Hope seems to come to me naturally. In fact, Dave would say sometimes I hope a bit too much. I get my heart set on something, enjoy hoping for it, and look forward to it zealously. I do this so much that if it doesn’t come to pass, I get really down. I then have to go into “mourning” for whatever it is. I give myself a time limit to mourn this thing, and if it’s small, then it’s usually about fifteen minutes. But, if it’s big, then I sometimes have a hard time letting go of my mourning, and returning to my state of hope.
Our hearts had hardly mended from the miscarriage; there were patches here and there, and definite holes still visible, when the doctor gave us the go-ahead to start trying for another baby. We weren’t yet sure if we could do it—open ourselves up to all the uncertainty of the possibilities, again. The first time we didn’t think about any of that. Ignorance, in our case, was bliss. But we weren’t ignorant anymore. We were told our best chance of getting pregnant was within six months of our miscarriage. We prayed for guidance and continued healing. We knew our decision to have a child hadn’t changed, but we were scared to open up to hope again. When we did decide to try again, to our utter fear and amazement, I got pregnant right away. The following is the first part of my pregnancy journal to my baby:
“In the beginning I was scared for you [baby]; I was scared you would be like your sister, and leave me early, before my arms got to feel your weight, to cuddle your tiny little baby feet. I was so excited for you, for even the idea of you. I knew you were coming before I even took a test, my body said, “There is something growing in here, and that’s why I’m tired.” Your Daddy and I were at Joshua Tree National Park with our friend Ben for the weekend. We had hiked around all morning, and I nearly scared your Daddy half to death as I almost fell off a rock a long way from the ground (I was pretty scared too, to tell you the truth). In the afternoon, I just couldn’t put one foot in front of the other! I laid down on a rock and took a rest while your Daddy and Ben went hiking without me. I knew then [that] you were on your way. When there was bleeding only two weeks after that, we thought you weren’t coming, and we were so sad. My heart hurt so much; I cried and cuddled our puppy, Gertie, all weekend. But that Monday we were able to get a doctor’s appointment, and at only six weeks he could see your little heartbeat, a little blip on the screen. We cried tears of joy that you were still there
I took it easy for the next month [I was on bed rest throughout Thanksgiving that year], and we waited and hoped and watched you grow bigger and stronger. With each doctor’s visit the tiny wings of hope grew in my heart. It was hard to let myself really believe you were coming! I didn’t know whether to fling out the welcome mat, or just peer out the window every once in awhile, hoping you might turn up, but not putting too much faith in it. I didn’t want to get hurt again, to trust God with everything, with your whole little being; it was so hard. I prayed for His will, but I wanted you so badly to stay and BE His will. We wanted to get the “all clear” from the doctor at 11 weeks before we told anyone about you—and then he said you were sticking around! We were elated!
Just a month later, at around 16 weeks, I felt you move for the first time. It was Super Bowl Sunday, and I was sitting on the couch at a friend’s house, and felt a little flutter in my tummy—I was ecstatic! After that, you made me smile all the time with your fluttering—my heart and hope soared every time, and your Daddy was jealous he couldn’t feel you move yet. At our 20 week appointment, they let us hear your heartbeat—a sound I had been longing to hear with every ounce of my being—the sure sign you were alive and well inside me.
Soon after that I could start to really feel you move inside me, and your Daddy got to feel you too. He was so happy to feel you that first time, and every time afterwards. He would watch my belly in amazement at your movement, waves of tiny arms and legs making my stomach jump and jiggle. I liked to rub my hands around my belly, cuddling you in some way. Your Daddy would wrap himself around us, hugging my belly to hold you, and he would talk and coo to you. You moved often when he talked to you, and he liked to put his face right up to my belly, to feel your little love kicks.”
Those months were hard—our fears didn’t resolve the second we saw our baby’s heartbeat. We constantly battled fear. I prayed daily that God would help me live in His hope, and not my fear. I quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV), “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Each time we had an ultrasound, the fear would ebb, only to grow again a few days later. Even though our faith was wavering, God was there throughout everything, by our side every step of the way. We knew that God would still be a faithful, grace-filled God if he chose to take this baby too, but we didn’t want our hearts to hurt so badly if he did. We weren’t truly putting all our trust in him. And yet, just like when the Israelites doubted God in the desert, he did not desert us. He continued to prove his power and control in all things. He daily filled our cups with the hope that we often did not even ask for.
During my doctor visits after my miscarriage, I would sit in my doctor’s office room hearing other babies’ heartbeats on their monitors through the walls. I had so ached to hear that sound. God allowed me to finally take hold of his overwhelming peace once I could hear my baby’s heartbeat at twenty weeks. I knew then, whatever problems we faced from there, that my heart could take it, that he would walk with me, “Through the valley of the shadow of death,” or through, “Goodness and mercy” (Psalm 23). I clung throughout my miscarriage to the following verse, but it was also true for my pregnancy.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is unusual for human beings. But God is faithful, and he will not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength. Instead, along with the temptation he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 ISV
Oh so true, only one thing matters—God IS faithful. Hope in Christ will always prevail.