While I love to write, poetry has never been my medium. It feels choppy and uncomfortable and it takes a lot of time to get the words to land the way that I want them to. But when we found out our second baby died in the womb this past January, my brain has thought in short, fragmented sentences for weeks as I have chosen to try and carry our child until he/she can safely pass at home with my doctor’s supportive approval. Poetry suddenly feels more natural as I wait and hang in the balance.
I have desperately wanted this to be over because it’s devastating carrying a baby I know is no longer alive, but I also never want this pregnancy to end. This is the weird tension of having a missed miscarriage. The ultrasounds and multiple rounds of blood work confirmed the terrible news that the doctor was telling us, but I didn’t want to believe him. I went home after each appointment still feeling every bit pregnant with food aversions, weight gain, and fatigue. Nothing signaled to my body that something was wrong. It wasn’t until the third ultrasound, when we again heard no heartbeat thumping back at us, that I finally believed it was true.
I have felt like the psalmist more than any other time in my life these past several weeks. One minute I am praising God and believing that all things work together for our good and His glory and the next I am crying and asking God, “Why? What about our plans? What about our baby?”
I think God delights in both praise and the intimacy of an honest prayer. I used to struggle with this very much. I thought that to toughen up and stay optimistic was the best way to plow through hardship. But there is a better way that involves acknowledging the loving, all-wise, omniscient God for who He is and letting a good Father see you cry. I have found Him eager to console and who better to console me in the death of our child than the one who conquered both death and sin? (2 Tim 1:10) Or the one who was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death? (Matt 26:36-46) Or the one who wept with compassion for his friends? (John 11:35) He is deeply sympathetic to our grief (Heb 4:15).
In the weeks spent waiting to lose the baby, I have felt very tender. Those closest to us have no doubt felt the tenderness. I can still laugh and have normal conversation, but this baby is looming in the back of my mind, always. Every twinge of pain sends June and I home abandoning our errands, just in case. And the funny things that she does almost always summon a tear or two from my eyes as I think about how this precious baby would have made me laugh, too. It’s like elevator music playing in the background of my daily life. Sometimes I can zone out on my phone or distract myself with noise and its music will die down. I might not even realize its still softly playing when I chuckle at a funny meme or in the “like-clockwork” routine of June and I’s day. But then there are other times, in the silence, when it’s all I can hear and all I can think about.
To those who have caught me in the latter scenario, thank you for dealing gently with me and loving me and praying for me and crying with me. God has used His church and His word to embrace us in our grief and we are so thankful. Part of why I am sharing this so “publicly” (the internet is weird, isn’t it?) is because of this support we have received. I cannot imagine keeping this loss pent up between Michael and myself, though I know others choose to grieve privately and I can understand that choice, too.
I think it was hardest to admit that I am broken-hearted and struggling and not really holding it together. Those are scary words to say—not because I’m afraid to be honest, but because I really don’t want to be a “burden” to anyone. But with trusted friends, we have found safety in admitting these things and bringing them into the light. Instead of being a burden, we have instead felt some of our burden lifted. My hope is that even if someone reading this chooses not to share their story, maybe by sharing mine, they may feel some of their burden of loneliness and grief lifted, too.
I realize this is all deeply personal. It feels a little sticky sharing it with the internet, honestly. We are not yet on the other side of this. Will we really ever be until we’re finally Home? But often, after a bad doctor’s appointment, this is where a lot of people end up searching—whether that’s for statistics, data, or the hope that someone else has experienced a similar situation. I know I did. So I pray this might bring hope, while also pointing to the truest Hope I could offer you.
I praise God that He is holding our perfect baby who we never had the privilege of meeting and enjoying. I praise Him because I know the ending of this story. Even though my plans of delivering a healthy baby this summer have been thwarted, His purposes have not. I believe He will sustain us in this ugly middle and all the way to the end when, “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” (Rev 21:4). It is true.
It is True
We can look at trials with tear-stained face
But we are not consumed by their mounting flood
For the steadfast love of the Lord endures
And the death which scars and steals will be swallowed up
For our God will do as He says
He will, and He is, and He has
Yes, every single word of His
Each one shall come to pass
For who is more trustworthy than He—
This man of sorrows well acquainted with our grief
This great high King bent low towards us
Yes, our God who sees
For thine eye beheld us all
Before dust and rib and breath
We were never hidden from the Potter
Who gave us value
Gave us depth
Even the most fragile amongst us all
Are significant, loved, and seen
For length of days, they make no difference
To the immeasurable King
So we can trust Him when he calls us home
In both ripe old age and womb
For His sovereignty and love do coexist
We believe it
It is true