April 22, 2011

Pressing On Part 2

Today we have Part 2 of Julie's story. If you missed part on you can read it here.


Seven months later, our story continued.

I had wanted a spring baby, so after our time of waiting, we decided to try again to have another baby.  I got pregnant right away in July 2009.  We rejoiced that God was going to bless us with another baby and everything seemed to be going along well.  At the 6 week checkup we saw the heartbeat and the little baby moving around in my womb.  We breathed a sigh of relief, and started making plans to tell our families.  Our daughter drew a picture of our family, and we copied the ultrasound picture of the baby, cut it out and pasted it in my belly.  We used that picture to announce to our families that we had a new life growing in my womb and we were so excited!  

Everything was progressing well and I felt the first kick during a church service at about 16 weeks.  I smiled, thinking that this baby must like music!

On October 26, 2009, things changed again.  I had gone to a routine doctor’s appointment and had brought the kids along with me.  Lydia was now 4 and Isaac was 2.  I was so excited that they would get to hear the heartbeat at the appointment.  We had heard it at home the week before with a heart Doppler, so we didn’t think anything of it when my doctor couldn’t pick up the heartbeat right away.  I started praying, “God, this would be a good time for the baby to move so she can hear it.”  She decided she would bring in the small ultrasound machine to get a better view of what was going on.  I was excited that the kids would get to see the baby moving on the screen.  Dr. R’s demeanor changed when she turned on the ultrasound.  She wasn’t seeing any movement and still could not pick up a heartbeat.  She was going to have me move down the hall to the bigger machine to get a better view.  I told the kids, “We need to pray that God will let the heartbeat be heard and found.”  I was starting to get a little worried, especially since my husband was at work and had no idea that any of this was going on.  I did not want to carry this burden alone.  I was finally able to reach him on my cell phone and said, “Dr. R. can’t find a heartbeat, she’s taking me in for an ultrasound, please pray” and then my call got dropped. 

I was looking up at a large screen now, a view of our baby at 16 weeks.  Things looked normal and I was so happy to see how much bigger (she) was.  But Dr. R and the nurse zoomed in on the chest, and there was no movement.  When she said, “I’m so sorry. . .” I knew what she was telling me, but in my mind I kept thinking, “Just wait . . . the baby will move . . . .you’ll see the heartbeat.”  In just a few moments, I went from being pregnant, to having a lifeless child in my womb.  How do things like this “just happen?” 

I turned to the nurse and the words just rolled off my tongue:  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. . . I guess this baby wasn’t ours to keep.” 

I turned to my doctor assuming that I would have to have another D & C and she told me that since I was further along this time, I’d have to go through labor to deliver the baby.  That is when the tears went from leaking from my eyes, to a cry of “O God, how can I do this?”

As we left, I was crying and Lydia asked me why.  I told her our baby died and was in heaven with Jesus now.  She asked me why the baby died.  I didn’t know, but God did.  He may not tell us why, but He was still good.  She was okay with that answer, even if none of us knew the full answer.

We had just talked on Sunday morning about Philippians 4:4  “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.” What does that mean?  It means that we don’t rejoice in our circumstances because sometimes, they aren’t good.  But we are to rejoice in God, in His unchanging character and attributes, on His Sovereignty, on His love and kindness, on His mercy, on His everything.  God’s timing was again, perfect, in this situation.  So as we drove home, we began to do just what that verse says.  We rejoiced in God.

The day passed slowly as I kept praying for a miracle.  I knew that since God had healed Jairus’s daughter, it would be just as possible for Him to let our baby’s heart start beating again.  But God had another plan, and a few hours later, I was finally able to accept His “no” and move into the next phase.  That night, we called our families again.  It had only been 10 months since we had made similar phone calls, and it was no easier this time.  In fact, it was more difficult as we had already had a time to celebrate, and now we had to face what would be one of our darkest hours in the days to come.  Once again, God showed us His compassion through the tears of our family and friends. 

Interesting things began to happen the next day.  The exact people I needed to talk to called me throughout the day.  They shared of their losses at 3 and 7 and even 9 months into their pregnancies.  They prepared me for the delivery and the emotional aftermath.  They were a gift from the Lord. And then I got a call from a friend who shared that she’d just lost her baby in the 6th week of her pregnancy.   In the midst of my sorrow, God put someone in my path to comfort through the experience of my first loss.  His timing is perfect. 

Two days had now passed, and Josh and I were preparing to go to the hospital in the early morning.  There was no hurry this time.  I hadn’t slept well during the night, so I had read through a book by Osswald Chambers called  My Utmost For His Highest. 

I found the passages on suffering to be especially applicable.

One passage (Nov 1) said, “God breaks up the private life of His saints, and makes it a thoroughfare for the world on the one hand and for Himself on the other . . . Why shouldn’t we go through heartbreaks?  Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son.  . . . He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says-“Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.”  If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.”

Another one (Nov 5) said, “If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across.”

Another one (Dec 15) “Always make a practice of provoking your own mind to think out what it accepts easily.  Our position is not ours until we make it ours by suffering.  The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance. . . .  Lord, I would bless and praise Thee, but how hard I find it to praise Thee when I am not physically fit, yet why should it be so?  This means that I praise Thee only when it is a pleasure to me.  I would that my soul were one continual praise to Thee!”

Again, we marvel at the people God kept putting in our path-to let us know that He was with us and understood our pain.  My nurse in the morning had lost 2 babies during 2 pregnancies and knew what we were going though.  Another nurse was an answer to prayer, as she was a Christian and was so kind to us.  Yet another nurse during the day would be used to give us hope, a year into the future.  God’s timing was perfect, again.

Our little baby girl, Hadassah Grace, was delivered around 5:30 that evening.  As I held her, the first thing I remember saying and thinking was, “AMAZING!”  This little baby, only 3 ½ months old and just over 6 inches long, was a perfectly formed little person.  Her right hand was laid across her chest and we saw her fingernails on the ends of her tiny little hands.  Her little feet were so tiny, and yet the toes and nails were so clearly seen.  Her tiny little head had closed eyes, and a sweet little nose and tight lips.  Her skinny little arms and legs reminded me of the kids.   I didn’t cry at this time, because I was just in awe of the handiwork of God in an infant so young.  My thought was, “let no one ever tell you a fetus is just a blob of tissue to abort.”  That is a lie straight from the devil!

We were given some time alone with our baby, and as we prayed, we cried; and as we cried, we prayed.  This is one of the very few times in my life that I have ever seen my husband cry.  It was very humbling. 

I’m so thankful that we took some pictures of our little girl.  They are the only ones we will ever have of her.  They are the only reminder of a life that was so short, but so powerful and meaningful to us. 

These footprints are only about 5/8” long, but left a huge print on our hearts.

We left the hospital empty handed that night, but with a greater view of God at work in us, especially in the hidden places of the womb.  We adjusted to a new normal, and moved ahead with our lives, so thankful for the children we had at home.  


Read part 3 here, and if you missed part 1 you can find it here.

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