Nothing Left but Everything : A Recovering from Stillbirth Story

Early morning, on March 24, 2004, I asked God to take me. I had had enough.

I was lying in a Boston hospital bed. My exhausted husband sat in a chair by my side, finally catching a few moments of sleep after a long and emotionally crippling night.

We’d arrived at the hospital the evening before, shortly before 8 o’clock, for what we’d figured would be just a quick-check-to-make-sure-everything-was-okay. I was 5 months pregnant, on bed rest, and I’d felt gentle back pains for a while that afternoon. I’d thought nothing of it really, but figured that going in to be sure was our best bet.

The twist that night took cut me to the core. I’m so sorry, the doc said as she finished her exam. You’re 10 centimeters. With that, a voice came up and out of me like I’d never known. Despair. After years of trying to conceive, surely this was not the cruel way our first children would enter the world. No. No. No. No. No.

I pushed and delivered two tiny but perfectly formed baby girls. One already gone. One seconds away from it. Our children had been born and died in the same hour.

I had suffered the tragedy of stillbirth, and I wanted to know why.

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My heart was so shattered I couldn’t bear it. It felt easier to die, and so I wished—while my husband slept by my side—that that would be so. But of course your heart never gives out when you want it to. It continues to beat despite its brokenness, and through God’s grace, you persevere. But why?

I questioned that for years, and in the meantime, He sent pieces of joy to sustain me.

The first full day after I got home, I woke up and stood beside my bedroom window. Looking down into our flower garden, I spotted the most persistent little rodent: a squirrel who worked his way diligently up a stronger-than-usual tulip stem to have breakfast. You should have seen that little guy hold on. Yes, he was taking the head right off one of my gorgeous flowers, but something in his spirit made me smile, even if that little act felt so painful.

But why?

I had a husband who held my hand through the whole mess of starting over. A guy who found the strength among his own heartbreak to make me laugh and bring me joy. I came home from errands on the day before I was to start back at work after my “maternity” leave to find a new wardrobe for the occasion. God’s grace through my very loving man.

And of course, just over two years later, He sent me a son. The greatest gift.

But through it all, I struggled with and kept questioning why that had happened. What had I not learned in my lifetime that I needed to bear that cross, too. How had I personally grown from that experience?

And finally—just recently—I got the answer I’ve been hoping for. It’s so beautifully put by author Joanna Weaver in her book, “Having a Mary Heart in A Martha World”:

“God wraps up my good with your good and the good of both of us with the good of others. The plot lines of our individual stories weave together to form his master plan. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is left out.”

So this year, as I reach the 7-year-mark of my journey of faith, I celebrate a very long but fruitful healing process. I feel alive. This day no longer torments me or makes me feel as though I’ve been punished. I can now think of what happened and not have my heart crumble.

I feel blessed and honored to have known those two precious beings. Happy that I was chosen to carry them for their brief stay.

And I can say now, without one doubt, that that event had purpose: however He chooses to weave it together for the greater good is fine by me.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing that; it’s incredibly beautiful and moving. ((()))

  2. This is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. You always seem to do that, I have to stop reading your blog at work. You are an amazing and strong woman, Michelle. Don’t ever forget it. Love you!

  3. You always amaze me with your perspective on life . . . your writing draws the reader in. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Robin Steele says:

    Thank you for sharing this with all of us. You are such a beautiful writer. I am glad you have finally found peace and that just shows how strong you are. You will never forget your experience, but at least now you can remember your 2 little girls without it breaking you!

  5. As ever, a story demonstrating just what a pillar of strength you are. Hugs to you, Michelle. I miss you!

  6. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine the pain you went through, go through, missing your beautiful little girls.

  7. He put you here for the greater good. Another incredible and eye-opening read. Love you Michelle. xox

  8. This is beautiful. thank you for the gift of sharing your pain and your journey. Writing is sharing is healing… and as you so wonderfully shared, our individual stories weave together..i’m so glad, for the last few years, to be woven into yours.

  9. Michelle, Every time that I read your posts you make me want to be a better person. Your optimism and appreciation for everything in life is truly inspiring…thank you.

  10. Thank you all for your beautiful words. Kelly, I think that’s the greatest compliment someone could ever receive. Thank YOU! xo

  11. You are such a believer-I hope to someday have a your sense of the “greater purpose” Thank you for sharing this-I am not sure how I missed it last March. Much healing and positive energy coming your way.

  12. So beautiful…and definitely a crystal clear view of the bigger picture.

    Stopped by from SITS today.

  13. I have often viewed life as though it was a woven tapestry. It is difficult to see the picture before all the weaving has been completed. There are some things in my life that I still don’t understand but at the same time, I know God’s mercy is behind all of it. Beautiful post.

  14. Thank you for sharing something so personal and inspiring, brave lady.

  15. You have a beautiful perspective and a mighty faith. May God continue to bless you as you have blessed me this morning!

  16. beautiful and goose-bump producing. What a tender look at how God can (and does) bring healing and wholeness. Thank you for sharing!

    Enjoy your SITS day! 🙂

  17. You are amazing. I was meant to find you today and this post. For your great perspective for the reminders that all the things that feel sometimes like we can’t make sense of it all, that indeed our experiences are part of a greater purpose. I am so happy it was your SiTS Day, This post broke my heart and went to the core of my own fears so i am not sure i can really tell you how happy I am for you that you seem like you have peace. I am so happy that you have an amazing husband and “the boy” I wish you many more blessings.

  18. I’m so sorry for the loss of your two girls. Thank you for sharing something so personal – I’m sure it is helpful to other readers who are going through something similar.

    Happy SITS Day!

  19. You leave me speechless with your vulnerability, your love and your faith.

  20. Your faith is truly inspiring.

    This is a beautifully written post and a wonderful way to honor those 2 little girls.

    Thank you so much.

  21. Great summary of 2 Cor 1:4! Maybe it will help others heal too.

  22. So sorry for your loss but like you said, He has a plan much better than ours. Rest in His love. I admire your faith and courage. be strong!

  23. Aloha,

    Thank you for sharing your story here. I did not expect your pain and was equally taken aback by the inspiration I have gained here.
    Thank You,
    Nicole

  24. I’m so sorry for your loss! I don’t even want to imagine the heartache. I have had a miscarriage but it was under 12 weeks and that made me crumble. Your Strength is something I admire and want.

    • It is a terrible and devastating thing to lose the life inside you–the child you dream about from the moment you know they’re there–no matter what stage. I’m so sorry for your loss, Krystle, but I’m so glad you found some comfort here. Please come by any time!

  25. This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. Really.

  26. Thank you all for your kindness and your sisterhood. I am truly blessed.

  27. I am sorry for your loss of two sweet babies. You have laid up some great treasure in heaven … but having them on earth would have been lovely. Thanks for sharing your story. It will bless others who have lost babies, too.

  28. This is a beautiful entry. Thank you for sharing it.

  29. Thank you for this beautiful entry. It was very touching and so honest.

  30. This post right here? Incredible.
    I ache for your loss and am so envious of your strength and unwavering beliefs.

  31. Thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing this piece of your heart on my link up today. Joining you today in honoring your babies.
    Sarah {the fontenot four} just wrote this gem …National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day 2012My Profile

  32. I am so sorry for your loss of your twin girls. I can’t imagine. Thank you for sharing your story for our link up. Your words are so incredible.
    Salena Lee @ A Little Piece of Me just wrote this gem …Remembering Our Babies || National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day 2012My Profile

  33. Thank you for sharing this! I lost a baby as well and I loved the illustration of the squirrel! Those words are so good! It’s helpful to read others words!
    Danielle just wrote this gem …Giving Up on Good {October}My Profile

  34. Your story touched me in such a tremendous way, and I’m inspired by your faith and your journey towards healing. I’m so glad I stopped by today, and am now a new follower. Thanks for sharing something obviously so heartfelt.
    Trinity
    Trinity just wrote this gem …Remembering my BabyMy Profile

  35. oh friend! I am reading this for the first time. I can’t begin to imagine what you went through, but i so admire you for sharing and allowing God to used in your heartache.
    christina just wrote this gem …devotional wednesday.My Profile

  36. What a touching post. I know I wonder out loud why certain things happen. But, I believe there is always a purpose – somehow, some way.

    – Stopping by themommymess
    Diane just wrote this gem …The Lorax, Mayor Bee, and MeMy Profile

  37. “God wraps up my good with your good and the good of both of us with the good of others. The plot lines of our individual stories weave together to form his master plan. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is left out.”

    This is so beautiful and so lovely and I wish to use it any time that I may ever have to face some unspeakable tragedy – like you have – to find peace in it all. Love and light to you. xo

  38. It is such a blessing to meet you! I’m an so glad you came by and linked up today. This story touched my heart. My best friend lost a child three years ago, and today she has a beautiful baby girl walking around her house. Watching her go through the journey of faith, grief, and struggle to understand and accept God’s hand in everything is a journey I can only imagine through the sideline version of being her friend. It’s so inspiring that God never gives up on us, even when we want to give up on ourselves. Thank you for sharing your heart with us today! I’m a new follower!
    Adrienne just wrote this gem …#GoingGreen-Recycle Your Best {Missed} Posts!My Profile

  39. I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for so eloquently sharing your heartbreaking experience.
    Robbie just wrote this gem …Childhood MemoriesMy Profile

  40. I found you through The Mommy Mess’ Recycled Posts link up and there is a lot of this that I can relate to. I found out my son died when I was 22 weeks pregnant and fell into a pit of grief for a long time. It was when I realized that God had a different plan for me that I began to heal. That I needed to trust Him. Some days are better than others but like you said, the pain is not as heart crushing as it once was and that is a good thing. 🙂
    AnnMarie just wrote this gem …This Week is WinningMy Profile

  41. How DID I miss this????!!! Oh Michelle… this post breaks my heart right open and then heals it back to restoration with your beautiful and inspiring words of faith. I grieve your loss with you…and I celebrate your sustaining and faithful purpose. Oh bless you dear friend… bless you.
    Chris Carter just wrote this gem …You’re Doing Something RightMy Profile

  42. Hi Michelle. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I was 20 weeks pregnant with identical twin girls when my doctor told me they were dying from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and nothing could be done. Thankfully, she was wrong, and we went through 10 weeks of procedures. At 30 weeks 5 days my girls were born. Tiny weighed 1lb 10 oz… she was severely growth restricted, but she’s doing well. Kathryn had way too many complications and passed away after two days. These blows that life gives us… they can make us or break us. I cling to the faith that I will hold her in my arms again one day. I just found your blog on Adrienne’s Recycled posts, and I’m glad I did.
    Alexa (katbiggie) just wrote this gem …Learning to OrganizeMy Profile

  43. Anju mistry says:

    Thankyou so much for sharing your story. I have gone through a similar incident recently and can relate how difficult the time period is. Your optimism and courage have given me a new perspective of my own situation.
    You have been a great encouragment to me.
    Happy to realize that my little baby girl had a purpose to fill too in god’s vast plan.
    Keep up the good work. You are an excellent writer who touches her readers’ hearts.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Nothing Left But Everything  […]

  2. […] A squirrel and a tulip played a vital role in getting me through to the other side of grief. […]

  3. […] and inspiring post about her recovery and healing after the loss of her twin girls. When I read her post, I thought to myself, “This post should never be missed!”. And it’s exactly the […]

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