As she shared her loss, I could hear the quiver in her voice. It had been 3 years, and yet as we spoke, the tears stung my own eyes. My daughter Sarah and I were discussing the baby that went from womb to heaven in a moment. The wonder of pregnancy, the joy and excitement of having a baby cradled within, filled with hopes and dreams for the future.
No one expects it. No one anticipates that something could go wrong, that those very hopes and dreams might end far too soon. Sometimes before the body even discloses the secret within.
For Sarah, it happened during a routine doctor appointment. She shares her tears in these next few sentences.
“The ultrasound tech called my name. I walked down the hall to the dimly lit room. There in the silence, the technician looked intently at the screen. I asked her if she saw the baby’s heartbeat and she said it would be best to let the radiologist take a look. In that moment I knew. I knew she wasn’t able to tell me because it was bad news. I explained to her that every ultrasound I’ve ever had, they always show me the heartbeat. In not showing me, she was in fact telling me. She then looked at me with sympathetic eyes and showed me my baby. There was no flutter of a heartbeat. A tear rolled down my face, the first of many.”
My heart breaks everytime I read these words and picture the fear and deep sadness in Sarah’s eyes. I wouldn’t be able to protect her from the next several weeks—weeks that had somehow turned into years. Finally we were having the conversation that had been long overdue.
She continues her story:
“The nurse brought me a box of tissues as I waited. I couldn’t stop the tears. The doctor explained that I was having a miscarriage and that one in five pregnancies end this way. She suggested that I schedule a D&C to have the baby removed. I declined. If I was going to miscarry, it would be naturally. I didn’t want anyone to steal my baby from me. She said they would allow a certain amount of time and then they would need to do a D&C to avoid complications. And that was that. The end. No heart beat. My baby and the precious hopes and dreams that had already been wrapped around this tiny one were gone.”
Sarah spoke of a heart aching for a miracle. On Sunday morning, she and her husband went to church and up to the altar for prayer. After Pastor Carolyn prayed over her, she offered them information on Missing Grace, a foundation offering resources for women going through pregnancy and infant loss. It would prove to be invaluable.
“On Monday afternoon, we met Candy McVicar, the founder of Missing Grace. She shared her incredible story of how this beautiful ministry came to be. And then we shared the story that was playing out as my will clung to the baby inside of me. We explained that we were praying for a miracle, holding onto hope that a miscarriage wouldn’t be part of our story. Candy prayed with us and stood in agreement with our prayers for the miraculous.
And then, for the first time, someone actually told us what to expect over these next few days if our prayers weren’t answered in the way we wanted. She told me what my body would go through, what I could do and what I should watch for. She shared with Chris what to expect and how to be there to support me. She encouraged us to share our story with people, not to hide it. Our baby is a treasure!
Candy gave us resources, ways we could remember our child, burial or cremation options, how to talk to our other children. She told me how to care for the remains of my child and that I don’t have to dispose of the baby in the trash or toilet. She told us things that the doctor didn’t. She was there to support us in this journey and to pray with us. She welcomed us to come back anytime. After going home that evening, it hit me. This might not be our miracle story.
On December 10th in the middle of the night ,my body started having contractions. I lay there for a few moments while my body was working to do the very thing I had prayed it wouldn’t.
I drew a bath so I could soak in the tub while my body labored. As I undressed, I realized it was over. There lay my tiny baby, all curled up in the fetal position. I climbed into the tub, I put my baby on my finger and I examined this tiny child that was part of me and part of Chris. I wondered what he or she might have been. I counted ten little fingers. I took some time alone with my child and I cried. I then called to Chris. We named our baby Sam.
For several days, even weeks, I had a flood of emotions. I cried a lot. The feelings of loneliness were so intense at times. I felt empty. I had this little life growing inside of me, and suddenly it was gone. The dreams I had for this child, for our family, for our life were shattered. I felt like I was being punished for something. God, what did I do? Why are you making me go through this? I don’t understand. I thought this was meant to be.
In my moments of questioning God, I learned that he will never leave me. I learned that bad things happen because we live in a fallen, sinful, and imperfect world. I learned that God didn’t cause this to happen in order to punish me. God loves me, he cares for me, he is not mad at me, and he is not punishing me. I learned that he could use this pain. It didn’t have to be for nothing. I needed to know that something good could come from this.
A change in my heart and mind was taking place. It was then that I began to feel more of his presence in my life and in this very circumstance. I hung on to Jesus and trusted his words.”
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” II Corinthians 12:9.
“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:6-7.
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” James 1:2-4.
“It’s been almost three years. The journey looks different from here. I realize that God carried me through those difficult days. He placed beautiful people in my life to fervently pray when I could not. My faith grew dramatically through those many tears, and I know the peace that passes all understanding. I wrestled with God over those questions, and he answered me. I feel his great love for me. He used baby Sam to reveal so many things to me about who he is! God’s timing is in fact perfect. His grace is perfect. His love for us is perfect.”
Oh my Sarah, and our little Sam, Jesus holds you both in his loving hands.
Missing Grace Foundation is located in Rogers, Minnesota. This foundation is committed to providing support, resources, and education to families and professional care providers where there is a loss of a baby, infertility, or adoption challenges. Grace stands for Grieve, Restore, Arise, Commemorate, and Educate. To learn more about this amazing ministry, visit their website at: www.missinggrace.org