Soon after it happened, I knew I’d one day find the words to share about it. I’ve been dodging this though. Busy, yes. But, also unsure of how to start.
I’ve typed and erased about five times now. Six now. Don’t get me wrong. I want to share. If I were face to face with any one of you, I’d be open about this, but somehow this white space is intimidating me. Trouble is, I am a writer. And I know that until I write about this, I won’t find words to blog much else.
For years Bryan and I had discussed openly about if we felt we were going to have another baby or not. If we were open to it. For so long I had internally wrestled and resisted. The pregnancy with our fifth son had been a particularly challenging one that left me physically drained and weary. I must add that I’m also so grateful for the great reward at the end of each and every pregnancy/labor journey. I certainly wouldn’t go back and trade that. To add to the mix, years prior, when our son Kaleb was only a one-year old I had heard God whisper to my spirit, “One more. A girl.”
Those four words lingered through the years.
This is why I wrestled for so long. I knew the joy of a having another child would be worth the sacrifice. After much deliberation, we felt peace to “open that door” and see what would happen.
And so, in mid April, we found out I was pregnant. It was the same weekend that I found out that I had shingles (which I shared about here). What a brutal combination of a day.
I was so weary during that season, but that afternoon, I went for a walk out to the back of the property we live on. I was allured by the white cherry blossoms that I could see from our window and wanted some of their glory inside my home. The promise of the warmth of spring just around the corner.
I gathered some branches from the south side of the property then walked over to the cluster of cherry trees on the north border of the fields. As I walked, I breathed deeply and talked with the Lord, considering the news I had heard that day.
Pregnant? I didn’t think so highly of my capabilities to think that I could “handle it”. Yet, I felt peace that I would learn and delight in the process. I also prayed and asked God to tell me what this little one would be like. In every previous pregnancy, I had always gotten a clear indication about each baby early on, and each had proven to be true.
I was already certain that it would be a girl; how can I say that I knew? I suppose the same way that you know you want to marry someone. Intangible, yet forcefully true.
As I neared the trees I saw that one large branch had cracked and the weight had pulled it down to the ground. There it lay, still attached to the tree, but broken. I noted how unique it was the branch was still covered in gorgeous blossoms.
In that moment, like the way the wind rustles the grass, I heard the words,
“She will be beautiful in adversity. She will have a generous spirit.”
I treasured this in my heart.
We also opted to treasure the news of the pregnancy to ourselves for a little while, which we had never been able to do in previous occasions. Maybe we were learning to keep a secret? Maybe we were also intimidated by any negative comments that people might say and wanted to shield our children and our own hearts from that.
A little of both, if I am being honest.
It’s amazing how quickly a woman’s mind can make plans when she finds out that she is pregnant. Within minutes she calculates when the baby will be due. “December 9th. Right around my dad’s birthday. Maybe we’ll have her settled into a bit of a rhythm by Christmas time. Haha. Or not.”
She considers the impact that her pregnancy will have on the summer vacation. “I’ll only be 5 months pregnant when we go to Oregon. Past the exhaustion of the first trimester, but not too big yet. Excellent.”
She begins to mentally take stock of what items the baby will need. “We definitely need to replace our old playpen. That thing has been with us for a decade and could certainly use a facelift.”
She thinks about items in her closet and wonders if she could splurge on more maternity clothes this time around, instead of wearing those styles and colours that really don’t match her personality but are the only things that fit.
She wonders how the other boys will take the news, and how the youngest will feel being displaced.
That is all on the first day.
This is the beauty and hilarious power of a mother’s spirit.
Just two weeks after finding out about her, my body began to lose her.
I called a friend, who has specialized as a maternity nurse. She has a soul with kindness that fills the room. “Drink water. Rest. It may not be what you suspect.” She prayed for me. I felt peace. A strange concoction of being out of control with a sliver of hope.
Within hours it was clear that this baby would not make it. For the first time in my life, I experienced miscarriage. I couldn’t believe the depth of sadness that I felt.
It was purely sadness. Not anger. Not fear. Not self-pity. Just sadness.
It felt reasonable that my body would ache in the same way that my heart did. It felt appropriate that my womb would weep, just as my eyes did.
That was Friday.
The next day was our very first Sabbath. We had previously determined to begin having a weekly day of rest for other reasons, (as I explain here.) So, that Saturday afternoon, we packed some snacks and drove to a nearby lake. It was secluded enough that we had the space to ourselves that crisp, sunny spring day. I ached, and sat watching our five strong boys throw rocks, splash, and explore.
It is possible to smile and cry at the same time.
All we had to do that day was rest. Rest and mourn. No rushing through.
I determined that weekend to release the tears whenever they needed to come. I also determined not to feel guilty for sensations of happiness. Mourning is not a predictable process, is it?
The next day was Easter Sunday. A day to celebrate the resurrection life of my Saviour, Jesus.
We gathered with our church community, and sang of how there is life even after death. How love defeated the grave once and for all.
The Lord showed me two things that morning. First, I saw a glimpse into a little, dimly lit nursery that I knew was in heaven. I saw Jesus gently tipping back and forth in a rocking chair, holding our little baby.
I cry even now thinking about it, and want to express my gratitude for the kindness of our God who has been a true friend to me. He cares for what we care about.
Next, I saw her, all grown. A wide smile. Long dark hair. Oh, she is joyful and lively. Beautiful in adversity.
I know that she is fine. The Bible says that God sees and knows each child even before they are formed in their mother’s womb. It says that all of our days are known by Him, even before one of them comes to pass.
All the babies that this world has lost are safe with Him.
The sadness ebbs and flows now. Like waves washing over the shore, bringing some thoughts in, washing some thoughts away. There are stretches where I do not feel sad at all though, but the other night I dreamt that I was holding her. Comforting her. I have had more tears to cry again since. I mourn what I dreamed was going to be. Her fuzzy head and squirmy little body. I woke and found my arms were empty. I said to Bryan later when I told him about the dream, “It’s not that I just want a baby. I wanted her.”
I know that this is the beauty and power of a mother’s spirit.
Since this has happened, I’ve spoken with so many women who share with me the sadness that they still carry in their hearts as well. I don’t know if that sadness will ever go away, but I suppose my prayer would be that in the midst of sadness, we would also know great peace. The kind that doesn’t come from being in control, but rather, that comes from the hope of being reunited on the other side of eternity. Because love is even stronger than death.