I found a website through a news story on TV about a young family who lost their baby at about 26 weeks, I think. (For those of you reading this, don't worry, I'm not panicking or showing any signs of losing our little girl.) Anyway, she's started a blog where she writes letters to her lost little girl. I read her story, her letters, and cried- for Briana Joy (Heather's little girl in heaven), for Abe and my first baby, and for countless others I've met who've lost pregnancies, infants, children at all ages or have yet to welcome a child into their womb or family.
In the past couple of days, I feel as though I've been riding the tide. Moving in and out, towards and away from some anchored shore- some sense of stability. I never realized how much of a control freak I am until I am utterly unable to control the things that are most important to me.
It seems like with every kick I feel in my belly, I get a rush towards the shoreline, and then every hour without a kick, a slow drift out to sea. Sometimes I am oblivious to this push and pull in my spirit and sometimes, like when I read something about infant loss, or watch A Baby Story, I'm acutely aware of the fragility of life.
I've been busy preparing to welcome a new life into this house, into our lives. And with all this preparation, the nursery and the registering, the many nightly bathroom breaks, and the doctor's appointments, I get closer to the shoreline. The problem is, and go with the metaphor, I'm swimming in a riptide- I have to swim parrallel to the shore, all the while I'm able to see it- the end in the sight, the soft little bundle of life that I will hold in my arms- I just can't go there yet. Which, in all honesty is good- I want her to stay in my belly as long as she needs to be fully developed. Still, the impatient, control freak in me, wants to ignore the lifeguard's warnings and swim for shore with all my might.
So, excuse the metaphor, I feel like God is that lifeguard for me right now, directing me in patience, holding my fears and uncertainties in His capable hand and guiding me along the shoreline until I can swim in. I still know the possibility of "no guarantees" but my pregnancy right now is a reality . The daughter inside me is a reality. No matter what now, I will get to meet her- to hold her, to see who she looks like, and see her little hands and feet. That is where I am right now: feeling her kicking, however uncomfortable it is, is the most awe-inspiring thing I've ever felt. I've been praying over the development of her little brain, body, and personality, and I love connecting with her this way- imagining her little nose, her eyes, whether she'll have hair or not, her cry, her personality (I've been praying for an easy-going spirit in her- Lord knows, with Abe and I as her parents, she's more likely to be stubborn and strong-willed). She's already loved beyond capacity. She is already my daughter. I can't wait to meet her. I can't wait to feel her in my arms. I can't wait to hear she's made it through my pregnancy okay. But, I need to wait, for her well-being and development. And if I love her that much already, I want the best for her which means swimming along the shoreline not quite making it to the beach just yet.
I have hope- great hope in the life Abe and I will live here on earth. God has been infinitely faithful to both of us; providing us with each other, a strong church family, family that are like friends and friends that are family, and most importantly by continuing to remind us that He's alongside us through all of this. He's knitting together our family as we wait- He's stitching a new character into our lives and I can't wait to see how she fits in with us.
There is no one else I'd rather go through this journey with than Abe. He's been wonderful. That seems like a very small word for a man who holds my heart in his hand with such tenderness and selflessness, that I'm constantly grateful for him. Losing our first little baby pulled the ties that hold us together ever tighter, renewed our bond as husband and wife, and focused us towards God with collective resolve. Now, it's as magical to see him place his hand on my belly and feel her move as it is to feel her myself. When he talks to her, something in me breaks- his silly voices, his jokes, the tenderness with which he already addresses his daughter just cracks my heart open. And what a beautiful broken heart that is- it's the acute realization of how vulnerable you really are; how much you've aligned your heart with another heart. My mom says that parenthood is so much worse- you think you know vulnerability now, just wait until you have a child- you never knew you could love something so much.
So, riding the tide is where I'll be for the next 3 months. It still seems really far away and yet frighteningly close. I will continue to pray for a fast and uncomplicated delivery, healthy mama and baby, increasingly deepened relationship for Abe and I, and the absence of fear.
And, I will listen to the Lifeguard- swim along the shoreline until the time is right to make a break for the beach. I know He's guiding me along in this journey and what better guide can I have than the maker of the seas.