I’ve never seen Rayne so excited as she was the day we told her we were having a baby. Bradlee’s excitement was masked behind her feigning naivety, pretending not to know what we were talking about and choosing to remain the baby of the family forever… but Rayne couldn’t contain her joy. She ran, she hugged, she jumped, she hugged again, she double and triple and quadruple checked to make sure we weren’t joking, and she hugged once more.
Rayne pampered me day and night with cups of water, soft belly rubs, pillow fluffs, and words of encouragement. It was four days of bliss for the whole family. And it all imploded quite suddenly one day in my bathroom. Ben was at work, the painters were painting our hallways, and the girls were (of course and obviously) with me while I was peeing. I couldn’t hide my heartache when blood came gushing out along with the pee. Rayne is really sharp, she’s not the type of four year old you can keep things from, so I explained to her what the blood was and that we no longer had the baby with us. We sat together on the bathroom floor, hugging each other tightly and sobbing together.
Rayne has some of the strongest empathy I’ve ever seen in a human, let alone a four year old, but she can also switch from emotions to logic quicker than anyone I know. As soon as we emerged from the bathroom she was pragmatic-Rayne, saying things like ::
“well Mom, at least you can pick Bradlee and me up again and we won’t be so heavy to hurt your tummy now because that baby is definitely dead.”
I didn’t have the strength to hush her in front of the painters, so they heard every word and we all just pretended nothing had happened. That’s the thing about miscarriage - or any death for that matter - the rest of life just goes on. And you keep moving forward with it.
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We planted a little tree in the baby’s honor. The soil here in Alaska is interesting with a significant top layer being solid rocks. It took Ben two days to dig through the rock layer. He took his anger out on those rocks - hitting them and pounding them with the shovel until they gave way and exposed the soil beneath. And isn’t that just like our own anger? We hide our true emotions deep under anger because it’s easy. Anger makes us feel justified. But if we take the time to dig through the anger and access the pain or fear or whatever emotion it is we are covering up, then we can expect real growth to take place.
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Rayne's outlook changed from realism to optimism to pure hope. I was actually thankful for it. It's not easy for me to conjure up hope, and I welcomed it expectantly. I leaned on it for a bit - not like it was my hope, but more like it was a longing for my own hope. When we can't feel real hope, the next best thing is to feel hopeful about being hopeful. And if we lean into that longing enough, it just might become full-fledged real hope.