Due Date

My due date is today. Not for Sweet Pea, but for Theodore.

There’s a mix of emotions of becoming pregnant soon after a loss. We’re excited for Sweet Pea and talk about her often. We don’t talk about Theodore because there isn’t much to be said. We hardly knew him–no baby kicks, no ultrasound photos, not even a hint of morning sickness. I know it’s easy for some people to assume that we have forgotten little Theodore, but I haven’t.

Tucked in our closet, there is a shoe box.

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There isn’t much in there–some sympathy cards, some articles and sermons about miscarriage, a photo of the pregnancy test, and a few little gifts given in Theodore’s memory. These are the things I have to show that he existed and that he was loved. Earlier this month my husband and I agreed to give a little bit of money to the local crisis pregnancy center in Theodore’s memory.

Even with his sister’s impending arrival, we haven’t forgotten Theodore. And, because life is often complicated and there are things we cannot begin to understand on this side of Heaven, I can celebrate the life of Sweet Pea that I currently carry while mourning the death of her brother.

“The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” (Job 2:21). Amen.


The Question

On Wednesday, Babykins and I made our weekly trip to the local coffee shop. We usually go during its quieter hours, so the employees know our names and enjoy watching Babykins toddle around the shop.

Babykins started getting restless before I finished my mug of coffee. I encouraged her to look at the flowers in the cooler (because the local coffee shop is also the local florist shop, obviously). As I pointed out the daffodils and tulips to Babykins, one of the employees suddenly asked, “Are you going to have more children?”

She meant no harm by her question. Some news doesn’t spread, even in a small town. How was she to know about the baby that I only knew existed for a few days before he was gone? And I’ve been asked many forms this question both before and after Babykins was born.

 

However, my typical answer of, “We hope to have more children someday” failed me on Wednesday. It was the phrasing of the employee’s question–my mind processed it as a “Yes” or “No” question.

Am I going to have more children? I don’t know. Statistically, I’m not any more likely to have another miscarriage than I was before last month. But statistics are just probabilities, not certainties. I can’t say that I will definitely have another child now that I have experienced first hand the fragility of life. What I want isn’t always what I get.

Am I going to have more children? Only God knows the answer to this, I’m done trying to predict the answer.

 


Theodore

I knew what was happening before we walked into the exam room. The multiple positive pregnancy tests the week before and the heavy bleeding over the weekend foretold that this appointment wouldn’t have a happy ending. Yet I cried as soon as the midwife said, “Miscarriage.”

At 6 weeks pregnant, there wasn’t any more that could be done. My body was clearly doing the work of clearing out the baby that had died and there wasn’t any risk to my physical health. The midwife did her best to explain how this might emotionally effect my husband and me, but she had other patients to see–Patients with big, round bellies and living babies. I know this because I saw them as I sadly sat in the waiting room.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. It strikes with very little warning. One moment a woman carries life, the next moment she carries death. There is no magic formula to prevent it from occurring, there is often nothing that can be done to stop it. And as common as miscarriage is, it’s an isolated grief.

My husband and I named our baby Theodore, which means “Gift of God” (obviously we have no idea if the baby was a boy, so the name will be Theodora if the baby was a girl). It reminds us to cling to the promise that children are a gift, even the children that we only know about for a few days before they are gone. Our pastor came Thursday to do a private memorial service for Theodore. He reminded us that God knew and loved our child before we did. He told us that as Christian parents, God heard our prayers for our baby and we can trust in His mercy. In God’s mercy we have hope that we’ll see Theodore in Heaven.

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
Psalm 139:13-16

God created Theodore, to God we entrust Theodore. “The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” (Job 2:21). Amen.