Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 15

January 15.  It has been a week and a half since we lost our baby.  Honestly, it may really be longer than that, but we don't exactly when he left us.  The day started with all kinds of excitement.  There was snow, which is such a rarity in Texas.  Jake insisted on driving me across town, despite the fact that I have far more snow and ice driving experience (I did not mention this to him that day).  I believe it was a God-ordained insistence.  It was a regular doctor's appointment, and there was supposed to be no ultrasound.  Nothing too exciting.  When my doctor tried to find our baby's heartbeat using the Doppler, he had trouble.   My uterus was tilted too far back.  He assured me that I wouldn't leave without being confident my baby was fine.  He didn't know he was making a promise he could not keep.  He checked the ultrasound room, found it empty, and said we could just take a quick look at our baby.  I grabbed Jake from the waiting room, and I am so glad I thought to do that.  Handling what came next would have been even more devastating had I been alone.  When the doctor pressed the ultrasound wand onto my growing belly, I could tell something wasn't right.  Our baby wasn't as big as he looked like he should be in the books I had been reading.  The uterus was larger, but the baby was small.  Something was wrong.  There was some measuring and clicking and oceans of telling quiet.  And I knew.  I started quoting Isaiah 26:3-4 to myself as the doctor moved slowly and gravely beside me.  My mind is stayed on You.  I trust you.  I trust you.  And he confirmed what I knew.  He (she?) was gone.  Demised, he said.  Such a horrible word.  He patted my arm and said some things I don't really remember, medical explanations, maybe.  Assurance that we could try again.  Affirmation that it was not my fault.  And I just cried.

When we first found out that I was indeed pregnant, I read everything I could about how long to wait to tell friends and family.  I learned that early pregnancy is shrouded in secrecy.  Lots of whispers and warnings of telling people too soon.  Because the fear is that something will go wrong like it did with us, and then you will have to tell people.  And somehow we have accepted the lie that is is an embarrassment rather than a loss. As if a tiny little life lost is a disappointment to people rather than a real, actual death.  And so I suppose that many people grieve in silence with no one to celebrate the life that was and to mourn the fact that it slipped away.

We announced our expected baby on New Year's Day.  I was going to wait the traditional 12-13 weeks, but my sweet friend Elisa encouraged me with assurance that if I announced soon, we would have more people praying for this baby for the remainder of my pregnancy.  I am so glad that I listened to her.  Because in the sharing of our news, I found a group of people that were willing to rejoice with us when we were rejoicing, and when our joy turned into mourning, those same people mourned with us.  And they shared their own stories of babies and life and loss and healing.  And they are still sharing.

It is weird to talk about.  But I have needed to talk about it.  Words are very healing for me, and I have been writing in my journal, hoping to make sense between the lines I write.  Hoping that something will start to come together and I will be able to sit back and breathe a sigh of understanding and say to myself Oh, so that's why.  So far, no luck.  And part of me says it's too soon to write openly about it.  There is no resolution yet.  There is no healing.  There is no happy ending.  There is no magical purpose for this.  And I am right here in the middle of it.  I am right in the middle of sleepless nights.  I still cry when I think about the summer and how I expected to be large and round and miserable.  I cry every time I come across another maternity shirt that needs to be folded up and put away until I need it again.  I get choked up when I get the seemingly endless emails from Babycenter and its affiliates.  I still have yet to figure out how to make all of those completely stop.  I barely held back tears as I told my students this week.  I still have a moving box labeled "Baby" that is filled with books and magazines and cute little baby journals, barely begun.  I will not be brave enough to open that box for a while.  Maybe not until another baby is on its way.  But I think that this is where the truth is.  Right here in this moment.  Right here on this day where nothing makes sense and everything brings me to tears.  When I am still asking Why me? and Why our first baby? and I am declaring that It's not fair.  And it isn't, you know.  It really isn't.  

I am doing the things that I should be.  I am praying.  I am reading Scripture.  And it helps, but it does not fix it.  It doesn't explain why.  And even my most faith-filled days, I know that even the greatest move of God in this situation does not bring our baby back.  And that feels like the only thing that would really fix it.  So I wait.  I wait and I read and I pray and I cry.  

At the suggestion of a friend, I picked up the book Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian (that, my friends, is a name).  And I barely got into the introduction and I felt like God spoke right to me.  I like when He does that.  A personalized message with my name on it. 
We may not ever fully understand why God allows the suffering that devastates our lives.  We may not ever find the right answers to how we'll dig ourselves out.  There may not be any silver lining, especially not in the ways we would like.  But we don't need answers as much as we need God's presence in and through the suffering itself.  (emphasis mine)
So it seems I am looking for the wrong thing.  An explanation.  A purpose.   I should be looking for His presence.  And I don't have to look far to find it.  Because not only has He revealed Himself to me in the comfort of His Word and a tangible peace (that honestly comes and goes, depending on where my mind is), but also through His people.  Through cards and flowers and messages of all kinds.  Through dinners and hugs and expressions of kindness that have made us feel loved and cared for.  And so today I am not waiting for a miracle.  I am not waiting for an answer or an explanation*.  I will just sit.  I will rest.  I will wait.  I will wrestle with this sadness, desperate to shake it.  I will let time pass.  I will know that God is near to the brokenhearted.  And today, and probably for many days to come, that is me.

*I have had plenty of explanations suggested to me, and frankly, they just make me want to hit someone.


  1. There is no "why" that makes it better. It just is.

    How I hurt for you right now. I pray that God makes his presence known to you, because really, that's the only way we keep going. I know.

    Keep writing. It helps - even when you know you'll never share the raw, real things that get poured out on the page. I can't. I couldn't even show those things to my husband. Maybe some day I can polish up the scribbles and rants and bits of song lyrics. Maybe not.

    One thing I know: God holds your baby. He / She is not unknown to God. I'm not sure how it all works (Do they grow up in Heaven? Will we recognize them?) but I do know that God can be trusted with our precious babies.

    1. I am a late blog comment reply-er. Thank you for your prayers. I love that you asked the question about whether or not they grow up in Heaven. Jake and I definitely talk about this. And I agree. Our babies are in good hands, even if they are not our own.

  2. There is no magic fix, even knowing God is holding your sweet little one doesn't change how much you wanted him or her here. Or how you miss him so much already. Knowing you will hold him in Heaven doesn't change your pain while you are on earth, but God will get you through it. My first pregnancy ended in an early loss. I still cry for that baby, even though if that pregnancy had lasted, I would not have my perfect twins. I am so sorry you guys are going through this, much love.

    1. Thanks, Heather, for this. I love that God restored to you what was lost in giving you TWO sweet babies! There is all kinds of hope to be found.

  3. I'm very sorry to hear sucks.

  4. Aw. I'm so sorry to hear this, Julie. Love and light to you both!

  5. Hi, Julie. You don't know me at all, but I knew Jake in college. I saw your blog through his twitter, and I have found myself reading post after post today. You have a very beautiful way with words.

    This one especially hits home for me. We lost our first baby in July 2010. It was just as awful and heart-wrenching as you described. That was followed for us with a year of fertility tests, medicines, heartaches, and hope. We finally had our little miracle girl last May. Even though we have her, and love her greatly, we still miss our first.I think about him often to this day.

    Although there is no specific revelation of why this happened, I will tell you that the Lord has since sent MANY women into my path who have experienced the same thing. Women who both know Him and several who do not. He has opened so many doors for me to share with those hurting the healing HE alone has given me. He has used it to speak his truth and peace into the lives of others. I know He will do the same for you. He will use this tragedy to further his kingdom. The pain you're experiencing will offer others peace.

    One book that really helped me is called Hannah's Hope. {I can't think of the author's name off the top of my head.} It was a great comfort to me.

    Sorry for the never-ending comment! I'm praying for you both as you move forward from here.

    1. Thank you for your sweet words, Leslie. And yes, I agree with you. Our God is in the business of redeeming these situations. He buys them back and makes them into something good. Kind of amazing, I think.

      And I love that you suggested Hannah's Hope! A friend recently suggested it and lent me her copy. I am about halfway through, and I have loved it thus far.

      Thanks for your prayers!



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