He wasn’t moving or kicking. Not like I thought he should be at 20 weeks.
Maybe I didn’t know. But I was worried.
It was the ultrasound every mom fears.
And there will be parts of this story that are just too painful for words. Things my heart only can keep and not my writing. But he was gone. I remember saying to Derek, “He’s not there.”
It was like the horrible dream that was real. The piercing sadness.
And really all of that Monday morning was just pain. Driving home I only remember wanting to stop the car and run off on the side of the road and just cry, or scream.
The day at home was a mixture of trying to breathe, cleaning the kitchen, getting the kids milk, and weeping in bed. Hugging each other. Waiting for what would be next.
We talked to doctors on the phone and asked questions and really just hated it all.
Monday evening, we checked into Labor and Delivery. We waited in the hall, not wanting to enter the waiting room full of happy relatives who were there for different reasons than we were.
I had to focus. And we faced all the sad reversals. The same hospital where we delivered three healthy babies, the same labor and delivery hallway, the same waiting.
But God showed himself. In the timing of it all. In friends who just show up at the perfect moment. In giving us sleep. In caring nurses.
They tell you it can take two days.
So with puffy eyes, and aching heads we settled in.
The next morning. Labor began. Contractions began. Building in strength just like the sadness in our hearts. Previous contractions were pain with a beautiful gain these contractions were simply pain in loss. Not having any idea how long the labor would be, I opted for the relief of an epidural. But he came so quickly after that.
And really all there was to do was to cry.
And our nurse, LeeAnn. She held my hand and cried too. She didn’t just take care of us…she actually cared for us. She had a gift.
Medically, the best possible scenario…no complications. Emotionally…a total loss.
We wanted to see him. As hard as that was, it was a celebration of his life, a statement that he meant so much to us. His little, perfect features. But friends, he was gone. And the reality of that is as much wonderful as it is horrible. And the missing.
And surprisingly, the time in the hospital was both painful but also healing. To be cared for by a gentle nurse and a loving husband, to have time to weep, to almost hide away and be given time for sadness.
Leaving the hospital was perhaps the saddest of reversals. Derek getting the car. Me being wheeled out in a wheelchair, but not bringing him home with us, only a little blue box of keepsakes.
And this is just the story’s outline. Each moment was so laced with deep emotion and deep faith and deep sorrow. And it is only the story’s beginning. There will still be so much more missing. And one day I will meet my little Bear.
And for that great joy, I will wait.