I was lying on the examination table in shock. I was at my first midwife appointment, and because of my symptoms, the midwife wanted to do an ultrasound. There, on the screen, as plain as day, life and death were co-existing. I saw Faith’s tiny little 7-week-old heart beating furiously and strong. And next to her was the evidence that was left from her twin.
I was rejoicing and grieving in the same breath. I had been bleeding. I was incredibly nauseous. And now I knew why.
I stumbled to the parking lot, still unsure about how I was supposed to feel. I always rejoice at seeing my babies in their ultrasounds. But I also found out in that one moment that I had been carrying twins, and that one had died. This was my first miscarriage.
Fast-forward a few years, and we rejoiced at the discovery that after 4 years unable to conceive, we were once again pregnant. A few days later we were devastated to learn that this new life, with all our hopes and dreams for his life, was dying. Oh, how I grieved.
And then the following year, it happened again. This time, I carried the baby to 7 weeks. Mike was out of town on a business trip when I miscarried. That was hard. But God sustained me through it. Late one night, I went into the bathroom and prayed that the Lord would allow me to see the baby and not inadvertently flush it without knowing. Right then, He plopped my perfectly formed baby onto a clean tissue. I could see the spinal cord, the spots where the brain and heart and eyes were, the arms and finger buds. The baby was about the size of a grape. I was only 7 weeks pregnant, which means the baby was only about 5 weeks old. I was so amazed at how formed this little life was already. I called my oldest son upstairs to share this moment with me, to see his little sibling. We buried the baby in a handmade paper box under the crooked tree in our back yard. I put a piece of flannel in the box beneath and over the baby. We read some scripture, sang a hymn, and prayed together as a family, thanking God for the time we had had with this baby, and asking for peace and comfort.
I have struggled with the whys of miscarriage. Why would God allow me to get pregnant after praying for all these years, only to take away this blessing from me? I really can’t grasp it. But I do know that my life has been made richer and fuller by going through this heartache. I have learned to lean more on God for comfort and care. I have felt His hand sustain me through these deaths.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. –Romans 12:15
Also, it has allowed me to have greater sympathy and compassion for other mothers who are suffering such loss. Had I not experienced this grief, I would not quite be able to understand what a body goes through physically and emotionally during a miscarriage. I am thankful for these things in my life. I wouldn’t sign up for them, but obviously God felt I needed it for my sanctification.
I know that God is sovereign. I know that He ordains whatsoever comes to pass. He has numbered our days before there was one of them. This is true for you. It is true for me. It is true for our children. Even the ones in our wombs. We cannot add or take away a single day that has been ordained for us. And it is so hard to wrap our heads around that one. I believe that God uses means to work out His sovereign plan, but we cannot orchestrate it or force our will upon Him. We must always submit to His will, whether we like it or not.
Another thing that I hold onto is that each one of these babies is an eternal being. My few weeks of pregnancy weren’t for nothing. God ordained that their souls should be ushered into eternity from the womb. And I was honored to be the vessel He chose to bring them into eternal existence. How humbling. And how glorious. My heart aches with the desire to hold them and watch them grow up. But God had something better in mind for them. I believe that they are at the feet of Jesus, worshiping and glorifying Him. How thankful I am for that hope.
If you have suffered a miscarriage, I am so sorry. I understand your heartache. I want to encourage you to name your babies, even if they passed years ago. They are eternal, and they deserve a name. They are real. Even if nobody else knew about them.
The other night, as we sat at the table for dinner, my heart remembered my babies. I noticed that we have three children missing from our table. I thought for a moment how sweet it would be to have Faith’s twin along with two more little ones sitting there with us. The baby would be turning one this week. Delight. But I quickly remembered that we do have delight with those the Lord has allowed us to raise, and that I can have delight in the knowledge that I am a privileged mother to have ushered three souls into eternity through the vessel of my body, by the Lord’s choosing. Thank you, Lord, for this honor. I pray that I will never disdain the gifts that He has given me. Nine children, six on earth; the understanding of being comforted by His hand through the heartache and pain; the hope of being able to comfort other women in their sorrow; and a knowledge of His perfect sovereignty in our lives.
I pray my words give you hope. May the Lord bless you in your struggles. And may He give you peace.
Editor’s Note: This article was first printed at The Virtuous Wife blog on May 22, 2013. It is reprinted with permission. Live Action realizes that not all of our readers are Christians, but we believe that this article provides a valuable perspective on the issues of human life and loss.