Each of us has phases in our lives that we slowly grow in and out of, defined by moments that impact our actions, thoughts and beliefs. I believe that my current phase in life has been defined by one moment.
This moment occurred on July 2nd, 2007. I was 7 ½ half months pregnant and went into labor early. After waiting to be seen by a medical professional, the nurse said she could not find a heartbeat. To be sure she left the room to call doctor. In that moment, my father, the grandfather of Abigail, collapsed over me in tears and repeated “I’m sorry”. My husband had a look of scared confusion on his face, and I was simply trying to comprehend what exactly was happening. The two most important men in my life, normally pillars of strength, had been reduced to crippled, weak resemblances of themselves.
Second later two more doctors confirmed it. Our precious, much loved and awaited, healthy daughter had died in my womb. I was terrified and still so confused. Worse yet, I had no comprehension of the lasting and defining impact this moment would have on the rest of my life.
I gave birth in a back corner of the hospital, away from other, normal births producing normal, living children. It seemed so unfair and I could not understand why God punished us this way. When Abigail was born she was silent. We held her in a beautiful dress the nurse had put on her. We experienced intense, painful sorrow as we held our daughter, still and quiet. Even during these moments, I did not understand the finality of her death.
I am a mathematics teacher. I just could not make sense of it – the statistics did not add up. The numbers did not crunch. All logic failed. We had done everything right during the pregnancy to be as healthy as possible. We had planned and waited for the perfect moment in our lives to conceive her. The nursery was decorated, the dresses hung in the closet. The next logical step was for the cry of the baby after it is born, the late night feedings and diaper changes, the life of care and protection you dream of providing for your child.
Even now, several months after Abby’s death, I find myself vulnerable. At any moment, I am fully capable of falling to my knees in grief. I cannot imagine a day when this will not be true. Many say Abby is our angel. It does not provide us any relief to think she is in heaven or that “things will eventually work out for us”, as many people say.
Even now, as I carry our next child, the magic and excitement of creating life has been violently ripped away. I do not dream of the day our child will say his first word, the excitement of the first day of school, or the day he tells us he is in love and getting married. It is all a distant dream. That moment has defined me in so many ways. I am open to the possibility of what good may have come from this, and am waiting for God to reveal the significant reason for Abby’s stillbirth. I am still waiting, and pray that one day I will understand that reason. For now, it still hurts as badly as the day we learned of her death. I await the next defining moment in my life to help me overcome this one.
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