The pregnancy was a surprise - Brian and I *thought * we were done. But we've thought that before, too... And, to both of our own shock and surprise, all Brian and I felt, once we saw those two lines, was pure joy. No panic or angst - only elation. Almost giddy. Which is strange, considering what we *should* have been feeling. On his salary, we could barely afford our 5, never mind one more. And we'd need a new mode of transportation, since both of our current minivans each seat 7. And who *has* six kids these days??? Seriously, who does that??!!?? But despite everything we knew in our heads, our hearts were rejoicing.
I knew, though, from the beginning. I knew that it wasn't right. I've been pregnant too many times to know what it is supposed to feel like. And this one didn't. I'd have fleeting symptoms from time to time, enough to give me hope, but deep in my soul I knew that it wasn't going to last. But I held out hope. I even abstained from indulging in wine at Thanksgiving dinner. Not even a sip. I took my prenatals and folic acid. But I knew...
And, as we were about to leave my brother's house, to drive the 2 and a half hours back to Davenport from Chicago, it began. I think I cried the entire trip home. Quietly, though, because we didn't want the kids to know. We've had too many experiences with infant loss in our circle of close friends that they almost expect babies to die. I wanted to spare them from this...
After a visit to the midwife, it was confirmed that the baby stopped growing around 4-5 weeks, but it took until 7.5 weeks for my body to catch on. It was not painful, though, which was a blessing. I know many women who have endured unbearable physical pain along with the loss of their babies, but I was given the gift of a peaceful passing. And for that, I am grateful.
Brian and I are fortunate to be surrounded by people who had gone before us into this club, and they ushered us through the initiation rites with gentleness and understanding. They helped us to grieve, not only in our own individual ways, but together, as a couple, mourning what could have been. And by the grace of God, what could have torn us apart, brought us closer, giving a new dimension to our life together. We talked, and cried, and held each other. And we began to dare to think about the future. We decided to give ourselves the holiday season to let things settle, and to process just what had happened.
And so, with the dawning of the new year, we began to pray and discern where God was leading us. We were both so surprised with our own gut reactions to the prospect of adding another child to our family. Apparently, we weren't as *done* as we thought we were. *smile* So after much time on our knees, talking to God and to each other, we decided to go ahead and try for three months to conceive another child. Since I was almost 39, we didn't want to prolong TTC if it wasn't going to happen. But we also wanted to give it a try, because getting pregnant has always come easy for me. So if it were going to happen, it would happen quickly. If not, we were ok with that, too. It was all in God's hands.
As it happened, the first month we really tried, we got our answer, in the form of two lines. And nine months later, we welcomed that sweet baby girl whose birthday we celebrated just 5 days ago. Without this loss, we would not know the joy that Hannah has brought into our lives, once again proving that God does, indeed, redeem all things.
Today, I remember. I remember the child we lost, whose hands we never got to hold, whose toes we never got to count, whose head we never got to kiss. But my heart overflows with gratefulness for the child who now nuzzles at my breast, who is because God opened our hearts one more time. And I realize what a joy, and a blessing, that is, in a way that I never could have, before. And I give thanks for all of it - the sorrow, the grief, and the joy. And I will never again take for granted the gift of life. But most of all, I long for the day I will gather all of my children together, at the feet of Jesus, and know that my joy will be complete. Until that day, God bless you, Little One. Mommy loves you, and Jesus loves you even more.