One of my favorite verses has always been Luke 2:19. Luke describes Mary watching little Jesus grow up and says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I’m a “treasurer.” A “ponderer.” There are some things so special, so intimate, so close, that I want to treasure them up to myself and ponder them in my own heart. My children are one of those things. That is probably why, even though I wrote this 2 years ago, I have never shared it. We had planned to at one point, but then we got pregnant with our daughter, Margaret Jane, and didn’t want anything to take away from her story. But now it has been 2 years since we lost our second baby. More than anything, I desire to help other people heal and breath. I want to help the abundance of women who share my same hurt. So, I want to share with you three of the most precious pieces of my heart.
(Austin: In all honesty, whether or not to go ahead and post this was a really hard decision. On the one hand, time has passed and we are in a different season of life. We didn’t want to post it if there wasn’t a purpose. Writing these posts years ago was incredibly healing and helpful, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessary now. On the other hand, I think we both came to the realization that one of the most healing parts of our journey were the opportunities to hear from others who had experienced something similar. So our hope in putting these posts online so long after actually writing them would be to encourage a couple in the midst of their own story.)
I have always had a feeling that something would go wrong when it came time for me to have children. Even when I was very young, I had a tender spot for people who had trouble with infertility. I always felt drawn to the prayer requests for women who couldn’t have children, or finally got pregnant after years of trying or who had miscarried. I had a feeling something like that would happen to me.
When my husband and I felt led to start our family we were so excited. He thought we would get pregnant right away and everything would be great. I thought it may take a while, but surely we would be pregnant with a healthy baby in just a couple months. I was shocked when I got a positive pregnancy test within the first two weeks!
I’ve known so many people who had miscarriages that I knew we would not announce this pregnancy until we were through the first trimester, not because the baby would be any less, but because we prefer to grieve privately. We only told our families. They were so excited. We told them we needed good pictures of them for something and when we had them all posed in front of the camera we said, “You’re grandparents!!!!” These pictures are some of my most treasured possessions.
Despite my worry that something could go wrong, we got SO excited. We made a secret pinterest board of baby stuff. I planned the whole nursery. We picked out a girl name and a boy name. We changed our minds. We changed them back. I bought ginger snaps, even though I didn’t have any morning sickness yet. We dreamed, we hoped, we planned. If it was a girl we were going to be best friends and have tea parties and play dress up and when she was old enough, of course, we would watch Pride and Prejudice together all the time. It was going to be her favorite movie, obviously. If it was a boy he was gonna be my little buddy. We would go on adventures and I would be so proud of him when he hit his first ball at his little league game. And his daddy. I would love every minute of watching Austin be a dad. I got so excited thinking about Austin carrying in the carseat, or trying to braid our daughter’s hair, or teaching our son how to drive or holding my hand when we dropped them off at Ouachita…I mean…college….
At my first appointment my doctor told me that I might have a little spotting and that it’s totally normal and nothing to worry about. So, that Thursday afternoon when I started to, I told myself it was normal. I told myself my baby was fine. Austin tried to assure me it was normal and the baby was fine. We went out to dinner and believed the baby was fine. We stopped by Barnes & Noble to buy baby their first book. We picked Good Night Moon. But when we got home things had gotten worse. We were going to read the baby their new book, but we couldn’t. We decided if it was still happening in the morning that we would call the doctor. In the morning it had gotten worse. I called my doctor, certain she would say the baby had died. She said we couldn’t be sure, so just to be safe I should stay home in bed and to come in first thing Monday morning. I just would like to add that I have a wonderful doctor and I am SO thankful for her.
I stayed home in bed while Austin went to my work and finished all my projects that had to be done that day. I have the best husband in the entire world and that is just an indisputable fact.
My mom came up right away and stayed with me all day. She stayed with me through the cramping and bleeding and tears. She stayed with me as I lost my baby.
We were broken. We were crushed. I felt alone. I felt empty. The life that had been inside me was gone.
I felt like nobody could understand how I felt. Austin had loved the baby, of course, but not in the same way I did. He hadn’t been carrying and holding that baby every minute of every day like I had. He was sad, but more than anything it seemed like he was at peace knowing our baby would never know pain or sorrow and would live forever in heaven. I felt peace at that thought too, but that didn’t take away the pain. That didn’t take away the tears when I thought about never getting to snuggle my baby after their bath time, or never getting to bake cookies together, or never getting to watch them walk down the aisle.
Then I felt bad for feeling sad. Like I should just be at peace like Austin was. Like I should be fine. My baby was in heaven. My baby was happy. My baby was with Jesus. My baby was perfect. Why couldn’t I just be happy for our baby?
But God was ok with my sadness. The Spirit reminded me that when Lazarus died Jesus wept. It was ok to grieve, It was ok to miss my sweet little one. It was ok to cry. Jesus was crying for me too. He knew how I felt. This wasn’t what He always wanted for me. His world was broken, and His heart was broken for me.
I wish I could somehow make you feel how real our baby was, and is. We never got an ultrasound, never got to feel them kick, never got to know if we have a son or a daughter. All I got was bloating, an extreme aversion to broccoli and an extra little pink line on a pregnancy test. I was a mother. I always would be. I didn’t lose a “fetus.” I lost my son. Or my daughter. I lost a person. I lost a part of me.