A Story of Stillbirth- Home

After we got home, I noticed how still our house was, and how loud the silence was. I slept at night, but woke up every three hours on the dot, looking for a baby to need me to take of her. I started lactating, and spend miserable days waiting for the engorgement to ease; waiting for the physical pain to ebb and stop reminding me every second of how there was no Cora to feed. We made a visit to the funeral home, to finalize the arrangements for her remains.

My body healed well. My ability to work and to do physical labor returned slowly. I slept as much as I could, and we had a steady stream of visitors blessing us with their time, gifts, and food. On more than one occasion, I hid in the bathroom off of our bedroom and cried while there were people at our house, because I was so overwhelmed. I cried so much that I had an almost constant headache from being dehydrated. We started keeping tissues in each room of the house for all of the crying that happened  seemingly at random.

I spent time listening to music, studying my Bible, and praying. I spent as much time as I could. I felt like the moment that I took my eyes off of Christ, I would drown like Peter when Jesus called him to walk on the stormy waters towards him.

We spent every day focusing on making it through the day, and waited to think about tomorrow until it arrived. Husbandman spent one week at home with me, and went back to work the week after. I was alone in the house, but got daily visitors from work or church with food and a hug just when I needed it.

Along with the redefinition of myself, my home had to be redefined in my mind. The room that had been the guest room and was intending to be the nursery was the guest room again. The space in our bedroom where she was supposed to sleep is just a space on the floor now. It took a long time before I could walk past the guest room and not cry every time. Sometimes, I go and sit in that room and still cry, remembering what was planned that won’t occur. 

Being home was a lovely, painful refuge. I couldn’t do much because I was physically and mentally too weak, but God brought people to me. He brought beautiful days when I could walk up and down our little street and build my strength. He provided my neighbor’s dog when I just need to pet something fluffy, and my neighbors when I needed a friendly face and to know that someone was physically near. He provided what I needed every day, even when I didn’t know how to handle my grief. He carried me as I learned how to live with the grief that I will carry to my grave.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

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“Home”, whatever that means

“Home” is a funny concept.

“Home” to me for years and years had been Momma and Daddy’s ranch on a basement with the big front window, big yard, and layout that I can walk with my eyes closed (except when Momma moves the furniture). “Home” was a permanent, immovable building that still houses my childhood memories.

I’ve been living in my small town for about… eight years now (wow). I came here for college, and spent those four years feeling like I was going “home” every time I passed a certain exit on the interstate on the way to Momma and Daddy’s. Even after I got married, this little town didn’t feel like “home”. It felt like a temporary place, because I was sure that we would move closer to my family before we had kids. (Definition of irony: in which Carla decides that she will move north before she has kids, and is now pregnant and just bought a house 1.5-2 hours away from her Mom and Dad’s house.) The first time it felt like I was coming “home” when we got back into out little town from visiting family was about a year ago, and I was taken by complete surprise.

We just finished buying a house. Which is one of the (many) reasons that I haven’t been here (in the online world) quite as much as I’d like. Packing up the apartment that we’ve been renting for almost four years threw off my introvert’s equilibrium so much, and actually moving into the new house and living among the boxes, granted, in a larger space, has been just as upsetting to my false sense of security in “home”. I gain a sense of security from having my environment in order. And there has been no order in my “home” environment for the past month. It’s not likely to return for some time.

Also, did you know that I’m having a baby? Have you moved when you were pregnant? I’m not very far along, but I’ve been slowed by the symptoms of my pregnancy. I’ve had to stop working every two hours to put my feet up. I haven’t been able to lift boxes. I haven’t been moving as quickly as I’m used to. I’ve gotten insanely hangry and have needed naps like a toddler. So the process of moving and now unpacking has been unsettling in a whole new way.

Our new house is beautiful. It’s big enough for us to grow into, it’s in a lovely neighborhood, and it feels like a little oasis with trees and grass outside of the windows instead of concrete and a few thousand neighbors.

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This is my backyard. *sigh* Isn't it #lovely?

A post shared by Carla Patton (@carlampatton) on

But it doesn’t have the feeling of “home” when I walk in the door yet. I know that feeling will come with time, but for now, I don’t have a “home” in the sense that I’ve known it for so many years. I have to think about my route to and from work. I have to remind myself of where I am when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

And instead of looking at God and saying “Thank You for this wonderful adventure!” my default has been “…”. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I get mad at God, and I ignore Him. Because I’m mad in a four-year-old way that my inner sense of “home” has been thrown off. I’m mad that I’m tired and that my possessions are all jumbled up and strewn all over a new house. I don’t feel comfortable, so it makes total sense for me to ignore Him and not seek my rest in Him. (Major sarcasm.) Foolish, foolish Carla. And have I rewritten this post a million times to make it look like I’m doing everything right and I’m just a victim of circumstances? Yup. But, I choose to share my mess with you. Because I don’t want to lie to you here. I don’t want to lie to myself or God either.

May you (I) find “home” in Christ. May you (I) find “home” with your family and church family. May you (I) find “home” with your spouse and loved ones. May you (I) find “home” in your chaos, and remember that God is the God of a brilliant mess, made brilliant because it’s been made in His image.