Close to a year after marriage, David and I began growing our family biologically and through adoption. We wanted to begin an adoption first because of the time and attention we knew the process required. We had a “plan” for all of our children to be close in age. We dreamt of little feet running around the house and how their ages would give them a sibling bond — tying them close together for life.
We began trying to conceive a child at the end of August 2012 while starting the adoption process around the same time.
But just like our adoption timeline plans went unexpectedly, so did our plans for conception. We tried for exactly a year, and at the very beginning of August 2013, we found out I was pregnant! For so long I saw the words not pregnant on countless tests, so I was finally at the point where I had given up hope and shifted my focus to picking up our daughter. But this pregnancy test turned my world upside down.
A part of me was worried because we were supposed to be traveling to get Evelyn any day, and I couldn’t take malaria pills or risk contracting the disease if I was pregnant. But obviously, a much bigger part of me was thrilled. God had answered our prayers! I wanted to wait to share the news with family and friends because the focus had been on Evelyn, and I didn’t want to take away from the excitement of her joining our family. I planned to share the news after she was in our arms and safely back in the states.
We had plans to go to the lake with my family the following weekend, so I had asked David if I could at least share the news with my mom and dad. My mom had walked the whole journey with me, and I was excited to see the joy written across her face!
That same day filled with celebrating the gift of new life soon took a spiraling turn. The following morning after sharing the news with my parents, I woke up empty and aching from all that had transpired the terrible night before.
We had lost our baby.
I remember laying on my bed with my limbs curled up to rock myself into the comfort I longed for. My eyes stared blankly into the darkness while my heart begged for my husband to understand. Though I desired his support, my body was trying to mask the pain and trauma that had occurred to protect him from the damage. Lying there, I questioned what I did wrong, why it had to happen, and how to move forward.
I didn’t think I would ever heal from this loss.
But God helped push the healing process along when after a few days we were finally approved to travel and meet our daughter. This news masked the aching of my heart and bandaged it up for a short time — holding me together so I could meet the daughter I had watched grow the entire past year through monthly picture updates. My focus was now on Evelyn. However, each day the bandage holding me together became a little bit more unglued.
While I was in DR Congo for three months fighting to bring home my daughter, God encouraged me to grieve. He brought things to mind that I needed to work through. I decided to open up that chapter and read it again to re-live unwanted feelings and emotions. I preferred to shut the book on loss and put it in the back corner with the cobwebs, but I knew whether or not I opened this wound, it would remain there nonetheless.
God didn’t cause us to lose our baby, but He did bless us by allowing me to travel, stay by Evelyn’s side, and fight for her like I was not given the chance to do for our first baby.
I will always long for and ache for my angel baby, but I am thankful for the beauty in both my daughter and son’s journeys and all I have learned along the way.
For those of you who have made plans but experienced pain where you had anticipated joy, take heart in knowing that we serve a good God who is the Great Artist. Your mind forms an image of how the picture of your life should look, but only God sees the complete piece, and His artistic vision is more beautiful than you can imagine. Though this broken world paints a picture of darkness, God always offers His redemption. And one day, my family will be whole and complete — all together for the first time.