This is the next post in a two-week series which chronicles my journey through a miscarriage that occurred in the fall of 2011. Although it is a story of heartbreak, it is also one filled with God’s tender mercy. Made only more beautiful knowing we will welcome our newest baby in September of 2014, the very month our last little one went Home.
The next five days in the ICU brought something back into my life that had been absent in my grief and sadness. Something that I knew my heart had missed. Something I knew my heart needed.
And that something was gratitude.
It began the moment they removed the tube from my throat. And I choked out the words, “For the love, can I please have some ice chips?” To which my big, burly but gentle male nurse quietly chuckled, “Of course.”
I nearly kissed him when he returned.
Not long after, the day shift began. Doctors bustled in. One after the other.
It was the most awake I’d been since arriving at the ER the morning before. I looked down at my arms, surprised to see four IV’s and feeling a fifth in my neck. Purple welts covered my wrists and elbows but just as I began to feel a little sorry for myself, a cheery voice shattered my thoughts.
It was Jennifer, my day nurse.
Chatting the moment she walked in, she brought light into an otherwise dark room. Making small talk mostly. But tucking in amidst the chatter, “I will take very good care of you. I understand what you are going through.”
Under the influence of the medication, I nearly missed its significance. But somewhere, in the recesses of my brain, I carefully tucked it away. Only to remember it later that day.
After visitors. After eating. After my bath.
My bath. Another reason for gratitude. And giggles.
In truth, part of me was a wee bit embarrassed that two sweet girls were having to clean my sorry self. But another part of me was so grateful to feel clean. Even if I was far from runway ready.
Another part of me was amazed by the things people came up with in the name of ICU self-care. Like a shower in a cap. I’ll admit I almost asked to take some home.
Minus the absence of Aveda products, this thing came very close to a mother’s dream.
Shower-in-a-cap notwithstanding, perhaps the greatest memory of this inaugural event (for there would be more in my future) was the moment the nurse’s station blinds opened and closed. Right during the middle of my bath. Happened so quickly that none of us could make out the offending opener.
Jennifer quipped, “The doctors love to flip those open and check in on things.”
To which I responded, “Well, they got a little more than they bargained for today, eh?”
From which crazy, girly giggling erupted.
Not once. Not twice. But multiple times.
Not long after we composed ourselves from the window hilarity, towels were put away. Vitals were checked. And something made me I remember what had been said earlier that morning.
I realize now my segue into the conversation was hopelessly awkward. Made bearable only by the knowledge that I was over medicated and overtired. Made acceptable only by the grace of its recipient.
“So, you mentioned this morning that you understood?”
Jennifer smiled and quietly said, “I do. I knew the second I read your chart you were meant to be my patient. I was meant to take care of you.”
“I never had the complications you have had. But I have miscarried. Three times.”
I choked out, “Do you have any…”
“Babies? No. Not yet. Maybe never.”
Our eyes met. And tears began to fall. Only they were my tears.
For her. For her grief. For her empty arms.
You see, as real my grief was, my arms had babies to hold…three, in fact.
Healthy. Beautiful. And sacredly mine.
Three babies. Three gifts. And three perfect reasons to smile.