"Are you celebrating anything in particular tonight?"
It was such a simple question, but I could not find the right words to answer her. It felt like an eternity that I stared at her blankly, though I'm sure it was only a short breath. My mind was swirling.
"Why would she ask that? They never ask that! How does she define 'celebrate'? 'Commemorate', sure, but this is not really a 'celebration'. Why won't he answer? Would you call this a celebration, Babe? I guess we're kind of celebrating something. Kind of. But celebrations are happy. And I'm not."
"Just a date," I finally responded with a forced smile. I felt guilty, as if I had lied to our poor waitress. That dear girl had no idea what she was asking.
"Of course, she had to ask that tonight," I said to Nate after she took our drink orders. "I know," he responded.
We both stared at the table and subconsciously fingered our rings.
It was our first date in months. We both dressed up. We picked a nice restaurant. He even opened the door for me.
Special - that's the word for it! Not a "celebration", but it was a very special night. It was our Micah date.
A few weeks earlier Nate surprised me by ordering some new rings for both of us with our sweet baby's name engraved in them. "Our baby can't be in any of our family pictures," he said, "but at least this way Micah can be represented in them." What a beautiful, sweet, tangible way to honor our beloved baby whom we had lost.
We waited weeks for them to be finished, and as soon as he got the call we arranged for childcare and made the plans for our evening of honoring our precious Micah. We went to the jeweler and picked up our treasures and headed to dinner.
Our hearts were heavy as we put the rings on our fingers. We would so much rather have our baby's tiny fingers wrapped around our own than this cold metal. We would rather call our baby's name than read it etched in gold. As much as we love to see the ring and think about the sweetness of being Micah's parents, it pains us to feel the ring when we hold hands knowing it's merely a symbol of our baby because we can't hold our baby itself.
I want morning sickness more than a fancy dinner. I wish with all my heart I was still preparing for sleepless nights with a newborn. I would rather the maternal fear of what could happen to my child instead of grief over what has already taken place. I would rather have Micah than my ring.
But I treasure this ring. I treasure my husband's heart behind it. It's hard to look at it and "celebrate", but oh, how special it is to me.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
“Hi Abby, this is Becky from Dr. Melamed’s office. I am just calling to let you know that we got the results of your MRI and everything was completely normal. If you could just call me back and let me know that you got this message that would be great. Thank you so much! Bye bye!”
That lady’s sweet southern voice handed me some of the most welcome, relieving news. Fabulous! So my “weirdness”, as we had come to call it, wasn’t stemming from my brain, after all. I still didn’t know why I had been having shooting pains in my arms and legs, numbness, and tingling skin, but at least it’s not a brain tumor. So on that Monday morning we tried to put some pieces together – “Why have I had a migraine for five days – so bad I can’t lay my head on a pillow without squirming in pain? Why have I been throwing up for a week straight? Why did I almost pass out? Why is my heart racing?”
So we took the test. And it said “pregnant”. And I sat there, utterly shocked.
Because we hadn't figured out my “weirdness” yet, this is exactly what we were trying to avoid! "I still don’t know what's causing all these weird problems with my body, and now I’m pregnant? Are you kidding?!" I laughed that “total disbelief” kind of laugh. I stared blankly for a few minutes, shaking my head every now and then.
But then, the smiles came. The excitement swelled. We were having a fourth! A fourth! God is nuts! And awesome. And generous.
We recorded it on my phone when we told the boys. *gasp* “I hope it’s a girl! I really want it to be a girl,” Judah shouted while he danced on the bed. “A baby?” asked Desh, totally confused. “A new baby? Not Jordan any more?” “A whole new one!” I said. Oh, our family was overwhelmed with this totally unexpected joy.
For the next four weeks I threw up more times and in more places than I have in the rest of my life combined. I had headaches and nausea all through our move to a new house. Nate took care of his sick wife while finishing up his PhD work for the semester and the school year at work. It was crazy. And we were thrilled…
“What was the date of your last period?” she asked me again. I told her, again. She studied the screen. She was quiet. And I knew. “Well,” she finally said, “the date you’re telling me isn’t lining up with what I’m seeing here.” Either I was wrong on the date or this “isn’t going to be a successful pregnancy,” as she put it.
Not a “successful pregnancy” – i.e. my child, whom God had formed in my womb; whom, from the moment of conception, had all the DNA it would ever have; whose 6.5-week-old body was just beginning to develop a nose, ears, and mouth... My child had died.
My husband and I firmly believe that life begins at conception. The fact that it died before it even took a breath does not change the fact that it was a person. This was not “tissue” that needed to be removed, this was a human life, made in the image of God, and it was our fourth child.
It’s hard to explain to a 3 and 5-year-old that something is now dead that they never saw alive. And do they really know what “dead” means? All they know about death is that bugs can still twitch after they die and animated monsters and cheetahs die in movies. They’ve never witnessed the loss of human life. But Nate and I felt the sharp pain of loss. We grieved our child like we would our others. Was it our fourth son, or our first daughter?
We miss our baby whose toes we’ll never tickle, nose we’ll never wipe, voice we’ll never hear make a ridiculous knock knock joke. We’ll never watch him or her cry over hurt feelings, we’ll never witness a graduation or a basketball game, we’ll never dance all crazy to Disney songs or slowly at a wedding. We will never even see our baby with our eyes…not here, anyway. Our child was only alive on this earth for 32 days or so, but we know that “a person’s a person no matter how small,” and we loved that person with all our hearts.
So we named our sweet little precious one. Our fourth beloved child is called Micah: “Who is like God?”
It was not our plan to get pregnant when we did. It was not our plan for our baby to die after just 32 days of life. It’s never our plan to lose something precious and to experience the grief that follows. But in this life we will lose many things that are precious, and we will break over it. We will cry and we will mourn and we will feel the pangs of death because this world has been so broken. And we will likely never understand why a good God would create a life and allow it only 32 days. But God is good. Always, He is good. Nothing is beyond His control. His hands hold the entire world, and at the same time they catch our tears. He is near to the brokenhearted, and He is so, so faithful. Who is like God?
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counselor?
Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
We love you, Micah baby. Mommy and Daddy and your brothers can’t wait to hold you! Someday.
at 6:02 PM