My story. It’s really your story. A piece of me will never be here, never get checked off the list, never be seen as complete this side of heaven.
You were so wanted. If I could tell you one thing above all else, you were wanted and loved and needed. From the moment I got a positive test, your dad and I were celebrating. Celebrating our miracle, our chosen baby, the one we got to help plan. The piece of God’s story we got to help write.
I was so sure you would be the piece of our family we had been missing. The sibling to complement your brother. The child to reflect me more than the wild rambunctious boys (your dad and brother) who destroy my house on a regular basis.
We kept your secret for 8 long weeks. We wanted so badly to share our joy with everyone, but wanted to see your sweet self on the ultrasound first. We got to see your small body, heart beating away, at just barely 8 weeks old. We left the appointment so excited to share with your brother Charlie who you were and when to expect you.
I didn’t know it was the last day I would see you alive.
I didn’t know it was the last day I would see you.
I didn’t know it was the last day.
I didn’t know.
We told Charlie that you were about the size of a blueberry and that we didn’t know yet who you would be. Charlie was “Walnut,” and we thought you would be “Blueberry” until we could give you a more proper name. I didn’t know it would be the only name you ever had.
Charlie told your grandparents and great grandparents. There was so much joy. After a season of such pain with the unexpected loss of my brother just a few months before, the joy was needed, and it felt so much like we were being tossed a life raft. Someone was coming—had come—to help us up and out of the pit we were in. We all had something to look forward to.
A very short month later, I sat alone at the doctor’s office, waiting to hear your sweet heartbeat on the Doppler. I was sure all was fine. I had vicious morning sickness, and everyone told me that being sick was a great sign that all was well. The doctor came in, and spent a few minutes looking for a heartbeat. The silence was deafening, and he recommended we go get an ultrasound. I remember asking “Should I be worried, Doc?” He assured me that this happens sometimes and that he wasn’t concerned. Three exam rooms later, they confirmed my worst fears. You were gone. They estimated that you had stopped growing a month before. I was surrounded by other pregnant mothers, and yet completely alone. How could you be gone and I not know?
I left the office and went back to work. I told a few coworkers and spent the rest of the day in a fog. I found myself still occasionally putting my hand on my belly, only to remember you weren’t alive. They scheduled a D&C for that Friday. I wasn’t given a choice. There was no choice. I didn’t know what to expect, what to feel. All I knew was that I was upset, and angry, and so, so, sad. And when it was over, I was even a little relieved. And that felt awful.
I sat that Friday afternoon at home. I was angry with myself, with the doctors, with God. I found myself continuing to ask how we didn’t know, how I couldn’t have known you were already gone. I felt like I had let you down. I felt alone. I felt like no one could understand what I was feeling. And then as I sat, I remembered—this wasn’t any Friday. This was Good Friday. The one day where if I let myself admit it, I had to believe that I wasn’t alone. God took my child. And gave me His child. There was no change in my circumstances, and my feelings of loss and grief did not go away. But I could no longer continue to believe that no one knew how I felt…that God didn’t know how I felt.
Four years later, the pain is still there. Certainly, there has been some healing. Certainly, life has moved on around me. But I still mourn the losses that only come with time—who would you be today? What would we have named you? Would you be strong and wild like your dad and brothers or a little more like me? And while I wait patiently for the day when I will see your face, I rest in God’s goodness, that He did not—and will not—leave me alone. That He is a God who knows the loss of a child.
Elizabeth lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two boys. When she’s not working on computers to pay the bills, she spends her time at the family farm. Wrangling the horses, cows, and sheep are where she feels most at home, and where she gets to see God in his abundant creation. Her eight year old correctly identified his mom’s best friend as “coffee”, and she would love to share a cup and get to know you more. She listens long and loves stories, and while she hates that she has to meet you in this shared pain, she’s grateful for the space to do so.
Photo byTori Groene