Today was the due date for our first baby.
This baby was only five weeks along when we found out and just under six weeks when God pulled him or her home. It was early. So early that I have a hard time even claiming it as a loss. Even still, tears well up in my eyes when I consider that I won’t meet this child this side of earth. Today is the day I might have met our little boy or girl.
Today is the day I process.
Our first child made his or her appearance in the middle of July on a first response pregnancy test. Austin was out of town, and I was on my way home from my parents’. As a first time “wanting to be pregnant” woman, I raced to Kroger, purchased the test with the best response time, and peed on that stick ASAP. Then I wrapped it all up, placed it gently back in its box, being sure it was laying in the correct position, and raced back to my car.
The minutes felt like hours.
I’d had this plan of exactly how I would tell Austin I was pregnant. The most overplayed and beloved Ed Sheeran song, “Tenerife Sea” was played at our engagement and our wedding, and I wanted it to be how we found out we would be parents. I would race home, record my own voice singing it (not an impressive voice, by any means, but it was just going to be for us), and replace the final bridge, “Lumierre over me” with “We’re gonna have a baby.” It was going to be perfect.
So I turned the test over to see if my little plan would be on the docket for today.
A single dark pink line laid next to a single faint pink line—barely visible, but absolutely present. There was life inside of me.
There were hundreds of little cells, made up of both me and him, multiplying by the minute, becoming our child. They were inside of me. My body was holding them. It was keeping them safe.
I talked to the baby all the way home. I sang to him or her. I immediately began dreaming of who this little person would be. My mom once said, “the minute that test reads positive, you become a mother.” Indeed, I was a mother that day.
My coffee-addicted self threw out all the caffeine the minute I entered the door of our little Nashville home. As I prepared our home for the arrival of my husband, I listened to a podcast of how I could be taking care of my body so that it could safely house my little girl or boy over the following ten months. I stood in the doorway of what would be our nursery and just dreamed. I input all of my information into an app and let it spit out my due date—April 1, 2019. I giggled at the possibility of having a baby on April Fools Day. I sang into my computer. My voice was shakey. Tears flooded my eyes, and a lump sat in my throat. It was not a beautiful cover of the song, but it was the most special thing I had ever sung.
Yes, the warnings entered my mind. “Don’t get too excited,” “It’s so early,” “Anything can happen.”
But none of those warnings seemed logical. They didn’t make sense to me when all I knew was two lines on a stick and a due date. I couldn’t wait until April 1st for it to become real. I didn’t want to wait another day.
Then he walked into the door, and it all played out just how I wanted. I told him I wanted to dance—something that we do fairly regularly—and I hit the play button. We laughed at ourselves because we knew we were being cheesy, and I played it off as if it were a joke until those last words came on.
There hasn’t been much more special than that moment. Embracing for the first time as soon-to-be parents was surreal. Stroking his head as he bent down and kissed my belly was something of only dreams.
The coming days were so exciting. We kept our little secret to the two of us, planning how we would tell our family and quietly dreaming of the future. My best friend and Austin’s brother were coming into town that week from Kansas City, and we couldn’t believe we would get to tell them in person.
I continued taking pregnancy tests throughout the week. They grew darker and darker as our baby grew and my body changed—nothing the eyes could see, but I sure felt pregnant!
Toward the end of the week, I took another pregnancy test and noticed something weird: the line was fainter. It freaked me out a little, but I knew there could be a thousand reasons why that might happen. The next day, it was even fainter. The next day, I began to bleed.
I knew in my heart that this was the end of this very short pregnancy as soon as I woke up that morning. Part of me felt missing already. When I told Austin what I thought was happening, I seemed to be okay. It actually hit him harder at the beginning. It wasn’t until I was talking to my friend about it later that day that I heard the word out loud, in reference to me for the first time.
It was so early in the pregnancy that I had spent my entire morning convincing myself that it was never real.
But it was. A little heartbeat may have never even developed, but my body created life. Life that, for whatever reason, had not sustained.
I wish I could tell you that at this moment, I clung to Jesus with my whole heart. I wish I could tell you that, at this moment, my marriage grew stronger. I wish I could tell you that I prayed more in my sorrow, that worshipped in my sadness, or that my tears of grief fell on the pages of Scripture.
I can’t tell you any of that. All I can say is that I wish all of that had happened. I pushed everything away. I was bitter with myself for getting too attached too soon and I was bitter with God for letting me. I buried my thoughts and efforts in my work. I didn’t want to face God because I was terrified that I was blaming Him. I was scared of what really laid in my heart.
I bottled and bottled and bottled until we unexpectedly became pregnant again one month later. Then I had no choice but to face it.
The coming months would be filled with facing the grief I so desperately tried to bury inside of me. I was faced with the possibility of losing another piece of my heart. I was confronted with the blame and bitterness I had laid on God.
I have spent the last ten months learning to process a pain I never wanted to feel.
It feels like it has all been leading up to this day. Today. The day I might have met my little one.
Today, on this day I thought would be so hard–and it has for many reasons–I find myself celebrating. I celebrate that I have been a mother to two little ones though I haven’t met either. One we hope to meet in the coming month; another, we will embrace at heaven’s gates. But today I also find myself grieving that I never got to kiss that sweet little one’s cheeks. That he or she never grew enough for me to know. And I fight the guilt I feel when I do grieve this child. If my first pregnancy had progressed, we would not ever know this one. The enemy has had a strong hold on me in both the grief of our first baby and our celebration of our second.
So on this first day of April, I find myself feeling all the things and responding to those them with what I know to be truth.
I convince myself to feel that this child was too small to be considered mine—I remind myself my Savior knit him or her together in my womb. (Psalm 139:13-14)
I feel guilty for being sad about this baby when I have another healthy baby kicking and growing inside of me—I remind myself that both are precious in the sight of God, one not more important than the other. (Jeremiah 1:5)
I feel fear that I will lose the baby in my womb now—I remind myself that God is with me, holding me and holding my baby. (Isaiah 4:10)
Today is a day of conflicted emotions and feelings. I can hardly wait to meet the child inside of me, but I sorrow that I will not meet my other child until the other side of glory. I wonder what I will tell my daughter about her sibling. I wonder if she might deal with the same confusion, one day knowing that without the loss which I grieve, she would not be here. I pray she does not grapple with the same guilt I am.
I have these little feelings that well up inside of me, convincing me that my loss was not a loss. Yet I am thankful that through lots of prayer, Bible reading, and council from wise women, I can quiet that feeling fairly easily. But my heart aches for others who are sitting silently in their grief because they feel it is not big enough.
Today I am reminded that all losses are losses. No, they are not all equal. They are all defined by our own places and times and situations. But my grief is no less grief than someone who delivered a sleeping baby, and my grief is no more grief than the woman who has never had a child inside her womb but desperately wants one. Grief is grief is grief, and loss is loss is loss.
So sisters who are grieving today or have grieved in the past—allow yourselves to do so. Allow yourselves to feel and then remind yourselves of truth. And let me assure you, that truth will not come from you. It only comes from the One who is constant, who we can never lose. He is the only truth that remains regardless of our circumstances. He is truth in the storm of miscarriage and stillbirth and infertility. He is truth when the adoption falls through and when our children are born healthy and when they grow up and while they are little.
Today is a special day. Today, because of much healing that God has brought over the last ten months of my life, I can celebrate in my grief. I can be free in my sorrow because it beckons me to look past this broken world and into the paradise that awaits me and my family.
Today was my first due date. I am thankful for the two children who were knit together in my womb, and I look forward to meeting them both, though one may be sooner than the other. I am thankful that I can pray earnestly for other women who stand with me on this day, knowing these feelings all too well.
Today marks the day I may have met my child. In God’s sovereignty and in His goodness, I didn’t. I am learning to trust Him in that. I am learning to process. I am learning to talk about it. And I am thankful that today, I get to do that.
If you have not been following along our pregnancy story, check our previous pregnancy posts and subscribe (scroll to the bottom of the page) to continue following. We are so excited to welcome our sweet little girl in May, and cannot wait to document how God is working in and through us as we navigate the world as new parents.