To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:...This past Sunday evening, a week ago now, I began bleeding. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough to concern me. I've been told that it is fairly common to experience minor bleeding in the first trimester, so (after sending an immediate email to my midwife) I calmed down and went to bed. Not to sleep, but to bed.
A time to be born, and a time to die...
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
The next day I had some spotting, but no more bleeding. My midwife told me that the amount I experienced most likely wasn't a problem, but she wanted to schedule me for a sonogram just in case. My hubby and I had decided not to get a sonogram unless there was a medical reason to, and this sounded like a good medical reason. So I said go ahead. She scheduled it for Friday.
Tuesday I had almost zero spotting, and was feeling very calm. I assumed this was just "one of those things" and was pretty okay with everything. I had started to feel some unusual aches and pains, but they were quite mild--normal "pregnancy" stuff, I assumed. I was more concerned about waking up congested that morning than I was about my baby.
Late Wednesday evening there was more bleeding. Less this time, but definitely there. This time I called my midwife--though I wondered how the dear lady (who delivered my siblings, my husband, and his siblings, plus about 3,000 other babies in the last 35 years) ever got any sleep. It was that evening, before we realized there was more bleeding, that we decided to tell our immediate family about the emergency sonogram. Up till then it just hadn't seemed necessary.
The next morning I weighed myself. I've been keeping various stats on my pregnancy written on a calendar, including my gradual weight gain. Staying at a healthy weight has never been an issue with me, and a couple weeks ago I crossed my personal weight pregnancy "threshold." Seeing the numbers tip our scale was a celebration! I was officially in "pregnancy" weight range!! Thursday morning, though, my weight was down, nearly 2lbs. 1/3 of the weight I gained over the last (almost) 3 months had just melted away sometime since I'd last stepped on the scale. I was no longer in the "pregnancy" weight range. I remember vividly stepping out of the bathroom that morning. I felt a realization wash over me--a realization I quickly shoved down as an unreasonable fear--that my baby was gone.
Friday I was exhausted and emotional. Unreasonably emotional, in my opinion at the time. I needed plenty of support and hugs from my hubby--even if the little bit of extra snuggle time after we cleaned the house put us at risk of being a wee bit late for the sonogram. I was, privately, concerned enough that I took a pregnancy test that morning "just to make sure." I knew if something had happened the hormones wouldn't be out of my system yet. But somehow, seeing those two instantly appearing pink lines gave me a little bit of assurance to hold on to. According to the test, at least, I was still pregnant. I also wasn't looking forward to the sonogram, as sonograms in the first trimester aren't nearly so pleasant as ones when the baby is more visible. But it was totally worth it to see my baby's heart beat!!
We went back to the darkened room, my husband, my midwife, her assistant, the sonographer (is that what they are called?) and me. I was instructed to lie down on the bed. We tried the regular sonogram first. She rolled the little tool all over my belly, but there was nothing. I knew something wasn't right. At nearly 11 weeks my baby should have been there--even if he was small. (A little bigger than a Kumquat, according to my week-by-week pregnancy guide). But I still hoped.
Second choice was the T-V sonogram--though not very pleasant, it gave a much better picture. With it the Sonographer found my little sack. It was a dark spot she zoomed in on. She had been telling us what we were seeing as we went along, but she didn't need to tell me what I was seeing then. I've never seen a sonogram before--and always thought those fuzzy little pictures shown by excited mothers or siblings at church were extremely difficult to decipher. But that still, motionless, black shape in my womb wasn't any challenge to decipher, even for somebody who'd never seen one before.
Our baby was gone.
Our midwife took a few minutes with us to gently explain what had happened and what we could expect over the next few weeks. She told us the miscarriage hadn't been a recent thing--it was recent within the last month, but it had been longer than a week. The bleeding was a result of my body purging--by the time I got the first signal that something was wrong my baby had been gone for at least several days, probably more.
My hubby reacted first--his first tears broke in the office. He'd so looked forward to being a daddy.
I was slower--it always takes me several hours before I can react to a major thing. I was sad at first, of course, but more in a stunned "my life isn't following the course I thought it would" way. But that evening, while my littlest brother was playing a rendition of Yankee Doodle Boy, it hit me. No longer was I processing how my own life changed with those few minutes in the sonogram. No longer was I mentally adjusting to a new plan for the next year, the need to find a new home for the eagerly given hand-me-down-maternity clothes and adjust our vacation plans. No longer was the thought that we will have other children in the future a comfort.
Instead all I could think about was that black, motionless shape in my womb. That individual that I'll never be able to meet on this earth. That tiny little heart that wasn't beating anymore. And how very, very, very badly I wanted it to beat. I would have done anything to make it beat again.
All that happened just two days ago. The grieving process has been difficult, particularly when combined with the physical discomfort of loosing a baby (though the serious cramping has yet to come). But there have been blessings in the storm. I remember almost instantly when the grieving hit my mind went to New Jerusalem.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.I know that God is going to use this in our lives, in my life, to work some greater good. I have absolute,unshakable faith that God had a reason. My baby didn't just die and go into nothingness, my baby is with Jesus. Someday we will meet, and Mama's arms will be full for the first time. I'll get to know my baby then--personality, hair, their smile. I'll know whether my baby took after me or my husband (maybe? Do glorified bodies still show that? I don't know! I kinda hope so, though).
Years ago I heard Elisabeth Elliot say she had no regrets about her first marriage--even though her husband was martyred just 3 years after their wedding, she would have done it all over again, even knowing the pain. It is better to love and loose, than to never love at all. I didn't grasp that at the time. I thought maybe she would have chosen differently--the pain of Jim dying would still be there had they just been friends, of course, but not the devastating pain of widowhood.
I understand what she meant now. I have no regrets about my pregnancy. I know that this baby was created out of the union of my husband and my love, and that while I was never able to hold my baby, Jesus has. Together my husband and I created a life that will be able to praise God in heaven for eternity. And though we are separated here on earth temporarily, eternally speaking it will be for just a moment. If I'd been given the choice between not being pregnant, and becoming pregnant but miscarrying at 8 weeks, I would have chosen the second. Even knowing the devastating pain of lost motherhood. Because it was worth it.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”Psalms 139:13-16 (ESV)God knew when he made my baby that my child would only have 8 short weeks. He knew my child would never have the opportunity to serve Him on earth, my baby would never be able to tell someone about Jesus, never be able to minister to a hurting soul, never have the opportunity to bless other Christians or comfort the lost. And yet God still created my baby. He still thought my baby was worth it. And so do I.
Job 14:5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
I'll close with a song that has comforted me (even if I have cried every time I've heard it. You're warned.). :-)