Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good news

First, let me just wish my small but faithful band of readers a very Happy New Year full of peace, good health and plenty.

I'm so glad to be ending the year on a high note. One of the things I haven't mentioned before that made this a rough winter was finding out back in mid-November (in fact, the same week I found out I was pregnant) that my dad has kidney cancer. Fortunately, they caught it very early.

This morning my dad had surgery to remove the tumor and the operation was successful. He's still waiting on biopsy results; hopefully the doctors were able to remove all the malignant tissue.

Oh, and more happy news to ring in 2010: on January 15, Every Day Poets will be publishing a new improved version of my poem "Waiting for Charon." Circle the date!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Blue days

In the middle of November, Jim and I found out we were expecting. This was planned—I'd even go so far as to call it a carefully orchestrated attempt to thwart the thunderous ticking of my biological clock—so I was really over the moon about it. Even though I was only five and a half weeks along, I told some family and a few friends; the elation was practically bursting out of me.

On Thanksgiving afternoon, a few hours after dinner, I started spotting. And cramping. My spirits sank in fear and long before I was ready to accept it, I think my body knew exactly what was happening. That night I called my mom, who's a nurse, and she gave me good advice about taking care of myself over the next few days. I also talked to the doctor on call at my clinic (which was closed over the holiday weekend) who told me I need to watch and wait for the next few days before I could be sure I was miscarrying.

So I watched and waited.

Deep down, though, I knew. On Monday, my doctor confirmed it. I told him, intellectually I could wrap my brain around understanding this was my body's way of taking care of a fetus that wasn't developing properly, and I knew it was ultimately easier than the alternatives of losing the baby further along or giving birth to a child with health or developmental problems. Knowing that intellectually was one thing; riding the emotional roller-coaster of grief and pregnancy hormones was another entirely.

I've been surprised at how much I've pulled inward and wanted to isolate myself, how difficult it's been to get out of the house or reach out and ask for help, let alone tell people, even close friends and family. I have girlfriends and family members who've been through this, too, and I've been deeply touched by the empathy of those women who know what I'm going through. But sometimes it's too hard to talk about it, or see people with new babies, or be around mothers-to-be with their soft swelled bellies who still have their babies to look forward to.

This is completely new territory for me, and some days, some moments, I'm at a loss for how to cope. I'm so grateful, though, for those who have supported me by bringing in dinner, taking the kids to play for a few hours, calling or emailing to check in on me, or even just giving me a good hug. Thank you, thank you. And I'm grateful for a loving, patient, helpful husband who anticipates what I need and does it before I can even ask.

The only way out of grief is through, and I will get through it. Each day is a little easier than the one before and I know I can continue on one day at a time, with God's grace leading me by the hand.