For twenty-nine weeks I have dreaded today, prayed it would not come, asked God to blot it off the calendar. Twenty-nine weeks of white nights and numb days all pointing to this day–my due date for the baby who will never live in this home. When 12:30 am arrived and it became obvious sleep wasn’t coming soon I considered my options. I could listen to music: songs like “I Want You Here” by Plumb and “I Will Carry You” by Selah have helped put coherence to that wordless pain, while songs like “Worth it All” by Rita Springer and “Holding Onto You (So Faithful, So Kind)” by Rachel Culver have given perspective in a declaration of faith. I could reach for the battered, tear-stained journal that holds so many frantic scribbles from days and nights that grief and anger sought to destroy me. I could curl into a ball and soak my pillow in tears.
Instead, I got up and tiptoed into the next room, smoothed soft hair, pressed a kiss against a round cheek, and tucked a finger into a tiny hand that has led me so often from the brink of despair by its obstinate insistence that I live for someone other than myself. His little chest rose and fell in peaceful sleep as I curled onto the floor by his bed and fell asleep thanking God for leaving me this child.
Around 5:00 this morning, I awoke to grunts coming from my unwitting bedfellow while his little head edged its way off the bed. Quickly I righted him, only to discover his sheets and pajamas were soaked–the casualty of a diaper malfunction. I switched on a soft light and stripped him of the wet clothes and changed his diaper before wrapping his shivering body in a soft, warm blanket and depositing him on the floor beside me. You could almost see the thoughts dance across his face while I saw to his sheets–How did she hear me before I cried? and I’m so glad you’re here, Mommy!
The entire interlude lasted less than five minutes. I tucked him in tightly and made my way back to my own bed in the pre-dawn half-light. JD was still asleep and I knew our son does not have the vocabulary to discuss the morning’s events. He had no idea I had been beside him the whole time; he just knew that when he needed me, I was there. I felt the Spirit of The Lord speak to me then, a simple reminder that God is a better Father than I am a mother. I don’t have to cry out to Him today and wait for Him to come running; He has curled up beside me through every sleepless night and caught every brokenhearted tear in His bottle.
I still don’t understand why my daughter died–why this tiny grain of wheat had to be planted in the ground. Perhaps it has given me new perspective and new compassion for other mothers whose babies go into eternity before them. Perhaps it has given me greater authority in speaking out against the horror that is abortion, knowing firsthand how broken the sudden loss of pregnancy can leave a woman (although by no means was mine planned). Perhaps I’ll never know; but I thank God for a measure of grace to meet today and for mercies that are new every morning, for a diaper that exploded in the night and a little boy who has dedicated his entire morning to crawling into my lap and showering my face with kisses. These are little things, but they are enough to redeem the day.