It’s January 6, 2017. Today is your birthday, or, at least, your due date. Today you would’ve been born.
Only a few days have passed in the last 9 months where I didn’t think about you. It used to hurt really, really bad, but as time went on, it got a little easier.
When we first learned of you, we were overjoyed. We prayed for you, and you came. This was God’s greatest gift. Never did I think something could go wrong.
It was a beautiful day. The end of spring was here, summer right around the corner. Something felt “off,” but I had no real concerns. First of all, who isn’t “off” first trimester, anyway? Second of all, nothing was going to get me down that particular spring day, for I had just seen you for the first time that morning. You looked beautiful – everything was great, all numbers perfection. I was in love. Of course, also in love with the fact that this time there was one child, because as much as we love the twins, the notion of another two was terrifying.
(The following is a little graphic. Do not read it if you don’t want to; no one is forcing you. I’m writing this because it’s my story, and I need to share it, desperately. By getting it out, my healing feels complete, like a chapter has closed).
It’s 12:15. Something is definitely wrong. I am bleeding, a lot. I immediately grab the kids and throw them in the bed for nap with some extra books and toys. It’s not nap time, but I need them away for whatever is to come. Ironically, I have a psych appointment scheduled for later and Chris’ mom is already planning to come over.
I call the doctor and she says not to worry yet. Everything looked good that morning. Bleeding can happen. Just wait and see.
I pray and pray and pray. Cry and pray some more, hoping it will stop.
Around 12:45 I use the bathroom, and I know this can’t be normal. It’s not okay. This isn’t okay. When I look down, I see it. I’ve never been in this situation and I don’t actually know what to look for, but it doesn’t matter.
My knees fall and I hug the toilet, desperately holding on for one more moment with my child. No, it doesn’t look like a baby; it’s still early. But it doesn’t matter. I can see him or her lying there and I just can’t bring myself to flush it away yet, here one minute and then gone in the blink of an eye.
So I pick it up. And I hold it in my hand. And I can hardly see through the tears, the tears that cover me from my cheeks down to the floor.
And I say, “It’s okay, baby. It’s okay. You’re in a better place now. You were not meant for this world. And that’s okay. Go be with Jesus. I’ll see you again one day.”
I immediately see him or her in heaven running towards my Mema and cousin Carolina. Carolina just passed away the month before. They both loved babies. Carolina was my age, and I was and am glad she has a baby in heaven to take care of right now.
I place it back in the toilet bowl and pull the trigger. Flush.
I go to the pysch appointment knowing I need it now more than ever. There is no ultrasound tech at the doctor’s office so it is decided I will go to the ER for official confirmation, but I already know. Chris is on his way.
I didn’t know we would be in the emergency room for almost 7 hours because of a shooting (our HMO only covers the hospital, which happens to be one of the major trauma hospitals in the Chicago area). I didn’t know a person could be in so much pain and feel so numb at the same time. I didn’t know I’d spend the next few days in my bed, that a simple song like “Rock a Bye Baby” would cause rapid tears, that I would sleep with Miles’ stuffed animal shark for the next 3 weeks.
I didn’t know that I’d grieve today, your due date, as if it just happened.
It takes time, but after awhile, the pain lets up. You continue to put one foot in front of the other. The hurt starts to hurt less as you cling to your faith and unite with others in the same boat. Someone shares her story, and you gain the courage to share yours, and that bond helps the healing.
I can’t hear the word “January” without thinking of this baby. Truth be told, I can’t get through most days without remembering. At church, I can’t sing the bridge to “Blessed Be Your Name” without a lump in my throat, hearing the words “You give and take away / You give and take away/ My heart will choose to say / Lord blessed be your name.” I can’t comprehend why it happened, and as much as I like answers, I’ll never understand, not on this side of heaven.
There were a lot of “didn’t knows,” and there are still some “can’ts.” But now, many months later, we can see that we still held on to several truths amidst the doubts and unknown.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Get through all the hurts. Still be a functioning, capable mom even when I don’t think I can. Phil. 3:14
God will never leave me nor forsake me. I am not alone, even when I feel like I am. Deut. 31:6
I will still trust in Him with all of my heart, and won’t lean on my own understanding. Prov. 3:5-6
No matter what, God is good. He will work all things out according to our good. Rom. 8:28
Holding on to these promises got us through the hardest thing we’ve experienced in our marriage to date.
So Baby #3,
Thank you. Thank you for making us stronger. You’ve strengthened our marriage and our faith. Thank you for making us better people, people who can empathize with others who hurt. You’ve helped our friendships grow deeper. Thank you for making us grateful, appreciating everything we already have.
Today makes us sad because we wish you were in our arms. But, it also makes us happy, because we choose to believe you’re in a better place.
See you one day,
Mom and Dad