I'd never heard of this until I joined MOPs almost four years ago. I was pregnant with Cheetah and I went to this mops meeting in October...it had to be the 14th, because two days later my water broke on my birthday. A lady got up and shared the story of losing an infant daughter. Then they put on the saddest song I've ever heard and anyone in the group who had suffered a pregnancy or infant loss or had a loved one who had went up and lit a candle for that person. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house although being that I was 27 weeks along it put me in sort of a nervous mood. The irony that just two days later my water would break and I'd suddenly find myself not knowing completely how safe my little baby would be is never lost on me. The two following years when the day came around again I was always rushed with the flood of negative emotions I felt in those first early weeks of Cheetahs life, the fear, the anger, the anxiety for her well being, but I was also hit with the realization and relief that everything had been OK. That I lived in a time and a place where she made it and has not only meet every expectation placed upon her but exceeded it with tornado speed and cheetah cunning.
Last year in October I'd just found out I was pregnant again. I was tired, sick, and worried about what was going to happen that summer when Dr. J left for Kenya. I felt the weight of Cheetah's birth but I was so overwhelmed with my summer worries I had little time to think about it. I did cry through my Infant Loss Mops meeting and I did light a candle that night at 7pm in remembrance of my neighbor Leslie's baby Karalyn that had died just a little bit before on the day of her birth. Then a few weeks later I loss the pregnancy. It was horrible, but with time I finally started to clear a little from the fog and while the stress and anger of that moment started to not rule ever moment, it was replaced with stress of planning a trip for six to Kenya for the summer. I still felt sadness though. I remember when we were celebrating Captain G and Peach's birthdays with a bunch of people in the compound and I thought, I would be having a baby today. One year later I can tell you that for the most part I'm ok but every once in a while I'll see something that will remind me and I get sad. Last week it was Dr. J's grandpa's book sitting on the shelf of books I was dusting. We were going to give the baby his grandpa's middle name.
This week it came up in conversation with Dr. J. We were talking about our Kenya trip and Dr. J asked me if I'd rather gone on the trip or had the baby. I turned quickly toward him and stared at him with all the intensity a mother of four can muster at 10:30 at night while folding laundry. There was about six very awkward seconds of silence which he completely misread and said, "It's a hard choice right?" And then I gave him a look of utter disbelief and I saw the realization dawn on him before I'd even said through a choked voice, "Not in the least, not a hard choice at all, but it's not a choice I got to make." Don't get me wrong, I had a great summer, a once in a life time experience, but if I'd been allowed to choose even with all the stress and the sleepless nights, and the being left behind for the summer, I would have chosen the baby. It is the miracle not lost on me that God gave me love for my children while they were just a small group of cells in my womb. When I'm puking and tired, when my boobs hurt and I'm so exhausted I can't make it until noon without a nap, when I just feel like garbage my life is buoyed with "A Heart Full of Love".
I think it is something hard for my husband to grasp and I think it's why when faced with the sadness of a miscarriage there is a sanctity in the relationships you have with other woman, many who have felt some kind of loss related to reproduction. Whether it be the loss of a child or infant, a miscarriage, a birth experience that left them feeling bruised and broken, infertility, or a child running away, we are joined by our love and we are also joined by our loss. This morning before the kids got up while my house was quiet and my mind was empty of any of the stresses that come with the day, I lit a candle for that little lost baby of mine and I also lit a candle for Karalyn. I said their names aloud and I had a cry as I thought of all the heartache these losses bring us. I thought of the sisterhood of my woman friends and family, the comfort they brought me when I was in such a dark place, and I thought on any sadness they might be experiencing themselves right now. I said a little prayer for us all, then I wiped my eyes, blew out the candles, and got ready for the day.