The anticipation was building ― soon the day would arrive. It was another week of doctor’s appointments to be sure that the baby was healthy. The drive to the doctor’s office was now a weekly ritual and the excitement of pregnancy started to fade.
“What was it going to be like to be a mother?” Questions swirled in my head and my hands would clam up at the thought that time was rushing to that answer. I had never been a mother before; how would I know I could be a good mother? The questions seemed to never end. The radio played a tune as I watched my then husband make the turn entering into the hospital’s parking lot.
We exited the car in silence, since each appointment brought a different, more complicated set of circumstances. What would it be today? Checking in was finished and the doctor would appear just as our small talk to kill the silence was interrupted by the solemn look on the doctor’s face. I had to go through another procedure so it could be determined the current status of my baby. But the results were not favorable.
The doctor gently began to explain the results of the procedure and what next steps would be. It was as if I had landed on a cliff, and I was slipping with each word she spoke. My heart sank. I know I could hear her, but the words just slid through my mind and as it seemed, out through my feet. Soon I would be delivering a baby, but due to the results of the procedure, my baby would be born dead. The words hit my ears like an anvil and the echo seemed to fill the room. Dead? Born dead? How could that be? I mean, why would that happen to me?
I’d followed every regimen of the doctor and making sure to take care of my health and get sleep and not worry and still, dead? More than that, self-righteousness even took a seat in my mind; I’d married and waited and ‘knew’ the Lord. Why would this happen to me? To this day, it brings tears to my eyes. The unbelief was unbearable. But, that is exactly what happened. I went into labor, for the first and last time, and my baby... was born... not breathing. Not even two minutes before, she was alive and breathing inside me and the moment she transitioned into this earth ― nothing.
Following that, I was asked if I wanted to hold her and what would I name her. She was taken to a nursery and returned wearing a cute white knit outfit with pink bows adorning her miniature body. I held her without the ability to even muster a tear. Shock absorbed me as I looked into her closed eyes, I could see a mini-me. I would imagine all in that moment what her cry would have sounded like, or even her first time saying mommy. I would name her Ja’miece and would not utter goodbye, but see you later. That is one of THE hardest things I’ve ever had to endure in my life. It was beyond pain ― it was agony.
To carry a little person for any amount of time is the greatest blessing. The feeling that your blessing is being snatched from you is almost unbearable. You never ‘get over’ losing a baby. You learn how to live through it. There are many lessons to learn, and you may have an opportunity in the future to help someone else walk the road you were on. I would say allowing yourself to grieve properly is important. Do not allow anyone to tell you how long or how you should grieve. You have to do it. Unprocessed grief can turn into bitterness and other other ugly things that can eat at your soul.
For me writing was soothing. I would write poems about my feelings. I would write poems about my baby. Also talking to God. Like a real conversation that includes your real feelings. If you’re angry, tell God you’re angry. If you think it wasn’t fair, tell Him that too. He can take it. If you want to know why. Ask. He will give you an answer. I asked and I received my answer. After I received my answer, all I can say is that God is sovereign. In other words, He really knows best. It’s true. Yes it hurt. I thought I would die after, but with the assurance of the coming resurrection and my belief that I would hold Ja’miece again, this time healthy and alive, gave me hope to go on. My faith felt almost full grown at that point. It was solid in the plan of a God who saw where I was and where I would be and allowed death to draw me closer to Him. Strange I know. But after the darkness, restoration came and with it a 2nd beautiful, healthy baby girl.
If you find yourself on that road today or even on the side of that road due to the confusion of it all ― just know-you will make it. The pain is unspeakable and words are lost on all the ‘what ifs’ and why’s in your head. There is hope and there is help.
Not everyone will understand but there are others that will and here’s a program that helped me soon after my loss. This program is local to me, but there are other programs and support groups that may be location friendly for you. If you know someone who is going through this right now-Please share this post.
This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let’s talk about living with loss. If you have a story you’d like to share, email us at email@example.com.