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.)

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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.

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