Sunday, April 29, 2012

Peace Like A River...

The Friday before Christmas, I discovered that we'd be welcoming a new baby into our family in the summer.  I decided that wrapping the positive pregnancy test, along with a cute scrapbook paper creation featuring the baby's due date, August 29, 2012, would be a fun gift to give my husband.  Since we don't typically exchange gifts with each other, this was perfect.  Christmas morning arrived and after the kids had opened their gifts, Doug opened his.  What a happy morning this was!  It was all captured on video, of course, as is every Christmas morning of my children's lives.  Throughout the day, we talked about how that this would be our last Christmas as a family of five and how next Christmas, we would be toting around a four-month-old baby.  Would it be a boy or girl?  Whose room was he or she going to share?  What if it was twins?  My kids were full of questions and excitement!

Over the next couple of weeks, we talked about baby names and a bigger house.  We read BabyCenter emails each week, watching our baby grow from the size of a poppy seed to a sesame seed to a lentil, to a blueberry, and then to a kidney bean.  I went to the doctor for my eight-week visit and expressed my concerns about not feeling the same pregnancy symptoms that I had with my other three children.  I was told not to worry, that every pregnancy is different, that I was "lucky" to not be sick or tired.

I was reluctant to share our exciting news with everyone, but my husband convinced me that it was time.  We announced our big news and had lots of friends and family members sharing in this wonderful time in our lives.  Prayers and well-wishes were sent in abundance.  Baby Number 4 was already loved by many who couldn't wait to meet him or her.  Just a few days later, that baby went to be with Jesus.

Nothing could have prepared me for the devastation and sadness that overwhelmed me during those next agonizing weeks. The loss of this baby, whom I had not met, but who was very much still a part of me, caused more heartbreak than I could have imagined.  I would cry suddenly at the thought of anything relating to a baby or the summertime, knowing that my summer was not going to include the birth of a new son or daughter.  I woke myself up, sobbing, re-living all of the details in my dreams.  This affected me deeply.  For several days, I could not force myself out of bed.  I sat there, crying, praying, and hurting.  I thought about God's plans and His grace.  I thought about all of the parts of the Bible that should be comforting to me, yet none of them were.  I listened to my husband and children praying for me in the other room and I felt numb.  I had a friend tell me that it was okay to be angry with God, yet I wasn't.  My husband tried reassuring me that we could still have another baby, but these words and his inability to understand what I was feeling frustrated me.  I wanted THIS baby who had already spent the last couple of months growing inside of me and who was no longer there.

Several days after the miscarriage, I finally woke up, put on real clothes and make up and went to the grocery store.  My husband said, "I am so glad you're feeling better", but the look on his face said, "I am relieved that you are not wearing flannel pajamas, crying and eating ice cream toppings straight from the jar today."  Even now, a few months later, I still get teared up when I think about how far along I'd be in that pregnancy.  I still can't talk about it without crying.  It's a strange place that I'm in, yet not a bad place.  Knowing that my little baby is resting in the arms of Jesus and will greet me one day, makes the emptiness in my heart a little bit less empty-feeling.

This season of my life has definitely changed me, my marriage, my children, and my walk with Christ.  My heart is broken for the women who go through a miscarriage without access to medical care, running water, a bed to curl up in with a down comforter and high thread-count sheets, a husband to look after other children, friends to bring dinner and pray for them. And when I think about women who don't know Jesus, I cannot comprehend what that is like.  What a hopeless, lonely, terrible time that must be!  My experience is nothing compared to that.  As I write this, my two-year-old is in her bed, fighting a nap and singing, "I've got peace like a river in my soul."  I love her.  That's where I am today too, with peace like a river in my soul---this terrible thing happened to me, but I have Jesus, so I have everything.  That's a peaceful place to be!