It has been quite an eventful couple of months. When I last wrote, we were just heading into our Christmas Vacation with no idea what a rollercoaster ride we were about to get on. The Saturday after Christmas, Barbara and I got the wonderful news that Barbara was pregnant! We’ve been hoping that would happen for a few months now, so we were overjoyed that it our dream was coming true! We began to call family and friends, go shopping at local baby stores, buy books on pregnancy and parenting, and generally dive headfirst into the prospect of being a mom & dad.
We eagerly awaited Barbara’s first obstetrics visit on January 25th. When the date arrived, however, we got some shocking and completely unexpected news. The baby should have been eight weeks along, but during the ultrasound it was only measuring at six weeks. As shocked as we were about the news, we suspected that six weeks was most likely the real age of our little one based on what we knew about the month of December. The doctor asked us to come back February 1st so that she could check on the baby’s growth. We tried our best to ignore the worry that tried to overtake us, and just assumed that the baby would show a week’s worth of growth when we returned.
When we returned to the doctor on the 1st of February, we were horrified to learn that our baby still had not grown. The ultrasound measured our baby at 6 weeks, or perhaps a little less. The doctor told us that it was most likely that our pregnancy was not successful. She wanted us to come back one more week later for a final check before declaring it a miscarriage. The news was devastating, and it was very difficult for us to make it through the next couple of days. We spent much time in prayer and in tearful conversation with each other. We tried to avoid social situations because we were both having difficulty maintaining composure. A routine trip to the grocery store on Thursday proved to be a nearly overwhelming experience because of the constant reminders around us of our loss.
The first couple of days were very difficult for Barbara. I hated having to leave her and go to work the next day, and I could tell when I came home that first night how hard it was for her to have to struggle through this without me there. Each day she gradually became stronger, but I can tell it’s still an active battle inside. I love her more deeply every day that passes, and it has broken my heart to see her suffer.
I’ve discovered that one of the ways I deal with intense negative emotion now is by focusing on tasks. My wife and I read a great book early on in our marriage entitled “Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti". The book compared a man’s mind to waffles, with each aspect confined in well-defined walls like the boxes on a waffle. When I focus on one thing, I tend to block out everything else that is unrelated to the subject of my focus. This actually became a valuable asset to me through our experiences this past week, because I was able to focus on tasks such as web development.
While doing that, though, I needed to make sure I maintained a balance. I couldn’t lose myself in tasks and neglect Barbara, because I knew she needed me through this situation more than ever. I also couldn’t completely avoid any thought of what happened, because then I would never be able to process everything emotionally and move on. This blog post is actually a big part of the process of dealing with what happened, actually, because it is allowing me to organize my thoughts and lay everything out in the open. Writing this has made me sad, most definitely, but I also feel like I’m stronger for having written it. I feel like I have a better handle on the situation now. I suppose I’ve been able to better define the walls of my waffle-box for this situation, allowing me to keep it organized and contained and under control. I had no idea I’d become so analytical, but I suppose that shift was inevitable considering how strongly analytical my father is. It’s one of his traits that I think I’ve needed a dose of for a long time now, and I’m glad it’s developing.
So, the events of the last month have been an extreme collection of ups and downs for both of us. We are hopeful about the future, and plan to try again as soon as we are able. We know that everything that has happened is a part of God’s will, and His plan is beyond anything that we can comprehend. We know that plan is ultimately for our good, and we trust Him completely. As is human, I suppose, we lament the fact that we are unable to see that plan clearly. If we could see the future with that kind of clarity, though, then there would be no faith involved in following Him. We would simply be automatons, devoid of free will and following along because we have to. Our blindness to His will is a necessary aspect of humanity in order for us to have the ability to choose Him and be granted the gift of salvation.