(This a long, hard, sometimes graphic post about miscarriage. Consider prayerfully before reading).
His name is Cormac Ryan, and he is with Jesus.
Soon after our return from our trip to California, I decided to take a little test. Similar to my pregnancy with Little N, I had no definite symptoms, and so merely thought my body was being cranky. Little N followed me into the bathroom, and while I waited for the test, I took her hands in mine and we prayed, telling the Lord that we trusted Him with our family, and that if it was His will to bless us with another baby, that we would trust in His care and provision, that we would humbly accept His gift. And would He please give Mommy supernatural peace about it. 😉
I can still feel the adrenaline that shot me through when I saw those two dark lines. With tears in my eyes, I gave Little N a hug, and said, “You’re a big sister! Can you say ‘sister’?” She scrunched her nose and said, “Sissah?”
It was a beautiful moment. I called my OB’s office and they put me at 6 weeks pregnant. 6 weeks?? I couldn’t believe I was that far along. The nurse scheduled an 8 week ultrasound for me and told me “Congratulations!”. That word glowed in my ears all day.
The next two weeks passed as slow as Christmas while we waited for our appointment. We told our immediate family and some of our closest friends and confidants. The joy was tangible. ‘How wonderful that they’ll be so close in age’. ‘Little N will be such a good sister’. “It will be great to see their sibling relationship as they grow”. We were happy. I felt great, albeit nauseous unless I ate ALL.THE.TIME. I dreamed of newborn squishyness and snuggles. I dreamt of a baby boy, and caught myself multiple times thinking of this baby as a boy without even realizing it. Our joy grew.
We arrived for our appointment with excitement. I never experienced the early appointments with Little N, as I didn’t have insurance with her until 20 weeks, so I looked forward to seeing a little wiggly bean on the screen.
After a round of questions, the ultrasound began. Right away, I sensed something wasn’t quite right. The baby was small, too small, measuring only 6 weeks, 5 days. The ultrasound tech searched in vain for a heartbeat, while my heart in the meantime sank through my toes to the floor and disappeared. The tech quietly told us, with great compassion, that these signs typically indicate a miscarriage.
However, they wanted to be 150% sure, so they scheduled us for a return ultrasound 4 days later, to be certain that no more growth was measured and that the heartbeat didn’t show up, as it always shows up somewhere in the 6th week.
Those 4 days were hard. Ry had great faith that God could restore our baby to us, and he encouraged me to have that faith too. I admit – I struggled. I wrestled with God. I prayed, “You could receive so much glory if that heartbeat shows up, because in many ways, it would be miraculous. The tech would know, the nurses and doctors would know, so many people would know of Your mighty hand and Your miraculous saving power. But WHAT kind of glory could You receive from a miscarriage?” It just didn’t compute. I couldn’t understand.
And God gently interrupted my tirade. His answer was quiet and sure:
“Emily, the glory I receive will come from your response to it. If, in your anguish, you fall towards Me instead of away, if you let me be a Father and a Comforter to you, if you let Me enter into your suffering, if you continue to trust Me – I am greatly glorified in this.”
Easier said than done, of course. But His words surrounded me that horrible Friday when it was confirmed that our baby was gone. The tech, still so full of grace, told me everything she was seeing, both the good (your body looks completely healthy, i.e. this was not your body’s fault) and the bad (the yolk sac is double the size it should be, which indicates a chromosomal issue).
She took a picture of our little bean for us (baby on the left, enlarged yolk sac on the right).
My OB agreed with our plan to miscarry naturally, rather than via surgery or induced with pills.
This was the worst wait of all – waiting for a known, sad outcome to happen. After 5 days of waiting, I was almost ready to call and ask for the inducing pills. But on the 7th day, I began to cramp, and by the 8th day, just over one week ago, my body completed the process.
I am in many ways so grateful that my body did what God made it to do, but goodness, natural miscarriage is not for wimps. Many times, I thought I was dying. And beyond the physical pain, I struggled emotionally, asking myself questions that seem to never be talked about, never brought up, the biggest one being “How can I flush my baby away?”
God was incredibly, incredibly merciful to us, to me. After using the restroom and in the process of cleaning up, I caught the sac that held my baby as it came out. There were no discernible features, but we knew it was our baby, our son. I wept and shook while Ryan held me and I held my baby in my hands for the first and last time this side of heaven.
We buried our sweet one underneath some flowers that will bloom every year in January (when baby was due), and I have such deep peace in my heart knowing I’ll see my son’s flowers every year.
The last week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster – I catch myself getting snippy or withdrawn and I am continually reminded that I am grieving, that I need to give myself the space and permission to grieve, that I need to let Little N see that I’m sad, and that I take my sadness to Jesus. I pray she will learn by our example that Jesus is a safe place to go to with sadness, and that He is the best place to go with grief. She will grow up knowing about Cormac, her little brother, our little boy. Little N has been a beam of joy and sunshine these past few weeks. She has often made me smile when not much else will.
This has been very hard to write. I have debated for days whether or not to write this post, and even now I hesitate over the ‘publish’ button. But Cormac existed – he lives – and I want others to know of him. He has taught me so much and God has already grown me so much through this experience. There is a little boy in heaven that I get to hug one day, and I am beyond proud that he’s mine.
The lesson I cling to now is this: God never takes away and leaves the torn space empty. He gives and He gives and He gives. Even when, in His severe mercy, He takes something precious away, He is right there continuing to give. He pours out of Himself love and comfort and restoration so that, after the fire of loss has dwindled to the ache of charred earth, new life may yet push through and redeem the land, redeem the loss. He never, ever stops giving.
The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
“His righteous acts will be told to the unborn. They will hear about everything He has done” – Ps. 22:31
“My heart may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever. Those who desert Him will perish, for You destroy those who abandon You. But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.” – Ps. 73:26-28