There is no greater agony, than bearing an untold story inside you.
It has been six weeks since my last post. I sat at my dining table and wrote about those-we-have-not-yet-seen.html while I lovingly put a hand over my womb, carrying a new life that the world did not yet know about. That blog post was bittersweet, because it had rubbed raw the memories of the loss of our second baby. It was also healing to be able to feel the joy of a new baby inside me; this would be our fourth.
Two weeks after that Monday morning that I posted here, we went in for our first ultrasound.
Something wasn't right.
"Let's give it a week", the doctor said. "Maybe your dates are a bit off. Maybe you ovulated later than usual."
But I knew.
Three weeks and four scans later, it was over. On the cusp of the second trimester, our baby was dead.
On a frigid Friday morning, I lay motionless on a cold, hard operating table as medical staff milled around me. They were talking about the Nairobi winter, and the upcoming elections; they were laughing. And nobody noticed when I wiped a lone tear off my cheek.
It was my baby's funeral, and nobody cared. Why were they all so happy? Why wasn't anyone mourning?
I was alone. I was all alone, barefoot in a flimsy cotton gown, consumed by a grief so profound that it hurt to breathe.
The anaesthetist's masked face appeared in the periphery of my vision, "You're going to start to feel very sleepy."
I shut my eyes and felt strangely calmed by the darkness. This was it. My last waking moment before my baby left my body.
I was certain the room heard my heart break.
The only thing worse than having a miscarriage, is...well, it's having another one happen to you. It is not easier the second time around; it's absurd to even have to make that statement. Having death invade and rob your womb is as horrific as it sounds, every time it happens.
Still. There are things we did differently this time around, that made the grieving process smoother. I hope I can be coherent in communicating these differences. There's nothing organized about my post today. I don't have a structure planned out, I don't have multiple tabs open for research purposes...nothing. God help me.
I've debated for the last month about sharing all of this. I reached a conclusion sometime last week to write here at The Orchid Blooms, even as we're still swirling in this raging sea of grief. This is why.
Life, any life...is a miracle, and a celebration. That morning three months ago when we discovered we were going to have another child? It was one of the happiest of my life. We had come full circle. After Tito's traumatic preterm birth, after one year of postpartum depression, after the miscarriage, after Savannah's difficult pregnancy and subsequent preterm birth as well, after another year of severe depression to the point of suicide, after swearing I would never take myself back to that place, that I was never having another child...after ALL THAT, Almighty God had healed, and restored and redeemed it all, and I was crying tears of joy, praising Him for this gift of a fourth baby. Me. Wambui...a mom of four. It was too much for me to contemplate. I was SO HAPPY.
And so we shared our miracle with our nearest and dearest. It was right to do so. I refused to keep it a secret 'in case we lost it'. This is the one decision I am so glad we made. Because our baby was celebrated. There were screams and squeals and hugs and tears and laughter and such a pure joy over this life God had given to us in His beautiful grace.
The best part was having our church family in on the happiness. Bryan and I were attending a marriage course at the time, and we had fellow couples celebrate with us. I have a moms group I meet up with once a week, and I had them celebrate with me. And as a church family does, they prayed with us, and for us. It was unlike anything we had ever experienced before.
So when the unspeakable tragedy repeated itself, my knees had the freedom to buckle, my heart had the room to be faint, my tears had the space to fall...because those that loved us were there to hold me up, to be strong for me, and to dry my tears. We celebrate birthdays to acknowledge a person's life, and we mourn their death because it is a sad and unbearable thing. It shouldn't be different for the lives that only lived inside their mothers. They are still lives. So, to have so many people feel this pain with us, cry tears with us...it was incredibly strengthening.
One other thing was different this time around; we did not become angry.
Rather, God has walked us through enough suffering and in His mercy, taught us a submission to His Sovereignty. It wasn't automatic; we aren't robots. This death pushed us to the limits of our submission to God's will; and it was a battle within us to declare, "For your ways are not our ways Lord". Jesus never promised a pain free life. In fact, quite the opposite; He said that in this world we would see troubles. But we must take heart, for He has overcome the world. Only the Holy Spirit can make that clear to you...without Him, it sounds like madness.
So we haven't shaken our fists to the clouds; we haven't screamed into the darkness, "WHY??!".
He is God, and we are men. He owes us nothing. A right view of this hierarchy is fundamental to the grieving process. It's unlikely we shall ever get an understanding of all of this. I don't think God will ever tell us why. But the security and grace of His salvation, His great love for us...is enough. We have an eternity with the Living God, in a place where every tear shall be wiped away and we shall feel no pain, ever again.
Like I said, none of this has been easy. I continue to experience pregnancy symptoms as I wait for my body's hormones to normalize. My pregnancy tests are still positive. I'm still experiencing some morning sickness. I still have some very unwelcome acne, and backaches and fatigue. And all this, is it's own kind of torture: to feel pregnant when my pregnancy is long gone. But this is where we are, and we must walk through the valley.
I am changed. Some things, once broken can never quite be the same again. My heart has been one of them. The Wambui from before; she died. Nothing can be done about that. We can't snap our fingers and un-sadden me. This is it. This is life. Loss, changes you. Affliction is like raging waves slamming against rock, eroding, and reshaping the rock without mercy. But with Spurgeon I am now able to say, that I have learnt to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages; He is the Rock that does not move, does not erode, is not reshaped by anything. With David, I can confidently state, that it was good for me, that I was afflicted, that I might learn God's statutes. With Jeremiah, I have learnt that because God has caused me grief, He will now show me His compassion, according to His abundant love; for he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. There's a clarity of vision in the valley. There is a revelation of the glory of God underneath the wave that sweeps over you.
Strangely enough, my four years of suffering have crystallized my decision to put my faith in Christ. Inexplicably, the suffering and loss have brought me to a place of absolute certainty that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life; that He is the true God, the pearl of great price, one I wouldn't give up for anything.
I have seen the Lord. And He is beautiful.
What now? Well, I don't know. Life feels like it has been paused, and we're suspended in a fog. I don't move around much. I'm either buying groceries, or at home. The texts and emails from you are life-giving. I'm not replying much, and I haven't been picking calls on some days, because I'm simply not able to...but don't stop reaching out to me. I love your visits, and thank you for not making comments about the mess my house is in, LOL. Thanks for keeping it short and sweet because it is very difficult for me to remain engaged, I get drained very easily. Don't stop checking up on me. Keep at it for months, even a year from now. I need it.
To the other moms out there walking this valley, I'm sorry for the pain and grief. I'm at email@example.com if you need to decompress. We carried our babies for a time; and that is a privilege. There is no shame to loss. Do not be ashamed. Tell someone. Don't wait. Why wait until the pain has faded? What purpose would that serve, choosing to suffer alone? Allow yourself to be carried, to be held. Let others bear your burdens. We love one another for such a time as this.
Vumilia, roho yangu.
Majaribu ni kama moto,
Yanayochoma imani yangu,
Bwana Naomba unisaidie.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Now ain't that somethin'.
Christian, wife, mom, doctor, and an alien on earth, on my way to the city of God.