I'm a little scared to start writing this post, because I honestly don't know what will come out if I start typing. But I feel compelled to write and communicate about this in some way, so here we go...
My husband and I decided to start trying for children in October. It was a big deal for us, because we'd both agreed before marriage that we didn't think children were a good idea for us. The fact that God had turned this decision on its head and brought both of us around to a point of seeing ourselves as parents and desiring it so strongly only convinced us more than ever that it was the right choice. Then, in possibly the shortest season of "trying to conceive" known to mankind, we started celebrating as three at-home pregnancy tests came back positive. It seemed too good to be true; everyone had told us to be patient, that it could take a while. So, they were as shocked as we were when we got pregnant the first month of trying.
We'd been concerned prior to deciding to go forward, because I have fibromyalgia and we weren't sure pregnancy would combine well with that. We also wondered if parenting would be possible for us since my husband is working full-time and I am not reliably healthy enough to run everything on the homefront by myself.
But regardless of these concerns/fears/hesitations, we became convinced that somehow it would work out. Somehow we would beat the odds and getting pregnant so soon seemed like confirmation that we were making the right decision. I was so excited about the positive test results, but I was also told I should visit the doctor and get confirmation.
So I went, and they did tests. The blood test seemed a little low, but we decided it just meant we were a little earlier along than we'd thought. They had me come back three days later just to be safe and test again. And i did come back and test. Thinking little of it, I gave more blood and happily announced to the world that we were parents.
When the test results came back I was devastated. The levels they were checking were supposed to be doubling or tripling but instead they'd fallen by more than half. I couldn't believe it. Reading the message from the doctor I realized slowly that our baby wasn't going to make it. Such a short time into parenthood and we were already losing him. I say him because my husband and my mom both thought it was going to be a boy. Lacking evidence to the contrary that's how I've chosen to remember him as a person. A unique individual. Too beautiful for this world. Conceived in intimate love, and born in heaven with perfect eyes--seeing Jesus at their first glance.
In the aftermath of the test results we waited. It was horrific and miserable waiting for the cramping pain to begin. Less than 24 hours after getting our test results, I woke up early in the morning and felt the first pangs of what would last late into the night and become an endless ordeal of pain and emotion and fear and eventually result in a pseudo-labor that brought out the body of our precious child.
It's hard to explain the emotional ramifications of delivering a baby almost 6 weeks along on your own in the bathroom and putting a tiny face and shape to the concept that has seemed so abstract up to that point. It's even harder to describe the emotions and maternal hormones that drive you to search through bloody tissue in a desperate attempt to find the body of the child you'd already begun to love...only to accidentally destroy it by trying to hold him once to say goodbye.
There aren't words for the depth of brokenness felt afterward. I can only say that I feel irreparably shattered. My heart is incomplete, and I don't know how to get back to a point where it does not ache uncontrollably. There are moments in the day when I finally distract myself sufficiently to put it down for 20 minutes or so, but as soon as the opening credits of the episode begin to roll across the screen, or I sign off from the conversation, within seconds the realization is back. I am a childless mother. My baby was here, and now he's gone. The emotions that follow make you feel like it's all happening again back from the beginning. So it continues each time. Every morning is a moment of forgetting followed by the crushing realization one more time. It's true. It all really happened. He's not coming back.
The comforting aspect to this experience has been realizing just how deeply we are cared for by those who love us. People from all around the world, and specifically close to where we live have reached out to us and grieved with us. Women who have been through this experience themselves, sometimes on multiple occasions, have poured out their deepest heartache in an attempt to share my devastation and ease the way forward.
People have brought us food delivered with a warm hug and tear-stained eyes. They truly are weeping with those who weep. Others have sent notes, messages, cards, and just generally tried to show us that they care and want to help. Still more have spent hours on the phone sitting with us in the silence and reminding us that we are not alone. The depth of compassion that this wound has brought out in our friends and family is almost surreal. When I think I am going to hit the breaking point, someone else steps in and gently pulls me out of it by the hand. This is grace. This is what shows me I will make it through one more night. This is how I know that this darkness won't last forever. These are the people who have been the hands and feet of Jesus to me.
Author's Note: This was written November 17th.