Tuesday, February 10, 2015

To Remember

One of the many things I have struggled with following our miscarriages is the lack of something tangible to show the world our children existed.  The few tokens we have of Ashton's existence are a positive pregnancy test, cards congratulating us on a pregnancy, cards offering sympathy after our miscarriage, and a few ultrasound photos taken during their attempt to discover his/her heartbeat (that only came by my specific request).  With Baby "J", our tokens are limited to a couple positive pregnancy tests.

Needless to say, I've longed for more.  I've longed for more ways to acknowledge their lives and the way they changed ours.  I've longed for something physical that I could touch and see.  Something that could give my memories life.  Something of deep significance and meaning.  Something that I could hold close to my heart when I miss them and long to hold them.

Then about a year after our losses, I had an idea.  An idea about something that could acknowledge their lives.  Something physical that I could touch and see.  Something that could give my memories life.  Something of deep significance and meaning.  Something I could hold close to my heart.  

I thought about this idea.  I weighed the pros and cons.  I prayed about it.  Then one day, I came across an image that I thought was a beautiful representation of our babies and their lives.  So I took a photo of it and held onto it.  Then about fifteen months later, after more thought and prayer, I decided it was time to bring this idea to fruition.  My work schedule naturally allowed some time off that would give this idea time to heal and the timing lined up perfectly with my cycle so it wouldn't affect our ongoing attempts to conceive.   

So for the first time in my life, I walked into a tattoo parlor, handed the artist a photo of what I wanted, asked a few questions, put down my deposit, and and scheduled an appointment.  Days later, I was walking through the door as nervous as could be, but certain this was what I wanted to do.  I was fearful of the physical pain, but kept telling myself, "The pain of doing this is going to be nowhere near the pain of loosing your babies...You can do this."  So I did it with prayer and deep breaths and squeezing my husband's hand and rarely watching the artist as she did her work.  I did it and I am so glad I did.  

I love seeing this.

I love its significance and meaning.  I love the lives it represents.  I love the tangible reminder of my children's existence.  I love being able to more boldly proclaim their existence.

I love all these things and I am so glad I did it, but I must admit there was a part of this decision that was much more difficult than the consideration of the pain and permanence of a tattoo.  Many of my prayers were an honest discussion with God about the future, our future, the future of our family.  I sensed God giving me permission to remember Ashton Hope and Baby "J" in this way, but I didn't know whether or not His plan would allow for us to experience more miscarriages in the future.  There were unanswered questions and unknown risks, and I am a person who likes to know all the details, assess all the risks, and analyze a situation multiple times before I make a final decision, but in this situation it was impossible.  I had no way of knowing the future.

I found this beautiful image to represent the two children we had lost, but the truth was that I did not know if we would have more children that would need remembering someday.  I had no idea whether or not we would experience anymore miscarriages on our journey or if this was it.  So this decision to remember our children in this way was really a leap of faith.  It was a way of surrender.  In choosing to move forward, I had to step out in faith and surrender our story to God once more.  

In surrendering, I had to accept that this beautiful image may, in the future, look different than what I desired.  It may not be as perfect as it initially appeared.  It may get messy.  But isn't that true of life?  It has looked much different than I desired.  It has been far from perfect.  It has been messy.  This part of our story has broken my heart, and this current journey of waiting breaks my heart month after month.  But in this different than desired, far from perfect, messy life, I am choosing to take a leap of faith.  I am choosing to surrender to a God who heals my broken heart and takes the unexpected, imperfect, messiness of my life and creates something beautiful - something I may only see glimpses of here on earth, but will undoubtedly see fully when I meet Him and our children face to face.