We are observing Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day this week on the blog, in honor of our lost babies. To read more about our heart for this week, read Jeniffer’s post here. We would be honored if you would consider sharing your own story here or in the comments. You don’t have to remember alone.
Next month my baby would be four years old.
I let that truth sit in my heart, and I feel the ache again. Again I wonder what that face would look like. Boy? Girl? Curly hair or straight? What color are the eyes that smile at me? And as I let myself feel the pain of the child that will never be, there is also the taste of guilt. The guilt that I have to pause to feel the pain. The guilt that time has turned the stabbing heartbreak into a dull ache.
I still remember when I found out we were expecting – our third! I had a three year old and a one year old, but I was instantly excited. Things were tight, but God has always provided for our needs, so I knew we’d be okay. I cut back to one soda a day right away. I started reading about cloth diapers, for the first time! Thinking about names. We were getting ready to tell our friends. I was feeling great, no morning sickness like my other pregnancies, and I was so thankful!
But then one morning, when I was eight weeks along, it all changed.
I woke up cramping and discovered I was bleeding.
Then came the E.R. visit.
The terrifying ultrasound, screen turned where I couldn’t see – why wouldn’t they let me see? The ultrasound technician, asking if it was my first. “No, my third – I have a one year old and three year old.” The disproving, “Ooohh – then you already have your hands full.” The feeling that I had no right to grieve if I lost this baby.
Discovering I was losing even more blood, and I knew before the doctor said the words.
The grief, worse than I could have ever imagined.
The anger. At the hurtful, foolish things people said in an attempt at being comforting. At God. Why let me get excited about a baby who I wasn’t going to get to hold? Why not heal my baby if something was wrong?
I wanted answers. I wanted to demand an audience with God, like Job, and demand He explain to me why I had to hurt like this.
Then one day I heard the song Held, by Natalie Grant. It was so raw, so honest. Two months is to little… Two months was all my baby had in my womb. We’re asking why this happens… To us who have died to live… It’s unfair. But the song goes on, and it didn’t give me an answer, but God used it to reassure me that He was holding me through the pain. That He hadn’t left me, or my child. That I wasn’t forsaken or abandoned.
I still struggled with how to grieve, how to mourn, how to say goodbye. One day I was home by myself, while my husband had taken my girls to church. I spent the morning listening to Held, pouring over the Psalms, crying out to God, and finally went and pulled out the baby name book I had shoved away after that awful E.R. visit.
Through tears, I named my baby. Ahava Adriel – “Beloved member of God’s flock.” It was a first step towards healing.
I still cried every month when I got my cycle. The fresh reminder that I wasn’t still carrying my baby was more than I could take some months. Something deep inside me desperately wanted to be pregnant again, but that felt like a betrayal too. As if I just wanted to “replace” the baby I lost, and how was that right? November came, and with it my due date, and no baby to bring home. About a month later, I found out I was expecting my now three year old. I must have conceived right around my due date. Because of the dates, its almost impossible that if Ahava had survived that my Isaiah would be here today.
That fact alone caused me a lot of doubting and conflict in the early months of my pregnancy with Isaiah. I was also almost crippled with fear at times of losing him. I was thankful for every day that I felt like puking, since it reassured me that my hormones were doing what that they should be, unlike last time. I recorded in my prayer journal more than once, “God, thank you that today I am still pregnant.” I purchased a book, Pregnancy After a Loss, that really helped me process through all my fears and conflicting emotions, and I was finally able to stop being afraid.
I still struggle today. I don’t want to forget, but I’m not always sure how to remember. “How many children do you have?” It almost feels wrong to answer four, but I don’t know how to answer five either. My girls were both so young at the time of my loss that we didn’t tell them anything about it when it happened. I haven’t figured out how to tell them now, but I want them to know too. I am contemplating bringing it up this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, as I prepare to light my candle.
I am thankful for the expectation and hope that one day I will get to meet my Ahava Adriel. Until that day I will pause and I will remember.