The ceiling tiles in the ER triage room needed cleaning. There was a cobweb dangling over me like a crib mobile. The ultrasound tech apologized for the warmth of the room, but I felt like I was frozen through as a tear slipped silently down my cheek. The ultrasound wand was heavy on my abdomen, as if it carried the full weight of my fear. Hours and hours filled those seconds while we waited. Instead of the relief that comes with the sudden rhythmic whirring of a heartbeat, there was only the silence of our hearts breaking.
The doctor confirmed we had miscarried.
Two days later, at my follow-up appointment, I found the farthest corner of the waiting room and wished I could sink right into the floor. The isolation didn’t shield me from the happy, rounded bellies and ultrasound photos full of hope and promise. My hands shook and my mouth was dry. I waited for an eternity before another ultrasound confirmed the absence of a heartbeat and I spoke with my doctor. Because it was still early in my pregnancy, she wanted to wait before making any final decisions about treatment. Just in case. We had been told there was no hope but now, suddenly, it seemed there was the smallest chance of a possibility.
Throughout my life, I have faced challenges that have tested my faith. Job losses, special needs diagnoses, health problems. But this? This felt much, much bigger. I had often wondered, when push came to shove, when it was more than I could bear, would my faith be strong enough to carry me through?
As I drove home, I began to sob. I pulled over to the side of the road and I cried out to the Lord to breathe life into our baby and to help this tiny one grow. He reminded me of what I had written in my journal just a week before: “Dear Baby, your heart beats for the glory of the Lord.”
I had a decision to make. In this most desperate of moments, would my faith be all talk? Or would it be the authentic courage I needed to trust God and glorify him even if our baby’s heart never beat?
This baby was God’s idea, His gift. As hard as it was to let go, and as brokenhearted as I felt, I had to mentally release this child back to God. This little life was in His hands all along. The only words I could get out were these:
“For this child I have prayed. No matter what happens, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
At that moment, a peace came over me that I cannot possibly explain.
One week later, we arrived for our final ultrasound. The tech quietly began the scan and then loudly gasped, “We have a heartbeat!” There, on the screen, was the most beautiful flickering I’d ever seen. Baby’s heart was beating steady and strong.
We are still in awe of God’s great mercy and the lessons he taught us through that week of desperate uncertainty. We learned to let go with both hands and trust God with everything in us. We know that things don’t always work out the way we hope.
A few weeks ago, we stood before our family and friends and dedicated Abigail Faith to the Lord. We can’t see the future, and we don’t know the plans God has for our baby girl, but we choose to trust the author of our stories.
For this child we prayed. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Ashley Doyle Pooser is a wife and a mom of three. She recently moved to Atlanta, where she’s trying her best to be a responsible adult but feels like she’s mostly flying by the seat of her pants. She blogs at ashleydoylepooser.com.
Photograph used with permission from, and copyright of, Michelle Lenger.