I’ll Keep On, Part 1

Faith is something I am not accustomed to
Trusting other people’s something I don’t really love to do
I’ve never been a fan of it, I act tough but
Really my shoulders they ain’t built for this and I don’t have nothing
It’s like I’m standing in the rain and you offer me a raincoat
But I would rather stand there wringing wet than take the handout
What’s wrong with me? You said, you’ve always got your hands out
And I cannot continue on my own so take my hands now
I give you everything, God, not just a little bit
Take it from me, I am nothing but a hypocrite
I hate sin but I built a house and I still live in it
Afraid to open up the door to you ‘n let you into it
My soul is lost and what it needs is your direction
I know, I’ve told you I do not need your protection
But I lied to you, this thing is tiring
A man was not created for it
God, please retire me now

Oh these hands are tired
Oh this heart is tired
Oh this soul is tired
But I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on
I’ll keep on

the news

It’s ironic, how those lyrics written out make a tornado. From the second I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been living in one. 

First it was a tornado of excitement. I just knew I was pregnant, well before the lines told me so. But still, when I saw them for the first time…my heart skipped a beat. I danced around the bathroom at work, then tried to contain my giddy happiness for the next 2 hours. 

I was 4 weeks, 2 days along. It was May 13th, Ron’s grandfather’s 89th birthday.

After work I drove to the south side to meet Ron at his grandparent’s house, where they were celebrating. I thought it was perfect…finding out on his Grandfather’s birthday. We never learned our baby’s gender, but the further along we got the stronger I felt it was a boy. Our chosen name for a boy includes his grandfather’s name. What a nice tribute this might be to the man Ron admires most. I thought. What a wonderful legacy for our child.

It was hard, sitting in their living room, acting normal around everyone.

When I finally got home, I raced around the apartment trying to set up some sort of surprise while Ron picked up pizza. Waiting long enough to come up with something truly creative was not an option. Given the choice, I never wait.

Funny how life rarely gives me that choice.

Eventually I set out a hastily written sign. He teared up when he saw it, I teared up when I saw him tear up. And we laughed and cried and immediately began dreaming of our future as a family.

How we might announce
A #TBT picture. A throwback to the time Ron and I BOTH got positive test results. Then a split picture with me holding the pregnant test stick in one hand and a bottle of sparkling grape juice in the other, and the other side with Ron holding his anesthesia oral board results in one hand and a bottle of champagne in another. The top would say “The results are in…” And the bottom would say “Baby on BOARD Certified.” With “board” being right in the center. Cheesy, I know. But I loved that it was unique. Everyone would probably expect us to do the running shoe thing and I liked the idea of making it memorable by circumventing public expectation.

Could you do my anesthesia?
No.

Hey also I’m gonna need you to get rid of all your office clutter. Before nesting kicks in and I go nuts.

Turns out I didn’t need to wait for nesting to go nuts. When I woke up the next morning, the tornado of excitement had turned to one of fear. I’d read the statistics on miscarriage. I knew the odds are 1 in 4. But when I counted up all the people I knew who had miscarried…it seemed so much higher than that. At the time I knew of 12, I think. More now. And out of those, 4 had had 2 miscarriages in a row. It felt like a plague to me. A dark cloud, always over my shoulder. 

Please God, PLEASE, I would pray, 100 times a day, Let Sticky Bean be healthy. 

I had nicknamed the baby Sticky Bean, not just Bean or Baby Bean, as a reminder to it…to like, not fall out of me. An apprehensive joke turned painfully ironic.

Don’t let me lose this baby.
Don’t let me get so far, only to break my heart.

It was hard…walking around acting normal around everyone.

All I could think about was our baby. My joyful hopes and dreams constantly tempered by caution and fear. I slowly started telling some friends I was pregnant, to take the heat off Ron. I didn’t want to tell family until we were closer to the “safe” zone, but I needed a small army of people to walk me away from the ledge of irrational thoughts. Thoughts like these, from an e-mail I sent on May 30th: 

Hi. I’m pregnant and I’m freaking the freak out. I’ll be 7 weeks Monday, if I make it that far. I’m a complete wreck about the possibility of miscarriage. It seems like I know of more people who have had one than who haven’t. And of those people, several miscarried pretty late…when they were almost in the clear. I mean seriously. HOW ON EARTH DO PEOPLE DO THIS. I don’t have my first appointment until June 15th and it might as well be 15 years from now as slow as the days seem to go. When I think about how long I would have to wait to announce — if I make it that far…everything, always, if I make it that far — I feel like quitting my job, driving to the coast, and sitting by the beach all day everyday because I can’t even stand trying to live a normal life when this is all I can think/worry/stress about. 

I now reside in Complete Crazy Town. Population: 1.1 

I was exaggerating, mocking myself to be funny. But there was some truth to my words.  Fear was always there, lingering beneath the surface. So I followed every possible piece of advice in avoiding miscarriage. I cut out caffeine, ran very little, ate a lot, and tried my best to counter anxiety with positive thoughts.

The baby was initially due on my best friend’s firstborn’s 3rd birthday. Birthday buddies!

A January baby is perfect for a polar bear nursery. We can take newborn photos on a white fur rug! Does Pottery Barn still sell that polar bear rocking thing? We’ll buy it the minute we hit 14 weeks.

If it’s a boy, born in the same month as his dad…surely he’ll be like a little mini Ron. Oh, be still my heart, before you burst.

Eventually, June 15th arrived. And with it, the most amazing sound I’ve ever heard: Our first baby’s heartbeat. 

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It was strong. 146bpm.

But something was wrong. I knew it before the nurse practitioner asked Are you sure you have your dates right? (Are you sure your name is Kelly?)

I knew it before I randomly spazzed 2 weeks prior, calling the office asking for blood work to check my HcG levels…and they called back and said those levels were fine, but my progesterone was low. So they had ordered a prescription. 

I knew it all along, I think. 

Still, I held on to what little hope I had left. That heartbeat! So strong! Surely that’s all it is…a small baby. Some babies measure small the whole time, and come out just fine. All this would change is the due date, isn’t that what the nurse practitioner had said? So optimistically? Our baby is now due January 27th, 2016 the day after Ron’s birthday. That sounds so sweet!

So we made another appointment for June 23rd, the day after my birthday. To check again and make sure our baby was growing. 

The week crawled. I tried to enjoy my birthday, but honestly I couldn’t care less about turning 31. I just wanted to see my baby again. See it wriggling around, heart humming like a little hummingbird. I had the whole day off that Tuesday, but my appointment wasn’t until 2:30. So I slept in, ran, and just before I left I got on my knees and prayed. Asked God, again, for a healthy baby. But, if that was not His will…for peace and strength to accept it. Then I opened my bible and prayed to be lead. Landing on Luke 1:45. 

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Okay, I thought, as I placed the ribbon on the page and stood up to leave. That’s my sign. It’s all going to be alright.

But still. Still. I knew it wasn’t. 

And 35 minutes later, laying on the table in the ultrasound room, looking up at the stillness on the screen,

The silence was deafening.

 

 


Behind
intro: she writes truth

Ahead
part two: the shock

 

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