April 12th will forever be stamped into our hearts. It was the due date of our first baby, Anderson.
In July 2016, we found out I was pregnant. And with it, came a lot of joy, excitement, morning (really all day) sickness & a side of anxiety. We were going to be parents. As my pregnancy continued so did my sickness. It was a Thursday in September that brought the words that crashed our whole world...
"Im sorry, but there is no longer a heartbeat."
Our baby boy died just the day before. The day he turned 9 weeks. The following day we went to my doctor. They confirmed the nightmare we were finding ourselves in. All I remember from that room was the overwhelming anger I felt. "Im so mad. This isn't how this was supposed to go" I would say through tears & wailing. My doctor was kind & gentle as we discussed options & opted in for surgery that would take place on Monday. We took the weekend and escaped to the beach. We turned off our phones. We allowed ourselves to be mad. To hurt. To mourn. To ask questions that we would never find on this side of heaven. Monday came and along with it so did the anesthesia. After this day I would no longer be pregnant. My son would no longer be safely tucked in my womb. The next day I started becoming hungry. I remember sobbing as my mom brought me to breakfast because for the last 9 weeks just the thought of food made me sick. And here I was, craving it again. Just another reminder that my boy was no longer with me.
Everything in some way reminded us of him & what we would never have. I remember struggling with each pregnancy announcement that came across our screen. I was sincerely so excited for the couples that were expecting their new babies, but I was so mad that I didn't have mine. Part of our healing was remembering our boy in our own way. We decided to get tattoos. We wanted to place them somewhere that would be obvious and seen. We wanted people to ask about them so we could share our story & hopefully offer some hope to others walking through this same season.
As we have experienced miscarriage we have been exposed to a lot. We have seen that people don't talk about it because its uncomfortable. They don't want to bring it up because they are scared it will remind us of what we lost. But, believe me. There isn't a day we don't remember. People expect us to move on. To forget. To "get over it. You didn't even meet them. You were ONLY 9 weeks pregnant." (Yes, these words have been spoken about us behind our backs.) I have realized that the church (in general) preaches at the world pro-life & against abortions and yet when a mom loses a child they don't recognize the loss as something major because, again, I never met them, I was only 9 weeks along. Isn't that a contradiction? Life is life, right?
We can count on one thing. That each year, there will be an April 12th. Each year, we will have to walk though this day (even though it is tempting to fly across the world and get to skip this day all together & let it get lost in travel & time zones). But, I don't want to just remember his life & all we lost because of his death. I want to remember all Jesus did in and through him. All the times I was able to connect & offer hope to a stranger because "I've been there too." All the memories of those 9 weeks of carrying him. The joy he brought when we got to tell our friends & family that he existed. That he was a person I was carrying. And our greatest gift brought from his life, our Emerson Gracie girl. If it wasn't for Anderson, for his life & his death, we would have never had Emerson. It was Anderson that showed us how excited & ready we were to build our family. It was in our deepest, darkest season, that E was conceived.
Do I believe God took Anderson from us? No. Do I believe "God takes the best ones" (another thing someone said to me)? No. Do I believe that God is sovereign? Yes. Do I believe God is faithful? Heck yes (have you met my daughter)? Do I believe God knew our boy would die and we wouldn't ever meet him on this side of heaven? Yes. But, I also know that God is good. That he is faithful to his word. And if he is faithful he is going to see us through this. Year after Year. No matter how many more April 12th's we will have to walk through. Jesus is going before us and behind us in each one.
So, to the mama's out there who may be experiencing a loss of their own... Im so sorry. Im sorry for all the questions you have. For the deep pain & agony you are walking through. I'm sorry for all the stupid things people are going to say to you but, remember that they are just trying to help and extend grace to them. And to all the people who know someone that has gone through this or maybe going through it right now. Remember their baby with them. Recognize that the moment that baby was conceived and learned of, their parents started building dreams around them & those dreams came to a screeching halt when they learned that tiny life ended. Nothing is ever wasted. God makes streams in the desert. He walks through the fire & the valley with us. He is going before us, and behind us.
I promise, he will bring beauty from your deepest ashes.