The Waiting Place

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race

down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace

and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,

headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

It’s a strange place, this waiting place.  I thought having a d&c would eliminate the waiting place from our experience.  I naively thought I was waiting for the baby’s body to pass from my body.  The 32 hours between the time we found out the baby had died and the time I was taken in for surgery were the longest of my life.  I was afraid to move, afraid to breathe, afraid to sneeze, afraid to do anything for fear I’d do something to start the process of miscarrying on my own.

I don’t regret the d&c.  I don’t wait well.  I just didn’t understand how much waiting would be left when it was over.  I’m waiting for the bleeding to stop.  Waiting for the results of testing.  I’m desperately waiting to find out if the baby was a boy or girl so I can put a name to the pictures in my mind.  I’m waiting for the funeral home to call and tell me we can collect the ashes.  I’m waiting for my follow-up appointment to find out more about the fibroids and clotting issues.  I’m waiting to leave for Florida.  I’m waiting for the Prozac to start working.

What I’m not waiting for?  To feel better.  It makes me angry when I notice feeling lighter and welcome the return of sadness when it follows.  Sometimes I flirt with the idea of pretending these last 12 weeks (well, the 9 I knew about) were all figments of my imagination.  Then I’m incredulous that I could ever consider the idea and I let guilt inflict a little wounding on my soul.

I wonder when, exactly the baby’s heart stopped beating.  I heard it around 11:00 last Saturday morning.  Over the few preceding days I had noticed it was hard to keep track of the baby with the doppler – I’d find the heartbeat for a few moments and the baby would seem to move away.  Because of this, I tried to listen briefly because I figured if the baby was consistently moving away the doppler waves might be irritating.  How long after that did it end?  Soon after?  Right before I tried to find it again around 8:00?

I suspect I know.  Around 5:30, I stopped at the store to pick up some soda for the evening.  We’re not typically soda drinkers, but we were having a small get-together so Tahd could cash in on a Christmas present – a pay-per-view UFC fight.  I grabbed two cases, a Sprite and a Mountain Dew, paid, then tossed them in the car.  As I got in, I felt a funny burning sensation in my lower abdomen.  I arrived at church a bit later and noticed the sensation a few more times and tried not to worry because pregnancy is fraught with strange sensations and unusual annoyances, the analysis of which could drive a person insane.

Most pregnant women seem to have a few moments earlier in pregnancy where they wonder if they’ve felt the baby move.  Of course, they wait a few more weeks and have an unmistakable experience of movement and are able to focus on their feelings of increasing intensity for the rest of the pregnancy, forgetting the earlier sensations that may or may not have been baby.  I had several of those experiences and was growing quite excited about feeling what was unmistakably the baby.  Herein lies the only benefit  I can see of my experience – because I went from pregnant to not pregnant in the course of 36 hours, I’m quite sure I felt the baby move.  Before Saturday evening, my belly was alive with activity – not all the time and nothing strong – but there were whispers and taps that left me wondering but questioning.  Knowing how instantly they subsided, it makes me think those things really were movement, a small gift to me I would never have otherwise understood.

I haven’t decided if I’m waiting to get really angry or not.  I have moments of it, as I mentioned earlier, but that’s it, really.  Just moments.  We went to church this evening, our typical Saturday evening routine.  I didn’t want to go; I felt like everyone would stare at me and I’d cry.  But Gabe really wanted to attend his children’s program and Tahd said he felt like going, so I obliged.  I’ve said no to basically every other thing Tahd has wanted to do this week and I’ve been feeling guilty.

Nobody stared.  I did cry.  There were songs at first, but I couldn’t sing.  My mouth was glued shut and I tried to swallow over the lump in my throat.  But eventually I sang – not because I wanted to but because I was still worried everyone might be staring.  The lyrics seemed strange, very foreign.

Oh Lord my God in You I put my trust/Oh Lord my God in You I put my hope


I’m casting my cares aside/I’m leaving my past behind/I’m setting my heart and mind on you Jesus


Forever, author of salvation/He rose and conquered the grave/Jesus conquered the grave

The last one really bothered me.  It is a strange feeling to have walked with death inside you, to be a grave.  The only thing I imagine it compares to is holding a loved one in your arms as s/he passes.  But even that’s not the same.  I suspect that’s worse in many regards, especially if it’s a child who is dying.  But to hold death in your body is extremely personal, and odd, really.  I know some people who have lost a later-term pregnancy feel a rush to get the baby out of their body for this reason.  Other people would rather wait because they’re not ready to give up the physical connection.  I felt neither of those things, really.  I felt an urgency to have surgery because I was scared of delivering, and although I felt desperately sad at what had happened, I didn’t feel the same connection to the baby I felt when I knew it was alive.  I guess when we sang these words I felt bitter.  And disbelieving.  And angry.  I was a grave just one week ago, and I’m certainly feeling no victory.

But then we sang this:

With all creation I sing/Praise to the King of Kings

and I was back in the in-between.

I have fairly specific beliefs about the beginning of life.  Without going into tremendous detail, I will say that I generally believe miscarried babies will be in Heaven.  I believe I will see this baby again.

The line in this song says “with all creation I sing.”  Quite simply, I imagined singing with my baby.  Perhaps we’re separated by time and dimension, but the idea of doing the same thing at the same time, united in heart brings comfort.  Granted, I don’t know if I’m right in my belief that miscarried babies are in Heaven and I certainly have no clue if babies in Heaven can sing.  But I imagined it and it felt good and I liked the idea.

Early in this pregnancy, I told God that if He gave this baby to me only to take it away via miscarriage that I didn’t think my faith was strong enough to sustain the trauma.  I told Him is He was going to do it, to please do it quickly – to not let it drag on because every day it went on was a day I fell deeper in love.  To have miscarried this baby at the turn of the trimesters ON Mother’s Day is almost like a slap in the face.  He did exactly what I told Him I didn’t think I could handle.  What I don’t think I can handle.

And yet.

We sang those words and I realized I’m in a bind.  To hold onto the hope that I will see my baby again, I can’t let go of the schema on which it’s all based – put loosely, the God/Jesus/cross stuff.  On the other hand, if I give up the schema, I also give up the hope.  It’s a tricky spot, hating to believe and hating to not believe.  It’s sort of like another line from the Seuss book:

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

So I wait.  To get answers.  To work it out.  To feel peace. To find comfort.  Something – even one of those things.  I wait.

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  1. Heidi, I wish we could be in the same room so that we could have a conversation more easily. I know I keep saying this, but so much of what you’ve been saying is so familiar. I wish it were easier to lean on each other. *hugs* Still thinking of you and praying for you.

  2. Melanie says:

    I posted that last quote from Oh The Places You’ll Go on my FB page just about a week ago. It spoke to me as well.

    I have no doubt in the world that you will see and hold your baby someday. What I cannot make sense of is why you will have to wait so long to do so.

    Continued thoughts and prayers.

  3. I have a nice, soft comfy chair in The Waiting Place. It has my name on it. Do you see me over there? I’m waving at you!

    This quote from the book has often reminded me of my/our journey – especially in the early years when I was still doing lots of buddy groups where everyone but me was getting pregnant:

    I’m sorry to say so
    but, sadly, it’s true
    and Hang-ups
    can happen to you.

    You can get all hung up
    in a prickle-ly perch.
    And your gang will fly on.
    You’ll be left in a Lurch.

    You’ll come down from the Lurch
    with an unpleasant bump.
    And the chances are, then,
    that you’ll be in a Slump.

    What a gift it was to feel those little flutters. It was REAL.

  4. as i read your words on this post i immediately thought of a quote i heard recently by R. Alcorn…”faith that cannot be shaken is faith that has been shaken.”

    there is no doubt in my mind that as you sang praises to our Lord, your baby lifted high his or her voice and sang with you…your voices twirling together and falling at His holy feet.

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