think we are being selfish and irresponsible and even negligent by having another?  I know that the comments aren't meant to be hurtful.  But they hurt none-the-less. 

I kind of thought this time that if I minimized all of this...chalked it all up to nature, biology, etc...didn't sit and ponder too much, that I could possibly just erase things and move on.  With no intention of ignoring that fact that Tim and I with God created a soul that didn't exist before, and that we have contributed to the Heavenly populous, I just wanted to get over it and move on.  I could distract myself, use my intellect to convince myself that I didn't have to be sad and that I could be entirely happy for friends having and getting ready to have their babies.  Yes, it would all be just fine.  But it isn't.  I want to just hand it all over to grief, my confusion, my anger, my jealousy, but I can't just do it that simply.  I want to, but I'm not.  God's way is mysterious.  I don't question Him.  That doesn't mean I don't question, and it doesn't mean I don't hurt.  My chest is physically heavy and it is hard to breathe because my heart aches so, so much. 

Life does go on.  I will handle this all, and of course I don't think I can do it on my own, although I guarantee I will slip and try to often probably.  I'm currently coping my eating a very large bowl of Captain Crunch which I will likely chase with ice cream or something not quite good for me.  I will then ignore my routine schedule for a bit, stare at my children, in awe that they are mine, saddened by the speed of the years since I was anticipating meeting them, and then proceed to probably skirt all of my responsibilities that aren't necessarily critical.  I need to...grieve I guess.  Get over that this was going to be the time that I stayed all 48 hours in the hospital to "enjoy" it like a normal person...that I was going to lay this baby in a Moses basket, because I have amazing friends and one of them acquired one for me; that Millie was going to finally get her baby just when her playmate was going to go off to Kindergarten and biggest brother was going to be one of those high school kids whose crazy mother just had a baby! 

We haven't given this little one a name yet, but according to Benjamin, he is "Bob".  He is adamant.  He seems to have a very special connection to Bob.  We tried to encourage other names to consider, but he is firm. What about Robert and we'll call him Bob?   We even suggested Basil Owen Benedict...B.O.B.   Not an option according to Ben.  When we pray, we pray for all of our children...God bless Jakob, Joshua, Jonathan, Mathilda, Benjamin, Joseph, Amelia, Annelise and Baby.  "BOB", Ben shouts in his gruff voice.  "And Bob".