There are moments in life that are difficult to forget; marked year after year as an anniversary that you dared hope would never be part of your own story. And painful as those moments can be, they are part of who you are, and something you would never dream of letting go of. If you did, you would be letting go a piece of yourself. December 21 is one of those days for me. Three years ago, I lost my first child.
The whole pregnancy was a bit of a whirlwind. Rewind to December 5, and my husband and I stood in complete and utter shock, wonder, and confusion as we looked at a positive pregnancy test. Over the next two weeks we spent long hours talking, dreaming, planning, reading baby books, feeling very much like we had no idea what we were doing, but at the same time feeling growing excitement for the adventurous journey we were thrown into.
Then without warning, a faint tiny drop of blood . . . and then another . . . and another. A tearful call to my doctor and her reassuring words that this could be very normal did not help me shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong. I cried myself to sleep that night, praying every moment I woke that my worst fears were wrong. When I awoke the morning of December 21, there was no question in my mind. My baby was gone.
What followed seemed a blur; doctor’s visits, blood tests, consoling words that meant absolutely nothing to me. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and the cruelty of it all was that it still kept beating, if only haphazardly at best.
Christmas was difficult for my husband and I that year . . . as were the following months. So many of our hopes and joys turned to real substantiated grief. I questioned why it had to happen. I feared it was my fault. I remember wondering if the emptiness inside of me left by that child would ever be filled again. I watched friends blossom in their pregnancies thinking about what could have been for me and my baby. Anything and everything could bring up fresh the pain of losing my child. It was hurtful and exhausting.
We really were on a journey . . . one that speaks very much of real life. Not everything is perfect in our world. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes miscarriages come to incredibly undeserving couples. But if we will let Him, God can use a personal tragedy of this magnitude to draw us closer to Him than we ever thought possible.
Over time and with much prayer, God began to heal the rawness in our hearts. He made us a stronger couple. He helped us move forward with joy and a spirit of gratefulness for those blessings we did have. Though at times we have tread cautiously on this journey, and there have been moments marked with an-all-too-familiar fear, God has given us strength for each moment and victory at the end of each day. He has turned such deep seated sorrow, into immeasurable joy. Eventually He gave us a miracle we call Elijah, and we are excitedly waiting to meet our second miracle, Noah.
Life is so different for us today and we are so grateful. The emptiness and despair I once felt no longer haunt me. God has been so good, and even in that understanding I will never, never forget my first child. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. I remember today. I remember the day I was supposed to give birth. I remember every time I have to tell a doctor how many pregnancies I’ve had. I remember when I smell Elijah’s freshly shampooed hair before he falls asleep at night and am so grateful that he is mine and that he is healthy. I remember with each of Noah’s kicks how precious and fragile life is and how little control I ultimately have over it. I remember that my life my husband’s life and my children’s lives are in God’s hands and I can trust Him no matter what.
That child, who lived too few days, will forever be part of who I am, because that child completely changed my perspective on being a mom. I am taken by the small beautiful, seemingly insignificant moments, because they are all precious, they are all momentous, and they are all incredible. When you understand what a gift they are, you just can’t take them for granted.
Romans 8:28 (New American Standard Bible)
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.