My Ugly Pillow
I made an ugly pillow today.
This is not what I thought I would be writing a blog about. Actually, about this time I figured that I would be making an announcement. When you hear the word announcement, I’m sure you know what’s going to follow, and your guess is probably right. By this time I thought I would be 12 weeks pregnant and ready to tell the world. However, life, as you all know, rarely goes exactly as planned.
I first suspected the presence of baby number nine pretty early on (I have six children on earth, now three in heaven). I took my children on a jet boat trip in September and was ridiculously nauseous the whole time. But it was way too early for a pregnancy test, and I thought it was way too early to be nauseous because of a pregnancy, so I waited a few weeks and then took the test. Sure enough, it was positive. But the line was pretty faint, so I waited another week and took another test. It was positive as well. My husband and I were so happy. We waited a while to tell the children, and then our closest family and friends, and everyone shared in our joy. My children especially enjoyed the weekly update from the pregnancy app, letting us know how big the baby was and what development was going on.
Shortly after we broke the news, though, I heard the words in my head, as calm and sure as the still small voice in the Bible: “This pregnancy is going to end in miscarriage,” I was informed during a quiet moment with the Lord, “But it is not your fault.”
The words were hard to take, but there was a peace that came with them. A peace that really, truly, passed understanding. My heart was sad to hear the words, but my spirit was calm. I decided to not tell anyone else about my experience but to instead enjoy as much of this pregnancy as I could. I must have heard the words right around the time that the baby passed, because about 1.5 weeks later, my body let go of the baby.
I was 9.5 weeks along when I lost Joy (we do not know the gender of the baby, but I wanted to name the baby Joy because that is what the baby gave us during his/her short existence). One thing I can be thankful for is that this loss was not as traumatic on my body as the previous miscarriages had been (at 11.5 and 13.5 weeks). Though my body had a hard time letting go, it eventually did, and I didn’t have to have medical intervention.
I think it’s safe to say that this loss has also been a bit more gentle on my soul, too. Two weeks later, I am still incredibly sad and grieving, but I’m not shaking my fist at God or demanding to know “Why????” like I did with the other miscarriages. And I don’t think that is just because I had forewarning this time. I guess I’ve grown a bit in the past 11 years, which is comforting to know. My husband has also had an easier time. He really closed himself off to the emotions of it all during our previous losses and is now allowing himself to feel it all and grieve. I’m relieved, because I very much felt like I was grieving on my own in the past. So that is another thing to be grateful for.
So what does an ugly pillow have to do with all this? Well, it’s a part of my mourning. If you know me at all, you know my desperate need to be creative. If I'm not doing something, I am pretty much going crazy. During the heavy bleeding part of the miscarriage, I spent a lot of time at home sewing on last minute costumes for the children. Then I worked on different projects here and there. Once the bleeding stopped I spent the last week of hunting season going to the mountains about every day. We found lots of mushrooms but no deer, and hunting season ended yesterday.
I had made no plans for this morning except school and housework. Lord knows, I have a lot of housework to catch up on after being unwell and then hunting. But as I put breakfast in the oven I glanced over at the sad throw pillow on the living room floor. I had bought that thing from Walmart years ago with the plan to make some cute covers for it that I could switch out each season. Not surprisingly, I still haven't gotten around to it. I decided to make a fall colored one today.
I've never quilted before, but had saved some quilt pieces from my grandma's craft room and decided to use those. As I put the star together, I realized that it wasn't lining up quite right. I could have googled how to do it properly, but decided to just keep going. After the star was made, I looked at it for a long time. Its painfully obvious that it wasn't done by someone who knows what she is doing. I contemplated getting the seam ripper and trying again, but the more I looked at it the more I decided that I never wanted to change it. When I looked in my stash for a background color that would go well with it, I couldn't find one, so I just decided to go with the plaid that I liked. I added my own personal touch to the back of the pillow (and a gentle reminder to the kids to not leave my pillow on the floor!)
My pillow is a reminder to me that life doesn't always line up the way I want it to. Things often clash with what I had planned. They don't go as I had hoped and dreamed. And sometimes I get knocked down. Sometimes I get knocked down hard and stepped on a bit. But God is always there to pick me up off the floor. He dusts me off and puts me back where I should be. In spite of all my imperfections. Because of His great love for me.
That great, big, magnificent love that is more powerful than any pain or loss that comes my way. I think the biggest difference between this loss and my losses in the past is that I understand that love better than I did before. It never changes.
Blessings to you, mamas!