Typical Tuesday evening. Watch NCIS with Bill. Walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes. Clean up and a quick change into pajamas. Lay down. Set the alarm on your iPhone. Turn on Pandora for some bedtime music.
And that’s where “typical” ends.
Pandora won’t load. Ugh. How can you sleep with no background noise to drown out the constant conversation in your head? The analyzing. The questioning. The wishing it had all been a dream.
Your iPhone wants to update. Sure, no problem. You do this over Wi-Fi all the time. You bet once you complete the update, Pandora will work seamlessly. But something is not right. Your phone will not finish downloading the software. The screen goes black. When it comes back on, it’s telling you to plug into iTunes. Ok….
Plug into iTunes. Warning screen: If iPhone cannot be updated you will need to reset it to factory settings. So you click “Update.” Nothing. Initiate freak out. When was the last time you backed up your iPhone? A year ago. Do you auto-backup to iCloud? No.
Freak out some more and go to bed so that you don’t make it any worse. Lay awake for three hours worrying you’ve lost everything.
In the morning: you’ve lost everything.
Ok, that’s extreme. You’ve lost all of your pictures. To you, it feels like everything. Ultrasound photos. “Bumpdate” photos. Videos from the Carrie Underwood concert you shared with Bill and Joanna while she was still growing, strong and healthy, inside your belly. The video of her heartbeat on your Doppler.
Praise God for technology. Yes, technology is why you lost your photos and videos. But with technology, you posted many of the best and most special ones on Facebook. You texted videos and photos to your family and friends each week. You are able to get back some of what you have lost.
Do you ever feel you’ve lost everything only to get most of it back? There is nothing sweeter than receiving something you thought was gone forever. A lost dog is returned home by a kind soul. A lost favorite earring is recovered on the beach by a stranger’s metal detector. A lost ring down the bathroom sink is fished out by a friendly plumber. A stack of cash is dropped at the grocery store and an honest employee runs out behind you to hand it back.
But no one returns the baby you’ve “lost.” When “lost” means “died” – you can’t get anything back. Sure, you might cremate your baby and get her ashes “back” and you might even get the precious blanket and hat she wore in the hospital “back” but they are baby-less. You’d prefer the baby to the adorable hat that covered her precious little head.
You could even get “another baby,” but he would not replace the one you lost. He would simply be a sibling to your stillborn baby. He would bring joy to your life and he would be a miracle, but he wouldn’t bring his sister back.
And so, even when some of my pictures and videos were returned, there were still gaps. Still breaks in the story that was my pregnancy with Joanna. Still gaps in the hopes and dreams I had for her, for our family.
11 weeks since Joanna was born and my days and nights have a new trend: they are slowly getting better; slowly the pieces of my heart are coming back together. But for me, that which is lost will never be returned. My heart will never be completely whole again. I do believe it will get its shape “back.” It will start to feel like a solid piece again. Someday.
But this, this is not extreme: losing a baby feels like losing everything.