Our baby is gone

It’s colder than I’d realized when I slipped on a thin, long-sleeved shirt and jeans before the walk tonight. My belly protruded against the wine-colored shirt and jeans, but I couldn’t bear to dress in anything else. Nothing with elastic bands and half-moons of stretchy black in front.

Scott was doing bedtime with the kids so I could walk and process my heart under the stary sky, led in worship by my newly-refound favorite CD. (“Underneath My Wings” has played often in my ears these last 3 days.)

Our brief joy has suddenly turned into deep sadness.

Wednesday afternoon we found out that our baby has gone to be with the Lord. I hadn’t been experiencing any symptoms of anything wrong with the pregnancy, unlike the miscarriage of Micah (at 10 weeks) last year.

So it was completely unexpected when, during a routine scan on Wednesday, that we discovered the baby’s heart was no longer beating. An ultrasound confirmed the worst. The baby measured the size of one at 13 weeks, showing that he/she likely died about 2 weeks ago, as I am at 15 weeks.

The first of the many ways God’s clearly carried our family was in His provision of my dear friend, Abby, to be with me at the appointment. Scott hadn’t come to the appointment because I’d assured him it was not necessary.

Just a quick 15-min appointment, Honey. The ultrasound next Tuesday is the one I’d love you at.

The night before the appointment, God brought to mind the idea to ask Abby to come with, figuring I’d enjoy some good time with her in the car up and back. Only God knew I’d be desperately thankful for Abby’s fiercely-compassionate hold mixed with her tears after Kelly, the tech, gave us the news.

Shock. Unbelief.

Not again, Lord. Oh, not again!  The first words–a moan and sob, married–after it started sinking in.

No. I don’t want to tell Scott. Oh no. I don’t want to tell Lizzy. 

Oh, Lord.

We stopped by to see Cathy before we left, who’d delivered both Lizzy & Joshua. She wept with me and hugged me tightly. More like family than my midwife.

I handed Abby my keys and we started the 40-minute journey back home.

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 4.56.44 PM.pngWe drove into a storm I didn’t know was even on the forecast. Abby commented that she didn’t think rain was predicted either and wondered if it was the Lord weeping with me.

I arrived home to Scott, home alone because Abby’s husband had kindly taken our kids so Scott could have some space.

Navigating around the bags of maternity clothes newly offered me in the entryway, I found Scott.

My partner. My Beloved. The father of 4 precious lives–only 2 that we get to hold in our arms. Never could I have imagined this good man God would provide, nor could I have imagined what we’d walk through with these losses.

We talked and cried. Tried to wrap our minds and hearts around what happened. We decided to wait until the next day after school to tell the kids, not wanting to tell them the very sad news before their bedtime.

Abby provided dinner for us to eat at home, while feeding our kids with her brood. She also offered to line up Emma (a new, much-loved teen in our lives) to watch our kids so that we could have more time together and not have to try to keep it together in front of them at bedtime. We readily said yes, knowing that the kids love to hug and kiss “little Bub” (Aussie affectionate term for a baby) before bed and I knew that’d undo me.

We went to bed, exhausted, a little after 9 and woke at 7. The kids woke barely before 7. (Thank you, Tawnny and others, who without our knowing, prayed we’d rest.)

And I felt so normal. Painfully normal. My body yet to confess anything is wrong.

Scott offered to let me continue to rest, packed the kids’ lunches and got them off to school. He’d taken the day off of work and so we got to spend it together.

In the afternoon, we both picked up the kids, sat down to a snack together, then huddled together on the couch to tell them the baby was gone. The news was as devastating to Lizzy as we’d envisioned.

Our wonderful pastor, BJ, stopped by just before we told the kids, and waited for us to do so before coming in and praying with our family. We felt so very cared for.

He left and Lizzy sobbed for what seemed like forever while I held her. She asked lots of good–hard–questions.

“Will the baby have a heartbeat again?”

“No, sweetheart.”

“Can we go back to when the baby was jumping (the ultrasound from 5 weeks ago showed a strong heartbeat and a fist-pumping, active baby) and [start over]?”

After awhile, we offered to all cuddle up–2 new furry animals God prompted me to buy the kids that day and us 4–and watch “The Peanuts Movie” and the kids excitedly agreed.

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What a funny movie that was just what we needed for the release of more emotions, this time laughter. Oh, how Lizzy laughed at the slapstick portions! At times she was red and breathless. Thank You, Jesus, for that joy!

Joshua processed things differently, not fully having the loss click until right before bed when he confessed he was sad and accepted my offer to hold him. Scott said he watched Joshua’s face as his eyes searched beyond the ceiling, thinking.

The tenderest part of last night was holding Lizzy on my lap, my fingers running through her hair and watching her text one of her best friends in Australia, Angie. It was an unrushed hour as my 5-year-old tender soul found words to describe her heart. (My mom mentioned just that day that it might be healthy for Lizzy to have someone to tell the news to. So smart, Mom! Then, on her own, Lizzy asked to text Angie when she couldn’t sleep. I immediately said yes.)

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-5-04-43-pm
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On her own initiative, Lizzy had been creating gifts for the baby. These hand-made gifts give insight into her heart.

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My favorites are the butterfly (bottom, made of string), the “spirals” (paper and muffin liner) as mobiles above the crib, and the “lovies”–cut out of paper, with cotton balls inside, then taped closed.

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My planner girl created a room layout of where the crib (“cot here”) could go. Seemingly not phased by 3 children in one small room.

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She drew this today of the baby. (That’d be the umbilical cord, not super-hero green belly button spray.)

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 9.11.50 PM.pngWe continue to be held by the Lord through the hands of friends. Meals and gift cards. Flowers. Offers to have the kids over to play. Treasured notes. Incredible hugs.

God granted us a name today: Gabriel, if a boy. Gabrielle, if a girl.

Both mean The Lord is my strength.

Oh, how He has been.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

18 thoughts on “Our baby is gone

  1. Susan Noakes December 2, 2016 / 11:03 pm

    I can not come e close to the beautiful writing about your loss and family. I pray God heals the wounded hearts for all of you. Hugs coming soon. Love, aunt Sue and Uncle Wilbur

  2. mdflynn December 2, 2016 / 11:10 pm

    Angie,

    I’m so sorry to hear you lost the baby. May God continue wrapping his arms around you and your family during this time of sadness.

    Thinking of you, my friend.

    Daryl

  3. Allison Wilson Lee December 2, 2016 / 11:25 pm

    Angie, I am so sorry you all are experiencing this loss yet again! Thankful for friends who are loving on you.

  4. Amber Farnan December 2, 2016 / 11:37 pm

    My heart breaks for you, knowing the loss myself. I’ll be praying for you, Scott, and the kids. I’m so thankful that God has you surrounded by loving friends who are taking care of you. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Doris Beck December 2, 2016 / 11:53 pm

    I am grieving with you over the loss of your precious Babe…. may the Lord hold you close as you go through the days ahead

  6. kimberlymeekersmith December 3, 2016 / 1:03 am

    Oh Angie, I’m so sorry. I know this ache too. I pray God holds your heart and gives you just what you need in the days to come.

  7. Suan Lee Campbell December 3, 2016 / 1:52 am

    I’m so sad with your family. Thank you for opening your door to share these long days of loss and tenderness in such an honest way. The Lord is your strength and grace sufficient for each moment.

  8. tina December 3, 2016 / 6:22 am

    My heart grieves with you all. May the comfort of being held by Jesus through the arms of your community continue. Thank you for sharing your heart as you make your way through the loss of your precious baby. With much love and prayers.

  9. bakohl December 3, 2016 / 7:54 am

    Oh, dearest Bentleys, my heart aches for the loss of your newest member. You are loved!
    I’m praying that God continues to wrap His arms the 4 of you and hold you close.
    I pray that you will feel His healing touch, both body and mind, as you navigate this painful path.
    Know that we will be holding you extra close in our prayers in the coming weeks.

  10. Linda Kreimeyer December 3, 2016 / 8:39 am

    The Sadness I feel can’t be expressed. How fully the words of this poem will help.

    Tomorrow
    by Della Adams Leitner
    In His hands I leave tomorrow;
    For my Heavenly Father knows
    What is needed for my future;
    When it comes He will disclose
    Ways and means I could not reckon,
    As His all-providing power
    Brings to pass the right solution,
    All sufficient for each hour.

    As I meet with firm assurance
    What the present now requires,
    I am given strength and purpose,
    So I ask that my desires
    May be righteous, just, and kindly,
    Measured by His love, I pray:
    In His hands I leave tomorrow
    As I walk with Him today.
    ~~~~~~
    I had this poem on my desk during my college days. The days were long; the struggles great. As years wore on, I have needed to lean on the strength it provided then as well as each new day. His love and strength never falters.

  11. Linda Kreimeyer December 3, 2016 / 8:40 am

    Hopefully…..

  12. hollyallen331 December 3, 2016 / 8:51 am

    My heart breaks for you! I am so thankful that God has surrounded you with so much love to help you through this storm. When we lost our baby boy, God surrounded us as well. You and your family are in our prayers.

  13. Terri December 3, 2016 / 11:56 am

    Angie, my heart is also hurting for you all. It’s a hard way to start the Christmas season (or any season of life for that matter). Your showing Lizzy and Joshua how to grieve is something that will continue to help them through the years.

  14. Tim Knopf December 3, 2016 / 12:55 pm

    Dear Angie & Scott, we are so sorry to hear of your incredible loss. May our loving, heavenly Father continue to draw all of you close to Him as you walk this path of grief. Love, Tim & Donna

  15. Melba Bentley December 3, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Angie,

    This is such a heartfelt pouring out of deep and personal feelings!! So well written!!

    I cannot imagine the feelings you, and later Scott, and then Lizzy and Joshua must have felt when you heard the news about your precious baby. What a blessing Abby and your friend Cathy, who is much more than a midwife, were there with you that day!! You have such special friends, including your pastor, who have been such a blessing as you walk through this special sad and even sweet time.

    Precious Joshua’s eyes were SO SAD in one of the pictures where his fluffy lion was on his lap. Heartbreaking!! It was so special that Precious Lizzy made the mobiles to go above the crib!! They definitely portray the love she was feeling AND the love that has gone into them!!!! : ) : ) : ) : )

    Wonderful name—Gabriel or Gabrielle!!!! So appropriate and special!! Be Still My Soul, has such comforting and peace-filled lyrics. Also an amazing story behind the hymn itself!!!!

    It was so wonderful that you all were able to enjoy the Charlie Brown Christmas!!!! Laughter and joy are so healing!!!! (We missed it for some reason.)

    We continue to pray for each one of you!!!! We love you all sooooo much!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

    Love,

    Nana : ) : )

  16. Smitha December 3, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    A big Hugggg for all of you. Its hard for me to say anything to comfort you. I just know God is gracious and that He will give us the strength to move on from this pain. Wish we were closeby to be with you but glad that you are home and have good friends to be with you at this time

  17. Ellen Cox December 3, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    There are no words………………….. Scott, Angie, Lizzy and Joshua…………………… for the grief you are now walking through. Know that you are in our prayers.

    Love In Him, Terry and Ellen

  18. Bill Thomas December 3, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    We are so saddened to hear of the heartache you are going through. May our God of mercy wrap you tightly in his loving arms.

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