And then it was June. Avery’s due month, and coincidentally, the month I would find out if there was another child’s heartbeat where his had vanished.
I had taken a pregnancy test weeks earlier and couldn’t believe it was positive.I fell to my knees and cried in a bathroom at work. I had said I would try to wait until I got home, but I had to know in case I lost this one before I knew he or she was even there.
We had started trying again in February and each month that I didn’t conceive was emotional, but since it had taken awhile to conceive Avery, I knew I shouldn’t be surprised.
The dates lined up in such a way where my first ultra sound was scheduled the day before Avery’s actual due date. A huge work event to celebrate the life of the unborn was scheduled on his actual due date, so to say it was an emotional weekend is only skimming the surface.
My sister in law came the day of the ultra sound, but the appointment was moved to the evening, so she had gone, and Afton would have to come with us to the appointment.
Post traumatic stress was increasing and I knew I couldn’t be alone again in that little room where they had told me Avery had no heart beat months ago. So we sat Afton down criss-cross-applesauce in the middle of the living room. Wise dear husband, Johnny explained to Afton that we were going to the doctor so they could tell us if there was a baby in my tummy.
“If there is one, they will show us a picture on the TV. ”
Her eyes lit up. “Ok! Let’s go!”
Weeks earlier she had told me she was looking for her baby sister or brother because she had asked God to put one in my tummy and she believed that He had. She began to cry and said in the same sentence that she was missing baby Avery. How did she know this would have been the time we would have met him?
I breathed silent prayers all the way to the ultra sound room preparing for bad news but begging God for good news if only for my sweet innocent little girl who just wanted the sibling she’d been asking Him for a year of her 3 year old life.
The tech instantly flashed the sonogram onto the screen of a tiny beating heart. I breathed. Not happy, not all is right, not everything is replaced or back to the way it should be. Just that for the moment, relief, that my daughter saw the life she hoped for on the screen and my body had not let anyone down today.
Guilt is a confusing emotion isn’t it? It steals your joy, it robs you of moments that could be enjoyed and replaces them with thoughts of ‘shoulds’ and ‘if only’s’ along with that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach and sometimes your head. And somehow, guilt overcame me to the point that I struggled to celebrate that new little life, because I should have been grieving another.
But I couldn’t have had one without the other. Someone recently sent me an article where the writer outlined her conversation with her longed for child on her birthday. Her 3 year old asked, “Mommy, you had to wait a long time for me didn’t you?”
“Yes, honey, I did.”
“Mommy do you know why you had to wait so long?”
“Because God was making me!”
My heart caught in my throat as I read this. Up until that moment, I wasn’t sure how to be joyful about this baby because every time I thought of being pregnant, I thought of how I wouldn’t be if things had gone “the way they were supposed to” the first time.”
But without this horrible loss, I wouldn’t ever know this growing child. I don’t know why God chose to do things the way he did, and my human mind can only grasp and accept so much, but this was eye opening for me, and I began for the first time, to see what I’m guessing is a small glimpse, of a perfect plan that my God is unfolding.
It is a step towards healing, a step towards acceptance and a step toward learning to give things in every circumstance.
But here’s the thing I don’t want any reader who is grieving the loss of an unborn child to take from this series.
I’m healed because I’m pregnant again.
This healing process is a work of Jesus in my life- not the bandaid of another child growing in my womb. The loss of Avery will always be a scar I carry, but it’s a beautiful scar and not an open wound, because I have chosen to seek the Lord for answers where I have had questions, I have turned to him in anger when I have been confused, and I have listened to truth when I didn’t know what I could hold to. And His truth has begun a healing process that a year ago this week (11/6/2015) I never thought possible.
Wherever you are in the grieving process dear friend, I pray that you will not be afraid to pour out your heart to the Maker of Heaven and earth, who knows you by name, who knows each unborn child by name and loves them more than you and I ever could imagine. Let Him be the Healer he promises to be.