It was just another typical OB check up. I was feeling cheerful as my husband was able to take the time off work to come with me. This being the fifth baby for us, we were used to the routine. Even though, I still liked having him there. My weight was good for 17 weeks. I never gained too much with my pregnancies, but by the fifth, one gets round in front a little faster.
Robed and ready, I flinched a little when Dr. P squirted on the cold gel. I always loved this part. There is just nothing like hearing your baby’s heartbeat. We were being a little silly when the doctor said he was having trouble finding the heartbeat. We made a little joke about this one being a good hider, but the doctor’s expression was somber. My heart froze but my mind wouldn’t hear of it. This was not a possibility. I felt fine. Everything was fine.
We shifted across the hall to the room housing the ultrasound machine. My entire being was numb to that which the doctor feared. I held on to hope as long as I could, but dread and terror gripped at me as the doctor shook his head then told us the worst news we had ever heard. Our baby had died around week 14. My husband’s arms wrapped around me and the tears began to flow. Dr. P explained through his own emotions what to expect next. I would need a D & E. We were to go home and wait for our afternoon trip to the hospital. And then it hit me.
“What will they do with my baby?”
“What?” Perhaps no one had ever asked this question before.
“What will they do with my baby? I don’t want them to throw my baby in the trash can.” Just speaking these words began another wave of sobs from the core of my sole.
Quickly the doctor left me with his nurse. Through her own tears she shared her story of losing a baby, only hours after its birth. She too wanted her child to have the reverence it deserved in death. She gave us the information for a mortuary that could help us.
Waiting at home when we arrived were our four children, expecting happy parents. Instead, their dad gently told them the devastating news. I don’t recall how any of them responded. I was in too much pain to notice. In only a couple of hours I was going to be wheeled into an operating room and my beloved child was going to be “evacuated” from my womb.
The physical healing was swift, but the emptiness in my body was nothing compared to the emptiness in my heart. My sense of loss was immense. Crying was an all day occurrence. To carry on a conversation was nearly impossible and I felt that the pain and tears would never cease. I understood that the mourning process was different for everyone, but I also knew I couldn’t live this way. I was no good to my family. And so I cried out to the Lord.
“Jesus, replace my sorrow with joy.”
There was much comfort in knowing that the baby had not been disposed of in a trash can. Thanks to the compassion of the mortuary, we were able to cremate. We planted a rose garden in honor of the child we named B.J. (Baby with Jesus), though we never learned whether boy or girl. And I continued to cry out to God to replace my sorrow with joy. Again, and again.
One day I found that I didn’t cry. I discovered in time that I could talk about my loss without bursting into tears. I found that joy was replacing my sorrow. Who but God could do such a miraculous thing? He is so faithful.
Less than two years later, I was wheeled into a hospital room and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. That’s all together another miraculous story I will share at a later date, but let me just say that God truly replaced my sorrow with Joy.
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