This year for Mother’s Day, we didn’t really do much that was seemingly special. Our little foursome just spent the day together. It was somewhat lazy and altogether wonderful.
Thinking back on my first few Mother’s Days, I remember asking for “a vacation from mothering.” I was home all day every day with my children. I was tired! And that did not at all render me a bad or ungrateful mother. Every mother thinks it. I actually say it out loud. So if you try bringing that crap at me, I will think nasty thoughts at you and not feel guilty about it.
As this year’s Mother’s Day came to a close, everyone else was asleep and I was curled up on the couch ready to journal about the loveliness of motherhood, I found myself thinking back to one Mother’s Day in particular. Mother’s Day five years ago.
The Mother’s Day that I lost my child.
Many don’t know about that baby.
I got pregnant when Stinker Relly was merely 5 months old. I got a lot of, “Honey. Don’t you know how to prevent this??” Um… I think I have a pretty good idea and I didn’t think this whole another baby thing was a good idea either! Side note: Don’t ever ask a pregnant girl that. You just might find your throat on the business end of her very hormonal fist. Trust.
Believe me when I tell you that I was mad at God and Mr. Old School for this one! Meanwhile, Mr. Old School was elated and declaring the news to the world. I remained pissed … probably even more angry that he’d made it public.
I was about 2 weeks along when we learned the news, so for 6 weeks, I stewed. I mean, we’re talking multiple talks with God every day… like, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? HOW THE CRAP AM I GONNA MAKE THIS WORK?!?!?!”
At about week 8, Stinker Relly and I were driving home from church; where I’d been building a stage set for our church’s upcoming women’s conference … at which I was going to be leading worship. He was cranky; I was cranky. We were both crying; me, just not as loudly. I stopped at a red light and just said aloud, “Lord, you must know what you’re doing; I sure don’t! I know that You have my heart in Your hands and You must know that we can handle this, so I’m going to try to be OK with it. I’m going to try.”
The women’s conference went beautifully. The stage looked great. The worship was remarkable. The word was profound. I felt like I was looking and feeling great and God was moving in my heart and my life. I was truly looking forward to getting to know this new little creature inside me. Our pastor’s wife even made the official announcement to the church: Stephanie & Mr. Old School are expecting! It was good. Really good.
A few weeks later was Mother’s Day.
I started spotting. I wasn’t too worried because I’d spotted a little with my previous pregnancy, but not this early on. When the spotting didn’t stop the next day, I called the OB.
We went in and he did an ultrasound. If you’ve seen the movie “Marley & Me”, it pretty much went word for word just like that. It was as if the screen writers had been in the room with us when it happened to us. We heard the words, “It looks like your baby is 9 weeks along.” I was 12 weeks along. He said, “I can’t seem to find a heartbeat.” My heart stopped too. He said, “We’re going to send you to another place that has a stronger ultrasound machine just to make sure.” My heart got hopeful. And then he said, “Miscarriage occurs in one out of every 6 pregnancies. There was nothing you could have done differently. Sometimes these things just happen.” Thud.
We raced to the lab with the better machine and were told the same news and a DNC was scheduled for the next day.
I tearfully went to bed that night. I had decided I was OK with this baby’s existence. I had even started to love him or her…
I awoke in the early hours of the morning with my body in labor. Mr. Old School raced me to the hospital. I was hemorrhaging and had bled so much, they had to do a blood transfusion before they could perform the DNC.
After the procedure, I awoke alone in a tiny curtained space. I rolled over to my left side and sobbed. The nurse came in and was so loving. She brought me food that I couldn’t eat and she held my hand as much as time would permit her. While alone, I asked God why He was jerking my chain like this. My next thought was how much longer till I could go home and hold my baby and be held by my man.
My mind immediately flashed to some wonderful women we’ve known and loved who had desperately begged God for babies; who’d never gotten pregnant no matter how hard they’d tried; who’d had multiple miscarriages and continued to try; who’d lost their babies much much later in their terms; who didn’t have the love of a child to comfort them or a caring husband who hurt just as much as they. In the midst of my heart’s great loss, I was suddenly so keenly aware of my blessings.
Now, all day, a piece of a scripture had floated around in my head and I couldn’t quite place it. It had been a point of focus and hope for me as the day had progressed. So as Mr. Old School and I sat up in our bed trying to decompress before sleeping that night, I tried to look it up online. On my favorite Bible website — right there on the homepage — was the verse of the day. It wasn’t the scripture in my head; I don’t even remember what that was. But I remember this staring back at me that night:
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful;
I know that full well.
“…Your works are wonderful; I know that full well.”
Without a word, I showed it to Mr. Old School. He held me as we laid there and cried for what seemed like forever.
We took some time off from our responsibilities and we remembered that our hearts were in His hands. We never asked why. We just knew that God loved us and we would be OK.
I would be OK.
I AM OK.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m sharing a downer of a Mother’s Day post a week after Mother’s Day. Well, it’s simple: because I have had a huge internal struggle with deciding to share this. It still stings, yes. It’s my own pain. I feel that pain every time I share this story. So I have mulled over whether or not to share it with all of you. But along with the pain I feel, I also feel an overwhelming sense of God’s love for me and His incredible kindness and grace … every time I recount this ordeal. It always goes back to that.
Over the course of the last few years, I have developed such a love for women and their struggles. I have seen pain and victory from women in many different walks of life. I have seen and heard the questions, the worry, the doubt, the fear, the defeat … the declarations, the hope, the triumph. My heart longs for women to be open and healed and whole and sharing my story may help someone. That’s why my life is such an open book. That’s why I write this blog.
So, please. Know that God, in His amazing love and mercy, allows the crap. Life is full of it. But He is always, always there. Place your heart in His hands and you will never regret another thing in your life. Find healing in Him; in His Word.
And never forget to purposefully recognize your blessings; even in the midst of the most horrific of tempests. For He is there. He is always there.
1You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139 (NIV)