“I’m so sorry. “
“I’m afraid it’s not going to be good news today.”
I reached up to squeeze my husband’s hand as I stared in shock at the screen. The silhouette of our baby whose heart beat we had heard only one week earlier, now still and quiet. As the ultrasound tech stepped out of the room with tears in her eyes, we began to weep. It was shocking and painful. And all too familiar.
Just three months prior, we sat in the same ultrasound room and waited quietly for her to confirm what we already knew. My bleeding had indeed been a miscarriage and our baby was gone. The baby we had already told our then 3, 2 and 1 year olds about. Gone. Not coming to our house in September, but already home now with Jesus.
The morning before I found out that I was pregnant with our fourth baby, I was praying for the Lord to give me one word for the year. As worship began that Sunday morning, I could hear him whispering, “Trust. Trust Me.” If I’m being totally honest, “trust” is not the kind of word I was hoping for. I was really planning on changing it to something a little more light hearted, like “joy” or “peace.” But as worship continued, I knew I couldn’t deny His voice. Trust. It was in the songs we sang, the message our pastor delivered and constantly in my mind. Undeniable. Deep down in my heart, I knew this was a call to something painful. Something way out of my control. Where trusting Jesus was eventually going to look more like clinging to Him. With every ounce of bravery in my body, which is seriously not much, I whispered back, “Okay. I’ll trust You.”
And with those four words, the storm clouds rolled in. Only I couldn’t see them yet.
Six hours later, I was doing a (silent) happy dance over a positive pregnancy test. And because I love him and I’m a pro at this now, I told the hubby in code over dinner at the kitchen table with our kids that WE’RE HAVING ANOTHER BABY! Since we are the best at keeping big secrets from our kids for long periods of time, we waited a solid half day before telling them the exciting news. And there was plenty of excitement once the 2 year old got past the fact that, “We already have a baby,” and the baby brother would soon be a big brother like him.
The first appointment was a couple days later, and everything appeared to be right on track. We proceeded to tell our family and friends about our new baby. With every pregnancy, we have agreed to share the news as early as possible. There are multiple reasons for this, but the biggest two are prayer and accountability. Neither of us could fathom NOT having our people praying for such a big part of our lives and for our baby’s life. We also knew that if something happened to our baby, we would need our friends and family to know. Telling them early on in the pregnancy always ensures that we won’t even have the option to walk through a loss alone. This is a big one for me because I’m not quick to share my present pain. Isn’t it always a little easier to talk about battles once the wounds have healed and the verbs are past tense?
My belly was already starting to grow (the fourth one just pops right out there), we still had a few people to share the news with, and I was finally coming up on my first ultrasound appointment. It was all exciting! I mean, I l-o-v-e being pregnant. I was starting to plan the announcement and think of fun ways to tell the world about baby number four.
And then I began to see the storm clouds looming overhead. Without too much detail, there was a little blood, a few hours of restless sleep, and then a lot of blood. It had been two weeks since God started preparing my heart to trust Him in the trials that were coming. I laid there that night, uncertain of what the next few hours would hold, but being held by the One I can certainly trust. With tears streaming down my face, I begged Him to not let this be what it undoubtedly was. I begged Him to stop the bleeding. I begged Him to let me keep my baby. My baby.
My God is so sweet. He is so gracious and I can’t believe the ways that He loves me. He held me so close. I thought about that verse that says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,” and I knew it was His arms around me in that moment. So I stopped begging for the things I wanted and in my most vulnerable state and my weakest voice I whispered, “I trust You.” The tears didn’t stop. In fact, they increased. I wasn’t suddenly content with the thought of losing this child. I still wanted to wake up and find out it was all a nightmare.
But it was real. And so was the tough conversation with our precious babies about our new baby going to Heaven with Jesus instead of home with us. I was so mad at myself for getting them excited about the baby because the loss brought so much sadness to their hearts. And then grace covered that, too. It ended up leading to conversations with our deep thinking little girl about life and death, and eternity in God’s presence or eternity away from God and all his attributes. It opened the doors for conversations about how following Jesus doesn’t mean everything is going to be happy all the time, but it means He will be with us all the time, even when things get sad. I believe the truths she’s learning in the midst of this sadness at then 3, now 4 years old, will serve as part of a rock solid foundation on which she will build her life.
I was learning so much. Mostly about the absolute uncontainable love my heavenly Father has for me. I was sharing my story as I had the opportunities to do so. I never failed to mention that I’ve never felt as loved by the Lord as I have through this pain. I was trusting Him as we walked through the storm and His grace covered me constantly. Oh His grace! Protecting me from the lies the enemy was hurling my way and comforting me when the sadness was overwhelming.
We were determined to not be fearful of another pregnancy, and then two months later we got to put that to the test. Three positive pregnancy tests over three days – because I was afraid they were false. I waited four days to call and schedule my appointment with the nurse – because I was afraid of going back to the office. I made my recent history very clear with the nurse in hopes that they would get a look at the baby soon – because I was afraid that history would repeat itself.
But, wait. I just went through this whole “trust” deal and God, once again, proved faithful. He gave me peace when I could have been consumed with fear. He gave me purpose in the pain. He stretched me. Grew me. What do I have to fear? There is no better option for me than to trust Him with every detail of my life, much less the big stuff.
And so we started fresh. We told our family and friends. We asked for a whole lot of prayer. We didn’t tell our kids until the day we heard the baby’s heart beating. I was feeling sick. Sicker than any of my previous pregnancies — I started to wonder if there were two of those babies and the second one was hiding from the camera. People were always asking me how I was feeling. I told them the nauseous truth followed by, “I’m just thankful for signs of a growing baby!” My tummy was growing and I wanted to eat at all times of the day and I was so thankful.
Then the storm rolled in. As we sat in that quiet ultrasound room, both too shocked to say words, I heard the words God spoke to me almost four months earlier. “Trust Me.” What? NO! No thanks. Haven’t I trusted Him enough? Wasn’t one miscarriage enough? Did I not learn everything He had to teach me just three months ago?
Why now? Why this? Why my babies? Can’t I learn to trust You without this?
I was mad. I could feel Him drawing near to me like before. I knew He loved me and I was mad. I knew He wasn’t caught off guard like we were and that made me madder.
And then I broke.
I know all these things to be true because I’ve experienced them firsthand. “He’s never failed and He won’t start now.” He did not leave my side in the last storm. He protected me and comforted me. I don’t want to choose anything different than that for this storm or any of the storms coming my way. I want to choose Jesus every time. “Okay. I’ll trust You,” I whispered.
We went to another room to meet with my doctor, who, by the way, is a huge blessing to us. He is kind and compassionate and genuinely cares about our family. He asked us multiple times if we had any questions. And as much as I wanted to have some great ones, I didn’t. There is not one answer I could receive that would make this make sense. And that is why I will trust my loving Father. He knows all the answers. Therefore, I need to know none of them.
I don’t know why He’s allowing us to go through this extremely painful, heartbreaking season. But I don’t have to know why. My only concern is “How?” How is he going to use this to bring glory to Himself? How can I be obedient in the task He’s laid before me? He’s been teaching me for four months now that I can best glorify Him when I am transparent, authentic, and honest with others. When I share my story before the wounds heal, He is healing me and giving hope to those around me.
I’m sure that my story is for anyone.
It’s for you who doesn’t understand why pursuing a relationship with Jesus didn’t eliminate the heartbreak of this world.
It’s for you who wants to trust God with something bigger than yourself, but aren’t quite sure that he’s going to prove faithful in your life.
It’s for you who doesn’t think there’s a God who loves you so much He would die for the opportunity to have you be His.
It’s for you who are picking up the pieces of shattered dreams and trying to figure out what the future looks like now.
It’s for you who have suffered great loss and heartbreak.
It’s for you who’s right in the middle of the storm.
And I’m confident that it’s for you: the woman who is missing her baby she never got to hold.
You who instinctively holds a shrinking baby bump and gets flooded with the loss of dreams all over again.
You who can’t get dressed without tears welling up in your eyes because all your clothes fit weird and there’s no longer a growing baby to attribute that to.
You who are dealing with the lingering physical reminders of a life that was lost.
You who are grieving the very real loss of a child that only you carried for it’s entire life.
Trust Him. He is good. Pour out your heart to Him. Your anger. Your questions. Let Him hold you as you grieve the loss of your child. Trust Him with all of that. He’s waiting for you to. Let Him begin to heal your heartache. And then be available for Him to bring purpose to your pain.
He wants to use your story to bring glory to His name and hope to those around you. Be transparent, authentic and honest. Let others in on your pain. People rarely talk about the loss of a baby before birth. After my first miscarriage, I learned that almost 20% of pregnancies end this way. That’s so many! It should not be this sort of taboo subject that we’ve twisted it into. I get it — it’s so tempting to grieve in silence. But we weren’t meant to live like that. We were intended to encourage one another. In the good times and the tough times. Which means each of us has a responsibility to share our good times and our tough times.
It’s scary. It’s alright to be afraid. But in your most vulnerable state and your weakest voice tell Him, “Okay. I’ll trust You.” Then walk with Him. Watch how He guides, protects, and comforts you along the way. He is always faithful. And above all else, He is worthy of your trust.