Friday, March 18, 2011
When Ryan and I found out we were pregnant for the first time, I was freakishly excited. I told him, "I've wanted to be a mom since I was two years old. Hate to say it, Babe, but little girls dream of being moms before they ever dream of being wives." The baby would come in July. Ruby would be the birthstone. In typical Ryan fashion, he made a movie to announce our news. It was awesome. We showed it to everyone. We shouted our news from the rooftops. We found out that THREE of my friends were expecting in July as well! I was feeling great, and to make life even more wonderful, it was Christmastime.
And then the baby was gone.
I had been feeling strange all day. Somehow my body just didn't feel right, and even in my spirit it felt like something was wrong. We went Christmas shopping that night, and I started cramping so much that I had to sit down on a bench in the middle of Wal-Mart. I hate that bench. I still pass it all the time. Right by the spray paint. Once we got home, I knew for sure something was wrong. I called my parents. My poor doctor Dad. I know it must be hard to wear both those hats at the same time. I know he didn't want it to be what it sounded like. I called my midwife. She told me what to expect for the night. The next day we went in for an ultrasound and found out that the baby really was gone. I think it was December 19th.
Time passed. It was heart wrenching to watch my friends' bellies grow and not be able to join the pregnancy chatter after church. But Ryan and I were very lucky. By the time July rolled around, I was blessed to be visibly pregnant with Nola. But even though I could feel Nola kicking inside me, when my friend's babies were born that July...I cried.
It hit me that the baby I was pregnant with now, was not the baby I had lost. We got pregnant again so quickly after our loss, that sometimes the pregnancies rolled together in my mind. It was as if the miscarriage was just a set back in starting our family. After getting pregnant again I had myself convinced I was fine. But that July I grieved again for our first baby that would have been born that month. It was an important, but painful, realization. Nola's birthstone would be a beautiful orange topaz. The baby I lost was a deep red ruby.
It was amazing to me how many women I knew had stories to share with me after they heard about my loss. It really is such a private thing, losing a baby so soon after announcing your pregnancy. Some women don't even get time to announce it, or choose not to, by the time their baby is gone. Everyone grieves in their own way. Some people name their babies. Some people plant a tree. Ryan and I never did any of those things. But the month of July has a special place in my heart. And even though I have the memories of the loss in December, I still feel a little heartache each July.
A few months after Nola was born, I went to a funeral for a good friends' grandad. Keith Lawson. Yes, his name deserves it's own sentence. If you'd known him, you'd understand. He was one of the kindest men I've ever known. He was at church every Sunday when I was little and always gave high fives to all the little kids. It was a beautiful funeral full of the hope we have in Jesus. During one of the songs, I saw what was like a little video playing in my mind's eye. I saw Grandad Keith, happy in Heaven. He was giving a high five to a little tiny girl. After the high five, he pointed at her and said, "Hey! I knew your mom." I cried and cried. I knew that Jesus was taking care of my baby, even though I couldn't.
I know there are probably a surprising number of you reading this who share this story. I hope you feel reminded today...
Jesus remembers our rubies.