After finally accepting (and, I daresay, embracing) the fact that I was pregnant and facing another year off from work, I started to appreciate my conversation with God about the whole thing. How He patiently listened to my emotional (hysterical?) rantings, allowed me to question, cry and complain; and how He gently and lovingly (as only a Father could) assured me that everything would be alright, that He would never will anything less than what was best for me, for my family. After a moment of stomping my feet in indignation, I was finally allowing God to take the lead in the dance of my life.
And a good thing, too–for what was coming, I needed my hand in His.
Last week, the morning after I started writing “Faith and Hope, Part 1,” I woke up to find a rather large blood stain on my underwear. Heart pounding, I gently shook Peter awake and told him we had to go to the hospital. Panic evident in his voice, he asked if we lost the baby. I said I didn’t know, and then started to cry.
On examination, they noted that my cervix was slightly open and that no fetal heart tones were picked up by doppler. The ultrasound was done just to confirm what I already knew (still no cardiac activity), but ended up revealing something else: I had been carrying twins.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt pain like this (as with Peter, who has his own story to tell here). I couldn’t seem to get over the violence of it all–like a big chunk of my soul, my being, was hacked off and thrown away. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye, or hello, for that matter. Tiny as they were, they were my children, and I was their mother. And so I grieved. This time, I came before God without any questions or doubts; there was only my sadness, my emptiness.
Now, I cannot tell this story without talking about Our Lady of Guadalupe. For some reason, she had been making her presence felt from the very beginning of the pregnancy. I was seeing her picture everywhere–being given a door hanger with her image on it, leafing through a book of saints and stumbling upon the page containing the story of the visionary Juan Diego (twice). Our Lady would so often just enter my consciousness at different times, that I even mused that if our baby were to be a boy, I would name him Juan Diego. Even that very morning, on our way to the hospital, I suddenly remembered her, and prayed for her intercession.
She further confirmed that she was with me when, as text messages and emails of sympathy were flooding in while I was still in the examination room (yes, news travels very fast), I received the following message from a friend:
I saw this on a pamphlet on Our Lady of Guadalupe, these were her words to Juan Diego:
Listen, put this into your heart, my youngest child. Lay your fears aside. Let nothing disturb you. Do not be worried about this illness or any other pain or anxiety. Am I not here, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your source of joy? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crook of my arms? Do you need anything else? Nothing should distress you.
Later that day, I found out that Our Lady of Guadalupe, believed to be pregnant on the image miraculously imprinted on Juan Diego’s cloak, has been given the title Protectress of Unborn Children.
In the midst of such a painful loss, I cannot tell you how this thought gave me comfort: my little Juan, and my little Diego, resting peacefully in the arms of our Mother.
Those first few days, I’m being honest when I say there was no anger, no confusion, no angst. There was only grief, and even then, it was a sadness I felt was being healed little by little, one day at a time. I didn’t feel like raising my voice against God (as I had just a few months before), to the point that I was already wondering when it was going to come, when I was going to get there. I mean, isn’t this part of the healing/grieving process, sorting it out, having it out, looking for closure?
Perhaps not always necessarily so.
Could it be that the past few months have taught me so much about surrendering and trusting and letting go, that my heart has somehow been prepared for this tragedy? I have even come to believe that it has been Our Lady, embracing me so protectively close, keeping all those questions and issues at bay, shielding me with her mantle. Or even the Father, seeing the little that my humble heart can take, allowing my wounds ample time to heal.
After causing me to refocus on the reason for my hope, and strengthening my faith through fire, God now undeniably, overwhelmingly, comforts me with His Love.
As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love. — 1 Corinthians 13:13