Fathom Mag

Trusting the Rhythms

Sometimes it’s all about what stays the same when everything else changes.

Published on:
June 20, 2024
Read time:
4 min.
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I wake up. I pray. I go to the doctor’s appointment. “You have what’s called a blighted ovum.” The only thing I focus on is the doc’s eyes, searching my face—I don’t know, maybe looking for a single tear to roll down my cheek. “You have a confirmed miscarriage.” 

I already know this. 

“Okay, so what’s next? Are there procedures I need to consider? I’m not a very patient person, so I’d rather go with what will help my body move through this more quickly.” I hear the monotony in my voice. The almost-careless, let’s-get-this-over-with response. 

I need confirmation so I ask my husband to feel my neck. He can feel it too. An intruder.

The doctor slightly raises her eyebrows—just a slight flicker—before she nods and rattles off the options.

I wake up. I pray. I sip coffee. It’s been two weeks and I’m due for a checkup to make sure my D&C recovery went well. While I’m making dinner, I absentmindedly rest my hands on my throat. My neck is familiar to me but what I feel isn’t. There’s a lump. I need confirmation so I ask my husband to feel my neck. He can feel it too. An intruder. 

I wake up. I pray. I sip coffee. I grumble something to an interstellar God about needing to find a PCP to check the lump that revealed itself on my neck the night before. I grumble to myself—something about a new problem appearing the very week I felt like everything was almost back to normal. 

I wake up. I pray. I stare at my coffee. An idea whispers through my mind: I can ask my OB/GYN to look at my neck. My PCP scheduled my appointment for two weeks out, but I have my D&C checkup later today. Yes, I’ll ask her. 

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A few hours later, she says yes. A third set of hands now find my throat and my OB gives her doctorish nod, “Yes. It’s a thyroid nodule. I can have the lab orders sent in so you don’t have to wait. And if they confirm it’s suspicious, they’ll want a biopsy. I’ll have that biopsy request written out for you too, just in case.” It’s almost as if she remembers I’m an impatient person. I breathe a sigh of relief and thank her. 

I wake up. I pray. I thank the Holy Spirit for breathing the idea to ask my OB/GYN about my neck. I thank him for the habit of placing my hands on my neck and for doing just that the week of my follow-up appointment. Two small things that feel like mighty mercies before I leave for Scotland.

Oh, that’s right. I’m going to Scotland.

In the middle of my miscarriage recovery, my thyroid nodule discovery, and my bleary-eyed prayer monotony, my husband and I were invited to Scotland. A very last-minute trip. If we said yes we’d have two weeks to throw logistics together and get to the Highlands.

Yes was my ready answer. No was my husband’s. We could make it work if we really want it, I say. Am I the only sane one here?, he asked the walls of our house. I said, Yes it’s insane, but I need to get out of here.

I was trapped in a cramped box with some far away, worn-out tune reminding me vaguely that all things were for my good and his glory.

The high ceilings and spacious rooms of our house had begun to close in on me from the moment I felt the cramps and watched drops of blood sink to the bottom of our toilet bowl. I screamed, but too late; the walls were moving in. I prayed, rinsed, and repeated. I felt the lump on my neck. I soaked my pillow with more tearful sobs. The roof was getting closer. I prayed, rinsed, repeated, and pleaded. Salt dried out my cheeks. 

Then the walls stopped moving. 

They got no closer but shifted no further away. The ceiling was inches from my head. And all I saw was gray. I read prayers and stared at the wall. I made food and felt sandpaper touch my lips. I was trapped in a cramped box with some far away, worn-out tune reminding me vaguely that all things were for my good and his glory. 

I wake up. I pray. I leave a cup of coffee half-finished on the counter. And we are gone. Three boarding passes to Scotland with today’s date in hand. 

I wake up. I pray. I walk along waters that gurgle with my firstborn who giggles at the Highland cows. We romp through castle gardens, and my husband holds my hand. We pound the pavement with our duck boots and breathe the same air as the wild daffodils in the cutting wind and I am alive. In Scotland. 

I wake up. I pray. I arrive home. The suffocation waits for me. It crawls back over my chest. But it feels like a visitor instead of a resident. Or maybe it has shrunk. 

I wake up. I pray. I feel the tiny hands I already have to hold and cry over their buoyant little pulse. I smile at my house and see a haven where my husband reminds me that he is beside me and I am not alone. I bless the scorched tortilla because it means I am alive another day to taste. I confirm it tastes terrible. I feel the lump in my neck and praise God that I still feel well enough this day to go on a walk under our desert sun. I smile at our creosote and asked God for a day of rain so I could breathe in and feel full. 

In the rhythms, the Lord reawakened me to the gifts found in the very walls I was trying to escape.

It is a romantic thing, you say, to have the privilege to go to Scotland to pull you out of your suffering, even if for a moment. Yes, I say back. But looking back, I wonder what pulled me out of my monochrome, caved-in world. I don’t think it was Scotland. The escape to Scotland interrupted my darkness, but Scotland flashed a brilliant light—and then it was gone. From where I am now I see the rays of light, like the promised sunshine, gathered with the daily beat of waking up, reaching out for my God, and being right where I was with him. In the rhythms, the Lord reawakened me to the gifts found in the very walls I was trying to escape. I will take in the shared air of the creosote in my backyard any day over the daffodil across the ocean. 

So I continue to press the little hands, and seek comfort in my husband’s hands, and pray with open hands, and make the doctor appointments, and wait, and hope, and plead with God, and hope some more. 

And I’ll wake up, pray. Hold a cup of coffee. And tomorrow I will do so again, trusting the rhythms to create the interruptions of light I really need for all the days I have on this earth.

Tessa Kennedy
Tessa Valadez Kennedy is from New Mexico. She has an MA in Literature, and occasionally posts Google Docs to her social media platforms because, "CMS websites require an inordinate amount of what precious time I have to clean up aesthetics." You can find her Google Doc folder her. If you want to make friends with her on Instagram, DM: @t.kenns.

Cover image by Blessing Ri.

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