Ten weeks, four days.
That’s when the doctors believe that your heart stopped beating here on earth.
It was the beginning of my fourteenth week of pregnancy when I went in for a routine ultrasound and prenatal appointment. We had been eagerly looking forward to this day for many weeks. It seemed so strange to be this far along in our pregnancy without having yet seen your precious life forming inside of me.
As the first glimpse of your body appeared on the monitor, my mommy heart knew that something was not right. You were not as big as I had expected for a baby who had completed its first trimester of development. And you were completely still.
It doesn’t take long for one to realize that Schmidt babies are not still.
After a few moments of searching our ultrasonographer confirmed what I already knew to be true. Your heart was not beating…and mine was aching.
I looked over at your sister who had come with me to the appointment. She was beaming. Completely unaware of what the ultrasonographer had said, she was watching you on the screen. She knew she was looking at her baby and she could not have been more proud of you! A pit formed in my stomach as I called her over to sit on my lap and explained to her that your heart was not working, and God had decided to take you to be with Him in Heaven. Tears formed in her tender eyes as she said, “Oh, I am so sad that our baby’s heart is not working, because we will really miss our baby.” Then she paused, cupped my chin with her sweet hands and said thoughtfully, “But aren’t you glad that God has let me be with you for so many days?”
What a precious glimpse of God’s grace through the eyes of your three-year-old sister. I didn’t think I would ever be able to stop hugging that dear girl.
I was moved into another room to wait to meet with other nurses and doctors who would tell me what to expect in the coming days and weeks. As I sat in the silence waiting for the first nurse to arrive, and trying to find the words to tell your daddy what had happened, I could hear from the room next to mine the sound that I had been longing to hear just a few minutes before. It sounds like horses galloping under water…the sound of a tiny heart beating from inside its mother’s womb. But it was not your heart, my little one. My eyes filled with tears. Oh! how I wanted you here with me!
Throughout this pregnancy there was always a part of me that felt as though God had a different plan for your life than I would have chosen. And while I did pray continually for your salvation, health, and future life here on earth, I felt burdened each morning to start off the day by thanking God for each moment that He had allowed us to be together. Knowing that each day with you was a gift. You were our gift.
Before my appointment was complete I asked my midwife for your picture. Everyone was surprised by my request. I think they thought that I would want to put this day behind me. But, little one, even though your life on earth was so short, God gave us you. He chose to add you to our family. And we will never be able to put you behind us, because every day we are looking ahead to the day that we will see you in Heaven. Our best days together are yet to come.
When I finally left the doctors’ office several hours after I had anticipated being there, I wept. All the way home I wept. And when I walked in the house and sat down on the couch next to daddy, we both wept together.
You see little one, from the very first moment that we found out that God had begun your life inside of me, you were deeply loved. You were expected to arrive just a few days before your sister’s fourth birthday, and we couldn’t have been more excited. We firmly believe that children are a blessing from the Lord, and through your life God has blessed us beyond what we believed to be possible.
With grateful hearts, we celebrated the news of your life with family. And with heavy hearts, just a few months later, we mourned as we shared the news of your death.
When I thought back to this picture I had taken of your sister and brothers on the day we found out I was pregnant with you, I felt sad that we would never be able to announce your life to the world in the way we had planned. But your death did not render this picture untrue. You are still our fourth baby, and our hearts are still glad that God gave us you.
For the rest of the day as Daddy and I walked around in Chicago, my body felt raw and numb as I thought of carrying your lifeless body inside my own. I wondered if that was why I had felt sick for the past few weeks…because some part of me knew that your life had been taken from this earth. During the days and weeks that followed, every time I felt a slight flutter inside of me I would picture you moving around, stretching those ever growing limbs…only to remember that you were no longer growing, breathing, living. And Heaven seemed so far away.
A few weeks later, Daddy and I went to a follow up appointment to determine if my body was starting to respond to the loss. We had another ultrasound to verify that you had stopped developing. And while it was so hard to hear the confirmed diagnosis, Daddy affirmed the truth that was so evident on your sister’s face just a few weeks earlier. We were so proud of you! As we saw you one last time, we were honored to have been chosen as your parents.
I had always thought that if God allowed us to walk through the pain of losing a child I would feel hopeless. But I was wrong. I had lost my baby, but in my heart, I was at peace. Oh, dear one, God’s peace truly is beyond our understanding, because it simply cannot be explained or understood how someone can be at peace after discovering they have lost their child. Even through loss, and grief, and pain, God is faithful. And while the ache in our hearts is great, God has continually given us what we need to press on.
Daddy and I have spent many evenings together missing you and letting all of the real and raw and rough bits of our hearts pour out into each other’s arms. Knowing that we are on this road together…and each step is bringing us closer to God and each other.
As we walk through this suffering we are learning day by day to rejoice. And as we endure, God is teaching us how to hope. Every day from the moment we found out that your heart had stopped beating, I have clung to the hope that our Sovereign God works out every detail of our lives for His glory.
Even during those days when my body felt all kinds of terrible and the pain was a constant reminder that you were no longer with us….yes, little one, even then I had hope.
Hope in the God who desired to bring you into existence.
Hope in the God who saw fit to take you home before you had suffered in this world.
Hope in the God who chose you to be in His presence., giving you the very best!
Hope in the God who gave us you!
I wish I could have told you just how much I love you, and how much more you are loved by God. But, you now know this more fully than I do, because your mind is no longer limited to a finite understanding of God! What joy there is in knowing that! And my heart rejoices that even now, my sweet baby you are enjoying that Psalm 16:11 fullness of joy as you begin this eternity in the presence of our Great God!
Ten weeks, four days.
That’s all the time it took for God to draw us closer to Himself and teach us how to love more deeply and truly than we had been capable of before. And we know that God is not done teaching us, growing us, and stretching us through your life.
I look forward to the day when I wrap my arms around you for the first time!
When I will see you face to face – full of life!
When I will be able to tell you just how much we love you, and just how much you have changed our lives and touched our hearts!
Someday we will join you in God’s presence. But until then, we will long for Heaven and treasure you.
I love you, little one