I Am Shaken: Aimee’s Story

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“Aw, she’s sleeping.” “Wait, is there a heartbeat?” “Noooo, not again!” I uttered all this within about five seconds on December 22 as I lay in the ultrasound room, anxious to see the healthy, growing baby we had seen on screen three weeks earlier. She should have been 13 weeks, but her lifeless measurements showed her a small 11 weeks.

I have discovered these last two weeks that a 13-week loss is no easier than a 25-week loss. In fact, this has been harder, whether because of the timing, gestational age, or the circumstances surrounding the loss. I am not grieving as gracefully as I felt I did when we lost Baby Faith. I am shaken. I am angry. I am lonely. I am broken.

It doesn’t help that we found out just three days before Christmas. It doesn’t help that our kids then got sick, and so I was sequestered, caring for my three living children, taking no visitors. It doesn’t help that I needed my community, and outside of Facebook Messenger, I was feeling very alone with my thoughts. It doesn’t help that the holidays and closures slowed the whole process down, from scheduling appointments to delayed test results to announcing the loss so as not to disrupt Christmas for others. It doesn’t help that although my mama instincts said ‘girl’ from the very beginning, our baby was a nameless ‘it’ until after she was removed from my body and our genetic screening results finally came through. It doesn’t help that I carried this baby inside of me, knowing that there was no life left, for twelve days before the D&C. It doesn’t help that while the world outside carried on, celebrating the birth of our Savior, I mourned the loss of another baby.

I was just so angry! How could God give me this extra blessing that I so desperately wanted, such an unexpected gift, and then take it away? Why? I don’t understand. It seemed like such an unlikely pregnancy. I thought for sure He had great plans for this baby – plans that involved life. I don’t understand how this can fit into His Plan for good for our lives. Right now it just feels all bad. The God of the universe could raise Lazarus from the dead, but He didn’t let me keep my baby. My last baby. My Aimee Noel. Why? Our God is the Great Comforter, and yet I have felt so alone. I was isolated from my community for a week after learning she had died. Why did He have to throw croup on top of everything else? I did things right. I followed the pregnancy rules. I tried to take care of my body. I took my prescribed medicine. She was perfectly healthy three weeks earlier. What happened? And why?? I prayed so much for this child. I wanted this baby. My last journal entry was filled with desperate prayer. Why was she taken away? I know that God is full of mysteries. I know He can perform miracles. Where was my God?? I have been rooted in my faith, and yet I am shaken. I know He’s there. I know He loves me. But I don’t like Him very much right now. We remained faithful and leaned on Him with the job loss. With the timing of this baby. We believed it was all a God thing. Signs of new beginnings. So why did it end so soon? My faith was tested with the loss of Baby Faith, and I thought I passed. I grew from her loss. I witnessed the many blessings through the shadow of death. So why do I feel tested again? So soon? Why do I feel so broken?

And then there was a lesser anger directed toward my husband. Just because he grieves differently. Because men always grieve differently than women. And it made me feel so alone. Even though he is the best husband ever and has stood by my side from the time I sent the text saying, “No heartbeat.” He rushed to the doctor’s office that day to be with me. He has held me even when I wanted to run. He has listened to my heart when I’ve been able to find the words. It has been easier for me to release the grip of anger against the Hubby. I’m not so mad at him anymore. I accept that we grieve differently. This was a very personal loss for me, but I’m the one that carried our child, not him.

Anger may be a normal part of the grieving process, but it’s very uncomfortable. For me, it literally creates heart ache. Kathe Wunnenberg writes in Grieving the Child I Never Knew, “Conflicts between men, women, and God have existed since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. So why should you feel so uncomfortable about your anger? When restoration and peace occur in our walk with God, it is often after a floodgate release of anger.” I sure hope she’s right about that. You just witnessed my floodgate.

IMG_20180103_093956_671Just now, over two weeks after learning we wouldn’t be bringing our baby home, I am beginning to find glimpses of peace, if only a little bit at a time. Tuesday, the afternoon before surgery, as I busied myself with errands in town and chores around the house and farm, preparing for my mom’s visit and to be on prescribed rest for several days, a dear friend came to bring chicken and dumplings for our family (the best comfort food ever following surgery!). That short visit and a hug was the perfect pick-me-up. She also left a book for me to read, The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. My mom arrived later that evening. With Wednesday came the finality of not carrying our child anymore. Hubby and I have had a chance to talk – to really talk. Somewhere between all this, I have lost the edge off of my anger. I have accepted that I’m broken. Maybe that’s not a horrible place to be for a while.

“‘The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop, the sky breaks to give us the rain, the wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast. There was once even an alabaster jar that broke to give Him all the glory.’ … ‘Never be afraid of being a broken thing.’ … Maybe this is the way to freedom? I’ve got to remember to just keep breathing – keep believing.” – The Broken Way

I don’t know where to go next. My mind knows the things that can help – a gratitude journal, visiting friends, giving of myself, etc. – but my heart isn’t ready. Maybe I need time to feel sorry for myself. Maybe I need more time to really grieve. Maybe I’ll never feel whole again. Should I let this define me? I felt defined by my loss of Baby Faith and how much I grew through her. Will I be defined by Baby Aimee’s loss and how it has shaken me to the core? How do I move on and teach my children the love of God when I feel so hurt by Him? How do I teach them about enduring faithfulness when I feel so betrayed? How can I get grounded again when everything that’s supposed to bring me hope just reminds me of my hurt?

All the hope-filling things – songs, devotions, Scripture – remind me of what was supposed to happen, what could have happened, how I should respond, how I should be feeling through the pain; not this broken reality that I’m living. I know that eventually I have to want to get better. But I’m just not there yet. I’m still not ready to listen to The JoyFM all the time. Songs that used to bring me hope just make me mad now. Although now that Hubby knows about my anger he is gently nudging me in that direction, bless him. I’m continuing with my grief devotional, although I’ve read the pages so many times before and some of those make me mad too. But I’m also reading the new book I received, which right now seems to be what I need. I need new encouragement right now, not the same old stuff as I walk through this new journey.

Time. Grace. Love. I need all these. Can I be kind enough to grant myself these three simple gifts?

 

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13 thoughts on “I Am Shaken: Aimee’s Story

  1. Much love and prayers, my friend. I am in tears reading this. I cannot imagine what you are going through. I’m sorry I left facebook so abruptly. If you need to chat text me. ❤

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    • This loss has been hard for sure. Everything about it. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around any sort of understanding. I’m sure there will be a lot of writing in my future. It’s about the only way I can really process things.

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  2. I can’t begin to understand what you are going through, the closest I have been in having other friends go through this as well. There are no words to really comfort and online doesn’t seem to feel as genuine as I would want. The healing part of this is going to take time, I think you know that part. We just talked this last Sunday about suffering and the best thing I can tell you, God is with us in our suffering, He understands. While we don’t know why He allows things to happen, we do know He suffers with us and just as He suffers with us, He will get us through our suffering and hard times. I’m so very thankful you gave Godly friends who brought you food and reading to help you along. I pray you find comfort in your family, your friends, and most importantly God. Love you friend and I’m prayinf for you.

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    • Thanks for the prayers. My prayers are all mad and desperate right now, so I’ll take all the extras I can get. I know the anger won’t last forever, it just hurts. I too am so thankful to have friends who whole heartedly understand what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ.

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  3. Still thinking of you and praying for you. I am so sorry you are going through this and had such frustrating circumstances. I have been there, and it was devastating. Just keep reminding yourself of the goodness you have experienced because of God.

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    • I’m sorry you’ve been through it too. It’s such a horrible feeling. I’m waiting for the goodness to come from this. I do need to try to remember all the good prior to two weeks ago, when everything came undone.

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  4. Thank you for not being afraid to share your heart with us. Thank you for not hiding your grief. Thank you for being real and raw and honest. Your bravery and faith shines through your writing even though you don’t feel it right now. Thank you for ministering to us by sharing your real feelings. You are on my heart these days friend. Love you.

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    • Thanks for listening. It’s hard to organize my thoughts when we’re just talking, but writing let’s me get it all out. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, so maybe this raw, brutally honest post is a first step toward healing. Lots of love.

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  5. Rebekah-
    Being a man, I grasp that I cannot ‘understand’ what you are experiencing – and would never diminish the gravity of your difficult journey by offering shallow words or patronizing phrases. Jesus never does that. But – from my own hurts and losses – I would lovingly offer what I have found to be of succor.

    He does not try to trim the corners off deep personal grief. But He does quietly tell us ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’. Our anger at Him does not influence His love for us one bit. Nothing we can ever do – or say – or think – or feel will make Him love you any more – or any less – than He already does.

    He does not expect us to bear almost indescribable grief with a stoic stare-down of life’s immediate reality. But He does invite us to come unto Him when we labor at life and struggle with relationships, when we are heavy laden by loss and the inability to make sense of things. He promises to ‘give you rest’. Not a blissful willful ignoring of pain and emptiness – rather ‘rest’ for soul and mind and spirit.

    He does not demand that we bear loss as if we are immune to its effect; He does not raise His eyebrows at our need to cry out in real agony; He does not begrudge us our questioning of His will, nor count against us our feelings of abandonment. But He gently encourages us to – when we can – take His yoke – His presence – His eternal consistency upon us and to learn of – and from – Him.

    He also does not criticize us for our humanity – for He was fully human and fully divine. That we are made in God’s image means – in part – we bear the ability to love deeply; we suffer with the exquisite blessing of being able to love another life perhaps more than our own; and we carry the capacity of learning that all faith is fragile – else it is not faith, but a bound-to-fail artificial substitute. Strong faith is almost an oxymoron, for the ‘stronger’ is the ‘faith’, the less genuine is the material. Fine china plates are more fragile than plastic plates – but oh-so-much more beautiful and valuable. True, meaningful, resilient, encouraging, healing faith is not so strong as to blunt feeling and emotion; rather is it deep – deep enough to hold and carry us even to the depths of life’s greatest tragedy and loss. We are promised ‘ if I make my bed in Sheol – You are there – even there Your right hand shall hold me.

    There is no real comfort in life apart from the Grace of Christ. There is no real healing apart from the redemptive and compassionate words of eternal truth in Scripture, and there is no ‘getting over’ some losses – but there is life to be lived and blessings to be received and shared.

    You will see Baby Faith again – in the ‘fullness of time’. Until then, my prayer for you – my sincere hope for your spirit – is that you can claim each moment of your existence the greatest of all promises and the most enduring of all blessings: ‘Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.’ Nothing.

    Grace and Peace to you Rebekah as you make this lonely and terrible journey. Grace and Peace.
    -Tommy

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      • My father said, “One of my favorite Scripture passages is ‘it came to pass’. I am so thankful it did not come to stay.”
        There is much truth there for us all, especially when we are in the Valley of the Shadow.
        Please allow me to whisper to you, ‘You are held in the grip of Grace. He will not let you go.’
        Grace and Peace.
        Grace. and. Peace.

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  6. Pingback: When It Rains: Aimee’s Story | A Pastorale

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