Exhaustion is getting thick around here these days. When we sit down at night to write updates on caring bridge, we’re usually asking each other, “what happened today?” Not because nothing happened, but because we are so tired we just can’t remember the events of the previous 12 hours. I’ve gotten messages from people on facebook or email that I’ve basically ignored because I just don’t have the energy to respond. So if you’ve written to me, that’s why I haven’t gotten back to you. I do apologize. I’ve also skipped doing birthday greetings on facebook and commenting on posts, even when I have something to say. I just want to focus on Samantha these days.

I have found myself wishing that I had some talent for writing poetry lately, mostly because I’ve been contemplating some metaphors for this experience. One is related to the mobile that Samantha has on her crib. It’s one she loved at the hospital so much that we bought one for her. It has a wheel that turns with three dangling animals and little sliders that turn around and around while music plays. Whenever we lay her in the crib and start it, I listen to the music until it stops, and I find myself thinking that it is a small picture of our lives right now – I am listening for the music to silence, the light to turn off, the wheel to stop turning. And when it comes, there is an emptiness in the quiet and dark that is palpable.

The other metaphor came when I woke to rain last night. For those of you who live along the Missouri or Mississippi I realize rain would be a dreaded thing, but for us here in Texas, in the midst of a horrible drought, it is beyond welcome. As I heard the rain on the roof, I wondered if today would also be the day that our other waiting would be done. The relief of rain, the relief of heaven paralleled in my mind and I prayed once again for God to rescue our little girl.

I can go a few days without thinking about the reality of our situation in depth, and then all at once it hits me. I went to do a return at Target this weekend, exchanging a baby gift for something we can use long-term*. Because I didn’t have a receipt, the return was more complicated and they told me I could exchange for something in the same department. I teared up as I explained that our baby was dying and we didn’t need anything in the baby department. It was awful.

I never used to be one of those folks who got upset when I saw other people with kids, back in the days when we didn’t think we could get pregnant. Now I see pregnant women and it makes me sad, because they can feel hopeful about their pregnancies. I spent mine with Samantha worrying that I’d lose her in utero, only to now lose her as an infant.

* I struggle a bit with guilt about returning some of the baby gifts to the store for other things. Should we instead return them to the folks who gave them to us? Neither one seems right, but I remember reading in an advice column once that when a gift is given, the recipient can do what they like with it. So I’m going to thank people for the gifts and in the meantime those that are returnable I’ve just taken back (or had my parents do it for me). And the stuff that we’ve used but cannot any longer, or the stuff from my sister that she never got to use has all gotten put into the garage to be dealt with at a later time when I can handle tripping over it and crying over it. Right now I just need to spend time with Samantha.