I remember hearing and reading of stillbirths long before I knew that would be my path too. I remember the thoughts. That's awful/horrific/unimaginable. How do people survive that? Lord forbid I ever experience anything like that. Probably the same ones you had when you heard my story.
But then there I was. About to face my own awful/horrific/unimaginable stillbirth experience. I remember lying in the hospital bed just a few short hours from pushing my stillborn daughter into the world and I said aloud to my family, I feel like I'm walking towards a cliff about to throw myself over and I'm going to break every bone in my body and the pain is going to be excruciating. But I didn't have a choice. It was birth my stillborn daughter or....nothing. There was no less painful Option B.
How do people do that? I was learning how. You do it because you don't have a choice not to. You don't get to pick another option. People who lose their child aren't brave or strong. You do all the hard things because you have to. You do it whether you're brave or fearful, strong or weak.
But after I said that my sister-in-law softly said, But I'm pretty sure there are going to be people at the bottom to catch you.
And she was right. It did still feel like I'd just jumped a cliff and broken every bone in my body. And the pain was still excruciating. But I didn't fall to my death. I fell into the arms of people who carried me in love and prayer.
I find that I talk less often about Grace and where I'm at with her. Partly because I've never been one to wear my emotions or my heart on my sleeve and partly because I have this underlying fear that people think I should be over this, moving on. I dared bring this up to my Bible study several weeks ago and was quite taken aback at their vehement protests.
Sometimes the pain and tears take me by surprise. And sometimes the happiness does too. People ask how I'm doing and it's the most difficult question to answer. Oh you mean right now? Good, thank you. Oh you mean this morning as I was washing the dishes and was overcome with tears and heartache all over again? Not so good, thank you.
I'm walking with one of my sweetest friends through a miscarriage journey and today she said to me, I know it's not like your loss... But I stopped her because here's where half the pain is. Deferred hope. Deferred joy. You saw the positive test, unbelievable joy overcame you, and then 2 weeks (or 30 weeks) later everything you hoped for that brought you so much joy was gone, and there was no getting it back.
And the Bible tells us that makes a heart sick. Heartsick. What a perfectly fitting word.
I'm so sorry for all the pain in this world. I'm so sorry that any of us have to go through this. I whispered to Grace over and over as I held her in my arms and the tears dripped down, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I was so sorry that she had to have a broken heart. I was so sorry that she had to experience heart failure. I asked Matt time and time again, Are you sure she didn't experience any pain? Are you sure it didn't hurt her to have heart failure?
And yet, as a Christian, I'm so thankful that this isn't the end of the story. I would literally drown in despair if I really thought the only future my daughter had was underneath the ground. I couldn't even watch them lower her casket, much less believe that was her permanent resting place. Thank the Lord of heaven and earth that she lives in a paradise unimaginable with Love inexpressible. Thank the Lord who created everything seen and unseen that she went from the womb of her mama who loved her more than life to the arms of her Father who loves her so much He gave his life.
I long for Eternity more than I ever thought possible. I often lay in bed at night and ask the Lord to please return quickly. I look so forward to the day when I hold her again. But next time her eyes will be open and her beautiful body will be full of life. And we will never be apart again. Because one of the most difficult parts of our story was leaving the hospital without her. How do you birth your child that you've carried for nearly eight months and then give her to a stranger and leave without her, knowing you will never again see her in this life? You're not supposed to do that. And one day we never will again.
Thank you Lord that when our hope is deferred, you restore it. Lord, restore us.