Sunday, June 27, 2010

my Amani

when I first got pregnant, there was a day when little mna looked at my belly and said "Amani! Amani!" i only recognized that word because i knew that word. it's a Kenyan word, and i only knew that because my sweet friend and college roomate, Raechel, moved to Kenya after college to work in a center for refugee women and the name of the center was Amani. i told my husband about the experience--could he have just named our baby?--and little man continued to say it at random times throughout my pregnancy.
tuesday morning we got in the car to go to get the ultrasound that would ultimately tell me that we had lost our baby. i woke up that morning already knowing what was going to happen, and i was terrified. the minute that we pulled out of the driveway, my son said "Amani!" over and over again for about a minute. and i wept.
so when we found out what had happened, my husband and I agreed that our baby's name is Amani, and it gave us comfort to think of our Amani up in heaven in the arms of God....

i knew my body still hadn't gone through the miscarriage. the baby, the sac, the placenta--everything in my uterus had to come out. my midwife told me that i would get labor contractions and that it would feel like childbirth, and be just as intense. i didn't quite believe her, but waited for some type of cramping to begin.

when it didn't, i decided to set a doctor's appointment to get a D&C, which is procedure where they give you anesthesia, dialate your cervix and use a device to suck and scrape everything out of your uterus. i usually prefer the most natural route, but at this point i just wanted it to all be over.

a girl that i know who had a miscarriage, and a D&C, told me that funeral homes will pick up the remains of the baby and cremate them for free. she and her husband had that done and they felt that burying the ashes gave them a bit of closure and peace. i decided that sounded nice, and planned to do so myself.
at the doctor's office, i was given a very thorough ultrasound. she told me that my body had already begun the process, and that the baby was already gone. i decided to go home and let my body finish what it had begun. i continued to rub clary sage and lavender oils on my belly at the urging of my doula, and drink red raspberry leaf tea day and night to prepare my uterus (red raspberry leaf tea is what i swear made my last labor so short, i drank it three times a day in my last trimester). by nighttime, contractions had began. i went to sleep, but at 3 am the intensity of the contractions began to wake me from my sleep. i was still able to sleep in between contractions. at 5 am i could no longer lay down, i had to get up and move my body into the positions that it told me to get in. as the pain intensified, it occurred to me that i didn't really know what i was trying to do. i had been so prepared for childbirth. i knew exactly what to expect, and exactly what to do at each point of labor. but now i didn't have a baby to push out. what was the point of this? was i supposed to eventually push? i needed a goal, and searched frantically on my iphone internet for some clue. for the first time i found first hand accounts of miscarriages and realized that it really is like childbirth for a lot of women who are further along. finally i found a woman that said a huge glob of something came out of her and then it was over. so i sat down on the toilet in the most intense pain that a human being can ever feel, and breathed through the ever intensifying contractions, told God over and over again that I couldn't handle it anymore, and waited for the huge glob. at 6:15 it finally came and I had officially labored (naturally) twice in my life. my entire body shook for 20 minutes and i cried because i didn't have a baby in my arms.
but i still had peace.
after my visit with the doctor, my husband called and what he said changed the course of my grieving: "this might sound weird, but i had this thought--this overwhelming feeling--that our baby isn't going to stay in heaven. the baby is going to be given back to us again!". Peace flooded over me like a waterfall, and I knew that was the reason that the baby was already gone in the ultrasound. i wasn't able to put it in the ground and close that chapter, because it isn't over. Amani is in heaven right now with my Father, being ministered to and loved on, and very soon (hopefully just a few months), I will have Amani back with me again. this might sound strange, but i believe it with all my heart. our next child's middle name might be Amani, to honor who he or she is, and the special journey they took back to the heart of the Father for a little while.

God has been amazingly gracious to me during this time. i keep using the words "comfort" and "strength" and "peace" because i don't have any better words to describe what i have felt these past few days. i would never have imagined i could feel those things during a time like this, but that's just the kind of Father that we have. i have been wrapped in His love, and i have not pushed it away. i have embraced it, and clinged to it for dear life.
and now I wait longingly for my Amani to return to me.

Amani means Peace.
how fitting

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