It has been really difficult to go through this again, and I really covet your prayers as we face our fears. I know that the Lord is trustworthy and that I can believe in His goodness but it’s not easy. Yesterday I spent a long while crying on my closet floor as I processed the fact that I need to pull out my maternity clothes again. I think I am reliving things in a new way as I sort through the things I wore with Audrey, tucked away in a corner I haven’t really faced. I have the kind of memory that can smell perfume across the room and remember sitting next to my third grade piano teacher while pounding out a horrific version of the love theme from Romeo and Juliet. She said I was really good.
Turns out she was in love with my father (yes, we let her go shortly after gifts starting arriving for him…my mom was not about to eat the cake she sent). That was my last attempt at piano, and I assure you that the human race is better for it.
I remember little things people have said, the way hospital soap fills a room with anxiety, the exact expression Todd had on his face when he told me he loved me for the first time. It’s locked away in a little vault that opens with trigger points in my life.
Unfortunately, trigonometry, driving directions, and Spanish never made it into the vault.
I honestly feel like that’s one of the reasons I love to write so much. It can get all tangled out and if I can just get it on paper it unravels a little and helps me connect the dots. The hard part about that is that I can’t run from it when it’s right in front of me. I have to dig around in my closet, past the wedding dress, past the girl’s linen dresses, and into the corner I have not wanted to face. I opened a vacuum-sealed bag of maternity clothes yesterday and I could feel her again. I screamed at God because I wanted her back so badly I ached. Todd came and found me there, face-down in my pain, clothes spilled all around me.
“This is the sweater I was wearing when we found out. This is the shirt I almost returned because we got her diagnosis and I knew I wouldn’t ever be big enough to wear it. This is a nursing gown I never got to wear, this is the dress I bought for the photography session…”
They are just clothes, I know.
But they were a part of my life with her.
I needed to have a little meltdown. I’ve been moving along as if I could get through it without feeling this, and I can’t. I’m just not going to bother to try anymore because it isn’t going away. I really want you all to know that I have struggled in my walk recently. It isn’t that I don’t believe or trust in the Lord. I do. I just haven’t been as disciplined as I should be with my quiet times and spending time in the Word. It isn’t like me to retreat so much, and I finally realized yesterday that there was a part of me that just felt like going it alone because the last time He let me down.
Is it false thinking? Absolutely. No question satan wants me to be convinced that I am better off on my own, trusting that doctors and logic will sustain me. I confessed this to the Lord, and I confess it to you all. Many times I have shared about my spiritual life, urging you all to be disciplined and faithful, and I owe it to you to tell you that I have just not been there in the last several weeks.
Truthfully, I have not felt permission from the Lord to write on the blog because I knew there was a disconnect between what I wanted to say to you and what I felt. I know He wanted me to focus on Him, and sometimes that means stepping away to get my priorities in check. I don’t want a ministry if I’m being hypocritical or false. So, all that to say, I am working to get back in my groove…
I want to believe that this time is different, and I do feel a peace about everything. The night before my first appointment (I even switched doctors because it was so hard to think about going back to mine) I started letting my thoughts get away from me. I pictured the room, the gel, the screen. My heart was pounding and I pleaded with the Lord to give me a sign of hope. Lord, you don’t have to tell me the baby will be fine, and I don’t expect you to. But would you just let me know You are there? That you haven’t let go of me?
There was a time of great hope during my pregnancy with Audrey, when an ultrasound seemed to conflict with her diagnosis. A few weeks after we learned she wouldn’t survive we were surprised to see that many of her original diagnoses were not what they thought. That evening we went out to dinner for my nephew’s birthday and I photographed Kate asleep with a balloon in her hand. I posted the picture and said that when I saw her I knew that we were doing the same thing; against all odds, we were holding on to hope. I actually wrote about this event in my book because it was such a pivotal moment for me, and the picture of Kate is featured in that chapter. It was a symbol that the Lord used to remind me that He was with us and that we had permission to hope.
When the sweet technician did my scan a few weeks ago, she had the screen turned away from me. Todd could see it and he was trying to make out what was happening. We knew it might be a little early to see a heartbeat so I had prepared myself that we might not get that reassurance. Just after she started, she said “148 beats a minute!”
Oh, Jesus. Thank you. Thank you.
She continued to look at the screen while I looked at Todd. All of a sudden she giggled a little under her breath.
“Well I can’t say I’ve ever seen that before! That is so funny. Look at this, Angie.”
She started to turn the monitor as her words filled the gap in the room. She shook her head warmly and continued, having no idea how it would bless me.
“It looks like the baby is holding a balloon.”
I stared at her and then I took a look for myself and indeed, it was uncanny. I felt a peace come over me when I saw it because I knew He had done it for me. He hasn’t forgotten how much it hurt me and He knew I would understand Him. I felt my eyes get hot as I thanked Him for letting me sense Him so strongly in a moment I needed to believe He was there.
She repeated herself and I nodded.
He isn’t so big that He can’t find His way into an exam room. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I agreed with her.
“It does look like the baby is holding a balloon.”
I let out a 2 years-long sigh and finished the sentence in my head.
And so are we, Lord…
With love (and great hope),
(Also, you may have noticed I added a link on the left sidebar to Amazon.com, where my book is now available for pre-order. Isn’t the cover beautiful? They did a great job :))