Sometimes a great plan becomes a great reality. I’ll never forget the day that Brittney and I realized we were ready to grow our family. On a chilly December night our friends had just delivered a beautiful baby girl. Through the magic of FaceTime we were able to join them in the recovery room – seven states away – to celebrate and meet their tiny human. That night we had one of those multi-hour life-changing conversations and came to the conclusion that we were ready. It wasn’t long afterwards that we were able to FaceTime with our friends yet again, only this time we were sharing the news of our soon-to-be tiny human.
There is an incredible amount of excitement and joy that comes when we are proclaiming life! We made Pooh picture frames for the grandparents, the siblings jumped up and down on the couch, grandparents cried, it was such a wonderful season. Yes, there’s nausea and a myriad of body changes…yes, there’s odd evening cravings that as a husband you just need to deal with regardless of how many beers you’ve had…but throughout it all you are joyously, loudly, and likely obnoxiously proclaiming life! Nine months of singing the same song, but it never gets old. It starts out slow with immediate family and friends, but then grows louder and louder as the weeks pass until it feels like the whole world is singing along with you. There will soon be a new human in the world! It’s nothing short of extraordinary.
Years later, thousands of diapers, hundreds of sleepless nights, and more laughter than we ever thought possible, Brittney and I had another one of those life-changing conversations. We felt like it was time for another baby.
Not long ago we had those same magical FaceTime calls, excited texts, and surprise visits to sing that song we loved so much. And like last time it started out slow with just immediate family and a few of those might-as-well-be-family friends. There will soon be another tiny human in the world!
Our great plan was a New Year’s proclamation of life! But sometimes a great plan becomes a crushing reality. We went to the doctor on the 30th and his words still scream in my head, “I’m afraid there’s no heartbeat.” The weight of losing this tiny human felt like all the air was sucked from the world. Our proclamation of life suddenly became a silent suffering.
There is no way to convey the brokenness of miscarriage. It’s a soul-crushing, world-flipping moment when you realize you’ll never get to meet one of your kids.
In our first pregnancy we were able to proclaim life to every person we met. There’s nothing like the first time telling somebody you’re going to have a baby. It’s a uniquely magical moment when you get to proclaim life and invite somebody into your joy. But this time that moment is marred.
Death is not something we want to invite others into. So now we sit silently. How do you share death with somebody else? What do they do with that? And when we get the obligatory question, “How were your holidays?”, we’re forced to choose: do we share death or suffer silently?
Honestly, I don’t have an answer. I don’t know what to do. I know that writing is therapeutic for me and somebody will inevitably read this, but how do we work through the suffering if we can’t share it. Why would I want to invade people with our suffering? So we sit and cry, or write, or draw, or pray quietly because it is our suffering.
But I’m done suffering quietly. It hurts too much and I’ve realized that I’m not strong enough to bring all the air back into the world.
Each day is a little better. We all process death differently. Some days have been good. Today is not one of those days. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and seeing how other couples process through this and I came across one of those sappy quotes that I hate to love: “…and to think, the first thing he saw when he opened his little eyes was the face of Jesus.” Reading that made me realize, the last thing our baby heard was the steady, beautiful beat of my wife’s heart.
Tonight my song is of those two realities. You’re welcome to sing along with me.