And I am gently reminded that had things played out differently I would be close to welcoming my fourth child into the world. Instead I stare at his/her makeshift grave and mourn what could have been and yet rejoice with a God who makes the flowers grow and who holds my child in His hand, knowing that nothing is lost that is in Him.
Miscarriage...it's hard to describe the emotional backlash that it has had on my view of life. I know that before, I would feel sad for those who went through one...but I was so entrenched in my happy naive world that the truth of what it meant didn't touch me. Maybe part of that was simply my youth and relative lack of genuine suffering in life. But now, moving forward after having endured loss in this way, I am more aware than ever of the fragility of life.
Fear of loss of any kind had started creeping into my life before this, as I watched young & old alike suffer and die in unexpected and unfair ways. But since I lost my pregnancy in October, an awareness beyond what is helpful, of all the ways loss & suffering can touch lives, has become an unwanted companion of which I have been struggling to break free.
The Bible teaches that although in this world we will have trouble, we should take heart; we should rejoice, we should have hope...because Jesus has overcome the world and all its troubles. Death has lost its sting. This doesn't make suffering or loss any more welcome or pain-free but the truth is, it does take away the sting to know that all this is temporary and "unworthy to be compared to the glory to be revealed" It is healing to know that "all things work together for good" and that God has a plan for my life even in the hard things.
In February, I found out that I was pregnant again. Joy was not my first emotion. My first emotion was Fear. Wariness. Cynicism. I had an attitude of..."just because I'm pregnant now, doesn't mean it will last" I wanted to be be happy; I wanted to feel excitement and hope; but instead I mostly felt numb. I didn't want to tell anyone about it. With Eden, the pee stick wasn't even dry before I began telling my family... but this time, I just wanted to pretend that I wasn't pregnant at all...as if that would protect me from hurt, if I were to miscarry again. I didn't want anyone to know because I didn't want to talk about it. There were just too many emotions mixed up in the topic. I wanted to hope...but knowing I was pregnant did not transfer to envisioning a baby in my arms. I couldn't imagine myself holding this baby. I wouldn't let myself.
At 8 weeks, 2 days, (1 day past when my last baby stopped growing) I had an ultrasound... Oh the anxiety! The ultrasound showed a healthy baby measuring 9 weeks gestation. I felt relief but not assurance. I still felt it was too early to get my hopes up too high. My baby was still growing with a sweet little beating heart (and measuring 5 days bigger!) but I still couldn't bear the thought of talking about it. "Too soon, too soon" was the sad beat of my heart. I had to make it through the first trimester...THEN I would be okay.
At 13 weeks, I went to my next appointment, anxious to hear that sweet sound of a heartbeat that had been absent in my last baby...and there is was. The way it played out...with the midwife yammering about a past vacation while finding the heartbeat...made it a rather anticlimactic event...but it was there and again, I felt a wave of relief.
That was two weeks ago and I am pleased that I am beginning to feel more secure in this pregnancy. We told our families, including our girls. I am beginning to notice the expansion of my middle and I have finally allowed myself to start looking at baby name books and maternity clothes. But to say that the fear and anxiety have left...would be a lie. Every ache, makes my heart twinge with fear. And although my fear of miscarriage has let up, I have now been warding off fears of deformity & illness and all the other things that can go wrong with babies & pregnancy in this fallen world. Oh fragility!
I must pray daily against these spirits of fear & worry. I know deep in my soul that my God reigns and that His desire is that we love deeply and live fully. And that fear & anxiety hold me back from those things...but my flesh is so, so weak.