There was no pushing.
No first cry.
I had baby girl last Tuesday, 174 days too early.
For nearly 15 weeks, she was ours.We wondered if she was a boy or a girl.
I dreamt up new names.
I gained 5 pounds for her.
I resisted extra caffeine, snuck in naps, and even made Mother’s Day coffee mugs bearing a picture of her 10-week-old ultrasound silhouette as gifts for her grandmas.
My mom hollered when she saw the picture, which foretold that her 3rd grandchild was due the day before Thanksgiving. Then, just a week later, I wept listening to my sweet mother sing to my sweet, breathless 1.5 ounce girl “your little tiny hands, and your little tiny feet…”
How does this happen? How does a baby somersaulting in an ultrasound at 10 weeks now lie there perfectly formed, but without a heartbeat just a month later?
“Let’s listen to baby,” nurse Glenda told me after taking my blood pressure during my routine appointment last Monday morning.I jumped up on the table, she put the goo on and started laps across my stomach with the Doppler.
“That’s you,” she said instantly, when we heard one heartbeat, slow and loud.
We were both waiting for that quick, swishing beat that we both knew so well.
Back and forth, back and forth.
Glenda moved me to a bigger room and rolled in the portable ultrasound machine. I saw my OB in the hall, and her face was grim.
I think my own heart stopped as I searched the screen for a beating heart in my baby. But she just lay there, perfect on the outside, and dead inside.
Later, Bryan and I came back for a formal ultrasound in radiology, where they took measurements and looked for any abnormalities. Her perfect little legs crossed at the ankles were too much to bear. I sobbed. Her perfect profile looked like it was smiling. Her fists were up near her face.I went home and put my face to the hot shower wall and cried.
“We need to induce you,” are words I’ve never heard before.
All day Tuesday, we sat in Labor & Delivery at the hospital, waiting for the medicine to make the baby come.“The baby is here!” is something I’ve never had to announce, but suddenly, there she was.
As a flurry of nurses descended upon us, I saw Hope.Lying there, a perfect little creation stopped short of life outside the walls of my womb.
But how amazing was she? There are no words. Without her own breath, she took mine away. God’s handiwork shone through her as we spent the next three hours marveling at her 10 individual fingers and toes, her round belly, her little ears, her eyes.
We had her weighed, and thought, initially, that she weighed 1.5 POUNDS, because it was unfathomable that this little detailed person could only weigh 1.5 OUNCES. But when we actually looked into it, 1.5 ounces is pretty close to the average weight for a 14 week, 3 day old baby in the womb. It still blows my mind.
From the moment I saw Hope, my heart rested.The past 32 hours of uncertainty and grief had drained me, but there was a new hope inside my soul. The same amazing God who formed this little person inside of me was telling me, “It’s ok. I have Hope.”
So, I have hope.
Hope that my baby girl is getting loved on by the same God who loves my heart enough to give me peace, even in this most devastating of circumstances.
I know that God is going to use this. He already has. There are doors in many grieving mothers’ hearts around me that only empathy can open.
I lost my very first baby to early miscarriage in 2010.
When I found out I was pregnant in late March of this year, miscarriage was on my mind. That week, God placed me in two separate situations to encourage two women on two different continents as they went through miscarriage. During those days, I wrote down the following verse in my journal, and going back to read it today tells me that God knew all along that I would have a tiny daughter named Hope.
“My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind and therefore, I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new each morning, great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,’ therefore I will hope in Him.” - Lamentations 3:20-23