Monday, December 7, 2015

Grief

Disclaimer: This post will probably make you cry so have some tissue nearby and I'm sorry ahead of time for making your eyes puffy and red and your nose run. Also it's really, really long.

Saturday was the day we were supposed to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Supposed to. Instead, we found out our precious baby had gone to be with the Lord. No one can prepare you for that. When it happens to other people, it's sad but you don't really feel the devastation unless it happens to you.

But I knew. I had known and I think my brain just hadn't accepted what had happened. I noticed that my belly wasn't round and growing, I was just looking fat. I brushed that off as maybe this baby is just smaller. I hadn't felt the baby move at all but I thought, it's just not an active baby. Every fear about the death of one of our children I met with prayers that it wasn't in my control anyway.

How could I have known that the Lord had already taken our precious child home and was preparing me for the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life?

We took the girls to my appointment on Saturday, eager to find out who would be the addition to our little family. When the tech left the room after 15 minutes, was gone for 20 only to return and hand me the phone, I knew that my worst fears were materializing. I shakily answered the phone and all I heard the doctor say was "I have some really bad news." I don't remember my legs giving out but Brian was there in a second pulling me back up. The girls stared as I sobbed for what I knew she was going to say. She said the tech couldn't find a heartbeat and asked if my husband was with me.

I've never cried so much in my life. We both knew that God had already numbered this baby's days and their life was in His control. We knew that He wasn't punishing us or being mean; instead we both deeply felt His sorrow that sin has affected our world in such devastating ways. Not once did I question Him or even felt that I could, I knew exactly what this trial was for. I knew exactly why He was sifting us and allowing us to go through this.

We spent the rest of the day in tears. My heart felt like it was being pressed on from all sides. My head pounded from the tears but I couldn't stop them. I've never seen Brian so torn. And watching him grieve for our baby was heart-wrenching. Each phone call to inform our family and friends brought fresh tears and I couldn't control the sobs that came from my gut. I fell asleep in Brian's arms with tears drenching my pillow.

I woke up that night at 3 in the morning and couldn't fall back asleep. I had questions like why my body hadn't figured out the baby was gone and what we were going to do next. The doctor had given us some options and we thought we would wait it out before making any final choices. And in the darkness, the Lord gave me light. I desperately clung to His Word for hope and reassurance that He was there. That He loved me. That He was going to bring us through this.

"This I recall to mind, Therefore, I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion, says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him." The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth.... For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men." Lamentations 3

“Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told you that the night would never end in day?.... Who told you that the winter of your discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice and hail to deeper snow and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Don’t you know that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Be full of hope! Hope forever! For God does not fail you. Do you know that God loves you in the midst of all this?.... You will yet, midst the splendors of eternity, forget the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led you through them and works your lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Cause the desert to ring with your exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then forever with the Lord, your bliss shall never wane.
-- Charles Spurgeon

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed... O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! The righteous cry and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles... The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." Psalm 34

And then Job. Job who lost so much and yet blessed the Lord. Job's answer to his friends: "Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, 'What are You doing?'"

I cried and prayed to the Lord. For wisdom. For strength. For comfort. And then I just cried. I was so sad that this baby had to feel the effects of a wretched world. I was so sad that our sin grieves the Lord and yet we take it so lightly.

We explained to Allie what had happened. "But I wanted to hold the baby and feed it and help you put it to sleep..." And then she cried. For a sibling she never knew. Isn't that crazy? How much we grieved over someone we had never met? This baby was already so loved and it hadn't even seen our faces.

This weekend has been so long and at the same time a blur. Today we went back to talk to the doctor and discuss our options. The ultrasound showed that the baby was measuring at 15 weeks when it stopped growing. That meant that an induction would have low chances of working because both the baby and my uterus were still very small. And even at the end of laboring for several days, I could still require a surgery. It also meant that we wouldn't be able to know if it was a boy or a girl.

We prayed before going that the Lord would give us wisdom for any decisions we had to make and peace about what would be the best. Because the baby had been gone for so long, the longer I waited, the higher risk I stood of infection and massive bleeding. So we scheduled the surgery for 9 pm and as I write this, I'm trying to ignore dinner being made because I'm not supposed to eat. But writing it has also helped. It's like actually getting to say out loud what has been racing through my mind for days.

We asked the doctor for one last ultrasound to get some pictures. It seemed like a strange request from someone who isn't sentimental about these things. But all we had seen up to that point was a little bean at 10 weeks old. She perfectly captured a picture showing the profile of the baby and all I could do was lay there as tears streamed down my face and Brian shook with tears next to me. 

I've been so blessed to have so many people in my life to encourage us and pray for us. People who had never met me before were bearing our burdens. A friend said "I am abundantly thankful that the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning to deep to understand. He is praying for you. Your God, the living God, is praying, for YOU. He cares for you and loves you and is rejoicing even now to be with His child (your child) in glory."

And we do believe that. We have to believe that the Lord extended special grace to this baby to save them before they could understand the gospel. Brian and I even chuckled about it that our baby just skipped the hard part of living here on earth and went straight to be with Jesus. And that gives me hope. One day I'll hold that precious baby in my arms.

Maybe after tonight the hardest part will be over. But tomorrow will have new mercies from the Lord. He will provide comfort and peace for those moments of sadness as we move on. He will encompass us with love and encouragement from our friends and family. And I know that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness in His Word so in those moments of darkness when my heart feels like it can't bear the burden of grief, I will cling to His promises and have hope.