Losing a baby is never easy to write about. But after my own experience with miscarriage, I learned how immensely comforting it is to have the fellowship and understanding of other women who've lost little ones of their own. So, I want to share our story in hopes that it can comfort and even encourage some of you. But most of all, I want to point to Christ and tell of how His abiding comfort and peace proved strong in the midst of our pain. How He remains trustworthy even in the most painful of experiences, and how convinced I am that only He can grant authentic peace and joy in the midst of loss.

It was the spring of 2012 when we found out that we were expecting another baby. Our first son had recently turned one, and this new baby was due close to Christmas. With our first pregnancy, we waited a couple of months to announce the news. But this time we were more eager to share it, so we shared it much earlier on.

Things seemed to be going just fine for quite a while. Around seven or eight weeks pregnant, there was one day when I had a tiny amount of bleeding {which was scary in the moment}, but it stopped immediately and never happened again. I knew plenty of women who'd had significant amounts of bleeding during pregnancy but healthy babies despite it, so it didn't worry me too much. Time went on, and my first OB appointment came when I was 11 weeks pregnant. When the doctor started the dating ultrasound, it was clear that something was wrong. The baby was much smaller than expected, and there was no heartbeat. This was terrifying. All I knew to do was to whisper three three simple words to God- "I trust you"- and, despite the fear, He filled me with peace. The doctor  was perplexed and said it was possible that my dates were just off and that the baby was younger than we thought. She scheduled me to have blood work done and to return the next week for a follow up ultrasound, but I was certain there was no good news to come.

I left the hospital feeling utterly devastated and thinking irrational thoughts, like maybe we'd never have another baby again. That this was it. 

Four or five anxious days later, the blood test results came back to indicate lowering hormone levels, but not by enough to be conclusive. The doctor still seemed hopeful that this wasn't a miscarriage in the making, but I wished she would just tell me it was and stop dragging out this tiny bit of hope that I knew was futile.

The follow-up ultrasound a week later showed the same thing, a small baby with no heartbeat. But this was with a new doctor who didn't want to make any final judgements since this was the first time she'd seen me. This was a day before our 10 day vacation to visit family, so we decided to wait and see if my body would miscarry the baby naturally before discussing other options.

Before long I was at the 12 week mark, then the 13 week mark, and still had no signs of miscarriage. Yet I knew that apart from a miracle, the outcome was certain. This meant breaking the sad news to countless numbers of family and friends, and having to respond to the "how are you feeling?" question with something along the lines of "well, okay I guess, but the baby isn't going to make it". For those who didn't happen to ask, I had to summon up the courage to raise the subject, knowing that prolonging it would only make it worse. It was so so hard, like reliving that first ultrasound over and over again.

Meanwhile, I had five other friends who were also expecting with due dates very close to ours. All I could do was sincerely and emphatically ask God that this wouldn't happen to any of them. I wouldn't wish this sadness on anyone.

Finally, just shy of 14 weeks, the miscarriage process started very mildly. And then stopped. I didn't know what to expect, just that it takes different courses for different women. For some it's immediate and fast, for some it's delayed and slow, and some apparently don't miscarry at all,  {everything absorbs straight back into the body}. So, for all I knew, it was over.

Then, in the middle of a 4th of July party on the day I would have been 14 weeks pregnant, I started having contractions. Fairly painful ones, considering this clearly wasn't normal labor. I didn't want to go to the E.R., but finally decided to since I was bleeding so heavily and because not everything was fully expelling. {Please forgive the not-so-pretty details, but I had no idea to expect this so maybe it's helpful information to pass on: That "not everything" that I just referenced turned out to be the placenta.} After this I was seen by a doctor and it was confirmed that everything had passed. It took another week or so for the bleeding to stop fully, and another month after that for my hCG hormone levels to return to zero. 
And then it was over.

And now- for the good in all of this. Yes, you heard me right. I'd never felt more devastated, yet in my eight or so years of living the Christian life I'd never experienced closer, more intimate fellowship with Jesus. From the moment I knew the baby was lost and told Him I trusted Him, His peace never left me. It was just like He says when He tells us "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." {John 14:27} In even the most heart breaking moments He was right by my side, making sure I never felt alone. 

And of course it wasn't my own plight I mourned, but that of the sweet little baby I thought was ours. I never knew it was possible to miss someone you'd never met, but I truly missed that little person and still do. 

And that led to questions. There were a few days in the beginning when I didn't want to blindly accept that "all babies go to Heaven". Thane had some very wise words based on the character of our loving God that convinced me I shouldn't worry. But all the same, I wanted concrete answers from the bible. So I went straight to the source and found these reassuring words:

  • When King David loses his infant son, he says "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" {2 Samuel 12:23b}, indicating a reunion in Heaven between father and son.
  • Jesus Himself says "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." {Mathew 19:14}
  • The apostle Paul states "for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy." {1 Corinthians 7:14} I don't think this guarantees salvation for every single child of a believer, but it makes me hopeful because 1) by the grace of God, Thane and I are both believers and 2) children of believers are set apart for some form of favor or shared blessing.  

As comforting as these verses are, I still acknowledge that there's a lot we just can't know for sure in this life. But I do know that God is good and that He is in control. And if He is in control, I absolutely trust Him with the life of our unborn child. I can point to so many of His provisions, even in this experience. For instance, there was so much to be thankful for:

  • For the sake that He gave us a warning. It was such a mercy to be able to endure the worst of the emotionally difficult part before the physical part came.
  • For the fact that He is in control and loves our baby even more than we do.
  • For the reassurance through His Word and presence that we can, and do, trust Him. Just because our baby feels lost to us, he or she is not lost to Him.
  • For the ultrasound photos that we were able to get, knowing that many women who miscarry don't get this privilege. 
  • For the sake of our greatest prayer and desire for our baby to already be fulfilled- eternal life in the presence of our wonderful God.
  • For the Christian women He surrounded me with whose own experiences with miscarriage reminded me that I wasn't alone.
  • For the perspective that as hard as it is to lose a child in pregnancy, there are so many other much harder tragedies. I know women who've had trouble conceiving at all, who've lost more than one pregnancy in a row, who've miscarried and then struggled with infertility, who've lost babies much farther into their pregnancy, who've had still-born children, who've lost infants shortly after birth, who've lost older children... The list goes on, and my heart breaks for these hard realities

Jesus truly taught me to delight in our lost baby. And that's the word that kept coming to my mind- delight. I was reminded of verses like "for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." {2 Corinthians 12:10} Jesus taught me that  being "strong" comes from the understanding that we need Him with every ounce of our being. And that's most easily grasped when we're weak and in times of great sadness and need. 

It's bittersweet to think about our baby- lost to us but in the presence of our perfect and loving Father. If that's truly the case- that he or she is with God in Heaven- how can we bring ourselves to wish it any other way? Of course we don't know for sure, but we think this baby is a little girl. And as that word delight kept coming to mind, I couldn't help but picture her in Heaven, running through a beautiful garden in the presence of God. Perfect in body and soul.

So we decided to call her Eden. A few weeks later I learned that the name "Eden" literally means delight! Why I learned that then, I don't know. I don't take everything as a sign, and I know that some things are just coincidence. But whatever this was, it was a sweet reminder from Jesus that He loves all of us and knows every detail of our lives. Now, every time I think of her name, I'm reminded not only of the delight He gave us in the midst of our loss, but much more importantly the everlasting delight that belongs to our precious second child. 

My heart is with all of you mothers and families who have walked this same difficult path. My prayer is that you wouldn't drift from God, but that you would reach to Him like never before for the peace, comfort, and joy that only He longs to give you.

Copyright © Sarah Keller | Theme by BloggerThemes & simplywp | Sponsored by BB Blogging