Ten years ago my future was changed forever. Tim and I had been married for eight years and we were excited to be expecting our first child. The pregnancy brought lots of emotional events. It seemed though that after I entered my second trimester things settled down. We heard the baby’s heartbeat and I began to feel peaceful about the pregnancy.
That all changed suddenly. Just a few drops of blood and my life began to shift in ways I never imagined. I called our midwife and they decided to do a “routine” ultrasound. We scheduled it for the next day and I made arrangements to take off work.
Wednesday afternoon we walked in for the ultrasound. We were excited. We weren’t planning on having an ultrasound or finding out the sex of the baby but decided to find out that day. The first few minutes were normal. Then it went on and on. The ultrasound tech was deathly quiet and we knew something was wrong. Finally after about a half hour she left and called the doctor. I remember clinging to Tim’s hand. She returned and told us that our midwife wanted to see us in her office and we were to go over there.
We drove the few blocks in silence. Wondering… The mind is an incredible thing, without enough information it will create the worst scenarios in the place of information. Ok, there was something wrong with the baby, we would deal with it. Maybe it would involve surgery. We were blessed to have many friends who were in the medical community where we lived so we knew that we could handle medical problems.
Once we reached the midwife’s office, one of the midwives met us at the door and took us into a private office. Julie sat at the desk and said “You know I don’t have good news for you…” Those few little words began the quake that shook our lives. Our baby had died. We would have to go through labor and delivery. We were scheduled to the hospital the next morning. In all our wondering we never imagined that they would tell us that the baby died.
I shared last year that grief books say when you lose your parents you lose your past but when you lose a child you lose your future. You lose the chance for the unknown. Maybe that is why the grief a child seems more poignant. You aren’t grieving the known, the memories you have. You are grieving the memories you could have had, all the things your child could have done and been.
With the loss of a child you don’t dust off memories you can laugh and cry over. You don’t have those memories to dust off. They simply aren’t there. Instead when certain milestones come you remember the loss and mourn the unknown. Our baby would have been born today; this is the first Christmas, first birthday, over and over. You mourn all the unknowns that you can never share with your baby.
Ten years ago I gave birth to Josiah James. He weighed 8 ounces and was 10 inches long. Those are the memories that I have. I remember what he looked like wrapped in a miniature blanket with a tiny hat. Those are the memories that I dust off today. I never rocked him, or feed him or changed a diaper. I never got to whisper in his ear. I got to hold him for a few short minutes. Today I remember those minutes. I mourn the loss of so much more.
When we drove to the hospital ten years ago it was raining. We commented that God was weeping with us. Today I know that I am not alone in my grief. I know that God lovingly cares for me. Today I trust that my heavenly Father has a plan for this in my life that I can’t see or understand. I trust that He didn’t forsake me ten years ago and he will not leave me today.
Dusting off my memories…