Daydreaming about Baby came to an abrupt end when that pregnancy ended in miscarriage in November. I was twelve weeks along when I started to miscarry, and I ended up having to have an emergency D&C from severe blood loss. We named the baby Thérèse (after St. Thérèse of Lisieux) since we thought she was a girl and thought of her as our own "Little Flower."
Just as we were beginning to process our emotions, the grieving process was truncated when we found out a month to the day after we lost Thérèse that we were pregnant again. Of course, we were thrilled, but I lived in constant fear that we would lose that baby as well. A few episodes of bleeding and an incident around 11 weeks when my OBGYN couldn't find Baby's heartbeat on the doppler didn't help matters! A few months later, I'm 25 weeks pregnant, and Baby is due August 17--just three months after Thérèse's due date.
The pain of losing Thérèse is still very real, but it doesn't take my breath away or reduce me to tears like it used to. During that in between month before we knew the kind of roller coaster ride God had in store for us, I experienced what I'm sure a lot of mothers who have suffered a miscarriage experience. I would be going about my day, trying to lose myself in the ordinariness of laundry, dishes, and changing diapers, and I'd get caught off guard--I'd receive a formula coupon in the mail, an e-mail saying how large my baby was compared to a vegetable, or a bill from the hospital from my emergency D&C. It was tempting to think about how things "should have been."
I used to dread Thérèse's due date and thought it would be one of those "I don't know if I can get out of bed" days. Other moms that are due around Thérèse's due date are having their babies. Instead of preparing to go into labor with Thérèse at any moment this Mother's Day weekend, we arranged for her burial in November. We added "Baby Thérèse in heaven" to our family bedtime prayers, and I'm nearing the end of my second trimester with "New Baby."
This "New Baby" in no way replaces Thérèse, but I'd be lying if I said getting pregnant so soon after losing Thérèse didn't help with the healing process. I tell our family and friends that having our faith throughout this last year sometimes "feels like cheating." Without our faith, I don't know how we would explain the kind of pain we experienced. Instead of falling into despair and constantly thinking about how things should have been, we are confident that things are exactly as they should be. After all, if we believe what we say we believe as Christians, Omniscience knows what He's doing, right?
Philip and I are confident that God wouldn't take our precious baby Thérèse from us unless a greater good would come of it. Countless unexpected blessings have already come to fruition that never would have been possible had things gone how they "should have."
Jeremiah 29:11-14 took on a whole new meaning in light of what we experienced with losing Thérèse.
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."God knows well the plans He has for us, and I now know that they are plans for my welfare and not for woe. Sure, it hurt like heck when we found out in that ultrasound room that Thérèse had died, and I'll never forget the emotional trauma of having to miscarry and have an emergency D&C, but I know God allowed it to happen so that I could become an even better wife and mother and bring other countless blessings to our family through it.
Now, we are doubly blessed. We get to have our precious baby Thérèse as our family saint interceding for us from heaven, and, God willing, we will get to meet "New Baby" in August. Obviously, I was excited to meet each of our babies with each pregnancy, but anticipating seeing "New Baby" face to face has a whole new level of drama. I simply cannot wait to look into the eyes of the baby that never would have been had things gone how they "should have" with Thérèse. Now that I know the pain of losing a child, I anticipate the opportunity to try my darnedest to love a baby the best I possibly can from his or her very first breath.
So, I'm not dreading Thérèse's due date anymore, and I'm excited to celebrate Mother's Day with our family exactly as it is. I'm sure Thérèse's due date will be bittersweet when I think about wanting to hold her in my arms. By God's grace, any sadness I feel will be softened when "New Baby" kicks and I remember that things are exactly as they should be--because He made it so.
|From left to right: 23 weeks with Jane, 27 weeks with Walt, and 25 weeks with "New Baby"|