My youngest turned one a couple of weeks ago… and I have been “kind-of-but-not-really” weaning her from nursing. I guess I just haven’t been ready to fully commit to the finality of it all.
But today, I was nursing her to sleep and I just kind of knew it was time. I swear she did too. I let her sleep in my arms a little longer before I put her in her crib… and allowed myself to take in the sentimental mama moment of realizing that this phase was coming to an end. Wondering if I had soaked in our bonding time enough. Reveling at the idea of what a Miracle Machine that a woman’s body is. How amazing it is to me that my body has housed, grown, delivered and nourished THREE children… and that it has done all of those things when at one point in my life I didn’t think it would ever be able to.
It was actually six years ago this month that my husband and I saw the double lines for the first time. We danced in celebration in the kitchen, hugged until we cried and marinated in the shock that parenthood was about to be part of our journey.
And while that moment will never be taken away from us, our baby was.
Because there on an ultrasound screen was a tiny little bean with a heart that wasn’t pumping. A little baby that I’d never get to hold, and one that I never got to tell how sorry I was that I couldn’t bring to life.
We laid in bed that day crying through an emotional pain that I’ve never experienced… wondering why God would give us a baby and then take that life away.
In the days after, I was living inside a body that felt as lifeless as the baby it was still carrying. A body that felt broken. And then… after everything officially ended… a body that felt so hollow I swore people could see right through me.
I had to drag that empty structure of bones into the doctor’s office weekly to allow them to take blood from it and make sure that my level of “pregnant” was going down in a healthy way. I knew it was for my own good, but what a brutal reminder every single week of just how much more “un” pregnant my body was.
The following month my husband took a planned trip to the Carolinas with his friends and I sought some peace and companionship at my sister’s in the state over. On the way to a yoga class in the passenger side of her car, I took a phone call from my doctor’s office that I expected to be the one that told me that my levels were at a safe enough place to try to get pregnant again.
As it turned out, though, my levels were no longer going down. In fact, they were climbing… thanks to a new little bean who moved into the vacancy in my womb and was stacking them back up.
And weeks later, in a moment that will forever be a statue outside of my memory bank, my fears subsided when I saw her heart beating on that same screen that the sound was absent from before.
Yes. I do believe in miracles.
Because today, I live inside a body that has been pregnant with or nursing a child for all but four months out of the last six years. A body that has given LIFE to THREE children since that humbling experience of loss… a body that has sustained them through nursing for the first year of each of their lives.
I have experienced incredible gratitude for this privilege, and I have been on the floor in exhaustion from the sacrifice it has demanded of my body.
A body that turns out was not broken six years ago. Instead I’ve realized that it was my spirit that wasn’t in tact. And God chose to use my body as part of an unconventional way to put my spirit back together with that life-altering lack of a heartbeat. An experience that forced me to slow down my life and gain some perspective. An experience that brought my husband and I closer together. An experience that resulted in three beautiful kids that wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t gone through it… and an experience that makes sure I recognize what an incredible gift they are.
Now it’s time for my Miracle Machine to take a rest from its six-year, dual responsibility of sustaining life for me AND my little ones… and playing a part in delivering God’s enormous message to me.
Now it’s MY turn to take care of my body. To nourish IT in return … and make sure that it stays healthy enough that it can fully experience the memories to come with the little miracles that it helped me so beautifully create, develop and grow.