Nothing prepares you to hear your wife say the words “something’s wrong.” Her voice on the phone was strained and almost frantic. I immediately agreed to meet her at the doctor’s office and hurried to tell my boss that I was taking an early lunch. My thoughts raced during the short drive as a rock formed in the pit of my stomach.
Only a few weeks earlier in the waning months of fall, 2018, she had woken me up abruptly on a Saturday morning with a different tone in her voice. We laughed and hugged and cried and immediately made plans to share the good news with others in the coming months. My wife was overjoyed that she would get to tell her dearly beloved Papa and I was anxious to tell my grandma, the only grandparent I have left alive, our wonderful announcement. Our excitement was contagious and the secret that we shared glimmered in our eyes when we discussed future plans such as clearing out the spare room in order to make space for new furniture.
Our excitement rapidly gave way to fear as we sat in that busy waiting room. Those twenty minutes were the longest I have ever spent waiting on a doctor. To make matters worse, we were surrounded by life on all sides. I found it difficult to focus on any particular thought as I held my wife’s hand and tried to keep my face from betraying my fear. I can still see the painted orange flowers in black frames on the green walls above expectant mothers in soft chairs. Husbands preparing to be fathers for the first time nervously checking their phones and trying to look like they had it under control. Experienced mothers with two toddlers in tow busied their offspring with toys and games. Laughter, energy, nervous excitement, eager expectations, and hope on every face but ours.
My wife had already been through the worst part of the day. I can’t imagine how she felt when it happened and she had to deal with the immediate aftermath on her own. She is stronger than me in so many ways and I only wish I could’ve been home with her when it happened.
When the nurse finally called us to the back for a sonogram and ushered us into a room with navy blue walls and a dark gray examination table all I could think was “not like this.” It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to have asked a few hours off work in advance. We were supposed to meet outside and be excited and nervous and thrilled to see new life for the first time.
Instead we were silent and scared and afraid to even blink. I held my wife’s hand as she lay there waiting for the procedure to begin. The nurse prepared the machine and started the process. We waited in the quiet as she looked, and looked, and looked, and looked some more. My heart sank lower and lower as I watched my wife’s eyes, already puffy from crying at home, betray her emotions as they ran wild. We watched the sonogram screen and it showed nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The nurse didn’t even tell us what she saw or didn’t see but simply referred us to another set of chairs in the back of the building and told us to wait longer. We walked numbly down the narrow hallway and found the second waiting area. They asked my wife to do a test, and then told us to wait again as even more mothers and more toddlers filled the space around us, sounding out letters in the cardboard books from a pile on the floor. Finally we were shown to a small room with a desk. A tight-faced woman in a lab coat walked in moments after we did and looked at us with raised eyebrows.
“There was nothing there, and you’re good to go, so, uh, keep trying!”
That was all. That glib expression “keep trying” was the summation of 8 weeks of hope. Four weeks earlier my wife had become violently nauseous when smelling a box of food, and now we were being told it was all a big misunderstanding. We felt foolish, stupid, naive, and alone. I called my boss from the parking lot and told her I wouldn’t be back to work today. “My wife needs me.” That was all I could say. We went home and took a nap and watched a movie and ate ice cream. Very little was said during that time period.
In our hearts, my wife and I both believe we lost a little life that day. The doctor said otherwise and because of that we weren’t able to find closure, at least not in the first few months following. At first it was hard. We didn’t tell anyone because what was there to tell? We thought we were pregnant, but turns out, we were just being stupid. Eventually we shared the story with one or two close friends and relatives. But it wasn’t until halfway through 2019 that I was able to find peace.
I told my wife that it's good for us not to have closure. It’s good for us not to know if there was a baby or not. Not because riding a roller coaster of emotion is good. But because letting the final word rest in God’s hands allows our faith to grow, and our hope to remain in Him. The real closure is realizing that God is the Giver of Life and He is always in control.
In August of 2019, nine months after the day the doctor told us to “keep trying,” my wife’s Papa passed into eternity. His obituary read that he was survived by sixteen grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. The memorial service was a joyful celebration of the life of a believer.
I like to think that when Papa reached Heaven’s gates, he greeted all his old friends who had passed on before and they had a wonderful reunion, rejoicing in the realized joy of their salvation. I like to think that once Papa said hello to everyone he knew, Jesus took Papa over to a little corner of Heaven, and introduced him to his fifteenth great-grandchild.
When we find ourselves waiting for what we believe is the Lord’s best for us let us remember the words of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:2-3, and 5-6. “There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. . . They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.”
Let us run to the Lord during our period of waiting and be filled with Him. He is perfect. He will never change. He will exceed our expectations and only He will satisfy. The Lord is the Giver of Life.
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
David Baral co-hosts the Destination Arete Podcast with his brother Mark where they discuss entertainment and storytelling from a conservative perspective. Saved at the age of five, David was privileged to grow up in the local church and has a heart to serve his local body of believers. He is passionate about quality art and entertainment and seeks to honor the Lord and edify others through his creative endeavors.
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