I’m Cathrine. The primary author of this blog, Walking with Memphis. It’s been a minute since my last post. I thought about going back to look and then I felt bad because I let too much time pass since my last post.
You could say life has happened. COVID. Quarantine. Staying home.
Truth be told.
I am tired.
So, I have been thinking each evening, “man, I really need to write something.” Or, “I gotta get a post up!”
And then that night turns into the next night, and then into next week, and well, here we are.
Finally making myself sit and write.
It feels so good.
What I am about to share is personal. A sensitive subject if you will.
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.
Many families, including ours, unfortunately, knows this loss.
I am the face of 1 in 4. 1 in 4 pregnancies can end in loss. That’s alarming. That’s hearbreaking.
In 2018, things were going smoothly. We were a happy family of four, with three dogs. Good jobs, a roof over our head, extend family near and far. You could say we were doing well.
February of 2018 rocked us to our core. I was violently ill, called into work, sent emails to my students, and retreated to our bedroom. I gave myself until noon before I would call for help. Something I have blamed myself for since that dreadful Valentine’s Day.
I called my dad first, a natural reaction when someone in the house is sick, because he’s right down the road and he’s retired, so I thought maybe a Sprite and some crackers. I thought he could get the kids and possibly help out with homework if I was still feeling sick.
He did more than he will ever realize that day and night and the weeks to come.
We rushed to the ER and amid flu patients and actual sick people who were suffering I kept thinking, “should I even be here?” and “What if I am not even sick?” But I knew something was wrong.
Dealing with death in the family is never easy. The death of a baby, either through miscarriage or during infancy is no exception. On February 14, 2018, I became part of a statstic.
I became the 1 in 4.
There are no instructions on how to grieve the loss of a child. Any amount of feelings can be expected, but you go through each day one day at a time. You allow yourself as much time necessary to heal, to cry, and to just be downright mad.
You wonder how you found the courage and strength to then tell your 15 and 10 year olds what happened and why you couldn’t pick them up from school, help with homework, or get dinner ready.
You wonder how your body could fail you, if age really does matter in pregnancy and you wonder if you will ever be able to have a baby again.
Then life takes you by complete surprise. Knocks the wind out of you, prepares you for one heck of a journey and God blesses you with a baby.
On May 5, 2019, we welcomed our sweet miracle, Edward Oliver James Hoekstra. Many of you know him as Oliver and follow his ever changing moments on social media with us.
What seemed like heartbreak and devastation ended up giving us pure joy.
I often wonder “what if,” and I know that is not good for me or my soul. I know that Jesus is holding Baby Hoekstra, the little baby we never got to meet but loved so.
I thank God for the good people in our lives who showed up for us during some of the most difficult times we have faced. We are blessed with so many loving people in our lives and I can’t imagine our lives without them.
Since that horrible Valentine’s Day, I cringe when February comes. I realize it might be just another day, but I also know what that day holds, the memories, and the hurt–the “trigger day” if you will. And that is okay.
I have learned to have peace. I have learned to have good days and bad days, but more importantly I have learned love.
So, while you may not want to remember certain holidays, events, birthday’s and anniversaries, we remember that day and we know what October holds for us as well–a time of reflection and a time of remembrance of our sweet baby.
Holding all of you Mamas and Daddies out there who faced this loss, too. So close. <3
This picture is an older one, but I love it so. Our three amazing and brave kids here with us.