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.
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.
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.