I look at this title and wonder at it. "When God Answered" Part of me rebels against it.
"No, He didn't! I begged to have my baby back! I wanted to hold her. I begged to see her, to twist a strand of fine baby hair around my finger, to say goodbye."
But when is it ok to say good bye to your child? I think there would never be a time a mother's heart would not rip in two.
Time went on. The doctor had said at the last appointment that he could schedule an appointment for a d&c, but the thought of it made my stomach heave. To go in there and cut my child up in pieces and suck her out?! NO. I wrapped my arms protectively around my little bump. No. He said that we could also just wait, and nature would care for it.
I have no excuse. I was a nurse. I should have known what would happen, but my brain had no ability to absorb, access, or process information, and when it happened, it took me by surprise. Besides, my world had come to a sudden pause with those three words, and I still was staring out at life with a detached numbness.
But God was not numb. He was gentle in this time. He had His plans to soften the blow and carry me through it.
Home from our trip, we slowly began to go out of the house again, although only with people we knew well. A picture company had come to the military base and had offered family photos for $10. We had signed up weeks ago since it was a good deal. I didn't want to keep the appointment, but my husband encouraged me to go. He bought me a new dress for the photo - the only dress he has ever bought me. We dressed up, and smiled for our family picture - a picture I still treasure. It is the only one we have with my baby in it, even though she is well hidden by her brother on my lap.
We went out for pizza after the picture session with our friends from the Bible study. It was a young soldier playing with my son who informed us, "He has his first tooth!"
No. He doesn't have teeth.
But he did. In all the sadness of the last two and a half weeks, we had missed that. There it was, all white and shiny. I informed him that he had better not use that tooth for biting or there would be serious consequences! We began to smile, just slow, awkward smiles, as if stretching a muscle out of shape. Then we drove home. I had a tummy ache from too much pizza and just wanted silence and my bed.
It was about a half an hour drive through winding, dark country roads home to our house. Exhausted, I leaned my head against the back of the seat and stared out the window. Guilt from the few minutes of smiling came.
How can you smile when your baby is dead?
I turned once again to God with my familiar cry, "It hurts. I know You do only what is good. But, I wanted to hold her just once, to see her, to know what she looked like... just once..." Quiet tears again slid down my face. And then God answered. Very clearly, His answer came into my head.
Your precious daughter went directly from the safety of your womb into the safety of My arms. She never suffered pain and never was touched by sin. She is free from these things with Me.
The thought comforted me. To not know this pain we live with....
But, I just wanted to see her once, to fix her hair, to dress her in something pretty. I just wanted to see her!
What happened next I have a hard time explaining, and because I do, I rarely talk about it. But it happened.
In the dark of that ride through the woods, a picture came into my head. I was standing in a walled garden with flowers and vines. There was a gate through the wall with a stone archway over it, and the gate was open. Outside was a grassy hill leading up and the sun was rising. Light spilled in through the open gate into the dewy dimness of the garden. On the hill, facing away from me was a little girl, toddling with those little brand-new walking steps up the hill as fast as she could. I stood silent, unable to move, my voice quiet while my being screamed out inside me. And yet, the toddling baby must have heard, because at the last minute before she rounded the top of the hill and disappeared, she turned sideways, and looked back. For a fleeting second I saw her little cheeks and nose. Then, with a tiny baby giggle, she turned again, and her black curls bounced against her white dress, and she disappeared.
It was just a second, that picture. It takes longer to describe it than it took to see, but when the darkness closed in again, more tears fell, but quieter tears. God had come to answer my pain. Again I had that very real sense that He was sitting with me through that drive home, comforting me in a very real way. Later, I knew why, but at that minute, I was only driving home from a pizza night with a tummy ache very, very tired.