It’s been nine days since we gave birth to Luke. He was already gone from us in spirit by then, having died in the womb 15 weeks and 5 days after his conception.
We’re surprised (but maybe shouldn’t be) that our hearts have been so peaceful during the loss of our son. We cry at (un)expected times, and likely will for months and years to come, but we don’t (yet?) feel the anger and torn-up-ness that often seem to come with grief.
We’re comforted. For sure by near and dear who sympathize and empathize and bring meals and flowers and hugs, but even more in sweet, sweet ways by God. Our perfect Dad. His grace and mercy are everywhere in this.
It was at a routine prenatal check-up seventeen and a half weeks into pregnancy that we discovered our baby didn’t have a heartbeat. We were looking forward within a couple of weeks to finding out if we had a boy or girl.
Yet somehow we weren’t shocked by the news when it came. Instead of hitting us like a brick over the head, it felt like someone slowly reached out and handed us a heavy weight to carry. It didn’t leave us gasping for breath so much as taking a deep breath. The tears and sorrow were immediate, but we also felt like God had ever so softly prepared us, in ways we never would have seen until the context was written around them.
Had I tried to imagine ahead of time what it would be like to know the baby in my womb was dead (it feels hard and cold to say it) I would have guessed I’d be repulsed, eager to be parted.
Repulsed? No. Not even a little. I was cradling my baby for the last time. Goodbyes would be said much too soon and for much too long. I felt tender, not anxious.
We went to the childbirth center at the hospital early the next morning for induced labor. We have so many happy memories there. Four times we’d walked through the doors with excitement, and four times we’d walked out with a beautiful new baby.
This time we walked in knowing we wouldn’t be bringing our baby home. This time we were guided to a room at the end of the hall where things would be “quieter for us.” This time the nurses greeted us with sad smiles and apologized with embarrassment later for the newborn cradle that had to be quickly pushed out of the room when we walked in. We wouldn’t need it.
Those were hard, sad moments.