Sometimes our story isn’t one we want to write. How did I get here? What happened? Just last week things were good. Can I consider them good now?
I put on mascara yesterday. Not today.
I sit here in a hospital room wondering if I’ll need more IV antibiotics. I wonder if they’ll let me go back to my life- but back to my life won’t be the normal I want it to be.
Over the past week I’ve had friends go to the house and hide all the baby things around. There was a red white and blue onesie I bought for my July baby sitting at the top of the stairs. Baby clothes I’d kept from the boys on my bed. A car seat a friend gave us in the garage. A trash bag of hand-me-down clothes I couldn’t wait to pour out and go through a friend gave me on Monday. And then Tuesday came.
On Tuesday we were just going to check on the heartbeat. I was 20 weeks, this would be a quick visit. I had felt him at 14 weeks so strongly. We saw him around that time for an ultrasound and he was so active. So cute. I remember whispering, "I love you buddy."
Then Tuesday came. I met a new midwife and was ready to ask about pregnancy insomnia lotion. I kept getting ads on instagram about it and since I was up for an hour the night before, maybe it would help. "I think your placenta is on top, let's go get a sonogram." Ok. No problem. It's amazing how we build up a shield of protection. We don't want to face reality sometimes.
The sweet ultrasound tech that did our 8 week scan and told me months before, "I love seeing their little lives this early" sat me down. She looked around; I saw a baby, she saw a baby, but we didn't hear a heartbeat.
Nothing prepares you for moments like these. I remember her saying, "oh honey I'm so sorry." I remember the midwife holding my hand, giving me time. I remember praying. Crying. Texting Benjamin to come with the boys. I remember wanting to know what happens next.
I'd often thought about how OB's and midwives go from appointment to appointment with varying emotions in each rooms. For all I know 10 minutes earlier they there hearing a strong heartbeat, and now they were sitting with me in deep grief.
The Sunday before we met Levi God gave us his name. I'd been praying and wondering why we didn't know his name when I felt like I knew the other boys so early. Knowing their names connects me with them and it's something I haven't been able to wait til birth to know. As we were leaving church two teens walked by us and Benjamin and I both heard the girl say, "Levi..." I repeated it and liked it. Benjamin agreed. We looked up the meaning and I figured, "ok, so he's joined with our family. Got it."
Levi in Hebrew means, "joined in harmony." Little did I know his sweet life was already in the arms of Jesus. Isaiah is a name I've wanted to incorporate with his for awhile. Isaiah means "God is salvation" and while I wanted to share on his birth that we hoped he would always share about God's great love, I now pray that his little life would point others to their true rescue, a saving relationship with Jesus.
The past week has been a blur. It took longer to deliver him than we expected. I ended up back in the hospital with an infection. I took the wrong dosage of antibiotic when I got home and got very sick, again. Today feels like day 2 of whatever this is. I understand it's a journey to healing, but I also know he'll always be with us. We'll always have a baby in heaven, the boys will always have a brother they haven't met. This isn't a road to "all better."
Grief is an interesting thing. Sometimes people say the exact thing you need to hear, and other times it just makes you mad. I was told yesterday that I knew Levi. But I didn't. I didn't know his laugh or his coo. I never saw his eyes look into mine while he nursed. I never got to rock him to sleep or see his brothers hold him. I didn't see him crawl towards the basement door or try to get into his brother's legos.
We didn't know him, but I trust that God always has.
Psalm 139: 13-16
"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
Levi's days were not as long as we would have wanted. We are left with a lot of wanting. What I know is that I have no other option than to trust God. God knew the days he would have. He knew all these days I've had, and He is with us.
Right now I'm sad. There's deep grief and yet there is also hope. I know someday I will see Levi again. I imagine instead of holding the shell of a body already with Jesus, a grown Levi will come running towards me when I get to heaven and he too will give me a big hug.
I know we live in a broken world and I know God will use all things. I know all those Bible verses I've read are preaching to me, the Holy Spirit is with me, and friends words are often balm to my soul.
I'm not really sure if this is the only post I'll write about Levi or if there will be more. There are a lot of questions I get asked recently and my answer often is, "I don't know." I'm living in the hour right now.
If you've prayed for us, thank you. I know we're not alone on this road and many have walked here before.