i remember last time the blood; dear God there was so much blood, and this time was no different. only it was different; let's just say that having to induce your own miscarriage does not exactly rank in anyone’s list of top 10 fun things to do. but it avoided the need for a D&C, and i did have excellent care; my mother’s presence was such a blessing and a comfort, and i am forever thankful that she dropped everything and just came. it is not something to do when alone. it was not easy; there was a lot of cramping and contractions and of course, the blood.
assuming most of the eyes on this blog are female (and apologies to those that are not!), i can safely say that we’ve all been used to seeing our own blood for many years, since that first momentous period. we finally got to use those pads that had been sitting in the hall closet for so long, those neatly wrapped packages that were like tickets out of girlhood into the mysterious world of women. it was only later that we realized menstruation was nothing to get excited about, and that every month Auntie Flo, or The Visitor, or whatever we called it would force us to rearrange whole parts of our lives to accommodate that cycle. and so somehow, with physical maturity that came long before any sort of other maturity, we first learned that blood was an inescapable part of our identity as women.
i am realizing again that this loss also is an inescapable part of that identity, and not just as part of this wise and strong community of so many women – and those that love them -- who remember their lost children long after others have forgotten them. it is also that these babies are literally part of me now, since in both cases, my body took most of them back, leaving behind to be expelled only that which nourished them for the short time they took over my body.
somehow both of my children are part of my wholeness -- yes, my wholeness -- because who i am authentically must include these losses. this is why i decided that i would never lie to people who ask if i have children; i have said yes, we had one but she didn’t make it; we remain hopeful for another. this weekend i found myself now saying yes, we had two, but they were lost and we remain hopeful. a few people don’t know what to do with this; they never considered that this was a possible answer to their innocuous question. but i have found that the vast majority of responses have been: i’m sorry, i understand; my second baby was stillborn, or my wife had three miscarriages between our living kids, or my nephew was lost at 21 weeks. and then we all remember our lost children together and it’s absolutely not tragic; see, that is the miracle, always there is a brightness and grace in the memory of a tiny person you loved being spoken back into a moment of existence.
of course i am grieving, and grieving hard. i’d like to write more on that later, but for now it is enough to say that i still believe in grace, which is as strong and delicate as spider’s silk.