I cry a lot. You might say that as a woman that’s to be expected, and you might be right. I do know that since I had kids I find myself tearing up over a lot of ridiculous things, like the sight of my two precious little boys sleeping. Really, boys are generally much more precious when they’re sleeping. It would probably make more sense if I cried when they woke up. But I will proudly take my place in a long line of women who cry over Hallmark commercials and the ends of sappy movies, even when my children and my husband laugh at me (just like I used to laugh at my mom. what goes around and all that).
I have been very blessed over the course of my life and I have had many more occasions to cry tears of joy than to cry tears of sorrow or pain. But this is not one of those times. Right now my tears are tears of grief. I have lost a child.
I passed that magical moment in my pregnancy– 12 weeks– when everything is supposed to be okay. We heard that tiny heartbeat, healthy and strong. Something like 95% of miscarriages happen before the 12 week mark. Everything was good.
Wednesday we went in for a regular, routine checkup. Went potty in a cup. Everything looks good, the doctor said. Your uterus is just the right size. I was finally feeling better after months of awful nausea. We joked about the pregnancy workout I had done that morning and how badly my legs hurt from the squats. Lay back. We’ll listen to baby’s heartbeat. Hmmmm . . . baby doesn’t want to cooperate. Let me try again. Maybe it’s hiding over here. I think that’s your pulse. Well, why don’t we do an ultrasound and see where baby is hiding. Probably he’s just at an awkward angle.
I think I knew then, but I wasn’t giving up until the doctor told me to.
It only took a moment in the ultrasound room. We saw little tiny hands– with five perfect little fingers on each. They seemed to be waving at us as the technician moved the sensor over my belly. Then she turned off the screen. “I’m going to have the doctor come in and look at this with us.” I knew what that meant. I still refused to let myself cry until the doctor came in. “I’m afraid I don’t have good news for you.”
The baby had no heartbeat. My body, which had provided a warm little home for my precious child, was carrying a body whose soul was gone.
I don’t know how we made it through the rest of the day. We made arrangements for a D&C the following day. I called my job to let them know I wouldn’t be coming in. Somehow we made it home, and then we had to call people and tell them. I heard my dad’s voice break as I told him what had happened. “Oh, baby, no, I’m so sorry.” We hung up and my husband just held me as I wept.
Right now, as I type, tears are running down my face. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to tell this story without them. I don’t know if I would want to.
I carried a child within me for 15 weeks. I never held that child, never looked in his or her bright little eyes or did any of those precious things you look forward to through the months of discomfort that is pregnancy. But that little person will always be in my heart. And I firmly believe, with every ounce of my being, as much as I believe that Iowa has too many cornfields, that someday I will see that child again.
Right now my little son or daughter is with my heavenly Father, the One who has promised to love me and care for me and bring me goodness and mercy all the days of my life– even on this day, when I weep and mourn for my loss. Someday we will have a family reunion, and my joy will overflow.
But today it is my grief that overflows. Right now I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and it is a dark valley and it is hard to walk through it. It hurts more than anything I have ever experienced in my life. But I walk with hope, because my God is with me. He comforts me and guides me and gives me all I need to get through this.
How could I ask for more?