Deep in, Slow out

I wake up with a song in my head.
My body doesn’t ache or protest.
I stretch.
In the still darkness of morning I slip on some socks and a robe.
My feet carry me to the mat.
My favorite mug and journal patiently wait their turn beside me.
Healing breaths wash over me.
Deep in.
Slow out.
My feet kiss and my back arches.
I no longer feel hollow.
I’m both grateful and perplexed.
Grief is a coiled snake and yoga is my pungi.
It has been one month today.
My newborn heart is 30 days old.
It grew back, somehow.
Saturday is my birthday.
I should be 15 weeks.
Instead I am 29.
Just 29 and no weeks.
I sip my coffee and wipe a tear.
An apple candle flickers in the dark.
I am safe.
My cat sighs (no, really).
I am loved.
I forgot to be sad yesterday.
I am grateful.
The universe sent me a gift.
I am healing.
It’s peace.

Namaste

I went to yoga yesterday for the first time.

It was, more or less, uneventful.

I cried, but crying at yoga isn’t an unusual thing for me. I mostly only go for the meditation and affirmations at the end of class, which always make me cry in the best way. The rest I can do at home; but I can never really reach the level of peace at home that I do when Judson is telling me to imagine the walls around my heart are crumbling. “Your heart begins to glow,” he says. “There’s no one you need to be. Nothing you need to do, but exist right here in this moment. Feel the earth holding you and just let go.”

Then comes the ugly cry and it feels SO GOOD. I’m a quiet (silent, actually. But that’s a post for another day) crier and so with a lavender eye bag protecting me and the lights turned down low this is the safest place I’ve ever found to cry with the comfort of community without any expectations. It is positively spiritual.

So I moved my body and forgave it. I forgave it for being terribly off balance and for my heels being too tight to touch the floor in downward dog. I forgave it for only being able to make a tiniest tree and for needing to sit in child’s pose through two sequences. I also forgave it for not telling me my baby was not progressing normally and for letting me believe I was pregnant longer than I was.

Ok. So maybe it wasn’t completely uneventful.

Baby steps.

Sidebar: I have ALMOST typed that phrase 10,000 times throughout this process of healing. Each time it gets caught in my fingertips, completely breaking my heart at the unintended and usually innocuous reference to a baby I will not have. Today, I type it. I embrace the pain because today I choose to be brave and feel everything. What is life, after all, if not a million moments to feel. Today I’m grateful I have these moments and I will fill them up with whatever comes my way.

The Saturday after a Good Friday

I handled friday so well that when I woke this morning I nearly felt guilty. I spent Friday taking care of myself, painting and being loved on by my friends and husband. It was, all things considered, a pretty good day.

So when Saturday morning rolled around I expected that opening my eyes would bring more of the same. That I was “getting over it” and “moving on”. Healing, even.

I laid in bed with Pen and we chatted about what we would do. “Maybe visit that amazing deli in Maryville and rent a canoe at Concord park?” We mused. “I really want French toast,” I decided, “Let’s grab some breakfast at Pete’s and then go to the farmers’ market.” This went on for a bit. When we finally got out of bed I felt ok, but the guest room door was left open from when I had been trying to take the clothes off their hangers and put them into a tote. I didn’t get very far and Karma was so insistent on staying in the room that I left the door open and abandoned my cause all together. Cats aren’t very sensitive creatures.

Because I like to get things done I suggested we put away the clothes together. Maybe it’ll be easier together. Every outfit and onesie has a story and a memory of two brilliantly naive people that we don’t know anymore. Pen and I used our shopping jaunts as opportunities to gesticulate on the random ins and outs of parenthood; often resulting in long conversations in between the racks of pint sized clothes. So much hope.

We folded and cried and smiled, often over the same outfits and designs. When we were finished I curled up on the couch feeling devastatingly hollow. I turned on an episode of Weeds and stared out the patio doors. After a while Pen came to sit with me and from just a touch I shattered. We sat like that for too long.

“Let’s do something.” I finally mumbled.

“What would you like to do?”

“Nothing, but if it’s up to me we’ll do this all day and I don’t think that’s really a great idea.”

So we went.

Dinner: a couple margaritas for me and a mojito for him. There was probably food in there somewhere.

Hobby lobby: paint brushes I don’t need. A cute little shelf for mail and doorway miscellany. I have a coupon and a headache.

Pen suggests a movie. I don’t care about anything so I agree. We go to Target for snacks and I get a sweater so I won’t be cold. Ghiradelli chocolate covered cashews and red bull make their way onto the conveyer belt. Pen chooses twizzlers.

Guardians of the Galaxy is surprisingly good. I laugh. For two hours and 19 minutes I forget to be sad. It’s the best part of my day. I squeeze Pen’s hand. I’m so grateful for this man.

We lay in bed and decide that grief is almost involuntary. I feel it in my whole body and it’s exhausting. Pen suggests that my whole body is actually grieving. Our cells have a memory, he says. Yours are probably sad too. He’s absolutely right.

We fall asleep tangled together. We made it, I think. We’re making it.

A fixed door and locked hope

The worst part about losing a baby is that at first you forget and have to remember all over again. I caught myself rubbing my belly today as I searched for Tylenol to dull the headache from the crying. It was a strange juxtaposition that shook me so firmly back into reality that a punch to the gut would have been more subtle.

Today has been a series of waves of grief followed by the stillness of feeling nothing at all. Neither is easier or worse.

In a single moment my entire existence and being changed. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a singular moment so significantly altering. There will be no baby Clouse in April 2015. There will be more bib sewing or bargain shopping for tiny clothes with jellyfish and mustaches. At least not right now.

I will not be 6 months pregnant for our Christmas beach vacation. There won’t be a hilarious family photo involving beach balls and a baby bump. Heart. Broken.

But there will be healing. We will cry and grieve and fix the damn guest room door so the cats can’t open it. We will lock away every stitch of hope we had in that room until we can bear to look at it again. And then we will. Because I hear you do.

Today though, there’s only the crying and a locked room full of hope.