Real MOM Monday: Gratitude
I love that we have a holiday specifically reserved for giving thanks. In the shuffle of daily life, I often forget to stop and count my blessings. Sadly, even my prayers fall more into the category of "asking"—for forgiveness or for things...than they do for thankfulness. This particular Thanksgiving I was reminded that I have so very much to be thankful for. Oddly enough, that reminder came in the form of a puking 3-year old.
As Olive rested on my chest (in between vomiting into my hands) while Brett served our homemade lunch to our sweet Turkey Day mates (childless 20-somethings by the way who are clearly saints for hanging with us!) I reflected back to Thanksgiving 2011.
We were living in Beijing at the time and hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 25-30 expats—a tradition we started our first year in the Far East. Just before serving the meal, we gathered the room to toast, say the blessing and make the announcement that a baby Hutch was on the way! It was such a magical moment to share our joy with our expat family.
There were more toasts toasted, delicious food devoured, laughs shared—overall a perfect day. As the last guest left, I kissed my husband, kicked off my shoes and went to change into jammies. While in the bathroom, I was stopped in my tracks at the site of some heavy spotting. I called for Brett who remained calm and strong. He embraced me and quoted a parenting book we had recently started reading, "Baby, this can happen, remember? Let's not panic yet." I nodded in agreement, but in my heart I felt I already knew the truth. We put on our coats and headed to the International Hospital to see what was going on.
We sat in complete silence as we waited for the doctor, spooning on the hospital bed in the sonogram room. My prayers for a heartbeat already felt like wasted breath. When he arrived and began to examine me, tears were already rolling down my face. Brett squeezed my hand hard as the doctor said in somewhat broken English, "apologies, the fetus is not viable".
Pretty sure there are more sensitive ways to state the situation, but in reality what words can you use to soften this terrible news? Our baby was gone.
Over the next few months, all I could think was what if we never get pregnant again? What if we miscarry again? What if I will never be a mother? What if I can't make Brett a daddy?
In some ways looking back on that time feels like a lifetime ago, but in some ways the pain and fear sticks with you forever. The following February we got pregnant again with our sweet baby Olive. Thanking God for her once a day is not nearly enough. As she slept on my chest at the dinner table, I was reminded of that Thanksgiving when we lost so much. I looked down to see that in just 4 short years, we had gained even more. I suppose if it takes a little vomit in my hair to remind me to say extra thanks, well then—so puke it.
Count your blessings mamas!