I like change; for the most part. I've always been pretty good with it in that I can easily go with the flow. I've simply chosen to enjoy life's unexpected turns rather than be upset that something didn't work out quite like I had planned. Now, don't ignore that I said, "for the most part". Because honestly, like all that is of this life on this earth, we all experience changes we never asked for, planned for, let alone thought to calculate a "possible reaction" for, because you hoped yourself the lucky one who could avoid being struck out in an open field during a lightning storm. Such unlikely circumstances, who would need to know how to feel about that anyway? Right? Well, the day eventually comes when maybe you were never struck beyond repair but maybe it was too close for comfort. Or maybe you were one of the unfortunate handful who were struck and now face feelings you never imagined feeling. Pain, confusion, whatever you weren't feeling 5 minutes before your reality was shaken. That's the kind of change I can't handle; Not well anyway. I suppose I have come to figure out how to stomach the inevitable. But that's just it, I have to chalk it up to "inevitable" before I can bring myself to really dealing with it.
Here's my story:
One day I woke up to a world filled with possibilites. Endless dreams were so close to becoming reality that I spent most of my time living 3 days ahead of myself in constant anticipation. Everyday before this day was a preparation for the future. And now that I was here I was comfortable, safe, and at peace. Anything and everything I wanted in life seemed to be at my feet and all was a glorious blessing. We didn't get here without some bruising though. All those gifts brought a lot of unforseen stress and being so young and new at marriage and impending motherhood, it all came with a lot of lessons learned the hard way on how to trust in God and love my husband better. But that was normal stuff with all this new responsibility. So still despite all the tiny bumps along the way the day that faced me now was no different than all the rest. It was even better. It was one day closer to the total arrival of every good gift.
But as I left the house that day I was told something...
Today, when you get in your car, you will have an accident. There's nothing you can do to change the outcome. It just has to be this way.
So I get into the car. I have to. I have no choice. I have to keep moving forward with life. I have to keep on with my day. I have no choice. So i'll get in the car. But why does it have to be this way? Why couldn't I have known sooner? Why me? Will it hurt? Will it be quick? What happens when it's all over? What am I supposed to feel? Is there anything I can do to make it different? better? less painful? If I drove slower could I postpone the inevitable? I guess not then. And so I drove... This is the best way I have found to describe all of my feelings on March 27th.
Exactly 2 weeks and 4 days ago I was told I was having twins (which we would later be told were likely identical twins) and that neither have heartbeats. They're gone. I started my day with grand dreams and ended it realizing those dreams had already been gone for nearly a week.
After Cody and I were told I remember thinking, "I had two?" I couldn't fathom that it was twins and processing it was constantly interrupted by the pain of their passing. I was driving a car headed towards an inevitable demise. All I could do was try to deal with all of the before and afters the best I could. My real demise was having to birth the babies because I was too far along for any other option. I had nothing preparing me for knowing they were gone but even less preparing me for watching them leave their home for the past 3 months; my womb. Nothing would prepare me to have to say goodbye forever to something I would be meeting for the first time. But it was all in fact happening one way or another and it was something I would have to face. Something I would have to figure out how to feel through. This was change I was not ready for.
There are words in the english language to describe pain but they are all very insufficient when describing what happened and how it felt. Devastating might be a light way to put it. I don't know. I was a mother to one, when it was actually two. I gave birth to twins, but I have no twins to show you. I can tell you about them, but I never really had a chance to know them but for 8 weeks while they quietly grew in my belly. We made it to a time where they should have been ok, but one had already been gone for about a week. I have baby clothes they won't fill and a stroller I won't push. I even started producing milk, such a normal process, after giving birth and yet I have no mouths to feed. What words do you use to describe that? I just don't know. A piece of my life was suddenly blotted out of every plan and every dream. No warning. So what do you do after?
The "afters" were worse than the "befores". It was confirmation I wasn't dreaming and that their diagnosis was correct and all the medicines did their jobs and now it was all over. I kept hoping it wouldn't work and that by some miracle the babies hearts would start to beat again. They would dash in and say, "Stop! We were wrong!" But it never happened and knowing it was all over now was a strange and painful sensation. Part of it was relief, I suppose. I didn't want to be in the hospital and my I.V. hurt. I wanted to keep my babies and go home. Eat real food and sleep in my bed. But all considering, I walked out with little pain and no surgeries. One could say I faired pretty well; physically. Emotionally my heart wasn't well. I was so disappointed. Giving birth to children no longer living, was the single hardest thing I have ever done in my life. They couldn't be saved and I had to let go.
I wanted to share this experience with you to be honest about the darkness I have felt and the pain we have been through. I also shared to be able to give you my testimony of God's work through it all.
Everyone handles grief differently. We were told that if we wanted to be angry, bitter or frustrated and confused with God that that was normal. We could grieve in seclusion if we needed to or in the company of friends. We had several tell us how they dealt with their same or similar situations. I found that I began sort of polling people's opinions more than taking them to heart. I was trying so hard to figure out how to feel minute to minute that I didn't have time to adopt any one method. So the night after we lost the babies I woke up and went to the bathroom to sit and pray. It was the first time I had been alone in 24 hours or more. It was peaceful but so lonely. For 8 weeks everywhere I went I had my babies with me. Now I was completely alone; in an earthly sense. Now I was entering into the presence of God and here is where I would decide how I would handle my grief. I told God how I didn't blame Him and i'm not mad. I understood, I was hurt and wished it didn't have to be this way but I understood. I asked for strength to never lose that mindset because I know the truth about God. He pursued me and rescued my life and raised me up new in Him. This is the same God holding my babies as I prayed and that is not a God who will ever recieve blame for this world's fallen state. I prayed that this would be a changing point for Cody and I. That this would transform our marriage and our love. That we would grow closer to God together and that we would be able to become more faithful followers from this trial. I prayed that we would not be consumed by this pain and when we would start to feel overwhelmed that we would remember the truth of where our children are and that they are whole and living in a perfect place that we so desperately wish to be. I thanked God for protecting my babies from pain and told Him that if He could grant me anything, that it would be to see, feel or hear glimpses of them from time to time. I walked away with a little more peace. Cody and I later talked and began to list every possible hurtful thing we could think of that we might say to each other out of anger or hurt regarding our situation and then we agreed to never say them or use them against each other. We would love each other despite what our grieving might look like in a moment and we would just try to be there for each other and understand. We would choose peace before anger and forgiveness before blame. We chose a road from the beginning that we knew would protect us and our marriage. God has worked in us in such an incredible way and has blessed this road we are tryig to pursue. We are stronger than we were before all of this. But only by God's power and mercy. Because of God we can still be thankful for what time we did have with the babies. Because of God we can still find joy in all of his blessings that He still pours forth. Because of God I can say that through all of this I have fallen more deeply in love and in appreciation for my sweet husband. I count on him in ways I hadn't before. Because of God's ways my relationship with God is stronger than ever.
The truth of the question, "Where is God when there is pain like this in the world," for me is this... He is right there with you. Holding you and hating that you have to feel this pain. This was not how He intended the world to be but it's how our sinfulness made it. And while we are here we will have trials but God gives us His peace. He is not against but for us. He knows pain as He too had to give up His beloved Son. He hears you cry and knows your heart. So for all of those reading who are feeling pain and confusion or hurt from lifes trials, do not lose hope! Turn to God, not away! Run to Him and let Him hold you. He loves you and hurts for you and He is our greatest comfort. He is healer and redeemer and never fail to believe that His ways are so far beyond our understanding that it is normal to ask, "God what on earth are you doing here?" Ask, pray, seek. In His perfect time He will answer you. And while you wait, He will restore you; give you patience and peace. Your faithfulness will be rewarded. Will it be easy? No. Will you slip in and out of darkness? Yeah. So everytime it happens shout His name and pray for His helping hand to pull you back up again. We will still need Him, He wants us to keep needing Him. We will never be so strong that we come to a point of not needing Him and that's part because we were never created to NOT need Him. If you feel empty and helpless, that's perfect and just where you need to be to let God help you start over. I say all of this because I am here now. I have felt it and I am trying to make it through with these truths in hand. I just want to encourage anyone in a similar place and if you were looking for another option of dealing with your grief, this is the one I found has saved me from falling completely away or apart.
I'm no hero of course and feel so unworthy of being anything inspiring. I'm weaker now in alot of way than I once was. I don't like to be alone. Sometimes no matter how hard I try despite what is going on around me, I have to excuse myself to cry for a bit. I've even taken naps with the blankets the hospital gave us for the babies. Holding their box of ashes makes me feel like I still have them with me. Once I laid with it on my stomach, because I just needed them to be there again. I am weaker than I was before. So I say don't be inspired by me. But be inspired by a God of great goodness. He is who we must draw ourselves towards not push away from. Don't run, He loves you so much. That is a truth that will save your life whatever your trial, if you just chose to embrace it. I pray you do. And when you fall, embrace it again and you'll be lifted up.
I know one day He will bless me again with another little life in my belly. And even if His plans look different, I have two little angels waiting for me in eternity. That is a welcome I so very much long for. Heaven is a change I am very prepared for.