This last week I've had a heightened awareness of the fact that we as humans are constantly on the go, in and out of the grocery store, work, school activities, running here and there, passing one another on our way to wherever it is we must be, yet we don't really stop to ponder that every one of us has a story. We all have different things we are going through, anticipating, experiencing, at any one given time, on any given day. "You don't know me" keeps running through my head...not with the attitude tone that you would think but instead the heartfelt sentiment that we are all crying out to truly be known. Because God made more than one of us, He wants us to see the unique gift that each of us is to the world. So I've been praying more for strangers. I've been looking at people's faces, asking God to show me how I can pray for them, someone I don't know, but that God knows very, very well. Someone that God loves very much. This last week as I went about my business, running here and there, passing others on my way, I knew that it was impossible for any of them to know this chapter of my story...
Today, when checking out at the grocery store where I had been with my mom and younger sister, who, by the way, keeps calling me, like repeatedly throughout the last week and all day and who happens to be due YESTERDAY with her first baby, but not to tell me she's in labor rather to tell me about the cute things she has seen while out shopping...ANYWAY, after hugging my mom and little pregnant bursting sister, I told the clerk that was my little sister and how weird and exciting it is that she's going to be a mama. (SIS JUST CALLED AGAIN, but just to chat! Have my nephew already!)
Clerk: Do you have kids?
Me, thinking: Well, I lost one through miscarriage 10 years ago. I have one spectacular specimen of a human who is almost 7 years old, my sweet daughter Emily who I can't get enough of. I also have one fabulous little man named Noah, oh so handsome and perfect, that was with me for 7 short months but now resides with the Creator of the Universe. And then, another one, not sure if it was a boy or girl who was due December 25th of this year that I am currently miscarrying...yeah, today, right now...actually for the last week, to be exact...
Me, actually speaking now: I have one daughter who is almost 7. She's pretty great!
Clerk: I have a 19 and 16 year old. The 19 year old just moved out of the house.
Me: I'm sure that is exciting but was it also hard? I will be so sad when that day comes.
Clerk: It was sad for me, but thankfully she lives in town, so we still hang out.
Me: That's great! And how about your 16 year old? Is he in high school, then?
Clerk: He's a sophomore and he is trouble!
Me: Oh man, I'm sorry. That can be a rough age for some.
Clerk: He's getting a little better.
Clerk: Well, I hope your nephew comes soon! Have a good day!
Me: You too! Have a really great weekend!
I can't explain the peace that the Lord has given me. Over the past week I took a pen and wrote my heart out in a letter to Noah regarding my feelings about the miscarriage I am currently experiencing. It was therapeutic to get it out so then I typed it in a Word document, thinking I would share it here, but it was 4.5 pages long! God has really moved in my heart regarding this last week and has shown me some interesting things I'll write at some point. Jason and I are obviously disappointed that we weren't able to tell Em that she was going to have a baby brother or sister. We wanted to tell her first so she could tell everyone else, but for reasons we do not know, this sweet child was not meant for here. For the longer version, the letter I wrote to Noah, I've included it below. Thank you all for your prayers over the last few years. I know many of you have prayed for us to be able to conceive again. I trust God with those details and if it is His will, I am not discouraged to try again...
(This is neither the content nor the way in which I thought I’d share this news…because it wasn’t the news I thought I’d be sharing…)
(This has not been edited...it's just my heart on paper...)
Noah, I miss you. Mommy was pregnant and I have to tell you, I was excited! You see, your big sis misses you and quite honestly, she was made to be a helper and nurturer. Without you around, she gets bored and lonely sometimes. She has good friends and obviously mommy and daddy, but I now you were very special to her, little guy. Lately she’s been talking about how much she loves babies and how she’d love a little brother or sister. The problem is, I can’t make promises I can’t keep. I would love to magically snap my fingers and have a sibling appear, but I have no magical powers. I suppose trust is a bit of “magic”, and I definitely have trust. I trust God with all of me. He is smarter and bigger and I know that even thought my heart wants certain things, it doesn’t mean they line up with the bigger picture. So, in April of 2009, I found out I was pregnant. I told your daddy and he was excited! He said, “Let’s wait a little while and then let’s tell Emily first.” Well, I sort of followed that directive. I told my friend, Dr.
10 years ago or so, I went to a women’s conference where a Jewish Rabbi shared about the feasts of the Jews and how the line up with the gestation of a baby. I was fascinated! I don’t know where my notes are from that day but I said to the Lord that it would be my desire to have a child during the feasts of the Jews. He knew. I hadn’t stopped thinking of that but then, when you died, I also thought it would be redemptive to have a January baby. And then, I just laughed at myself because, really Noah, Mommy can do her part when it comes to making babies, but that’s about it…And then, of course, when I did the math, wrong mind you, your daddy wasn’t going to be in town during critical dates, dates which I thought would bring a January child. And then, I took the test…and there were two stripes. I went on the computer to calculate my due date. Well, my sweet little man, you must know how surprised I was when December 25, 2009 showed up on the screen! Only God, truly, only He could have done such a thing for my heart!! You see, the beginning of the feast in relation to the gestation of a baby starts with Passover and the final feast is the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, and in Christendom, Christmas Day…the symbolic day the child came into the world and out into the light! Oh buddy, I couldn’t wait to shout it out and tell the world! I even brainstormed fun ways to tell Em so she could tell her grandparents and aunts and uncles. The Twitters & Facebook status one-liners were flying through my head as to how to tell people we don’t really know but that we love and who have loved us and prayed for us over the years…all because of your sweet life, Noah. Want to hear some of Mommy’s silliness?
Adrienne Graves:…is curious if anyone has any geriatric maternity clothes she could borrow?
…saw two stripes…
…is feeling a little sickish but it’s not even morning…
…snuck and found out her Christmas present…can you guess what she’ll get?
…will be 56 at her kid’s high school graduation…you do the math!
…went and got herself ‘knocked-up’!
…is in the family way.
…never thought she’d be pregnant at 16 years of marriage! She could have her own built in babysitter by now!
Well, then I started spotting. Many women I know have spotted throughout their pregnancies, but still, in the back of my mind, miscarriage lingered. I told the Lord that I trusted Him but that I wasn’t keen on the idea of losing another kid but that if the child was not meant for here, I trusted Him. The spotting lasted all through the weekend and into the early week, and then, it started getting more intense, coupled with cramping. I called my
The scene before me was as I suspected. Doc said, “There’s a yolk sack, and that right there looks embryonic, but it doesn’t look right…and there’s no heart or heart beat. You are right, you’re having a miscarriage.” He said he was sorry, that we could spend a few thousand dollars to analyze the tissue to see what was wrong with it but that what it would confirm is that something was not right so my body was miscarrying. He also knew it wouldn’t have mattered, that I would have had that kid either way, so he encouraged me to head home to rest and let my body do what it had already begun doing. I asked if it was because I had ‘old eggs’. He said that 1 in 3 pregnancies over 35 end in miscarriage. I said, “So, does that mean I have to try 2 more times?” He looked at your daddy and said, “I hope you try a lot more than that!” He’s silly. I said to Doc, “God has designed our bodies in a way to naturally miscarry, and this one wasn’t meant for here.” I said, “We always wanted 2-4 kids…now we have 4, only one at home…I just thought more would be here and not there…” Then I asked the doc if he would deliver my next kid. He said, “If it’s before 6:00 pm! Actually, I stopped taking call 2 years ago…but I’ll deliver yours.” I said, “That’s good since you were fishing when Noah was born!”
So, buddy, long story longer, I can’t begin to describe the peace and hope I have in my heart. I am popping the pain med and trudging through this very painful and uncomfortable step, but I’m not discouraged. Your little brother or sister wasn’t made for here. I’m not going to lie that I, along with your daddy, big sis, and your whole cheering section would love one to ‘stick’. I have learned to be content with much and with little.
And to think that god would bless my heart to show me His love by allowing me the privilege of being pregnant during the feasts, even if my Christmas morning will look differently than I dreamed, well, that just blows me away! I mean, I could have been due anytime and been grateful! He gives us the desires of our hearts sometimes, but it doesn’t mean those line up with His more perfect will. I trust Him.
One last note, did you know that your Mommy feels honored to have been pregnant at the same time as some of the most amazing women that walk this earth? It’s true! Their love for the Lord and their families is inspiring…and I was among them for a short time:
So buddy, that is the story. Eventually I will share this with Em, but since we hadn’t even told her the good news yet, it’s hard to start with the bad! I will trust God to show me when to share with her and I’ll trust Him to give me the words to speak. She already knows I had one before she was born…it just stinks to have to add to her list of siblings in Heaven!
Just writing this was therapeutic for my heart! Even though part of me wanted to quietly go about this, another part felt strongly to encourage any one else out there on a similar portion of the journey to know you are not alone. I am so sorry for your disappointment and loss! I pray that your heart’s would heal and that you, too, would find hope by trusting God. I know it seems crappy and unfair but if we’d stop measuring our circumstances to some invisible standard of what “she” or “they” have and trust in a more beautiful perspective then loss and grief and suffering will look differently. In light of why I exist, suffering, loss, and grief were some of the key ingredients to why I am able to live by grace…Jesus endured all those things, along with those who loved and followed Him but instead of ending in tragedy it opened the door to hope.