It was mid July when we found out that we were expecting...again. And it was a surprise to us....again. And as I wrestled with the direction that God was taking our family, I really honestly did have faith that He knew what was going on. Because I have been through a number of things in my life that have been a roller coaster of events and God has never, EVER let me down in the midst of pain and confusion and a slew of other emotions and experiences. So I was ready...well, mostly ready. Okay, kinda ready.
By August, after I had survived crazy weekends, crazy hormones and Vacation Bible School, I really WAS ready. My tummy was popping out a little bit. I was puking all the time. This was the real deal baby! Ohhhh, baby. A Zab baby. Yes. I love those Zab babies. I love my Zab Mister. This is good.
At least, that's how I felt most of the time. Other times, I wished I wasn't pregnant. The pregnancy was bringing some insane complications into my life and making it VERY difficult to function. I wrestled with depression, anger, and a little bit of bitterness. However, I never felt alone. God was there. My amazing friends were SO there. And my husband...oh he is the best. So onward we went.
Saturday, September 25, I awoke with some spotting. Nothing that was a big deal. But enough to puzzlingly tilt my head at. At a split moment of panic, collecting all the struggles I'd had with this pregnancy and adding them up to equal a whole lot of "Mom Guilt" I said to David, "I really really need everything to be okay right now." David and I decided a trip to the ER might be a good idea. Kids were easily squared away (thank you God!) and we were off. David even brought the camera for when we were done thinking it would be fun to wander around downtown and take pictures of stuff.
The ER wasn't crowded (thank you God!-keep track of these) and we were shown to our bed right away. And moments later, we were whisked away to Ultrasound. "Maybe we will get to see if it's a boy or a girl today!" When the tech pulled up our images, I saw the baby. Our baby! This was David's first time getting to see our little Peanut. But the baby was really really still. And I didn't see anything in the baby's middle that looked like a heartbeat. I dismissed it. But that gut feeling spread all over when the tech quickly jumped to take pictures of ovaries and then got up to consult with the radiologist.
The radiologist came in and asked me some questions regarding baby movement, other complications during pregnancy and the like. She then told us that from what she could see, the baby was no longer alive.
I think I blinked at her a whole lot and wondered whose life I had wandered into because THIS was not happening to ME. Remember, I had called for everything to be okay just that morning. Remember? The next 30 minutes contained a lot of crying and holding each other and staring and more crying. I was shocked how quickly my tummy could go from feeling full with life to empty and void.
The rest of the day at the hospital had us seeing more doctors, being told of all the decisions we would have to make and many many heartbreaking texts and phone calls to our friends and family. I prayed Jesus would come back. I prayed that somehow I would never have to leave the hospital room I was in. I prayed that these doctors were wrong and by the POWER of CHRIST may my baby be ALIVE.
None of those things happened. Instead I found myself surrounded by caring doctors and nurses offering their condolences. Treating me kindly as a human being (thank you God!) and treating our baby as a human being as well. (Thank you God!) We checked out of the hospital feeling "crushed in spirit" and unsure what life looked like on this side of a great loss. The headache I had been nursing all day long was pounding all kinds of thoughts in and out of my head and finally beat me so badly that David had to pull the car over so I could be sick on the side of the road.
We drove to my mom's house where she and her husband Tim, my sister Kristy and her husband Kris had been wrangling kids all day. There were a lot of hugs and tears and some bits and pieces of normal conversation. And the time came to talk to Nathan and Lucy about what had happened. Ella was napping so we all gathered around in the living room. As we told the kids, Nathan began crying. At 7 years old, he understands death and loss on a greater level than Lucy. We told the kids that our baby was in heaven with Jesus. Joked that the baby was possibly riding around on Grandma Great's walker like Nathan used to do when he was little and how our baby was now living with no pain or sadness. Nathan, who was sitting on my lap, looked at me and said, "You mean like the pain and sadness we are feeling right now?" I told him he was exactly right. My family then prayed over us. We were lifted up to the Father to be cared for. We sat there empty and shocked and grieving. David broke down in a way I have never seen in 15 years together. That prompted Lucy to also start crying. I held my daughter in one arm and my strong husband in another. This whole situation feeling so foreign and ill-fitting to me as Kris poured beautiful words of healing over our wounds, lifting us up in prayer.
When we were done, Lucy looked up at me and looked deep into my eyes. "Does this mean we won't get to go swimming at Grandma Sisi's?" And when she was told we wouldn't be swimming, a whole new batch of tears began. My mom, recognizing the need David and I had to be with our kids but also needing a bit of a break (and also her own need to have a freckled five year old to squeeze) offered to keep Lucy overnight. (Thank you God!) We bundled everyone else up, went home and tucked them into bed.
Our Saturday was over. We survived the worst day of our lives.
We fell asleep holding one another, crying and praying for strength.
But this was not the end of our story.....