I truly didn’t think I’d be here again.
The place where I was stricken with fear and doubts. We have been here twice before. Back in January. And again, on Mother’s Day. Attempting to open our hands to God’s will – allowing Him to take yet another precious baby from our future arms. My husband had been forced to go out late that Saturday night in May to get a new Mother’s Day card. One that didn’t mention how happy he was about our new addition coming in January. Because I didn’t need a reminder on that lonely day that while everyone else was celebrating the gift of their children, I was sending another one away.
But yet, here I was. only 13 weeks later. Pre-labor contractions and bleeding. I knew exactly what this was. I had been here twice before.
I had tried to be thankful for every day we had together. I had taken every precaution. I had joy. We were all so happy. This was it. This was the baby God had for us and everyone would see it. They would see God’s wonderful blessings to us and bringing us through two heart wrenching losses.
And yet, here I was. Losing another baby. On another weekend. So I had to wait – agonizingly wait – for Monday.
I was so angry. The things I had always believed about God and children seemed to be untrue.
“Children are a heritage of the womb.” “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” “And God said, be fruitful. Multiply.” “If you ask anything according to my will, He hears us.”
Perhaps God was untrue?
How is this good?
I walked into my bedroom again. Attempting to prepare to have yet another precious, dreamed about, wished for child pried out of my clenched fingers. I packed away my newly purchased maternity clothes. Again. I deleted my pregnancy tracker app. Again. I coldly cleaned my bedroom and bathroom. The others were born into a clean, peaceful place. This one would be too. My dear friend brought me a lavender rice pack to help with the pain. My mom came up from Georgia to help watch the girls. I was ready. But my heart was completely broken. I had no joy, no hope, no peace. I needed to be fixed. And a baby, dead or alive, couldn’t do that.
Then came morning….
The next morning, my symptoms hadn’t really gotten worse, so we decided to stick to our appointment for an ultrasound to see what was going on. We went in to the specialist’s office, went back to the ultrasound room. And I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to see what I knew would be in front of me.
But, yet, we saw it. A fist that pumped in the air. Within milliseconds of appearing on screen. And it’s little feet started kicking around. Despite my broken heart, God had decided to let us see this miracle in front of us. This tiny, 4 cm miracle of life. Of hope. Of joy.
But our saga wasn’t over.
The ultrasound technician saw something of grave concern – swelling. Fluid. Surrounding baby. Nuchal Translucency. “The Dr. will talk to you about that. For now, just be happy about what you’re seeing. I have a feeling this little one is gonna keep you on a rollercoaster.” She said.
The fear crept in again. Remember, my heart, now not as heart-broken as it was 12 hours ago, was still a broken heart.
The doctor didn’t wait long to tell us – “I’m afraid I don’t have anything good to tell you today.” He started. After that, all I really heard were some numbers:
“Less than 5% chance of survival.” “Most likely chromosomal issues.” “80% chance of gross abnormalities.” “There are tests we can do.” “You probably have about 2-4 weeks.” “There are options. We can terminate the pregnancy.” “This isn’t your fault.” “Would you like a moment?”
We cried, again. 15 minutes before we were sobbing with joy. Now we were sobbing in fear. And I was still angry.
He gave us a few moments. Then he came back in and explained it all again, knowing we really hadn’t grasped it all the first time. “Come back in a week to check for viability.” He said.
We got in the car and stared ahead.
I’m very pro-life. I’m very anti-abortion. But in that moment, I saw termination as a very real option. I was extremely afraid. I was extremely angry. I was extremely broken. And saving my baby from a lifetime of handicaps seemed to be the most loving thing I could do as a parent at the time. Suddenly, losing the baby wasn’t the worst thing that could happen.
Earthly support – Heaven sent.
Word got out pretty quickly. Hundreds of friends and family began lending their prayer support and offering to bring food and clean my house and take as many day to day burdens off of us as they could. The most valuable thing they did, though, was begin to shower me with words from Scripture. Words of hope. Words of love. And songs. We were given more songs and iTunes albums than meals. And I’m so thankful. For those meals, while they fed our bodies, could never have fed our souls.
I began to see the brokenness of my own heart – and not of God’s Words. He began putting the pieces of my heart back together. Gently. Thoughts would come into my mind as I googled everything under the sun about my baby’s possible futures. There was no way I could prepare for all the options.
“Stop. Whatever things are true…”
Think on these things. Thankfully, my friends had given me enough truth to dwell on for a lifetime. Their emails, comments, texts, phone calls were full of truth.
And these, literally hundreds, of possibilities I was researching were not true, yet. And thinking on them – which I didn’t need to do, yet – brought no peace. They only brought chaos to my already broken-soul. So, I turned to the one passage that gives a formula for something everyone in the world craves. And for something I desperately needed.
“Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything…let your requests be made known unto God. Then the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds.”
“[And] think on things that are true…and anything that’s worthy of praise….and the God of peace will be with you.”
And He was. Feeling this real peace was like riding a wave – a fast, tumultuous wave with no straight path because of the violence of the storm it was under – and riding it into a calm, peaceful, sunny bay.
I had to stop. Stop thinking about the endless possibilites. The beautiful girl in the wheelchair I saw at Chipotle with no communication abilities. The thought of delivering a dead baby in a cold hospital room in the very near future. A funeral for an hours-old infant. The possible looming financial burdens suddenly thrown at us. None of those things were known to be true, yet. And none of those things were, in my mind, worthy of praise at the moment.
What was true, though, was that my God does love me. And I’m not the center of my universe. He is. Everything He does is for His glory. And, as my wise husband has said after every loss, “If nothing else, we’ve helped increase the souls in God’s kingdom by one today.” What was true was that I saw my baby. And it was alive. And besides this significant amount of fluid that was surrounding its sweet little body, it seemed perfectly healthy. So, we would fight for every one of those 5 percents.
So I encourage you, my friend. Whatever it is God has led you through – no matter how dark or how long your valley of deathly shadows -
“Come, broken, to the cross,
Where Christ embraced all human loss.
And let us bow before the throne
Of God, who gives and takes his own.
And promises – whatever toll
He takes – to satisfy our soul.
Come, learn the lesson of the rod:
The treasure that we have in God.
He is not poor nor much enticed
Who loses everything but Christ.”
(– quoted from Job, by John Piper)
Because “From Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things done. To Him be glory forever!”
And today, even without knowing if the life inside of me is in fact still a life, I can honestly, gratefully, end by uttering a quiet,