Pregnancy After Loss: The Courage to Hope Again
I wrote this post a couple weeks ago. Time to finish it and hit publish.
I sit here with Levi's playlist on, a stretchy pair of pants over my round belly and bread baking in the oven. I'm trying to gather my thoughts and share what this pregnancy has been like and here I am, 37 weeks and still captured by the daily thought to sit down, lie on my side, and wait for him to kick.
When you lose a baby it's hard to know if you'll get pregnant again. Will you want to? Will your journey end there? If you do, will you experience loss again? I remember wanting to know all these answers very quickly after our loss. Though my husband didn't feel like holding Levi was the end of our journey, I knew his body hadn't gone through what mine just had, and I wasn't sure I could go on.
No one should have to give birth to a baby who isn't breathing. A delivery room that was quiet will remain some of the hardest memories for me. I wasn't sure what he would look like, what color he would be, and how big. I wanted a squirming chubby baby in my arms and what I experienced was a perfectly formed yet limp baby boy. A baby who came back with test results that nothing was wrong with him.
He was a baby who would cause me to lift my hands a little higher, cry out a little deeper, and in many ways, trust a whole lot more.
Why are the hard things the things that bring us closer to God? Sure, there are blessings in great days. There are births and weddings and a toddler's hugs. There are kisses goodnight and a tween who still wants to spend a lot of time with me. These are all things I'm so thankful for, and yet there's a depth they haven't brought my faith the way losing Levi has.
When I pray, "Lord I give you all things," it means more now. When we sing about God being good all the time, I know He is and yet I also know how hard those words are to sing. When we talk about heaven, I want to go there. When I think of this new baby, I realize how lightly I have to hold him. I realize what a gift life is like never before and I also trust a God who gives and takes away, who works in ways I don't understand and who is the author of life and finisher of my faith.
I have loved the professional care I've received from both midwives and my OB and I'll never forget when my OB told me how brave she thought I was. Brave? I hadn't thought about it like that.
My pregnancy with this baby has required a constant fighting off lies in my mind. The battle of the mind is one I haven't had the luxury to deny and I've had to daily remind myself that God had this baby. I didn't feel courageous or brave, far from it, but that's where God comes in. He gave me strength I most definitely didn't have on my own. He helped me be still, pray, and be re-assured by the kicks I felt from this new life. In His sweet personal way, the song "Heart in Hand" kept popping up on my playlists too. This song is what was playing when Levi was brought into the world and in the weeks before delivering this new life God kept playing it for me to remind me that my heart, and this baby's, are indeed in His hand too.
"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will surely help you; I will uphold you with My right hand of righteousness." Isaiah 41:10