I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to put into words our short time together but, your impact, however quick was far too precious for me to not write it out. So here is Mama's tribute to you, dear baby, by way of my love for stringing words together.
I wish I had been able to know you.
Share in your laughter.
Weep with you in your sorrows.
Cheer you on as you played your favourite sport or instrument or performed your favourite song or read aloud a poem you'd written or perhaps, you would have been a dancer.
I wish I'd been able to feel you breathe as you filled your little lungs with air.
I wish I'd been able to see you play with your older brother and sister.
I wish I'd been able to hear the sweetest coo's you'd make.
I wish I'd be able to kiss your sweet face and smell your sweet baby smell.
Of all the moments I wish we'd had, I just wish I'd been able to hold you.
My husband and I decided in June that we were ready to once again expand our family. We always knew we wanted more kids, but after a bout of postpartum depression after my daughter's birth, my gung-ho-ness took a little detour into fear. "What if I get depression again?", "What if I just can't handle three kids?", "What about finances for three kids as they grow?", "What is we ruin our 'million-dollar family' and add a child that's even crazier than our girl-child?" (for those of you that know our B-girl, you'll laugh, 'cause you know she crazy) ... The list goes on. Fear crippled my mind until one day, it just didn't anymore. You know those moments of clarity (often times during or just after an espresso beverage). I was looking at my kids and it just made sense. You guys are nuts, that much is obvious. But, I want more of you little-incredibly-cute-and-frustratingly-joyful-handful-of-human-beings. It was a no-brainer. So, we tried and tried for a couple months until one day, we saw the + sign we'd be waiting for. We were beyond excited. I sobbed with joy and told just about everyone because after all, I wasn't going to live in fear of miscarrying just like I wasn't going to live in fear of adding another little person to our tribe.
I woke up one rainy Saturday morning in September, away on a women's retreat with a close friend, I was newly pregnant, filled with excitement for the future, unbeknownst to me what was about to unravel soon after my feet hit the ground. As I sat in the washroom, my hands were shaking at the discovery that I was bleeding. With my heart rooted in faith, I whispered to myself, "Everything is going to be fine." We ended up attending the first session at the women's retreat. While my attention was directed to the teaching, I was very aware of the sharp pains starting in my stomach and that I had started to cramp more intensely. We quickly packed up our things and headed for home after lunch. (Side note: I'm so thankful for a friend like Mandy who held my hand and heart the whole time. Encouraging me. Loving me. Not giving me any cliche encouragements but just being real. I couldn't have been with a better person in that situation. Thank you Mandy for being the greatest friend to me during the time we had away and the days that followed.)
The process of confirming that I had miscarried spanned 72 long hours. We were in and out of the hospital. However, each time I went to the washroom, I just knew, by what I was seeing and by the physical pain my body was experiencing, that I was losing our baby. I walked the tension of hoping for a miracle and acceptance of the obvious according to the symptoms my body was experiencing. I so badly wanted to have hope, clinging to the words I told myself, "Everything is going to be fine." But, I wanted everything to be fine according to my standard of fine.
Hearing the words, "You've miscarried." was earth-shattering. As they came out of my Doctor's mouth, they were heavy. All of the sudden, the once loud emergency waiting room went entirely silent to me.
My ears were ringing.
My hands shook.
My eyes welled up uncontrollably with tears.
My voice trembled as I tried to formulate a response while shifting back and forth in my chair, trying not to look at my husband who's eyes were welled with tears too.
To be honest, I don't even remember what I said next or last.
Even though I had prepared my heart for the possibility of having to say goodbye, I didn't want it to be true. I wanted God to do a miracle. The pain of not having a choice in the matter became a lot to process over the next couple of days. I allowed myself space to mourn. I leaned in hard to my husband, our close friends, family and my faith. One benefit of telling people early was that I had an army behind me as support. I have never felt so sad. There's no other word for it but feeling a deep, all-encompassing sadness. I was sad for myself, for my husband, for our kids, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles; I carried the weight of all their loss. Not in the sense of taking blame, I know there was absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent this miscarriage. But I felt their sadness as well. This baby was so loved already.
In all the grief, there was a great amount of peace in our hearts and in our home. We didn't question God. But just because we didn't question Him doesn't mean our responses weren't emotional. I snot-faced-ugly-cried and used swear words to communicate my feelings to Him and sometimes, used those same swear words to describe my feelings with friends. Something God has been working in me over the last 6 months is knowing Him, inside and out, His goodness, and how my heart is so very connected to Him and that Goodness. Experiencing the loss of a baby wasn't something I ever wanted to do, but it's something that has changed me and my relationship with God forever. Why would I blame God for killing my baby? He didn't. Why would I question Him? God is good. His character is good. His ways are good. I will not question the good character of the God who has held me close, carried me in most of my days, restored and rebuilt my identity and taught me how to absolutely and unashamedly love Him and who I am.
Over the next few weeks, I received messages from people trying to encourage me by saying, "Everything happens for a reason." While I appreciated the attempt to lighten the mood [and love them for their efforts] to make me feel better by trying to give me a "reason" for losing our baby, I needed to respond bluntly that I don't believe everything happens for a reason. To be honest, I think that sometimes, life just sucks because of the world we live in. God didn't "allow" me to lose my baby to teach me a lesson, or pay me back for something I've done wrong in the past; that is not like God. Sometimes, life is just messy. Life circumstances and people can be hurtful, it can get bad, heartbreaking, scary and really, really hard. But, I believe, I've seen and I've experienced the goodness that God can bring from absolutely awful situations. That's His part to play. Picking up the pieces and crafting them back together beautifully and weaving them into eternity with Him.
I was talking to a friend throughout the miscarriage who worded it perfectly, my spirit is much less tethered to this side of eternity now. I feel less invested into the unimportant, petty and superficial things of this world and reminded of the things that truly matter. As much as losing a child hurt - and somedays, it still hurts just as bad - it does get better. The days get easier, it gets easier to talk about it, you cry less but one thing that doesn't change is the hope that I have to see that sweet face one day.
So thank you, dear baby.
Though your time with us was short-lived, you strengthened the bond in our family. You reminded me to cherish and be thankful for the two healthy beautiful little people we have. You drew me closer to Jesus and His goodness and you placed a hope in my heart for a healthy baby one day. You taught me that releasing control is one of the most beautiful surrenders we can give in this world as it frees us. We will not forget you and all the good that came even after sadly losing you.
Is the fear of miscarrying again something I worry about? Yes. All the time. But that won't be my focus.
I refuse to meditate on the thought that there's no hope because there is always, always hope.
Everything will be fine.
Even if it's not the type of fine I'd imagined.