The One We Lost

I don’t say much about the one we lost. I was so young, and it happened so fast. Feeling the excitement and exhaustion of early pregnancy in one moment, then trying to comprehend loss the next. I knew only long enough to fall in love with that baby, and then in a flash, it was over. Cramping, bleeding, muscling my way through a workshop I had to teach that week. I remember waking up each morning in pain, slapping a smile on my face, and pretending my way through grief, only to collapse in a heap of hormones and tears at the end of the day as my body cleared away the life I had been so happy to cradle.

My sweet husband, older and wiser than me, held my hand, rubbed my back, told me it would be ok. He picked me up and carried me to bed when I was too ashamed and sad to get there myself. He tucked me in and sat there with me, knowing that only time would mend my heart, and time would go faster if I slept.

When the whole ordeal was finally over it was my birthday. 23 on the 23rd. I spent it laying on the sofa, sobbing at the loss of someone I never even met, wondering if I was doomed to repeat the horrible experience again. Because no little girl grows up playing with her dolls thinking her first pregnancy will end in miscarriage. There is something so sinister when a womb becomes a tomb.

After the miscarriage, we ended up back at the midwife’s clinic, where she reassured us that while sad, this was common, that it was not my fault, and predicted that we would be back in her office very soon, this time with a healthy baby. At first I doubted her. But she was old, many years into her career, and her instincts were sound. Not eight weeks later we sat looking at a tiny peanut of a baby, with a bright heartbeat of 155 bpm. It was my first, foggy glimpse of Crew.

Losing our first baby was the first time my heart broke. It shattered in a million pieces and at the time, I didn’t know that it would ever fully heal. But like our midwife, I am older now too, many years into my own career as a mother. I’ve since carried four healthy babies to term, paced my way through the unmedicated pangs of labor, and each time held that sweet reward at the end. And although my loss was real and part of me still feels that soft spot where the emotional scars have laid to rest the pain, it is only now, years later that I see that the gift of life was never mine to have. Only to borrow. Only to steward, to raise and nurture until the time the Creator asked for that life back. It’s His breath that fills our lungs. It’s His spirit that hems our flesh together.

Today the tiny one we lost rests in paradise, ahead of us in many respects. And I know that little one is eagerly awaiting the resurrection of their perfected body to come alive again on a renewed earth. What a beautiful moment it will be when I behold the face of the child I never met. When I see what has become of the one who has never known a life apart from eternal love. Isn’t that the best gift a mother could bestow on her baby? Isn’t that what we all want? To live fully and abundantly loved?

As I stay busy raising these beautiful blessings God has so bravely commissioned into my care, I still dream of the day I meet you, sweet baby. The day when I see your face, and hear your voice, and learn what became of the one we lost. Until then, may you shabbat in the everlasting shalom of the ultimate Midwife, the One who delivered you into a love more rich and deep than I ever could have given you myself.

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