When I was four or five weeks pregnant with Lily, I carried her through two days of cramping and bleeding that my doctor explained as a threatened miscarriage. I was told to rest and relax, but that if this baby was going to be lost, there was nothing I could do to save them. But by His grace, I carried her to term. And now I hold her hand wherever we go & I tuck her into bed every night.
Almost three years later, after many prayers for a baby brother or sister for my sweet girl, five positive pregnancy tests brought me so much joy. But I carried this baby for only a few days, and he or she slipped quietly away. In the same way that I almost lost Lily, I had lost her baby sibling.
This never heals... It will never heal.
Last night I was talking to Lily about when I was pregnant with her, as she was laying in our bed squished between Alex and I, as it was way past her bedtime and Alex tried to sleep. She asked, “what was it like when I was in your tummy?” So I started at the beginning.
Maybe it was too much for a three year-old, but I told her, “When you were so little, even tinier than my pinky finger, you were growing in my tummy. I loved you so much. And I had a hard time, and a lot of bleeding, and I thought you weren't going to be okay. But you know what? We prayed and prayed and God protected you. You were okay.”
And the sting of our loss came over my whole body, a shiver, a knot in my stomach. As I held my beautiful girl, I wondered about the little one I was never able to hold.
And I say to Lily that God protected her, what does this mean for this other baby? Did He fail or refuse to protect them? Did He withhold his goodness?
I know my God and I know He is good. But how do I reconcile my loss with His goodness? Many books and articles have been written on the subject and I could read them all, and maybe I should, but they can't heal wounds.
And how do I look in the sweet eyes of my Augustine and wish for anything different? I cannot. If this other baby had been born, I wouldn’t be holding him in my arms. I wouldn’t know his smile or the way he shows his top two teeth when he laughs. Or how much he loves his sister and how she loves him.
These things make me weepy and confused and sometimes I feel like I don’t know where to go from here.
I am weak, I can’t stand, but He will hold me up. He offers me comfort, He has given me his mother to care for me. I am not alone, and I am thankful.
How does one make sense of both loss and joy?
How do they weigh against each other, do they balance one another out?
But they don’t balance. Great joy does not outweigh great loss. I carry it all.
I carry them all with me, though two may be in my arms and one may be in the arms of my Lord.
I carry them. And he carries me.