Tomorrow, it will have been one whole year since the ultrasound that changed my faith forever.
I was just over 13 weeks pregnant with baby #5. I had really struggled at first with feeling joyful over this unexpected pregnancy. Especially with my other four children still being so young (8, 6, 5 and 2), and carrying a full-time credit load at U of I. However, with morning sickness behind me, I was starting to get excited about what the future held for the new life inside me, and for our growing family.
My husband and I arrived early for our appointment that day. We sat down together in the waiting room, hands clasped, impatient with anticipation. After disrobing from the waist down, and climbing onto the table, the Tech working with us got started. There were a few jokes made about how we were experts on this by now. It’s all ‘old hat’ by the time you are on baby #5… I knew, as soon as the Ultrasound Technician zeroed in on the figure of our baby, that something was wrong. Where is his heartbeat? Why isn’t he moving?
The thing I remember most vividly about the rest of our appointment was having my body betray my hidden heartbreak with heaving, wracking sobs. I was inconsolable, and apparently, needed to be escorted to a different room faaaaar away from the waiting room full of other expectant patients. I saw the pain in my husband’s eyes as he tried to fight back stubborn tears.
Finally, our OB breezed into the little room in the back, quickly closing the door behind her. She looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and nervously said “Well, there it is”. My somewhat public expression of my sorrow was frightening to her. She used the words “so emotional” regarding me. As if I was an anomaly.
On the way home, I cried. I had never had a miscarriage before. Never lost a child. I had never felt so much pain and grief as I did in those moments following that ultrasound.
After the tears started to subside, I grew angry. I was livid with God. There was no way around it, it was His fault. He failed to protect me and my little one. He did this to me.
In the weeks that followed, I wrestled with God inbetween crying spells. I told Him everything I thought of this whole ordeal. Held nothing back. And when I was too tired to carry on my tirade, I fell back into His arms.
I still had been clinging to some Sunday school ideas of God. As angry as I was, I could see that my view of God was skewed. I had to let go of a lot of my “certainties” during my grief. Because I was human, I was never going to be able to understand all of the “whys” from my finite perspective. Maybe if I too were Divine, it could all make sense. But clearly, that was not the case.
The son we lost, we named Ezra. I planted a garden in his memory. There is a garden stone set in the middle with his name in mosaic, arching over a set of baby footprints. I miss the son I lost. More than he will ever know.
Spring is about to be sprung here in Iowa. Ezra’s garden is already showing signs of new life. As I tend his garden this season, I pray that somehow he can see how careful and attentive his mother is in this place that bears his name. That he knows that I would have been careful and attentive and loving with him in the same way, if I had been given the chance.