I've gotten into the habit, pretty much since the day that we brought BabyA home, to say a prayer over her as she sleeps on my lap after her bedtime feed. I started because I was so worried about her when she came home. She didn't have any major issues, just flirting with jaundice, but it still scared me. So, I say my prayer when she is so peaceful and beautiful on my lap, usually with a small hand holding onto my shirt, or resting so softly on the breast that helped her to find that slumber that only babies can have.
I'm not what anyone would consider highly religious. I'm a pathetic Catholic at best-I manage to hit the major feast days, and both of the kids are baptized Catholic, because, what if? I would like to actually make it to church more often. When allowed, when I can just be in the moment, I come away recharged to some degree. The whole mass is a meditation of sorts to me. The predictability of it all. The prayers and invocations that I have been reading/saying since I was able to read the monthly missal in the pews. It's comforting-it's always a place that I can go and know just what to do.
I'm embarrassed to some degree that I can't seem to manage to make it with two small kids, since I watch the mother of four under the age of 10 that pulls it off with no problem. Meanwhile, I am trying not to commit a cardinal sin when my terrible two almost three son cannot.sit.still. I want him to be able to find that same comfort, that same peace. I suppose that he will have to find it for himself, sort of like I did. I was raised Catholic in a small town of 750 where there were four Lutheran churches. I went because I was dragged by my parents. I chose a Catholic university for undergraduate, with the secret hope that I would finally be part of the majority for once, among a community with a shared history and background. Eventually, I participated in campus ministry. Nothing more than a twice a month lector, but still, I found my faith to some degree.
After college and law school, I lost that focus. Constant moves and all that came with it. However, upon entering the fourth year of struggling to have a baby, I had what can only be called an epiphany one night while laying in bed after yet another IUI. I had been up for what seemed like hours, staring at the ceiling, my mind not shutting off. Am I or aren't I? What if? What now? All of those questions that flow so easily through an infertile's mind. Through all of our treatments, which weren't half as extensive as some, I had always had some spectre of hope lingering in the background. At first it was the naive, "well, of course and IUI will work right away, the timing is dead on!" Then I progressed to "I'm due for a break here" to "IVF won't be that bad, really." However, that night, for some reason, I was able to still my mind enough to realize that everything, all of it, was really out of my control. I had done all that I could-I had given myself the shots, gone to the ultrasounds, trusted my Husband with the huge needle for the trigger, and had laid on the exam for the requisite 10 minutes. That a higher power now controlled my destiny, one that was probably happening as I lay there 12 hours post IUI. I just decided to give it up to that power. That even if it hadn't worked, that I had done all that I could. Even though the Church doesn't condone treatment, some of what I had been taught had come through to give me that moment of peace, of clarity. Was it a coincidence that was the cycle that Son came about? I don't know. All I know is that the biology of conception makes me believe that there has to be something else going on.
Of course, my theory has plenty of holes in it, I know. What about those people who get children and then do something horrible to them? What about those much wanted, much loved children that are lost before they are even born, or after? What about them? I don't have an answer. All I know is that I offered up my worry, and was able to find some sort of peace, maybe even a bit of strength. A good friend, who is also a Baptist deacon, had said something along that line to me, and in that instant, it made sense, but it took me a while to let go of that illusion of being able to control everything. I still struggle with that, and I try to identify the things that I really can do something about, and the things that I can't.
I was in the same place when we had that blip on the radar when I was about 8 weeks with BabyA. It was amazing how one tiny, and I mean tiny, clot could throw my whole world into a spiral. What would I have done if something had really happened? It was a couple of weeks after the whole incident, and again, laying in bed thinking about all of the things that were happening, and what was going to happen. Would this pregnancy make it? How will this affect Son? How can we pay for this? Will I ever want to eat again? This may sound completely out there, but I swear that I heard a voice in my head tell me that "it will be alright." I actually fell asleep not too long after that. I swear that I haven't gone off the deep end, and it hasn't happened again. It was just one of those moments that gives me a bit of pause.
Needless to say, I say my prayer over BabyA every night with the hope that someone is listening. I give thanks for the gift of my precious little girl, for her brother. I ask for patience. I ask for the protection of babies like Simone over at Flotsam, and to heal the hearts of those that haven't had the chance to feel the slow breathing of a contented baby on their lap, or who have and had to suffer through a loss of that small soul. My heart hurts for them, and it makes me realize just how lucky we are to have two healthy children asleep in the house. I really hope that someone is listening.