I think I’m finally ready to share. Get comfy, this one’s long.
Awhile back Randal did a sermon series at church called “Shattered Dreams”. He had everyone write on a post-it a time when your life was changed by a dream being shattered. I sat and sat, racking my brain for something substantial- I had nothing. GRATEFULLY! Steven and I talked about how blessed we were that neither one of us had any tragedy to list. How blessed we’ve been!
If that sermon series were this week, we’d have something to write.
Earlier this year Steven and I decided we were ready (as ready as you can be) to start trying to have a baby. Our plan was to get pregnant in the Spring and have a baby in the late winter- perfect for a teacher’s schedule. OF COURSE we acknowledged that God might have other plans (as we were told by many people), but that was plan A. So in March we started “trying”.
April 17 was the day in my head that I would wait for to take a test. I barely made it. Steven and I had gone to the grocery store and I picked up a test. I put some groceries away and ran to the bathroom. Honestly, I was not expecting anything. I had used one of those digital tests and almost immediately the word “pregnant” appeared in the little window. “WHAT?!” was my first word.. make that first 5 words in different intonations each time. I could hear Steven on the phone, so I yelled for him to get off and come here! He ran to the bathroom thinking I was hurt when I shoved the test in his face. “WHAT?” was his response too. Funny. He told me to go back to the store and get another test b/c he didn’t trust “those store tests” or something like that. Two more tests later, we had accepted it a little more- we were having a baby!
Those next couple of days were crazy, confusing, neurotic, exciting and fearful all at the same time. We were so excited to tell all of our family and friends. I even went to the local Burleson Family Medical Center to have a doctor tell me I was really pregnant. Steven and I spent hours on the internet reading about the do’s and don’ts, tips and guidelines, and lists and lists of baby names. Our home, hearts, and lives were immediately changed forever.
I bought a journal that week with the intentions of documenting every thought, plan, feeling, fear, and emotion. It turned into a series of letters. Letters to my “Sweet Baby” and signed “Love, Mommy”. Each letter contained my new ideas and hopes and prayers. I wrote about the fears I had, about wanting to do everything right to keep it safe. I wrote about what I did that day, who I told, funny things I’d thought. I wrote about the fact that my class at school found out by overhearing another teacher talking to me about it. A little girl named Rachel in my class told me, “Mrs. Lentz, when yous has yur baby, you should name hur Sally.” I told my kids that I hadn’t planned on telling them because sometimes “they just don’t make it”- something I didn’t believe for myself. I wrote it all to my Sweet Baby.
A friend gave me three boxes of baby clothes she wanted me to have. Really cute little clothes that I must have sorted through and refolded three times. So tiny! We got a baby bath, one little sample diaper, some cute burp rags from my mom, and a few “congratulations”cards. The room in the front of the house was designated as the baby’s room. I imagined myself opening the door in the morning and greeting a little angel laying there in the crib. A sweet space in our home was already filling up with the promises of a little life.
I acted completely neurotic and ridiculous -according to some other moms who had that “oh, you’re just new to this” look. A look I’ll go ahead and say I don’t appreciate very much. I was completely excited and consumed by the thought of being someone’s mommy. I faithfully took my prenatal vitamins, gave up soda and caffeine completely, and started eating healthier in efforts to do all that I could to protect my little growing bean. I didn’t lift anything over 15 lbs. I rested more each day. I talked to it! Every time I went over a big bump in the car, I’d say, “Hang on in there!” Each morning my eyes teared up as I looked at myself in the mirror in a new way- I was someone’s mommy! I prayed and prayed and prayed each day that God would help our little one to grow strong and healthy each day.
Somewhere along the way fear began to creep in. I guess…no I don’t guess.. It was a fear that something would go wrong. That it might not be healthy. Until the first appointment, you basically have to just assume each day that you are pregnant and everything is ok. I don’t like that feeling. I prayed against it and searched His Word for something to calm my fears. I found this in Luke, “How blessed is this woman for believing that was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” I clung to this. I mean I held on to this like I’ve never held on to a scripture before. I had to believe that God had put the desire to be a mother in my heart and that he would fulfill that promise.
We didn’t make it to my 8 week appointment. At 2:30 on April 29th we lost our baby. I started bleeding at work and left to go straight to pick up Steven and head to the doctor. We had to sit in the waiting room, in the very process of losing our baby while watching pregnant mommies and mommies with their new babies sit happily- cluelessly. They did an ultrasound and I gripped Steven’s hand, begging God for a miracle- let everything be ok. There was no baby on the screen. No little sac clinging to the wall of my uterus. To make it worse, the room next door must have had their sonogram machine turned up full blast b/c all we could hear booming through the walls was the sound of a rapid little heartbeat. We were sent home with appointments for blood work in the following days. Miscarriage. I don't like that word.
The pain I felt at that moment was the absolute worst of my life. Once we got in the car I completely lost it. I wanted to scream at God! Give it back! This isn’t happening. I can’t do this. I don’t want to. Someone help me. Not our baby.
We made it home. Home where we had cards, little gifts, and a tiny plain white onesie I kept out just because it was so stinkin cute. I went to bed while Steven started removing all the “stuff” and putting it all in a closet. How do people do this? How do you lose someone and move on? Grief and loss were completely new to me.
“..and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…” you know the rest (and if you don’t, I can share it with you). This held new meaning for me. Yes, I was- and still am- confused, angry, brokenhearted, but the feeling of peace that Steven and I felt almost immediately truly did surpass all understanding. The resounding thought in my head was that God was saving us from a deeper pain. Saving our little one from a deeper pain. Things didn’t fall into place. The little cells didn’t come together quite right. God was in control and somehow we felt that in this He was taking care of us and our little one. He never said he would work things out for our comfort or happiness, but for our good. We are trusting in that. Holding fast to that.
That week was the worst and sweetest time of my life. We lost our baby. But in the midst, the outpouring of love from friends and family was overwhelming. We truly felt the prayers of our loved ones holding us up and encouraging us. Thank you to those of you who grieved with us, cried with us, and continue to hope with us.
It was sweet for Steven and I as well. We cried together and held each other more desperately than any other time in our marriage. I made sure he knew that this wasn’t just happening to me. His dream of being a daddy was lost too. A whole life and future and series of dreams had been shattered. My heart broke for him.
It was only 6 weeks, but we loved it so much already. All we have now is a closet full of stuff too painful to look at, traces of baby name searches on my Google task bar, and a more than half empty journal in my nightstand. I did write one last letter to say goodbye. Maybe I’ll be able to share that someday.
“How blessed is this woman for believing that was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” I haven’t given up on this. The Lord has placed in my heart the desire to be a mother and I have to continue to believe that just because it wasn't fulfilled this time doesn’t mean it won’t happen later. I have to trust. Trusting in Him has taken on a whole new meaning and is transforming my heart.
There’s more to this story. More to share and get out. For now I’m tired of typing and I’m sure this is too much to read. I’ll save the rest for another day.
Thanks for listening,