A Day in July
It was a beautiful day in July, warm and sunny, when I found out I was no longer a mother.
I was checking my voicemail as my husband peeled out of the driveway but we didn't make it to the end of the street before I broke out into guttural sobs. My midwife later told me she didn't know I didn't know or else she wouldn't have left a voicemail.
The truth is, I knew.
I knew when the ultrasound tech took too long to examine me.
I knew when she didn't ask daddy into the room to see the screen.
I knew when she didn't print out a small picture to take home and put on the fridge.
Tears had been silently sliding down my cheeks as I dressed and left my doctor’s information with the reception desk. I wept as we drove home with my husband attempting to sooth me in saying we didn't know for sure, there could be others reasons. We got home and googled and prayed and tried to get on with our evening. We didn't know as no one had said the words, but I knew. And when I heard the voicemail left by my midwife, my worst fear was confirmed: no heart beat. I had lost my baby.
Grief and anger surged within me. I felt like my body had betrayed me. The pregnancy had not been viable for weeks but my body gave me no indication of this change of status. We immediately broke the news to the few people who knew of the pregnancy but I still had awkward moments with friends of our parents who had heard the first set of news but missed the second. I can remember each interaction with deep clarity. What I was wearing, how it was said, how I responded – each time, the wound re-opening.
It took me weeks to emotionally recover, and months to get pregnant again. And with each subsequent pregnancy, I held my joy at a distance until I passed that 12 weeks milestone. I would become a mother to 3 healthy and wonderful children; however, there are times when I still grieve my first (un)born.
It felt so poetic to feel such deep, dark pain on such a light, glorious day. This day would have been perfect, I had thought, if only I didn't know what I know. The sun continues to rise regardless of our heart’s status; the birds continue to sing in spite of world politics. Like a lone bird perched on a wire in no-mans-land, nature carries on undeterred from the humans waging wars around it.
This brings me great comfort.
I feel secure in knowing that the course of my actions, the state of my emotions, the catastrophe I can experience is just a small blip in time. I'm just one of billions of people who laugh and cry and hurt and heal and die.
I’m thankful the world does not revolve around me. Can you imagine the responsibility that would be?
Instead, as the sun rises, it cajoles me to come along, to begin a new day. As it sets, it reassures me that we made it through and now rest is the task at hand. And when the billions of stars twinkle in their constellations, squeezed into existence many light-years ago, I feel like a time traveler, peering into history.
But no matter how humans lived centuries ago, what we achieve in the present or dream up for the future, nature’s majesty will outshine and outlast us all. Put in place by a God who set it all in motion by the word of his power.1
He’s got you and me, baby, in His hands.