Jen was about 4 months into her 10th pregnancy this past week when some signs of trouble surfaced. We have 8 beautiful children, and have lost another to an early miscarriage. After the signs of trouble surfaced we made some calls to get things checked out. Before the tests could be run, things got worse, and our Dr. told Jen she wanted to see her in Labor and Delivery at our local hospital. By 2 am Tuesday morning, we were in the hospital and waiting for an ultrasound. The hospital staff was wonderful. We were concerned, but kept our hopes up.
The ultrasound technician was wonderful, but we could see between the lines and read that something was wrong. We didn't ask, knowing that her job was hard enough that morning and she probably wasn't allowed to say anything anyway. We got back to the room and soon found out that the baby was not as old (by size) as the pregnancy. The baby had died several weeks ago, and Jen's body was starting the process of delivering the baby.
Since not many people talk about it, we were not very well equipped to make decisions. Did we want the body? Would we have a funeral? Did we want to bury our child? Were we supposed to be sad? Were we allowed to be sad? Should we side with the easy feelings or grapple with the other feelings that were surfacing? Should we shrug it off or were we allowed to grieve.
We know what we believe - a baby is a person the moment of conception. That biological process starts off a chain reaction of cell division, reproduction, differentiation of cells and tissue and organ development that just 9 months later ends in the birth of a fully developed baby. Most of the time. Not this time.
The baby was delivered in the amniotic sac intact. The doctor told us she thought the baby was a baby boy. At the moment of decision we were both low on sleep, confused and decided that we were not prepared to see the baby. We did not want to bring the body home. I didn't realize that I would never be prepared to see the baby but would soon want to see the baby. I didn't realize that holding the baby would be something I would not only want to do, but would be a good step in grieving, in processing what had happened. I cannot undo my choices and I am not stopped from grieving. I am just missing a precious opportunity I had.
It is now a little over 2 days after the delivery of our baby that died several weeks ago. I still don't know much more than I did then, but I have learned a few things.
The things I have known all along:
1) God is good. He always is good.
2) God has blessed us in so many ways, more than this blog can hold.
3) All life is precious.
The things I have learned:
1) Grief is good. Not just in the "Consider it all joy" sense, but in many ways.
Grief has allowed me to feel God's goodness expressed through friends and family.
Grief has allowed me to place a value on our unborn child.
Grief has allowed me to set aside my pride and accept the love and service of others.
Grief has allowed me to sense God's comfort.
Grief has allowed me to focus on my hope as a believer.
2) God's love is enough. As much as I appreciate the love of my family, my
wife, my children and my friends, God's love is on a whole different level.
3) Hope is a choice. I've known this, but I have learned it in a deeper sense
this week. We are saddened with our loss, but are not devastated. We
have questions in our minds, but are not disillusioned with God. I still
know God is good.
I know, what this post is missing is a verse. A whole verse. But I want to post 2 chapters. Wednesday evenings we have been studying the Psalms. Last week we studied Psalm 127, this week was Psalm 128. If I was disillusioned, I might feel that God was playing some sort of harsh trick on us. But even in the timing of viewing these Psalms, I see God's perfect timing and God's goodness.
The Psalms speak of God's goodness. Goodness I can see and feel even in the midst of our trial. That's about it from this end. Keep looking up!