When I started this blog, I mentioned how the posts and the topics covered could be many and varied. And so it is that today’s post is very different to the others. Today, I will give an insight into something very private, but also something that I’ve known would be shared when the time was right. That time is now, because having been invited into a group by one of my close friends, Mynn, I’ve been guided to share it.
Similarly to some of my other posts, I invite you to join me on a journey, although I must advise that it will be a world away from my travel adventures. It is a journey full of raw emotion, but also of hope. Emotions that you may feel as you read, because of their depth. It will also be somewhat graphic, and if you choose not to read on, I understand and I thank you for reading this far. For those of you who continue, please know that it is not my intention to upset or distress you in any way, but again, those emotions are possible. Please also know that although I don’t know most of you, because you’ve chosen to join me, I am with you and I thank you.
Our journey begins in November 1998. Having been brought up within a church environment, I had stopped going. Completely stopped, years earlier. I will perhaps say more about why in another post, or privately if you ask, but the reasons aren’t critical to this sharing. In November ’98 I was engaged to the man I would later marry. We had talked about having children in the future, but there was no real timescale. Then the decision was made for us. Some might say it was an “accidental” pregnancy, but I prefer unexpected. What followed certainly was.
Less than 48 hours after the multiple positive pregnancy tests, I started to cramp. Within hours unexpected joy and elation had become unimaginable pain and despair as the baby was lost. I was hurting and I was angry. I asked God why? Why did He let me go through that? I admit, it was somewhat of a rhetorical question. I wasn’t really looking for an answer, or support from Him then. But I had to ask.
I only knew of the little one’s existence for a matter of hours, and there was no way of knowing whether I’d lost a son, or a daughter. Call it a mother’s intuition, but I knew I now had an angelic daughter and I named her. It comforted me and yes, to a degree lessened the pain, although that never goes away.
Fast forward to September 2001. I was now approaching my first wedding anniversary and ten weeks pregnant with a planned baby. My obstetrics appointments hadn’t yet begun, despite my history. I was overjoyed, yet so so scared. It didn’t bear thinking about, but what if? I couldn’t help but ask the question.
I was with friends on the day the world changed forever. As we clung to each other on September 11, 2001, watching events unfold, I put a protective hand on my tummy. Hours later I started to spot. It was nothing like the first time, there were no cramps. But please NO, I pleaded! Not again! Thankfully it stopped and in the days that followed I put it down to the stress of what had happened that day in history.
We had planned a vacation and travelled to the foreign destination. Still fearful for my unborn babe, I tried to relax and enjoy it the best I could. But on the evening of September 21st, I felt the now familiar dreaded sensation. Immediately I knew what was happening. As the pain increased in intensity I told myself “You’ve been through it once, you can do it again.” I was in agony, but didn’t seek medical help.
In the early hours of September 22nd, after an agonizing labor, I lost the baby. Only then, as the physical pain worsened and tears flowed, did I wake my husband. “It shouldn’t be like this,” I told him, “I should be in less pain now.” We called the doctor and explained what had happened. He told us to go to the hospital “when you’re ready.” He didn’t see the urgency and so we travelled not by ambulance, but by taxi to the hospital in the next town.
There, I was taken for a scan to confirm what I already knew. Entering the room I walked past a heavily pregnant mother to be, and heard her baby’s heartbeat on the monitor. I smiled weakly toward her in acknowledgement. More tears flowed as I gazed at the ultrasound monitor. There, for the first and only time, I saw where my child had lay. The image forever imprinted on both my mind and heart.
I was taken back to my room and another hour passed. I was bleeding heavily by the time the nurse came to get me to take me to the OR. There, as I surfaced from the anesthesia and before I opened my eyes, the sound of a newborn baby crying filled my ears. Through the haze I realized it was coming from the next room and was the little one whose heartbeat I’d heard earlier. Then, opening my eyes, I realized I was alone. They did things differently in that foreign land and perhaps not expecting me to come around so soon, the surgical team had gone to deliver the baby by cesarean.
Instantly more tears flowed. But not as you might think of despair. In that moment. Hearing that newborn babe, whose heartbeat I’d heard earlier, I was filled with an entirely different emotion. Hope. Hope for the future. Hope that one day I might deliver a healthy baby.
Soon after, back in my room, I learned that I’d been minutes away from not being here to share this with you, due to an undetected condition. That strengthened me further. Again, I named the child, a son. One who I will forever be thankful to. In his sacrifice, Joshua James, gave me life. A precious gift that a mother usually gives her child. Not the other way around. The same precious gift that through His son’s sacrifice, God gave to all of us.
In the years since, I have gained a third angelic child, a daughter who I lost later in pregnancy. But I’ve also been blessed with three healthy, happy children. And I have come to an understanding on a much deeper level. And that is, ultimately, why I’ve shared such personal events with you. Although I might not have felt close to God during those painful years, He was constantly with me. Carrying me. As is so beautifully described in Mary Stevenson’s often incorrectly attributed poem “Footprints in the Sand.”
They might not have been with me on earth for long, but I know that Josh and his angelic sisters are forever with me. They look down on me and their siblings. Together with my Heavenly Father, they guide and bless my life beyond measure. And I know that on the day of our Lord’s choosing, I’ll be reunited with them.