10.22.2007

Loss

I haven't blogged in a few weeks because I was pretty busy preparing for a two-week vacation to California. You know how it goes: there's mountains of laundry to be done, cleaning, and then the setting of the office in order so that things will (hopefully) go smoothly while I'm gone.

In the midst of trip preparations, we found out that I was pregnant. We were shocked and excited at the prospect of having a baby after so long (our son is 11 now, so we've not had "baby" on the brain for some time). We started thinking baby thoughts. We started looking at baby clothes. We started thinking about converting our guest room into a nursery. And when we got back from vacation, I was to have my first doctor visit. We were looking forward to that first sonogram and that first heartbeat.

We began our road trip without a hitch and arrived in San Diego on Thursday. I was looking forward to taking Punky around San Diego while David was in his conference. We planned our next few days in the car on the way out to California: one day we'd go to the zoo, one day we'd see downtown, and one day we'd go exotic car hunting in the fancy areas of town.

As soon as we got into the hotel room, though, I had just gotten settled when I noticed that I had started spotting slightly. I immediately began to panic: this didn't happen when I was pregnant with Punky. This can't be good. I called my mother-in-law and she eased my fears a bit. A little spotting is normal. Don't worry about it. I called my doctor in San Antonio, too, and they told me the same thing: Don't worry. Just take it easy, but as long as it doesn't progress, you're fine.

The next day, Punky and I took the train into downtown to look around. I tried to enjoy myself, but in the back of my mind, I was concerned. We walked around for half of the day, and when we returned to the hotel that afternoon, I was exhausted. I laid down for a bit, hoping it would help to be off my feet.

When I got up, though, I knew things weren't right. The spotting had progressed. I went outside to find David, who was waiting at the rental car for AAA — the van had a flat tire! — and told him that we needed to get to the hospital.

So we hired a cab, got to the hospital, and spent exactly 6 hours in the E.R. waiting for the doctor. They took blood, told me to come back in two days to take more blood so that they could compare the levels, told me that I was to be on bed rest, and sent me on my way. Oh, and the doctor said, "If you do miscarry, it will probably happen sometime next week, so you'll need to find another hospital in LA just in case that happens.

I spent all day Saturday in bed, and it was a very low day. Why had God brought us all the way to California for this? Why had we had such a surprise pregnancy — gotten pregnant on the pill, no less — for it to end in miscarriage? Why, when we had spent a year talking about this vacation, looking forward to it, and talking it up to Punky… and now, it seemed, all we were going to be able to do was sit in the hotel room and in hospitals, mourning? Why? My heart was broken.

I picked up my Bible and prayed through Psalm 139. It didn't help. It only made me cry more. I set my Bible in my lap and wept, flipping randomly through the Psalms, asking God for some help.

Then my eyes fell to Psalm 116.

" 1 I LOVE the Lord, because He has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications.

2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.

3 The cords and sorrows of death were around me, and the terrors of Sheol (the place of the dead) had laid hold of me; I suffered anguish and grief (trouble and sorrow).

4 Then called I upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I beseech You, save my life and deliver me!

5 Gracious is the Lord, and [rigidly] righteous; yes, our God is merciful.

6 The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He helped and saved me.

7 Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

8 For You have delivered my life from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling and falling."

I breathed it in. My self-pity began to vanish. Indeed, God has dealt bountifully with me. And then I read this:

"15 Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones)."

Reading this through the lens of Psalm 139 gave me a revelatory perspective on my situation. God saw what was happening to me at that moment. He was right there. He knew, and was grieving with me.

What a relief. I decided at that moment that I was going to trust Him, and whatever He allowed, I would choose to trust in His perfect sovereignty.

And as I gave it to Him and read the rest of the Psalm, I discovered how I needed to respond:

"17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call on the name of the Lord.

18 I will pay my vows to the Lord, yes, in the presence of all His people,

19 In the courts of the Lord's house–in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)"

I had been in bed all day. I made my choice: I got up, washed my face, got dressed, and went to the evening worship service at the National Youth Workers Convention with David. I knew that my going was symbolic act of trust. I went… and I paid my vows to the Lord in the presence of His people. I offered, through an abundance of tears, my sacrifices of thanksgiving to my God. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

The next evening we went to the hospital and found out that we had lost the baby.

And while it has filled me with sadness, while I grieve for my lost baby, I know that God has a plan. He is the author of life. I have to trust Him.

While I may never know the whys, I know the Who. And if nothing else, this was a fierce reminder to me that I cannot do anything apart from Him. I am His, He is God, and I am not.

At the conference on Sunday, Steven Iverson led us in Taize-style worship. We sang one line over and over again, and I wept as it penetrated my soul:

"Your way, Your will, Your heart… not mine, Sweet Light, not mine."

2 comments:

Mark Goodyear said...

We love you and Dave and little Dave. Thanks for sharing this.

Dawn said...

Sarah, I'm so sorry for your loss.

I'm doing some late night surfing and came across your blog via the "Chris Taylor" music link on my profile. I used to live in SA and attend Cibolo Creek Comm. Church about 6 years ago. I saw you & David perform at our church numerous times. I sang on the worship team for a few years there, too.

Anyway. I say all of that so that you don't think I'm some kind of freaky stalker. I'm just a fellow Jesus-follower with common interests.

My husband, also a youth minister, and I are set to attend NYWC in Atlanta in a few weeks. I can't wait. It'll be our fifth time. I can hardly wait to P & W with Tomlin & Crowder.

Anyway, I'd like to add your blog as a link on my own, if you don't mind, so I can check back occasionally. You're a great writer. Let me know if this is a problem for you.

May God bless you & your family. Dawn <><

 
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