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The past four weeks: good bad news

Posted by Dena on August 13, 2003, at 18:40:46

I'm writing this three days before I'm back from being blocked for the past four weeks. I'll copy this & post it when I'm able, but I really need to write right now.

I've had some wonderful news & some devastating news in the past four weeks.

I found out that I'm expecting our eighth child - somewhat surprisingly, given my husband's health & our lack of intimacy (he had radioactive treatments - conception was forbidden during this time). Well, the first time we were intimate in 14 months, whammo! We conceived! I had thought we were done with children, but apparently God had other plans for us. Being aged 41, I was concerned, but since I'd had seven healthy children already (despite the years I was bulimic), I wasn't overly worried. I've been healthy for almost three years, & have had one child since the time I was healed.

Tuesday morning, I was in the bathroom, as usual, & I was using that rare time of solitude to do my reading & praying to get the day started (only Moms of multiple children will understand the necessity of seeking peace & quiet, even if it has to be in the bathroom!). I had such a hard time praying, as I have for a long while. I just couldn't connect with God - I felt as if I were praying to the ceiling. I cried out, "Lord, do whatever it takes to make me intimate with You!"

Shortly thereafter, I discovered blood. I was "spotting". It's never happened to me before.

I rushed to my doctor's office where I got a sonogram. I saw the baby clearly, but there was no heartbeat. Just stillness. The technician informed me that the baby had stopped growing at 7.5 weeks - two weeks ago. I never knew.

I had to call my husband, who was on a business trip 3,000 miles away, from my cell phone from the doctor's waiting room. There, in the presence of strangers, including a happy couple, eagerly awaiting the sonogram of their first child, I had to tell my husband that his youngest child had died.

When I got home, I was greeted at the car by excited children, jumping up & down, asking, "Is it a girl? Is it a boy?" (they knew only that I was going to get a sonogram - always before that meant we knew what we would be having). I had to tell them we weren't going to be bringing a baby home this time. My 3 year old son, Elijah took it hard. He had previously decided that this was his baby, a boy baby, & that his name was Samuel. To him, to all of us, this was a member of our family - a much-wanted baby, already loved & eagerly anticipated.

It's so unreal. I still look pregnant (I "show" right away, especially after already having 7 babies). I still feel pregnant. Yet, I also feel so empty. Such a bright, beautiful promise, only to end in emptiness, loss & grief. So many hopes & dreams, all unrealized.

I'm having cramps, contractions really, as my body does its job of cleansing. It feels like early labor, only when it's finished there won't be a little one to cuddle & hold. (Later on...) I've spent most of the afternoon (Wednesday) in the bathroom, losing my baby's body. I felt like I was on auto-pilot all day, just coping & doing what I have to do from moment to moment. Maybe I'll have the luxury of falling apart when my husband gets home tomorrow night.

In the past, I've judged women who've had miscarriages to be making a big deal about nothing. I was so wrong. This is not nothing.

I grieved deeply yesterday - me, who has such a hard time allowing myself to cry (control issues). I was at the altar of my church, surrounded by people who love me, being rocked & held as I cried. Someone anointed my head with oil. Another anointed my stomach. As she prayed the ancient prayer of Hail Mary, I felt something like a dam loosening inside of me. When she said, "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." I broke. I sobbed & whined like a wild animal - sounds I've never heard came from someplace deep inside. The grief was about my baby, but also about old, ungrieved losses. Afterwards, I felt exhausted, spent & cleansed.

Today, I read the Biblical account of another Samuel, the prophet to Israel. His mother, Hannah was barren & she prayed that if God would give her a son, she'd dedicate him back to God. God answered her prayer, & Hannah was faithful to fulfill her promise. When Samuel was weaned, still a very young child, she took him to the temple, & left him in the care of the priest, Eli. Samuel had a job to do, & his mother had to release him to God.

While Samuel was still young, he heard the voice of the Lord calling to him in the darkness of night, "Samuel!" He answered, "Here I am". Three times this happened. Then Samuel said, "Speak, Lord, for your servant listens." The Lord told Samuel what He was going to do. Eli answered, "It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to Him." The next verse says, "So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him & let none of his words fall to the ground."

I believe that my own Samuel heard the voice of the Lord in the darkness of my womb, while he was still very young. Perhaps he answered, "Here I am". Perhaps he listened to the voice of the Lord. Perhaps, because I had already "given" this child to the Lord when I found out I was pregnant, I had in effect said, "Let the Lord do what seems good to Him." Perhaps my Samuel has a job to do, like the first Samuel. Perhaps my Samuel will be praying for his earthly family while in the presence of the Lord. Being in the arms of God, he'll certainly know how to pray for us.

I enjoyed reading the thread Raywww started with statements of "I believe."

In light of this loss, I'd like to pass on what it is that I believe.

I believe that there is a Creator God. That He is sovereign. That He is the author of all life, creator of all things visible & invisible. I believe that He is One God, in three Persons, Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

I believe that He is holy, full of love, full of justice. I believe that He is all powerful, all knowing, all present.

I believe that He desires a relationship with us, His created beings, & that He sent His Son, 100% God yet 100% man, to us, to be a bridge to the Father.

I believe this world is temporary, that my real home is in heaven with God & all those who have gone on before me.

I believe there is suffering here in this world, this life, because of choices that are made, & also because this world is fallen & imperfect. I believe that heaven is a real place. I believe that in heaven, life will be as God intended it to be: perfect, peaceful, painless, no suffering, no evil, no sickness or death. I believe that I will feel, finally, at home in the presence of God. I believe I will be reunited with loved ones who have gone on before me. I believe that they now pray for us, knowing best how to pray because they now see clearly while we see only in part.

I believe that God works out everything that happens to me for my good, if I allow Him to use everything to transform me into the person He created me to be. I believe that while He doesn't cause suffering, He allows it, because through it, if I turn to Him in the midst of it, He will use it to bring me closer to Him. I believe that if I refuse to turn to Him in my suffering, I will become bitter & hardened against Him, & I will miss the opportunity to become the whole person He created me to be. I believe it is my choice, & that He will honor my choice, even if I turn my back on Him. I believe that nothing is wasted, unless I allow it to be.

I believe that He is the God of all comfort. That He loves me & wants the absolute best for me, but that, in my limited human perspective, I rarely know what is the absolute best. I believe that He is infinitely above me, in intelligence, motives, understanding & knowledge, & power. I believe that as I trust Him, let Him be in charge of my life, even when things don't make sense to me, He will make all things, even the wrenchingly painful things, work out together for my good. I believe that I may never understand His ways while on this earth - but that I will understand fully when I am completely in His presence, on the other side of this life. In the meantime, I trust Him, not because I understand, but because I believe He is worthy of my trust.

I believe that my baby was a real person from the moment of his conception. I believe his soul was complete, even while his body was being formed & completed. I believe that his life on this earth had meaning, despite the shortness of his time here. I believe he had a purpose, & that one day, I'll understand it. I believe that my child, who is growing up in the presence of his perfect, loving Father, will be praying for me, for his family, & for others, until we're reunited one day. I believe that I will meet my son, that I'll hold him, see what color his eyes are, hear his laugh & get to know him, one day when my time in this life is over. I believe that all the loss, grief & emptiness will be erased & fulfilled. I believe that if something was wrong with my child, that God took him in His mercy, & that now, in God's presence, my child is perfect in every way, full of life, joy & peace. No pain. No sorrow. No suffering.

I believe that God is & will continue to comfort me & my family through this time.

I still believe that He is Good. I still believe that He knows what is best. I still believe that He is worthy of my trust & my faith & my worship.

I believe that all endings, with God, are happy ones.


Shalom, Dena




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