Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hope

In the early morning hours of September 28th, I woke up to an upset tummy, so I thought.  I prayed myself back to sleep and woke again at 6 am to help get my husband off to work. I was still feeling quite crampy, but told Kevan not to worry as it was probably just something I ate the night before.  I kissed him goodbye and went to lay back down.  My much desired sleep came only in little, tiny increments and I started to wonder if I could possibly be having contractions.  I had never experienced Braxton Hicks with my first child.  I remember looking at the clock in my room at 7:30 and watching the minute hand move slowly back up.  These pains were consistent, in fact, they were coming every 5 minutes.  I am not an alarmist in nature and did not let my mind go negative too soon. I got up to take a hot shower hoping everything would settle down.  Then there was Tirzah to attend to.  These morning rituals took time.  I wanted the elapse to take away any threat.  But as the morning diminished my pains increased...and I slowly realized they were not going to go away. Fear began to wrap itself around my very heart as I became limited in what I could do.  I was scared to even let myself think of what might be happening. I was in labor, there was by now no doubt about it.  But, I was only 21 weeks along and that was too early!  That was too early!

I quickly called Kevan to come right home.  We packed my bag, made sure Tirzah was in good hands, and arrived at the hospital as soon as possible.  What then transpired is blurry...I just remember how kind those nurses were and how very quickly they worked to try and get my uterus to stop contracting.  When you are in labor, everything is timed by your pains...one, and then another, and then another.  They pumped me full of medicine and ordered a sonogram technician to come as soon as possible.  I was dilated to a three at admittance and my water was bulging.  It is hard enough to get through a contraction in a normal position but when you are tipped down, head first, it is very difficult indeed.  Although the nurses continued to reassure me that everything was just fine with our baby I was overcome with a sense of knowing...knowing that things were not fine with our baby. This feeling was confirmed as soon as the technician turned on her screen.  My heart lept to see my sweet baby, my sweet baby who I had never seen before. His little head, his little spine, his little legs.  There he was, over and over flashing before my eyes. Everything you would expect was present...everything except his beating heart.  There was no heartbeat.  None.  I was aware of that immediately.  The technician never said a word, but her silence said everything.  That moment was immediately made sacred, holy.  It was so very quiet in our room.  I didn't press her with questions, I didn't even tell my husband my thoughts, I just began to silently grieve the loss of our little love. The contractions would not stop, oh how I wished they would, how I wished that everything would just stop long enough for me to be able to process what was happening.  But they were relentless...and they were powerful...and the tears started to well up in my eyes and slowly course down my cheeks.

After the technician left our room the nurse came back in and leaned down to whisper that "she could not find a heart beat" and that "your baby is not alive."  Verbalizing this horrid reality allowed both my husband and I to cry together and in that moment choose whether or not we would accept this sorrow as from the hand of a good God and learn to bury our grief in Him.  As only the Lord can orchestrate that which we need at just the right moment, our pastor stepped into our room. He was the first person we told of our loss. The first time I mouthed the words outloud, "Our baby is with the Lord."  My water broke at the end of his precious prayer and he quickly ushered himself out into the hall.  I labored another while before our sweet William was in my arms.  There in my hands, fitting so perfectly in my hands.  The most amazing and sad thing in all the world, to hold your child at that stage of development.

We are so grateful that I was privileged to carry him long enough to know that he was a boy. To see with our own eyes, his very eyes. To be amazed with every perfect little finger and toe.  And to be in awe of "how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child" (Ecc 11:5).  We named him William Livingstone Samuel.  He was exactly what we had wanted, what we had prayed for. But the Lord was not giving us the joyful task of raising him here on earth, ours was that of giving him back.  Of letting go.  Of offering.

We do not know why the Lord decided to take him to heaven so early but we rejoice that he is there!  We put him to rest in a special little garden right outside our bedroom window and are comforted in knowing exactly where his body lies.

As I was reading in the Psalms yesterday morning I was struck again with the simply stated reality of that verse which says: "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God" (Psalm 146:5).  This last month has been anything but happy and that short statement of cheerful bliss fell heavy on my heart.  It is the direct opposite of all that I have been "feeling".  The word happy is the antonym of all that has been dwelling inside of me.  How does one experience happiness when one is sad?  It is only experienced by those "that hath the God of Jacob for [their] help"!  And what a help He is.  How utterly grateful both Kevan and I are to know this good and gracious God.  This God who comes down to grieve alongside those who are in great sorrow.  Who offers a peace that passeth all understanding to those who are confused.  A God who guards one's heart and mind from the enemy who would seek to fill it with lies and bitterness.

I am grateful for all of Scripture and the Holy Spirit who takes up residence within my ache...living there in order to comfort and teach me all things!  What I have experienced makes me feel empty inside.  It makes me feel broken.  It makes me hurt in ways I have never felt pain.  It leaves me all alone!  But it makes the HOPE more glorious and opens my eyes to the spiritual realm and to the God who never makes mistakes!

The Psalm continues to use the most precious verbs in relation to His most righteous actions.  I want to close by praising my Saviour for all that He has done, continues to do, and will never stop doing for those who are His own.

He "keepeth" truth forever. He "executeth" judgment for those who are oppressed. He "giveth" food to those who are hungry. He "looseth" those who are in chains. He "openeth" the eyes that we may see. He "raiseth" those who are bowed down. He "loveth" the righteous. He "preserveth" those who are strangers. He "relieveth" those in great need (the fatherless and the widow).

"While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being...Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God" (Psalm 146: 1, 5).