and then there were two.

Most family members know by now the extent of our weekend, the surgery I underwent yesterday and that hard, cold afternoon friday when I lay on the examination table looking at the sonogram of our 8-week-old baby, and at the little pinprick the doctor had used to show us the heart, as still as the winter season that half the world is entering. This pregnancy has not progressed for a week, she was saying, it’s not going to progress, she was sorry; she put her hand on my knee and outlined her prescribed course of action, while I looked to her like she was suggesting a picnic in the woods with the fairy people of Cabbagetown. “Can I get back to you on that?” I asked. We cried once she left the room.

Before leaving the office we scheduled the DNC for Monday, for yesterday, a twenty-minute procedure that would last all day. I signed the papers but was up almost all night that night, wondering if they were right, thinking I might should get a second opinion, as if by some miracle another machine might make the baby’s heart start again, make up for that week’s worth of lost growth. I woke up twice to co-workers’ phone calls, one message just to let me know we were being prayed for, another much later saying that she was awake too and thinking about us and that God had a reason for this. I swayed between absolute trust that this had happened for the best, then the thought that perhaps it wasn’t happening at all, then cried silently to myself, asking God why on earth he couldn’t just clue me in to whatever he was doing. The last feeling was absolutely wretched; it was as hopeless as letting someone conceive and then have the baby die eight weeks later, where was the sense, the purpose in that? I closed my eyes and saw mountains, a vision I understood but that only made me cry harder.

I got up Saturday and went to teach like I always did, somehow making it through the whole two hours without crying. Thankfully I never told that corner of my life about the pregnancy, a fact for which I was inexplicably glad; three less people to have to explain to. On my way to class I returned one co-worker’s call, a former pastor–he prayed for us over the phone. All day I hovered between what I considered my two choices: the surgery or a second opinion. I asked for peace with one, either one, just to have peace; I prayed to miscarry over the weekend so that I wouldn’t have to make the decision. We drove up to Tennessee, to the mountains, to meet Mom and Dad, and for almost twenty-four hours I felt secure in whatever would happen. I was still sick–the pregnancy symptoms carried on, though to a lesser degree, even though the baby didn’t–but on the ride up I could think about the situation clearly, if morbidly. I thought that I couldn’t think of this one lost child by any of the names we had already picked out, so I named him/her “Edgar” in my mind, just something other than “baby” or “it” or even that harsh, impersonal “embryo” that the medical world uses. It was a silly gesture, maybe, but it was comforting. I told Jeremy that I felt like the Grim Reaper, or the Coiste-Bodhar from Darby O’Gill and the Little People.

It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that I finally began to panic, dreading the next day, still unsure as to what should be done, what could be done. I almost made up my mind to cancel the surgery. On the way home I cried again, quietly, and I thought that the doctor had used two different machines to try and find Edgar’s little heartbeat, and even when she couldn’t she still searched for a while before telling us what she saw. I thought that even a second sonogram for my own peace of mind would only show me the same thing, prolonging the inevitable.I fell asleep, and when I woke as we pulled into our subdivision I had that peace I had been waiting for, though it wasn’t for the choice I thought I would have it for.

Yesterday was a long day; even though the twenty-minute procedure only lasted fifteen, I was at the hospital from ten a.m. to almost five. Like a full day of work. I had remained composed for most of the day, excluding the early morning when I arrived and they couldn’t find my appointment. And then I was alone, while everyone else in the surgery waiting room had someone with them. I sat in one of the little rooms that doubled as waiting and recovery chambers, wrapped in blankets and a hospital gown and reading the book I bought along with a sweater and a box of hair dye on my way to the hospital. It wasn’t until I was on the table in the operating room with the anesthesiologists running around poking things into my IV and the doctor leaned over, taking my hand and saying she knew this isn’t where I had planned on being today that I cried, tears running out of the corners of my eyes and falling to the table, before I fell asleep. I woke o someone telling me to take deep breaths, to pain, to an IV that had fallen out, and to peace. It was all alright.

Today I am ok. I have stayed home from work and finished my book, and drank two containers of V8 Fusion. I have thought about the past few days and astonished myself with the joy I felt about the fact that I was pregnant only a few days ago, that state of being we feared impossible. There is an immeasurable quantity of hope in this situation now over, and we have decided to try again right away, since our lives remain shifted towards the desire and excitement of welcoming children in the near future.

This is the song I have thought of the most this weekend, prompted by the mountain metaphor God reminded me of that first night. I could not find a better video, so bear with the live recording, and I have included the words since they are mostly intelligible in the clip.

One Time

Let me tell you what he did for me
with the weight of my worries tearing my sleeve
I cried to my Father, the end of all hope
“Show me the rope, which way to go”
As I fell asleep
He took away my worries
He picked me up and put me on his shoulders.

I could see for miles–
He showed me that the mountain I’m climbing
Is not a mountain at all,
But a gentle slope leading home.

There are mountains
Towering ahead
He says to me, “These are mine,
Hold my hand, you’ll be fine.”

I could see for miles–
He showed me that the mountain I’m climbing
Is not a mountain at all,
But a gentle slope leading home.

“The mountains are mine.”

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and then there were two.

15 thoughts on “and then there were two.

  1. Oh Erin, I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all this. I’ll be praying for you. I can’t imagine what you must be going through. Thankfully, like you said, there is the possibility of having children in the future. God really does work everything together for the good of those that love Him so I know without a doubt that He’s going to take this and turn it into something amazing.

  2. Erin,I’m sorry for your loss, which is a very real loss, even though it sometimes feels like maybe it wasn’t real.  I had a different experience, but the same outcome almost 8 years ago.  I just prayed for you.Twinkling for Jesus,Michelle

  3. Dear Erin,Matt and I both read your post yesterday, and we want you to know how sorry we are. We will be praying for you and thinking of you. We understand the heartbreak you’re going throgh. We went through a situation very similar last year, and it was probably the hardest thing we’ve ever dealt with. I pray that God would just draw you both closer to Him and that you would cling to one another through this as well. To encourage you, Erin, He WILL turn this mourning into joy. I’m so thankful that He has already filled you with hope for the future even while you’re grieving. Would you mind emailing me your address? (ldiffe00@leeu.edu) Matt and I had something we wanted to send you. Please know you’re in our hearts and prayers.Love always,Leah

  4. my dear, I absolutely understood what you said when you said you saw mountinas.God used that song in my life as well. I’m praying for you both my dear. I know God can cover you with His grace.Mark told me that when we wrote that song, he had actually dreamt that scene he describes.It really is from God, which is why I think there is so much power in it.I’m glad you find comfort there. The mountains are His.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Erin, I don’t know what to say.  I’ve cried and cried while reading and re-reading this post.  I don’t know the pain you’re going through – I’m not going to pretend that I do… but I’m praying for you.  I’m so sorry.

  6. my heart’s broken for you, and i’m sorry you’ve had to go through allthat. i can’t imagine how painful it must be. i hope everything doeswork out, and i’m glad you’re not letting yourself get bitter over it.

  7. Dear Erin,
    Very sorry to hear about your loss.  We went through the exact same thing just one year ago, and it was the hardest time of our lives.  I know it doesn’t help much, but we understand your pain and our hearts go out to you both.
    – Matt

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