It has now been 9 1/2 months since I lost Noah and 26 months since I first started TTC. In the meantime, I've watched so many others have their happily ever afters, which has poured salt in my wounds while I sit here still waiting for mine. I have been grieving the loss of the happily ever after that could have been mine, but was taken away. Don't get my wrong, the miracle of life is beautiful and a part of me is happy for all those that have become pregnant or had babies. And I am most certainly thankful that this isn't their journey and they have been spared this suffering. But, I am sad for me and that I am not pregnant like them. That I don't have a baby to hold like they do. Unfortunately, the miscarriage/stillbirth and infertility is my suffering, my reality.
Noah's name to Alex and I means that "God hears our cries." Embodied in the name is the reminder of the Biblical story of Noah and that God keeps His promises, which is why the rainbow is so especially meaningful for us. Alex and I both felt like through our Noah God was telling us that He hears our cries and will keep His promise to us; that He would give us a baby. I was so confident of that after I had Noah. So confident in my interpretation of what that promise was and the timing in which it would happen. And so, we embarked on our parallel journey through grief and trying to conceive after loss. I found comfort in God's promise and I had every expectation that it meant I would be pregnant soon. That I would be spared the heartache of having to go through the large milestones of Noah's loss because I would have the hope of a new pregnancy.
August 9, 2019 my 4th wedding anniversary and August 11, 2019 my brothers wedding came and went: still not pregnant. Should have been 28 weeks pregnant.
September 2019 my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary cruise came and went: still not pregnant. Should have been 32 weeks pregnant.
October 28, 2019 Noah's due date. Still not pregnant. Noah should have been in my arms.
December 25, 2019 Christmas Day: still not pregnant. Noah should have been celebrating his first Christmas with us.
January 1, 2020 New Year's Day: still not pregnant. Thought I would at least go into the New Year pregnant.
February 14, 2020 Valentine's Day and Alex and I's 7 year dating anniversary: still not pregnant.
February 22, 2020 the day I found out I was pregnant with Noah: still not pregnant.
March 3, 2020 9 month anniversary since losing Noah. 9 months is the amount of time a woman should carry a baby before giving birth. I have now been without Noah for that amount of time: still not pregnant.
Time has come and gone and with it my confidence in God's promise. I'm panicking as I see that I'm running out of months in 2020 to give birth my miracle baby. I've been through so many milestones where I thought I'd be pregnant by then. Yet, here I am with my womb still barren. I am frantic looking at my timeline and how God's plans aren't fitting in it. I now feel exactly how Sarah must have felt when she was told she would have a baby in her old age, but then waited another 25 years for the fulfillment of God's promise. It makes sense that she tried to take matters into her own hands and had Abraham sleep with her maidservant to give him offspring in an attempt to try to fulfill God's promise her way. Her lack of faith makes sense. She had a picture of how and when God would fulfill His promise. He wasn't fulfilling it when or how she expected Him to. My lack of faith makes sense because it has been so deeply rooted in how and when I thought God would fulfill His promise. How and when I thought He would answer my prayer. His plans have been confined by my own.
A while ago I was reading a devotional and in it was a quote that said, "And if not He is still good."
And if not, He is still GOOD.
That stuck out to me then, but it sticks out to me even more now. Lately, I've been thinking: what if I don't have a biological baby? What if God's promise to give me a child looks differently than I expected it would? What then? Do I still trust Him? Is He really still good?
Going through pregnancy loss and now through infertility has been by far the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. There have been so many days that I just want to give up. I grieve not only the loss of my precious babies, but I grieve the loss of the life I thought I would have. I sometimes shake my fist at God and shout, "Really? THIS is your plan? Your plan was to take my babies away and make my womb barren afterward?! Are your plans really good?! " I don't understand God's plans. But I am humbled after my candid conversations with God as I remember that I'm not God. I don't see even half of what He sees. How great though is God's grace for me in that He allows me to raise my voice and shake my fists at Him. He doesn't rebuke me. He doesn't shame me. He doesn't talk down to me and say "how dare you, mere human!" Instead, He patiently listens. He holds me. He graciously takes all the anger directed at Him and then He whispers, "I know, child. Trust me. I'm in control, just wait until you see what I have in store for you."
My faith has been duly tested through this journey. You see, I know the power of my God. I know that with one word He can calm the waters. With one word He can move mountains. He can heal the sick and raise the dead. So why didn't He save my babies? Why can't He open my womb to another? Why am I so unlucky to have been chosen for this journey when the majority of women can get pregnant and have a healthy baby with ease? I don't have the answers to any of those questions. I don't have the answers for why God allows me or anyone to experience this suffering or any suffering for that matter.
And yet as I walk through this journey, God has been opening my eyes and heart to see His true character and who He really is. He has shown me that He is not confined by my circumstances nor is He defined by them.
HE is good. HE is hope. HE is love. HE is a peacemaker. HE is a way-maker. HE is trustworthy. HE has endless grace. HE loves me - all of me - even the ugliest and darkest parts. HE is in control. HE is sovereign. HE is kind. HE is a comforter. HE hears. HE understands. HE answers prayer. HE is the beginning and the end. HE knows all and sees all. HE is a good Father. HE is a saviour. HE is with us, Emmanuel. HE is all powerful. HE is perfect, righteous. HE defeated death. HE can move mountains. HE is kind. HE is the only one who satisfies. HE is eternal life. HE is safety. HE is a defender. HE restores. HE makes beauty out of ashes. HE makes good out of even the deepest of suffering. HE gives purpose. HE relentlessly pursues me. HE leaves the 99 to save the 1; HE left the 99 to save ME.
And if not, He is still good.
I feel God has been placing that quote on my heart for a reason. To remind me, and all of you, that no matter what happens in this life He is still good. That in even the most painful and hopeless of situations He is still working in it and through it. That although it may not seem like it He is in control, His plans are good, He is trustworthy, He is hope, and He is enough. Because His goodness, His trustworthiness, is not rooted in my ability or inability to have a biological child. His goodness, His trustworthiness, is not defined nor confined by the circumstances of my life. His goodness, His trustworthiness, is not rooted in whether or not He answers my prayers the way I expected Him to. Not all stories end with a miracle; some stories end with God using a broken situation to impact others. Some stories end with God's character being illuminated through someone's persistent faith to trust Him even when prayers don't get answered and mountains don't get moved.
I heard this song the other day called "Even if" by MercyMe and the lyrics are so beautiful:
"I know You're able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand | But even if You don't my hope is You alone | I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt would all go away if You'd just say the word | But even if You don't my hope is You alone."
I ask myself this and I ask you the same question: do you trust Him? Do you really trust Him regardless of whether or not the mountain in your life gets moved? Despite whether or not He takes away the sorrow and hurt?
I pray that God works on my heart so that I can honestly answer "yes" to those questions. To be able to surrender my will fully to His, trusting and knowing deep within my soul that His plans for me are good. That I would place my plans and desires in His hands, knowing that His plans are far better than any plans I could have made for myself. That I can wholeheartedly say, "Your will be done" and "It is well with my soul" even before I see my mountain moved, before I experience breakthrough. That I can know that He is good regardless of how my life turns out and whether or not God answers my prayers the way I had expected Him to. This is my prayer for you too.
Even If by MeryMe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fA35Ved-Y