On July 8th, 2013 I was changed forever. I have experienced plenty of loss and pain in my 35 years but this was different. This pain was utterly and completely personal.
Numbness with a dash of Revelation
It was a day that started with excitement and joy. My husband was making the two hour trek into work. But I was going to the doctor for my 16 week check up to see how our little girl, Isabel Hope was incubating. Instead, after the normal pleasantries, I was notified after a Doppler and two ultrasounds that our little girl was gone. Fetal demise. Two words I never thought I would hear describing any of my children. The doctor was speaking but my ears were ringing. Gone. Gone. She’s gone. My Pa and Grandma Debbie met me at the doctor’s office. As I walked out of the office the wall of strength I had held up against the doctor’s words broke and so did I. The tears came. Grandma Debbie reached her arms around me. My parents arrived and their arms joined hers. Trying to siphon off the grief that had wound its way around my heart. My husband called and in between gasps I relayed to him what I knew. She had died two weeks before. Before we had even picked her name she was gone.
For two days I wavered between numbness and unrelenting grief. God I know this wasn’t your plan. How could this have happened? How? Why? Both questions I knew wouldn’t be answered sufficiently on this side of eternity. My husband stayed home the first day. We lay in bed just trying to muster the strength to get up and do something, anything. As I sobbed into my pillow I found a picture on my phone of our seven year old daughter, Grace, taken two days before during our Sunday morning church service. She was at the altar, her eyes were closed, her hands were raised. Experiencing the presence of God as only a child can. Beautiful. Immediately my thoughts shifted to Isabel. My little girl I will never see this side of glory. Glory. GLORY. The only thing she will ever know. “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8) No pain. No sickness. No disappointment. Straight from the comfort of my womb into the presence of God. And a part of my heart began to heal.
Thursday, I readied myself for another doctor appointment. Time for a game plan. I couldn’t bear to be stuck in this twisted, grief-filled holding pattern any longer. I prayed, “God, if this is going to happen. If there is no way of escaping this path. Please, I know it will be hard for my husband and me but I want to see her. I want at least one memory I can hold onto.” As I stood there. God spoke. Strong and clear. Straight down deep into my spirit. “The enemy didn’t do this for her. Isabel is safe with me. He cannot touch her here. He did this for you. To destroy your calling as a worship leader. To destroy your husband’s calling as a minister. To destroy your family. To crush your faith and the faith of your children. To make you doubt even my very existence. Make no mistake. He did this for you.”
My husband says that you can preach the whole Bible out of John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John10:10 NKJV) As I have heard my Grandma Debbie preach many times. Good God. Bad devil.
As I pondered those words from God my spirit rose up strong within me and I shouted to the enemy of my soul, “YOU ARE A FOOL! God didn’t do this. You did this! You did it and you will regret this day. I will not give up. I will not turn away!” I meant it with every fiber of my being. From that moment forward I have had sadness and even tears but that all-encompassing, paralyzing, hopeless grief is gone.
That night my prayer was answered. After being in labor all evening, I rushed into my bathroom where she was born. Palm sized and perfect. Everything visibly where it should be. Eyes, ears, lips, button nose, arms, legs, fingers and toes. I held her and we gazed at her. Taking a picture with our minds. Our one memory this side of heaven.
Where things got interesting
Apparently the enemy wasn’t content with stealing the earthly existence of my baby girl. He had fixed his gaze on me. After she was delivered I breathed a sigh of relief. That wasn’t so bad. As I lay in bed ready for some healing sleep, the hemorrhaging began. So much so I just sat in the bathroom going in and out of consciousness leaning against my husband who was my pillar of strength through the night. Why wasn’t the bleeding slowing? We called 911.
As they rushed…um…rushed may be the wrong word. It felt as if some senior citizens were out for a Sunday morning cruise along the waterfront. Anyway. As we reached the hospital the doctors looked me over. Apparently the placenta was stuck. It made it halfway out which kept the flood gates open. I felt as if I was fading away. I was desperately trying to hold on. They lowered my head and got my feet up in the air to get what blood I had left where it could do the most good. After what seemed like an eternity the Obstetrician on call arrived and was finally able to get the placenta free. After they slammed a unit of blood into me (that was the exact word they used since they had to get it in so fast) things started looking up. After a second unit it was looking even better. 36 hours later they released me to complete my recovery at home.
Two weeks later I met with the doctor who saved my life in the Emergency Room. He informed me how glad he was that I didn’t try and make the 40 minute trip to Olympia. In his words… I wouldn’t have lasted that long. Thank God for the urgency in the Holy Spirit we felt to get help when we did. I had no idea how close I came to eternity.
It has been four weeks and two days since that night and I can say with absolute certainty that God has kept me. “And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV) We know He did not cause this, but we know the He will use it for His glory and purpose.