This is the saddest picture for me.
I was trying to do something cute that I saw on Pinterest:
But it never happened. I hardly took any pregnancy photos after I found out Lucy was at risk because I was scared I might lose her and the pictures would make me sad. If only I had known that I would lose her and I would wish I had more pictures of her in my belly. I didn’t know those were some of the only photos of her I would have.
Today I should be welcoming my first baby girl into the world and taking that third photo of me holding my new little girl. Instead, I am full of emptiness. It feels all wrong. Lucy had two different due dates. First, the doctors told us she was due July 7th and then as she started growing more and more and they started measuring, they realized she was very big, so they moved her due date up to July 2nd. I wish I could just pick one and decide to mourn her on that day, but I have no control over my sadness. Both July 7th and 2nd remind me of what and of who I’ve lost. I know I will cry for her on these dates for a long, long time, probably for the rest of my life. I also thought (and many people guessed) that maybe she would be a 4th of July baby. Now, that holiday will always be painful for me. As soon as the 4th of July stuff was put out in the stores I started asking Josh to go shopping for me more and more. The red, white and blue and the stars and stripes make me nauseated (not saying I don’t love America.) I do think I’m lucky that it’s not Christmas or a holiday that I really like that’s been ruined for me. I have been dreading July since the day I lost Lucy. It highlights my empty arms and my aching heart. All the women who were pregnant with me are having their babies. This week no one will be cooing over Lucy and holding her and passing her around. I won’t be healing from the wounds of childbirth. My wounds are much, much deeper and I know some of them will not be healed until I get to heaven.
After I gave birth to my two sons, one of my favorite parts was being wheeled out of the hospital in the wheelchair with my baby boy in my arms. It was so exciting to take him outside for the first time and tell him, “Look! This is the world.” All the people we passed on our way out to the car had nothing but delighted smiles and encouraging eyes. After I gave birth to Lucy, I was wheeled out of the hospital on a dark, rainy, cold day with nothing in my arms and a forever wound in my heart. People looked right past me, not knowing that I had just given birth to a new baby, my first daughter. The scars on my belly from the two times they went in for her blood transfusion healed, but the scar from the amniocentesis remains, even after all these months, and I treasure it. It’s a tiny physical scar that’s left on my body that reminds me of her. It is a small physical representation of the bleeding, gaping wound that was left on my heart when she died. I love seeing my tiny scar on my stomach. How sad it is that I sit here on her due date, treasuring a tiny scar on my stomach instead of my first baby girl, wrapped in a soft blanket in my arms.
These dates in July remind me of everything I’ve lost, my innocent belief that pregnancy ends with a baby in my arms, my love of babies, my love of pregnancy, my dream of a large family, my precious, beautiful daughter, my heart. But, if I spend so much time mourning what I have lost, shouldn’t I at least acknowledge the things I have gained? Lucy’s loss has been so terrible, but her leaving has also brought me many wonderful things. I know that Lucy’s death wasn’t God’s plan. He hates death and pain and sorrow. I know that Lucy died because we live in a fallen world, poisoned by our own sin. But, God knew Lucy would die and He is using it for good in my life and hopefully, in the lives of others. In some way, I think I dishonor Lucy and her God when I only acknowledge the wounds I have suffered and ignore the beautiful things I have gained.
I have gained a sympathy for people who are suffering that I never had before. I can empathize with people in pain, when before, I would have probably thought, “That’s sad” and just moved on. I know to ask people about their pain, even if it’s awkward, because they probably want to talk about it, and they want to know that people acknowledge their suffering.
I now see my two living children as miracles. Before, they were my sons, my loved ones, but I didn’t see what miracles they were. Before Lucy, I thought of my two boys as the first of many children to come. I now see them as my beautiful miracles; my treasured gifts from God. How blessed I am to have two sons here on earth with me. I think I am a better Mom now. I treasure every moment I have with my two boys and I am even able to brush off the hard times (and there are lots of hard times with a two year old and four year old) and I find myself thanking God in those moments. I never got to ween Lucy from her pacifier or teach her to share or potty train her or discipline her. Before Lucy, I dreaded doing these things, now I treasure them.
I have gained a longing for heaven that I never had before Lucy. Actually, before Lucy, I was scared of death and I dreaded it. Now, I see death as a beautiful relief of the pain of this world. I truly can’t wait. Heaven becomes so much more REAL when your daughter lives there. You know the excitement you feel when your baby is about to be born? It’s the day you’ve waited months for (possibly even years.) You finally get to meet that sweet little baby that will change your life forever; that person you would give your life for. That’s how I feel about going to heaven, but more. Not only do I get to meet my sweet daughter, I also get to meet our Creator, and I get to live without my pain. I never realized how much I feared death until after losing Lucy, and the burden was completely lifted. Lucy has given me a beautiful feeling of freedom from the death-chains of this world.
Before Lucy, I used to feel frustrated because I am not an evangelist. I don’t have a heart for evangelism like my parents do. They are so good at talking to people about God, sharing the gospel and caring for the lost people around them. They don’t care if it’s awkward or difficult. They invest their lives in other people. I prayed so many times for God to help me glorify Him with my life, to impact people for eternity. I felt inadequate and useless. Now, Lucy has given me a platform. My pastor once preached a sermon titled, “Your Misery is your Ministry” and I have found that to be true. God answered my prayers and has given me a chance to glorify Him with my life, to be a sweet aroma to Him. It’s weird, but right after Lucy died I had a lot of moments where I felt honored that God would trust me with this; that He found me worthy to suffer for Him, to make my life count and my Lucy’s life count.
Lucy has given me so much perspective on life. I can’t believe the ridiculous things I used to worry about before Lucy. I know now what is truly important. I know that this life is fleeting and will be gone in the blink of an eye. I know my days are numbered and I want to make them count. I know that my children are not really MINE. They are God’s and He is in control of what happens to them. He has loaned them to me for a while and has trusted me to raise them for Him. I know I cannot base my happiness in life on my children. I have learned who my true source of joy is.
My baby girl, how I wish I was welcoming you into the world today; showing you off to everyone and just now revealing your name; honoring my Mom with her Grandmother’s name, surprising her. How I wish I was breastfeeding you, nourishing you with life, with love; smothering you with kisses. I wish we were starting a lifetime together, but instead I am ticking away my lifetime, day by day, until I can meet you in heaven. I wish I was introducing you to your big brothers, telling them to be gentle with you, not to touch your face. I wish I was seeing your Daddy’s proud eyes as he held you for the first time. He wanted you so very much. I wish I could go on with my naive idea that this world is a comfortable place that has been kind to me and my family. But, I am also glad that I have seen the world for what it is, harsh, broken, in need of a Savior. I see now how urgent it was that He sacrificed His Son to save the world. What beautiful things you have taught me, my Lucy. You have allowed others to be comforted through your little life. You have given your big brothers and future siblings a better Mommy. You have saved your Mommy from a complacent life and a watered down relationship with God. I can’t wait to know you in heaven and be with you for eternity. Thank you for the things you have given me. I am so proud of you.
Praying for you today. So much of what you wrote is very familiar to me. I distinctly remember being at a swim meet last year, watching my two oldest kids swim. They are gifted in this area, and to see the power and strength of their physical bodies just left me in awe. It seemed miraculous that they were so healthy and alive. Strange how quickly one’s perspective can change.
My heart is so sad for you today. We all looked forward to meeting our sweet Lucy & although it’s not today we still get to some day! We’ll be praying for you this week. We all love and think about you constantly, Lucy Dair.
This is a sad day. I read this with tears. But it is true that Lucy has changed our lives for good. She has given us a closer walk with God and has made us more compassionate and wise. She is our gift and we will always be thankful for her.
It seems like you’re allowing this suffering to make you tender toward the people in your life instead of tough. Some days that’s just not an easy choice to make. I’ll be praying for you this holiday week. (Isn’t it interesting that ‘holiday’ is really ‘holy day?’)
Thinking and Loving you. My daughter, your cousin, are (were) expecting at the same time. Mary has not had her baby yet. Any day now. God Bless you and your family.
I’m prayerfully thinking about you and your family today. That was a beautiful post with so much wisdom and insight. You are an inspiration to me!!
These words are heartbreaking and beautiful, thank you for sharing about Lucy. I am praying for you.
Bethany, this post is so touching, it brought me to tears!!! It is so wonderful what you have learned through your sweet Lucy and God, lessons that have an eternal purpose! He knew that you were the perfect mother for her, and one day she will be yours to hold, for eternity. Praying for your peace this week sweet mama…
Your letter to Lucy is beautiful. She is blessed to have you as her mom. I totally agree with your feelings on longing for heaven in a way you never have before and on now realizing how hard this world really is. I feel have had those same thoughts and feelings. I have been praying for you extra and will continue to do so this week. Hang in there.
And by the way, I just have to say, whatever aunt of yours mentioned that her daughter was due at the same time as you and is to have the baby any day upset me! Does she not understand why that is a hurtful thing to say? People say the wrong things to me all the time too.
Found your blog through babycenter. Thank you for sharing, it brought me to tears. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet Lucy and the impact of her life. I lost my baby girl Cora Grace to Hydrops and T21 at 23 weeks on April 6th, 2013. I can relate to the wounds you talk about as well as to the precious blessings that can be gained from our babies’ short lives. It’s amazing how such a short life will leave ours changed forever.
Oh Bethany, what a beautiful testimony. I sit here weeping as I read your family’s story. Thank you for sharing. Our hearts are blessed and encouraged by your tenderness….