Evangeline was my fifth pregnancy, my beautiful rainbow following a miscarriage and gestational trophoblastic disease. I went to all of my prenatal appointments, plus a few extra, to make sure my baby was healthy and growing well. Everything pointed to a great pregnancy. At 14 weeks I had a 3D ultrasound and saw her sweet little body, already looking so much like a fully-formed baby. I remember looking at her, just itching to hold her and kiss her sweet cheeks. She was a sleepy little thing and didn’t move around too much.
Due to my history, I had purchased a fetal Doppler to listen for her heartbeat in between prenatal appointments. I was able to successfully hear her heart beating several times. Due to an anterior placenta, I never felt her moving and the Doppler was a welcome assurance that everything was ok. At exactly 16 weeks pregnant, I went to listen to her heart and could only find my own. I tried so many times to find her in there but couldn’t hear anything that could possibly pass as her heartbeat. I tried to brush away the mounting fear. Dopplers weren’t even that accurate anyway. I finally called my doctor who, despite her assumption that everything was fine, told me to come in for a check. I packed up my children and headed to the doctor’s office.
Even though the day was two years ago, I remember every minute of the next several hours with heartbreaking detail. I was wearing a purple sweater. The drive to the office was quick and full of sunshine. I parked in the space just to the left of the front door. The kids and I went into the room for a checkup. My youngest got distracted by the scales and it took a few extra minutes to get into the room. The nurse tried to find the baby’s heartbeat. She tried for a few minutes and again, the only heartbeat she could hear was mine. I tried so hard to hide how scared I was from my children. The nurse assured me that everything was probably fine and sent me across the street to the hospital for an ultrasound. I knew that something was wrong. I called my husband who left work and headed to the hospital. A friend came to get the kids.
I have gone through enough troubled pregnancies and had enough ultrasounds to know exactly what I am seeing on the screen when the images appear. My baby was there. She was just so still. Nothing was moving, not even her heart. I asked the ultrasound tech, “Her heart’s not beating, is it?” She just shook her head and said, “No sweetie, it isn’t.” Until that moment, I had held onto the desperate hope that she was okay in there. The screen in front of me dashed all of those hopes and I completely lost any composure and self-control that I had left. My husband came in at that moment and knew exactly what had happened.
It was a Friday and they couldn’t take her from me until the following week. I held my sweet baby all weekend, saying goodbye and trying to wrap my head around the fact that she would never live or grow on this earth. Aside from her burial, I would never get to make any plans for her.
“God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist.”Wisdom 1:13-14
The doctors weren’t able to discern what had caused Evangeline’s death. I didn’t speak with God for a long time after she died. He had taken her from me before she had a chance to make her mark on the world. I hated Him for what I thought He did. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this article, that I came across the verse above. It immediately shifted my perspective. I’m not angry at Him now; I’m still sad but I’m not angry.
The other day I heard someone explain the grief that a mother feels after a miscarriage. She said that, even though the sadness doesn’t ever leave, life places things in front of it and the grief isn’t right in front of you anymore. Sometimes the rest of life falls away and the grief knocks the wind out of me. Those days will always be there but, despite losing her, life is still bright and beautiful. I don’t blame God for taking her; I don’t feel that he stole her away from me anymore. I will always grieve the loss of the life that my baby could have had but I thank God for providing her with a warm and loving home for eternity.
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