As I lay on the table covered with mismatched linens and a paper barrier, my heart was beating out of my chest. The technician was chatty. I lay silent hoping my lack of response would quiet her speech. I only wanted to hear one thing – thump, thump, thump. Nothing. She left the room. Fear began to creep into my mind. Moments later she came back in, perky and chatty, and told me to get dressed and the doctor wanted to see me.
Braced with the fact that I knew something was not right but wanting to fight off fear I made my way to her office. I was immediately taken back into a room and within seconds she came in and spoke these words, “Your baby is dead.” No easing into it. I went completely ashen. She looked puzzled and said, “Didn’t they tell you when you had your sonogram?” And all I could do was muster up a nod indicating no. My mind shut down. The next memory I had was sitting in my driveway and trying to figure out how to get the car in the garage. I had no clue how to open the door. I called my husband and gave him the news and he asked if I wanted him to come home. I politely said no. I wanted to be alone. Then I just sat on the couch in our living room numbing out, with our two dogs on either side of me. When my husband came home my whole body was drenched from hours of tears.
Every thought passed through my mind. Why did I wait so long to have a child? Did I kill my baby because I slept on my stomach? I should have started to have children right after we got married. God, why did you take something from me that I had been waiting a lifetime for?
In the days, weeks, and months ahead, I suffered in silence. My best friend, my mother was in a battle of her own with Alzheimer’s. The only person who could tell me all the right words was lost in a world of not understanding. Living with guilt and shame kept me quiet from others in my circle, all mothers who successfully accomplished what I failed to do: give birth! I was so lost in my grief I was not able to help my husband walk through his. Another failure.
Fast forward two years. Pregnant again. A second chance. But again, hope died when I awoke to all of the symptoms indicating something had gone drastically wrong. While in the doctor’s office my worst nightmare was relived. “You are no longer pregnant.” But this time, there was a twist. My body did not respond well to miscarriage and my health was compromised. After a period of time, back in the doctor’s office I was delivered the final blow, “Ingrid, you will never be able to carry a child without medical intervention.”
There I sat holding the news that my dream of becoming a mother had died along with my two children. In that moment, I shut down. Autopilot is the best way to describe my existence in that season after the devastating news. Death and trauma seemed to be my constant companions. Loss after loss. Hope died in my heart as well.
God saw my journey. He saw my struggle and while I never questioned whether He was with me, I sure questioned what He was doing. “Why” became God’s first name in my conversation with Him.
Years later, in July 2011, God beckoned me to go away with Him, so off I went to retreat. Alone with God. Over a 72-hour period, God performed open heart surgery. He came in as only a Good Father can and took my pain. I remember I could breathe again. In a very poignant moment with very few words He spoke to my heart and said, “Ingrid, you don’t need to know why. ‘Why’ doesn’t matter. You need to know your children are with Me and everything is okay.” And after those few little words were spoken, my soul was at peace. I knew that His plan did not include my being a mother on this earth but it did include me being a mother for all eternity.
Upon returning from my time away, the first thing out of my darling husband’s mouth was “You look different.” And I did. I was transformed from the inside out.
Shortly after my encounter with the Lord I told Him I was okay with not knowing why but that I really wanted to see a picture of my children. I knew the first one was a girl, Chloe Grace. In His absolute, infinite love, He granted my wish. I saw a vision of two beautiful little blonde girls (only from the back, not their faces) in a field with our two beloved dogs. A mother knows her children. I immediately started crying tears of absolute delight. Later, my husband and I named our other daughter, Hope Clarisse.
I think about my girls every day and smile with delight knowing that one day we will embrace for the first time. I can almost feel those precious little arms and soft tender skin against mine. In the meantime, my precious mother and father-in-law have them entertained and firmly in their care. I have no doubt they are being told stories about their parents who love them and can’t wait to be reunited.
My journey has not been without pain. But, lovelies, we all experience pain in one form or another. It is what we do with the pain that determines our future. I want my girls to be proud I am their mother. Their memory is part of my passion for living my life fully surrendered and completely committed to finishing my race well.
When I stand before the Lord, I want to hear Him say, “Everything I gave you to do you accomplished well. Your life really mattered and let me show you how much!”
Who could ask for more?
What about your story? What pain point in your journey has held your heart captive?