Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's here...

The big 3-0. 

Last night as I was lay next to Dennis in bed, I turned to him and said, "Well, this is your last night sharing a bed with a 20 year old woman.  From here on out, she'll be middleage."

It's really not to bad, this getting old business.  I like myself better than I did when I was 20. 

For the weekend, we decided to visit our long-time friends, the Landons.  As always they were wonderful hosts, and even surprised me with an early morning birthday party before we hit the road to return home.

In case you aren't acquainted, I thought I'd introduce you to my friend, Julie.  

We met in nursing school, had our first babies just 6 weeks apart, worked at the nursing home, then Women's Center at Logan Regional Hospital together, then shared the great town of Nampa for 6 months when we first moved here.  She's one of the few women I know who enjoys racquetball as much as I do.  We've ran a half marathon and a full marathon together.  We both married Idaho farm boys.  She's seen me at my best, at my worst, and everywhere in between.  It's always entertaining to go to each other's house and discover how many identical things we've bought without the other one of us knowing it.  We've shared many family vacations together, and each have four children, two boys and two girls, all within close ages of each other.  Our last babies are also 6 weeks apart.

Last night the two of us left the husbands and kids at home and went out to enjoy dinner and a movie.  As we talked over our dinner at the Olive Garden, we began talking about the days when we had first moved to Nampa.  I was newly pregnant for the second time and was still settling in after the move here from Utah. 

Although I was only 13 weeks along, which was still relatively early on in my pregnancy, I was devastated when the spotting started.  A few days later my OBGYN confirmed that I had miscarried. 
The pain of a miscarriage is one that is often difficult to understand yet is still very real, deep, and can be very long lasting as it was for me.  I still remember the day in sacrament meeting, months later, when a family in our ward blessed their little baby boy. The mother and I had both had the same due date and I cried through the entire meeting realizing that the baby I had miscarried would have been blessed that day too.  
Soon after I miscarried, I received dozens of phone calls from well meaning family members and friends trying to console me with phrases like, “I’m sure it was for the better,” or “Just be grateful you weren’t further along in your pregnancy.”  Although I appreciated their kind intentions, I felt terribly alone in my grief. 
Shortly after my appointment with my OBGYN, I called Julie to tell her the news.  All she said was, “Rita, I’m sorry."  She then sat on the other side of the line and wept.  She had no band-aid statements to give, just her silence, tears and genuine grief to share with me.  Those few moments of two friends weeping together on the phone was one of the purest expressions of love I have ever felt. 

The rest of my miscarriage story was a difficult one which included catching a flight to Chile with Camden just 6 hours after I miscarried while Dennis stayed behind.   I had bought the ticket months before, and after much prayer and a priesthood blessing, we decided that I should still go to Chile, despite the doctor's strong advice not to.  

Camden cried and refused to be comforted most of the seemingly endless flight.  With a squirming, screaming toddler on my lap, I continued to weep and mourn from grief, pain from the cramping, and exhaustion from the loss of blood and not having slept for days.   I had never felt so emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent.  I decided that even hell couldn't be worse than this.
The trip to Chile was heaven-sent.  I found the healing I needed surrounded by family, good food, and beautiful weather.   The non-stop pampering I received from my mom and aunt was...amazing.  Only the Lord could have known, so many months before when I purchased the ticket, how much of a blessing taking that risky trip would prove to be.  It was exactly what I needed to emerge from the dark place I was in. 

As we talked over dinner last night, she expressed regret at having felt as though she had not been enough of an emotional support to me during those dark and difficult days.  I reminded her of our phone conversation that day and told her that simple act was one that has always stayed with me.  In a number of grief-filled situations I've dealt with as a nurse, I've drawn from that day and remembered that grief is often best addressed when it is simply shared and not fixed.
So today, when I have so many things to be grateful for, I am particularly thankful for God-given friendships that carry us through the difficult times.   


Liz Johnson said...

I am so, so, so glad that you have such an awesome friend. And I'm sorry about your miscarriage, too. You must have been inspired to post this today, because it's exactly 2 years since I had my late miscarriage, and it's on my mind. Thanks - it was helpful and healing to read and remember those same kinds of people who have helped me grieve, too.


Jeff and Kris said...

I am also very thankful for friends who have gone out of their way to be kind and loving, even though they didn't know how wonderful and needed they were. Thanks Rita for all that you have done for me, without knowing it.

Cher said...

another great post. some times i am one of those that tries to say something helpful, and it's not. or i don't do anything cuz i'm not sure what to say. so it's good to be reminded that just an "i'm sorry" and a listening ear is enough.
30 isn't so bad, huh? :)

patty said...

A true friend like Julie is one in a million. However, to have a great friend you have to be a great friend. Her friendship is a also a compliment to you. I hope you had a great birthday and can somehow manage to avoid your midlife crisis (as Jacob forsaw).