Sunday, January 20, 2013
Is His Grace Sufficient Enough for Me? Part I of III
I have a reoccurring nightmare. It’s so horrific, that I can’t even bare to go into detail with my own husband about the things my mind sees. I wake up with a ring of sweat around my hairline, and my heart and breathing rates are elevated to the point of panic. To say it takes me a while to get back to sleep is quite an understatement. The other night it robbed me of sleep and left me feeling completely emotionally spent before the day had even begun. I lay looking up at the layer of dust gathering on my ceiling fan and just prayed in my spirit, "God, what on earth am I supposed to do with this?" When I can't make sense of something, or need to work it out in my mind, I have to write. I was reading from the book "God's pursuit of Man" by A.W. Tozer a few weeks ago and he said it beautifully. "The only book that should ever be written is one that flows up from the heart, forced out by the inward pressure. When such a work has gestated within a man it is almost certain that it will be written….Whether or not the book ever reaches a wide public, still it has to be written if for no other reason than to relieve the unbearable burden on my heart.”
So, here it is…my thoughts on infant loss, what it taught me about abortion, and God’s grace. I hope you will hang on and read through to Part III, but I will understand if you can’t. It’s not a conversation that’s easy to walk into. It’s just that, the pressure in my heart is unbearable. If you can handle the deep waters with me, you’ll find a tranquil pool waiting at the end. I hope I’ll see you there friend.
In October of 2009, Ryan and I were 22 weeks pregnant with our third baby. Just two weeks earlier, we marveled at his frame in the ultrasound room, and when the technician said, “it’s a boy!” Jayden blurted out, “look mommy, it’s baby Jack!” How a three and a half year old managed to name our baby I still don’t know, but “baby Jack” stuck. After Abbey’s horrific delivery resulting in her disabilities, our pregnancy with Jayden was one filled with concern. When Jayden arrived safe and sound (and screaming his head off), my worries quieted. By the time number three came around, I was lighthearted and thrilled to deliver.
I had no idea that Abbey’s birth, and the grief that followed through the years as the severity of her disabilities became clear, was preparation for a deeper loss. The nightmares I had after her birth were nothing compared to the ones that would soon come. I knew something was wrong, I knew what was wrong…but I went in for my regular OB check up convinced that once I heard Jack’s heartbeat all my fears would subside, and I could finish rearranging Jayden’s room to make way for the baby. However, the confirmation that our dearly loved son was gone was so shocking, that I still shudder when I allow myself to go back to that moment.
We were given a day to prepare for delivery. I packed a small bag, my family came in from IN, and funeral arrangements were already being discussed before I ever even saw Jack’s face. His face…he had such a sweet face. I labored intensely for around fourteen hours, and with little effort at the end, he slipped from the intimacy of my body into the world he’d never know. The doctor delicately and tenderly examined him and showed us the problem with his umbilical cord. The only cries to be heard came from Ryan and I. I collapsed back onto the pillow and Ryan threw his body over mine. We sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed together.
When the nurse brought him to me swaddled in the familiar hospital receiver and handed him over, I had no idea what ounces would feel like. They felt like nothing. If you’ve held a baby, you know the initial weight that bears down on your arms. His physical weight was insignificant, but the sight of his sweet face surely was. His head was covered in peach fuzz, and his eyebrows were the same toe-head blond that his big brother had. He had tiny, tiny, everything. But, he was so big and full in my heart. So great was our love and sense of loss for this little baby boy who was meant to be even though he would never live outside my womb.
We named him Jackson Grant Drew, and he’s buried with his Great Great Grandfather. I still see children who were born when he should have been and tear up. He would have been turning three soon. I’d like to share more with you about our process of grief and making sense of it all in Parts II and III. For now, I’ll leave you with the only picture we have of him. It’s a treasured possession and window to my soul.