Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm learning.

Three times in the past week the discussion of "is this my first" has come up in conversation. I have been honest each of the times, but not as honest I would like to be.

The first meeting was at the pool last weekend with a woman who has been a member since I was a child. It was the first time Tim and I have spoken to her. My preggo brain does not allow my recall the specifics of the conversation, but I do remember saying, "we lost our first last March."

This morning we were at a church meeting when again someone asked if this was our first. I found myself again saying the same words, "we lost our first last March."

As we drove to Cara's grave after church, the tears started pouring down my face. "We lost our first last March" doesn't tell the story. We lost our first what? Pregnancy? Child? It sounds so detached. It doesn't make the receiver confront what I have really lost. My daughter, my firstborn, the baby that I carried until almost her due date, who came into the world silently, who I never got to know alive outside of the womb. The little one who should be sleeping in her crib right now. And clamoring to get in my lap when she is awake. It doesn't tell of how beautiful she was, of what she has come to mean to us, of who we have come to know her as. Cara is very much alive and a part of our lives.

This afternoon I had another chance to share her story. We were sitting in the pool once again and another woman made her way to us. She asked when the baby is due, and I said the end of October. We talked about her children, who are my same age. Although we grew up going to the same pool, I was not familiar with them. She told us about where they live and her longing to have grandchildren.

Then the questions around my pregnancy started coming again- how was I feeling? Did we know what we were having? Are we excited? And finally, do you have the nursery ready? It was at that point, well into the conversation, that I couldn't avoid it anymore. I shared with how it had already been ready once before. She said, "Oh, I'm sorry, lots of women have miscarriages." I couldn't let that go. I told her the whole story of Cara. How I delivered her 10 days before her due date. How I had a blood clotting disorder that had been undiagnosed.

This woman was incredibly sympathetic. What we came to learn as a result is that her middle daughter is now a nurse on the high risk pregnancy floor at the hospital we will deliver at. It's a place I hope to never find myself, but if we do I will definitely be asking for her. She recently saved a mother and child who were going in distress, and the doctors had not picked up on it.

It just felt good to really share the story. I want Cara to be a part of those conversations. She is not just the first we lost. She is our beautiful daughter who lives in our hearts and minds daily. It's her that our memory is drawn to anytime we see something beautiful or any time we feel pain.

As we got in the car after church this morning, a dragonfly danced outside of my window. Tim backed the car up and pulled it forward, the dragonfly flew in front of us and guided us until we had to turn. I just kept thinking how my baby girl showed up in that moment, perhaps when I needed her most. She is here with us, even when I don't always realize it.


Carly Marie said...

I don't know if this will make you feel any better or not but my answer to that question is always different.

Is this your first?

No its my 4th, No its my 6th pregnancy, I have 2 girls already, I have had 2 girls and a boy, Its my 3rd.

I answer differently all the time. I never know what I am going to say until someone asks.

Sometimes I tell people Christian died and other times I just say that I have 2 girls and a boy.

Don't feel down on yourself Cynthia, you answered the way you did because that is the only thing you could say at those moments.

Cara is there with you - she showed you that. She loves you and she knows how precious she is to you.


Lea said...

Cynthia - this is a beautiful post. I think we all find ourselves in this situation. Just yesterday a young girl came to my door to talk to me about educational book and tools to help the kids with their school work. She asked how many children I have.... and I hesitated. She must have thought I was nuts. I finally said "I have two boys here with me." She said "Oh, and you have another somewhere else". Yep, I suppose that's one way to look at it.

As Carly said, I think we answer differently according to the situation. This poor young girl didn't want or need to hear our horrifying story. Often I do say that I have 3 boys. Our youngest passed away last November.

I hear you when you say that just saying we lost our first doesn't seem to justify Cara's life. So many just assume that we had a miscarriage (which is most definitely a horrific loss in itself). Good for you for sharing your precious girl with others. She is part of your family, part of your hearts and so much a part of this new baby's life also.

I don't know if you have seen Cara's Angel Wings on my blog - see Memorial Boutique. I hope you like them.

Love to you.