December 15, 2011

The Stocking That Was Never Hung

There it was. I saw the white fluffy top peaking out from behind the Christmas boxes and a bunch of tangled lights. I pulled out the tiny, white stocking and tears came to my eyes. I shouldn’t be surprised by this as every year when it comes time to pull out the Christmas decorations it happens.
Today I’m going to let you a little bit into my life.  6 years ago we lost our first pregnancy. The tiny white stocking that I pull out every year was the stocking I bought before I knew we lost the baby and it was the stocking I bought to hang on our mantle for our first Christmas pregnant.
It is the stocking that was never hung.
My husband and I had been married for nearly 3 years. We knew we wanted children and had been praying about when the right time was to start trying. We got pregnant very quickly, however, I immediately had an uneasy spirit about it. I had no real reason to feel this way. After all, I was young and healthy but I just couldn’t shake it.
9 weeks into it I had some complications and called the doctor. I remember waiting that day until the ultrasound appointment. Trying to rest in God, knowing that He had everything under control, but that sense of uneasiness came back.
We went to our appointment and I could tell right away things weren’t right.  Sure enough, we got word from my nurse. There was no heartbeat. The ultrasound showed that the baby had passed quickly (at around 6.5 weeks) even though I was almost 10 weeks along. (A missed miscarriage is the technical term)
OF course I cried and my heart broke, but oddly enough, I sensed peace for the first time in a while. With the confirmation that the baby was indeed gone, we scheduled a D&C. I’ll never forget laying on that hospital bed and crying as I was being pulled into the OR.
Why, God? We have sought Your will! We waited for Your timing!
After the surgery, the wonderful staff at my hospital told me that what they got from me would be buried at a tombstone with a verse. They also gave me some brochures and one of them referenced Psalm 139. I read that passage many times before but it took new light for me that day. That passage gave me the strength to press on over the dark, lonely days that were ahead of me.
I remember being at a crossroads. I had 2 choices; to let this bring me closer to God or to draw me further away from Him. God had never failed me before that point in my life, so I had no reason to think He would at that moment, so I chose Him.
I’ve been able to use my story as encouragement to many other women since then. I’ve cried and prayed with many women who have gone through the same thing and have been able to share my hope that got me through it. My wonderful sister in law had her 2nd son just days after our miscarriage and had some complications that ended up taking away the chance to have children again. Here we were. 2 sisters (who married brothers) each struggling with loss, but in different ways. Our hearts were able to bond quickly and share in our pain of loss.
My nephew and sister-in law, Sue, a week after my miscarriage.
You know the rest of my story. I have 2 wonderful children! But this doesn’t take away the memory of my little one in heaven. Every Christmas I am reminded of this painful time in my life but I’m also reminded of how God graced us with 2 more! I am reminded of how God gives each one of us a story and that He wants it to glorify Him.
I’m also reminded of the crossroads I approached. I shudder to think if I would have turned my back on the Lord at that time and I’m thankful that He drew me to Him in those tender moments. Dear Sister, are you at a crossroads now? Turn to HIM. He will not fail you!
So the stocking? Well, the stocking will always be a part of our family.  It may never have been hung, but it’s never going away. It’s a representation of the blessing that God gave to us and then took away, but, Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Clare Smith
Clare and her husband and 2 children live in Northeast Ohio. She has her bachelor’s degree in business management and left a promising career to be a stay-at-home mom to her children. She is a certified fitness instructor and teaches pilates and group fitness classes at her church and local university. Clare’s passion (outside of raising and nurturing her children and home) is motivating women of all ages and stages of life to live well physically, emotionally and spiritually. Visit her at Peak313and on Facebook!