Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Letting Go

balloonAt first I thought going to a memorial service to say good-bye to Kolbe (the baby I just lost in miscarriage) was that last thing I would do.  The thought of making myself emotionally vulnerable and go back into the wound that I just wanted to walk away from was the least appealing idea to me.  Yet, when the priest at my Church texted to tell me that the cemetery that Kolbe was to be buried at had a memorial service being offered the very next week after losing my baby, it seemed to be an invitation from God. Either that or it was very coincidental that within a week of miscarrying there was a service being offered. Then he told me that the day it was offered was the very day we had a meeting scheduled anyways so he knew I would be free.
I have begun to see these kind of coincidences as ways in which God is gently nudging me in a particular direction.  They are painful nudges, but they are invitations that I have begun to understand as doors God the Father desires for me, His daughter to walk through because He want to take me deeper, closer and farther in my spiritual walk towards Him.
I can refuse these invitations, but I some how know if I do I will be staying right where I am.  A couple of years ago I began recognizing these invitations for the first time.  I did not realize that I was always being invited and had even accepted many of them.  Instead I had thought I was just "experiencing" deeper intimacy here and there, randomly.   Then it happened.  I was in Florida at a Healing Retreat dealing with the shit storm of what is my life and I heard the Holy Spirit prompt me to accept His invitation.  That is when I recognized that I am always being given invitations.  What do they look like? Usually they look very painful.  That particular night the invitation was clear.  "When I invite you, say yes.  If you do, I will heal you.  If you don't, you will stay where you are." The Holy Spirit was telling me that even when it was scary and felt like dying that if I trusted Him and said yes to whatever it was He was inviting me to, that on the other side of it I would find healing.  It is as if you are blind-folded and walking through traffic and someone is reaching their hand out on the other side telling you to walk toward them.  As scary as that felt, I still heard Him saying "Trust Me."
Even now I am having a hard time articulating the intense fear and reservation that still accompanies his invitations.  That invitation in Florida, the one that opened my eyes to see that I am always being invited, changed my life.  I call it my undoing because I was undone, but then I was made new.  
I heard the invitation to walk into the loss of this baby when it would be so much easier to just continue marching forward and get on with my life.  It is so easy to do with all of the things on my calendar.  I could easily slip away from it all and just try to forget.  Yet, here I was standing in a cemetery listening to poems being read out loud by other women who just lost their babies.  The most beautiful part of the ceremony was the moment the woman there handed me a purple balloon in honor of Kolbe.  As it was placed in my hands the tears slipped out of my eyes and down my face.  To hold something in my hands that was for Kolbe broke open the stones I had tried to put around the wound in my heart to keep from feeling the loss.  One of my most favorite songs ever started playing as we were invited to say goodbye in our own private way.
I watched  a mother and three children each take a balloon and tie a note to the string.  They released their balloons together and I watched as she kneeled on the ground holding her children and watching with them as the balloons rose in the air carrying their little notes with them.
Looking back at my own balloon I closed my eyes for a brief moment and I swear I saw Kolbe holding hands with his siblings in heaven, laughing and running chasing after the balloons like children do.  Then I did what I must always do  when I am going to accept an invitation sent to me from God my Father.  I let go.

If It Be Your Will

blake embraceI love this image by William Blake because it speaks of what it means to unite oneself and ones desires to the will of God.  It speaks of reconciliation and of union.  I love the pose of the man as it is reminiscent of the cross, with his hands extended in such a way.  The body speaks a language and this man's body is saying to me that while he realizes the suffering, the cross that comes when he opens himself to God there is a peace and resting that takes place by allowing God to embrace him.  The fulfillment of all desire can only happen if we unite our desires to that of God's for us. Knowing this is one thing, knowing it as an experience is and entirely different thing.

Earlier this week I had a song playing through my mind.  It's a Leonard Cohen tune called "Waiting For a Miracle." Listening to Leonard if feels as if time slows down just a little bit and my mind quiets down.  It calms me, it transports me out of the chaos of a given moment into an interior life that feels like prayer.  St. Frances said when we sing we pray twice so perhaps music is it's own form of prayer.  "Waiting For a Miracle" says it all.

I was waiting for a miracle to come.  The way Leonard sings it, with such gentle melancholy expresses the tenderness of desire to have what I want, yet at the same time expresses the sadness of knowing that it would take a miracle.  There is no begging or pleading, just a hope and desire for it.  This has been my hearts song for the past week.

This morning I woke up with another Leonard Cohen song singing itself into my mind.  I had to smile because I felt it was a grace from God that caused it to sing me awake. It was my first thought as I opened my eyes.

"If It Be Your Will" is a song that I have loved for many years.  It is a song I have sung in times where I desired to embrace the will of God and not my own and I prayed for his grace to be poured into me so that I could desire it.  The part that says;

"If it be your will
That I speak no more 
And my voice be still 
As it was before 
I will speak no more 
I shall abide until 
I am spoken for 
If it be your will"

Became a prayer of sorts as I struggled with attacks from people that took it upon themselves to try and destroy my speaking career.   I know that God has the only power to do anything.  This song is my new prayer as I have transitioned into the hardest part of this miscarriage.  I am still waiting, but not for a miracle to come, but for a miracle of life that was created inside of me to make it's way out.  It is the hardest for me because I wonder what I will see or worse, that I will miss him or her and flush her away.  That is why it's hardest.  I just want this part to be done so I can transition to healing.

When I reached for my phone this morning I saw the tweet of Pope Francis. As if to affirm that the song that was sung to me as I awoke was indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit, his "tweet" spoke of God's will being my own.

"The one who listens attentively to the Word of God and truly prays, always asks the Lord: what is your will for me?" Pope Francis

I can thank God for transitioning my heart this morning by a gift of His grace.  I truly know that I want what He wants. I know there has been nothing wasted, a soul will exist for all eternity and his/her name is Kolbe and will be praying me into heaven.

I realized early on in this process that I could offer this suffering to God.  I solidified this during the mass yesterday when I offered my body as a living sacrifice.  I offered my body as an altar upon which to offer this miscarriage as a spiritual sacrifice to God and asked for Mary to give the graces to her priests who offer themselves daily without ever being able to hold the results in their arms.  I asked for the gift of spiritual motherhood to the priests in my life, that I would love them as Mary does.  That I would see them as my sons that need a mother to pray for them, to love them and offer prayers and sufferings for their protection.  I usually never help distribute communion, but I was inspired to do so.

I felt inspired to offer communion and felt the love of my heart being poured out to every person who approached Jesus.  I found myself looking deeply into each persons eyes as they came forward and felt a deep merciful love of Mary in me flow out to them.  I did not look at them as they approached, I would see them.  I would see their goodness and longing and desire to be filled and offer them the living God that is the only thing that can fill that void.

I am in a good place today.  God is Good, all the time, God is Good.

I Grieve

Before reading this post please listen to The Song "I Grieve" By Peter Gabriel. You can listen to it while you read my blog as it will open in a separate tab.  This song as it embodies the emotions that I am experiencing.  It captures the moment of my life that I am living, right now.  The lyrics are so perfect...  There is something beautiful and something so raw about embracing life even when it means that we embrace the intensity of suffering, sadness and grief.
I am working through my emotions as I experience this miscarriage by journaling here on my blog.  I have a hard time with allowing myself to cry, to feel.  It is easier to numb myself.  I have become quite good at.  When I wrote the last two posts the flood gates opened in a way that I realized I needed.  I only realized it after I opened to feeling the pain. It almost seems like I am not supposed to be grieving.  Some of the questions I get like "how far along are you" is just code for "your not far enough along to be so upset."
I was almost ready to numb myself through this but then I realized that I really am hurting and if I don't face into that hurt it is going to come out sideways.  It always does.   Rather than stay in denial, or turn to anger as a means to control my pain,  I am choosing to embrace the pain that comes from feeling everything, talking about it and processing it in the moment.  It hurts.  I still find I cannot stay in the moment with my feelings and allow myself the grief that is just below the surface because life does go on, and on and on and on.  My children need me, my house has chores and there is work to be done.  I keep having to push down the sadness and disappointment and grief.
I will keep updating this one post as I document the process of losing Kolbe.  If you are just happening upon this blog post then you can read the first two posts by clicking the links.  The first one, "I'm Having a Miscarriage" and "Deep Sorrow"  will get you up to speed and I will put headers of the day and or times of the new entries...
Where am I at right now? Well, this image helps to make that clear. Right now I am angry at my body and I feel very alone.
baby miscarriage
I am angry with my body for failing to protect this precious little person. I feel alone because not everyone sees a miscarriage as the loss of a child.  Instead it seems to be viewed as the way the body discards babies that were possibly genetically inferior and "for the best."  I don't know why I am miscarrying but I do know that the reality is that I am losing a baby.
So where am I at in the process today? I am still waiting. I have a terrible back-ache, I am cramping but as of right now I am still waiting for my body to complete this process it seems to have committed itself to.  There is light spotting of pinkish brown mucus. It  reminds me of when I would go into labor. The first stage was losing the mucus plug.   It was so exciting to see that process begin  because it meant the long wait to have a baby was finally going to be over.  It signaled that very soon, a baby would be placed into my arms.  It signaled that a process was starting.  It was a sign indicating that a process had begun in which the result would be my child leaving my body.
It means the same thing today but there is no joy in it for me.   There is only grief.  So I will walk into that.  I will grieve.

I Am Having A Miscarriage
This may be a bit of a difficult blog post to follow over the next few days but I'm finding that I need to use this blog to sort out my emotions during this inevitable miscarriage.
That's right, I'm going to lose my child. Before I know if he or she is a he or she I am faced with the reality that I will never hold this child in arms not will it suckle at my breasts.
Science has revealed the future to me and I have mixed emotions about knowing that sooner rather than later this pregnancy will be ending.
Last week I went to have blood drawn to check the HCG levels in my blood. This test detects a level of a specific hormone that a newly conceived child produces after it implants in the uterus.

This hormone is the same hormone that darkens the second line on a urine test indicating pregnancy. If that hormone decreases rather than increases, it indicates that miscarriage is inevitable.
I found out 4 days ago that my levels decreased, a lot. The exact words from my doctor were;
"Dear Christina
I am sorry to half to tell you but this is not a viable pregnancy. Your quants have dropped and we need to have you stop all progesterone. You should be able to miscarry on your own by simply stopping the progesterone. It can take A few weeks but with the low quants I do not suspect it will take long if you have not already noted bleeding.
Things to be concerned about are very brisk bleeding, increased abd pain, fever, fould smelling discharge for which you need an acute evaluation
We do need to follow the quants down to normal
I would recheck next week Monday
I will keep you in prayer during this time
Love and prayers
I have a great Doctor, but it's still hard to deal with, knowing I'm going to lose this baby.
I'm still waiting. The only sign of miscarriage this far is that just now, about 5 minutes ago I saw a tiny bit of pink and brown tinged colored mucus. Is this it? Is it beginning? Please Jesus, help me to bear this weight. It's so painful. I'm grieving the impending loss of Kolbe, the name I've given this child. If it was a boy, I wanted to name him "Maximillian Kolbe" if a girl, Claira Kolbe. So it seems fitting, to call my son or daughter by his or her name, Kolbe.
I wonder if you are already with Jesus or if you are still hanging on, waiting with me as the numbers drop low enough till finally you can no longer hold on. I love you Kolbe, your omit and Opi, your brother and two other siblings cannot wait to meet you. Until then, know how very much I will miss you.