I've said it so many times now, as I've called and e-mailed and sent texts to various friends and family, and it still seems surreal. And it's not exactly true, even: technically, I lost the baby four weeks ago, mere days after I found out that I was carrying our sixth child. It just took three and a half weeks for my body to figure it out and respond.
We had just told the kids on Sunday. It might have been a bit premature, but I've never struggled to carry a baby before. Levi requested to do another Thanksgiving alphabet this year. It was so fun to write BABY in the B section and watch their confused little faces: "but we already have Calvin on the list!"
Levi was the first to comprehend, of course, and his skeptical, "wait a minute; are you getting pregnant again?" ushered in a cacophony of "are we getting a new car?" and "where will he sleep?" and "is it a boy or a girl baby?" and immediate clamoring for naming rights. So much joy in such a tiny cluster of cells, just a whiff of potentiality, really; it brings me to tears.
Twenty-four hours later, I knew.
But the ultrasound to confirm what I knew wasn't until Tuesday afternoon, and Tuesday morning Toby happily told strangers in Walmart that Mommy had another baby in her belly. (Funny. I assumed it would be Silas telling strangers.)
Also on Tuesday morning, after a mostly-sleepness night of pain, physical and emotional, God granted me some space to spend time with him. (What that really means is, I woke up early, couldn't get back to sleep, and had the sense to open up my prayer app and my BSF homework instead of Facebook.) I was reading in Ephesians 1. It's all one long sentence, so it doesn't really make sense to pull out one verse, but the phrase that stuck with me was in verse 19: the immeasurable greatness of his power to those who believe. It was a weighty truth that sank into my bones in that moment and made them strong. God can save this baby. He might not, but he can, and that fact alone makes him worthy of my worship. I have seen my share of heartbreak in my few decades on this earth -- not as much as some, for sure, but enough to provide perspective and maybe even a little bit of wisdom -- and if there is one thing I know for sure, it is this: the more I know about who God is, the better able I am to withstand the sorrows of this life.
. . . which is not to say that I am not grieving. It has been a week of tension: I don't want to go on like nothing has happened, but life does, in fact, go on. The middle days of the week were spent fighting the start of a sinus infection and slaying fussy dragons and coming down hard on a sulky attitude and reading one more story and everything else I do on a daily basis. And then skipping out on the bedtime routine to take a bath or just hide in my room for a while, regroup. Call a new set of folks who need to know. Gratefully receive dinner from someone who wanted to lighten the load. Remember, again, that I'm trying to give up grumbling (Phil 2:14), and wonder anew how I'm supposed to feel sad and not grumble at the same time. More grace for everyone.
I won't forget Silas (yes, Silas this time, as expected) babbling away to a sweet friend at small group: "And we have another baby! Well, we HAD another baby, but it stopped growing." The simple truth.
Friday morning we did the only thing we could think of to do and planted a bulb in the backyard. (Thanks, God, for the unseasonably warm fall.) Chances of its survival are pretty slim -- we are no gardeners, my husband and I -- but there was good symbolism in returning something to the earth nonetheless. We prayed and we wept and then we gathered the children to show them, for maybe the first time in such a way, how we find hope and peace within the pages of Scripture.
Levi reading Psalm 139:7-18.
By nature, I am not one to argue with God's decisions. He has proven himself faithful to me, and I have no cause to mistrust his sovereignty. Still, there is an empty space in our house, in my thoughts, in my womb, where a week ago there was hope and promise and excitement for what was to be. I know how quick the journey is from that positive pregnancy test to this:
. . . and I mourn that, in the words of a dear friend, "I did not get to keep one of my people."
But God is keeping him.* And me, too.
*Or her. The masculine pronoun is just sits so much more comfortably on the tip of my tongue . . . :)