It’s one of those weeks. The relentless kind. I can’t seem to catch my breath.
It’s not that I’m busy or overworked or suffering from some kind of respiratory infection…it’s the aching-lump-in-my-throat-pit-in-my-stomach-all-day kind of sad. My heart just hurts this week.
I know, poor me, right?
There is nothing new to say. Nothing has changed. It’s customary for me to write when I feel like this except this time, I’m having trouble forming thoughts into cohesive sentences.
How does my soul know to miss her so incredibly when we had her for such a short period of time? I think often of families who lose toddlers and kids they’ve known and raised for years.
“She was hardly mine. Mainly His really. As of tomorrow, Saturday, she’s been gone exactly twice as long as she was here.”
These are the types of statements I tell myself to brave the moments of unexpected grief.
I suppose it is because I loved my daughter enough for a lifetime. But love wasn’t enough, was it?
Someone once described me as a “Ninety-Percenter”. Someone who gives it all except that last 10%.
I can’t say those words didn’t sting. But why? If it wasn’t true, shouldn’t it have rolled right off into the abyss of other self-defeating thoughts? Perhaps it was true.
“Am I?”, I thought, “Did this person just casually and unapologetically reveal a character flaw that I wasn’t even consciously aware of?”
At that point in my life, I over-confidently thought of myself as someone who didn’t just give it all, but gave even a little more, like 110%. But this person saw me differently, 20% less to be annoyingly precise. Thus, I assumed everyone in my life did as well. I clung to this comment and knew I had to make up for it…somehow.
Why? Because it’s really something I try to avoid in every area of my life. This propelled me into Type-A overdrive. I wanted to prove this theory wrong. I sought to prove that I could, in fact, do it ALL for EVERYONE. Seeking control in every area of my life is how I would squash the “Ninety-Percenter” in me.
It worked, I guess, for a while. I tricked myself into thinking that hard work, dedication and the occasional migraine allowed me to make it happen. It wasn’t perfect, by any means, but I was well on my way to the day I would laugh in the face of 90%.
And then? I was not-so-gently reminded that I simply am not and cannot be in control. I learned that our plan is a joke…it isn’t ours. It isn’t mine.
Almost exactly one year ago now, we learned that our baby girl in utero wasn’t the healthy daughter we planned on having.
Guess who returned…The Ninety-Percenter.
The Ninety-Percenter returned a lot last year. She would present herself in the hardest moments. What I realized is that I usually lacked those last percentages because of fear. It would all but paralyze me…by choice, truthfully.
90% of me loved our baby like crazy from the very moment they cut the cord…but not all of me. I was afraid if I let myself love her wholly, for it would hurt worse if she didn’t stay. The longer she lived, however, the deeper I fell for her. I couldn’t help myself, I opened my heart and loved her with my whole being.
And then she died.
The thing I feared became my reality.
I remember cursing the irony of it all. “This…” I thought to myself, shaking my head.
I have to entrust not just 90% but the full 100% to the only One who can carry me through it. I beg for my family and friends to hang in there with me. When I “ninety-percent” you in some way, forgive me. Tell me to lean in to the fear. Don’t give up on me and my ugly 10%.
This week, Chris and I had appointments to become established with a Family Practice physician. No more Doc-In-A-Box visits for us during this sick season! As I was filling out the pages and pages of medical history, the questions changed gears rather abruptly and included:
1.) How many times have you been pregnant?
2.) How many live births?
3.) Have you ever experienced a miscarriage or still birth?
I remember thinking that those questions didn’t get the full story. Don’t they want to know more? To know what happened after the live births? Sure, I’ve had two babies, but one is still here. The math is cruel. My heart began to ache…along with my empty arms. I fought back what seemed like silly, unnecessary tears only to chuckle at what happened next…
A woman sat one chair away from me, perched her new baby girl right on her knee and began to bounce, ever so gently, to sooth her daughter’s tiny whimpers.
Trying not to stare, I waited for a glimpse of her little eyes…she turned her head my way and I promise they almost sparkled. I got lost in them for what seemed like minutes but was really only a second or two.
I looked away and briefly tried to find my daughter’s eyes in my mind.
My focus was broken when I heard, “Rachel, the doctor will see you now.”
Later, in an almost desperate attempt to feel weight in my arms, I asked Cooper if I could rock him. I knew how he would respond and I was right.
“Mommy, I’m not a baby….rocking is for babies!”
“I know buddy, but I’ll read you a book…please?”
“Okay, but just for a minute, Mom.”
I snuck in about three back-and-forth’s before he wiggled out of my grip and was off to the next thing.
It’s gone. The ability to rock my children has somehow escaped and I can’t get it back. Cooper is a self-proclaimed “Big Boy” now and has absolutely no desire to be rocked. And Audrey, well…I can only pray someone is rocking her up there.
So I sat alone in the chair, closed my eyes and rocked back and forth, back and forth…back and forth.
This week has somehow turned into a weekend and I’m sure next week will be easier and lighter with fewer dark moments. I’ll be able to catch my breath once again.
But for now, for today, I’m broken. I’m still madly in love with her.
I long for my girl.
And, I suppose, that’s okay. Who knows…maybe, just maybe, she misses me too.
Love + Hugs,