2017 had barely begun and we lost our first child.
I know some times it is comforting to be objective and rationalize a miscarriage, especially early in pregnancy with terms like "blighted ovum" and statistics that its' "not uncommon with your first." But for me, I needed to know that this person we created was important, no matter how small or undeveloped.
We believe that life starts at conception and that a person is in the heart of God before time began. This sent me crawling to the Father. No one else would know our baby, but he does and I wanted some of his knowing.
We named our baby Ivy.
Ivy means "trusting."
Two weeks before the miscarriage I was talking with God and he was comforting me in some of my fears and I told him, "If something would happen to this baby and I start to miscarry, I'm not going to beg you to 'save' it or stop it from happening." I felt such a deep sense of trust. Trust that if something went wrong, miscarrying was the best most protective action. Trust that God was more than able to walk me through a loss as well as a birth.
I grew a lot in trusting God in the short time I was pregnant. The name Ivy was significant to us because of that. We decided, no matter the outcome, we would fully invest in this child. We dreamed about who they would be, we made plans, we talked names, birth and parenthood. We lived deeply in joy.
But trusting looks very different in the face of growing a life and all the new scary/exciting things that brings, than it does in a place of loss of life and the questions/unknowns that won't be answered.
In some ways it felt like our miscarriage flew in the face of my trust. I felt let down in so many areas I was trusting him: to keep my loved ones safe, to guide me, that he is bigger than my failings, that he had a future for me to hope in, to give good gifts beyond my wildest dreams.
I felt like a small child tearing into a birthday gift, only to have it snatched from me and told "you don't get to open that, it's not your birthday!"
Then I realized: I can't interpret trust through circumstances. If I look at all of this from my perspective, God doesn't look like a good Father. But if I start first with: "God is a good father," it turns circumstances around.
I remember asking him after the loss, "what does trust look like in the midst of this?" He is so gracious in slowly unraveling that.
Ivy is one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given. His intentions toward me are good and his dreams for me are more hope-filled than anything I could think up. My failings are obsolete in the light of the way he works in me. Nothing that could happen to me messes him up; he has no need for a plan B. He is a fierce protector; not even death can stop him from taking care of the ones he loves.
Being the oldest, I understand a lot about "first born" but I believe there is as much significance in "first-conceived." This child has gone before us, leads the way for our future children, has changed us and made us better people, better parents. What was meant for destruction has been manifested only for our good.
I wanted to take time to honor life (even short, unnoticed or unwanted ones)...
...to honor those who silently grieve-- you aren't alone, you won't go unheard!
...to encourage those in the process and in the waiting: there is a future to hope in, you are enough, and he's got your back.