(Long post of a heartbreaking story. It’s a short version of a book that will come sometime in the future. With hopes of bringing a bit of comfort and a bit of “I’ve been there before too” to the many women out there who have lived this same story but have had no one to process with and have not yet found healing for their broken hearts.)
I’m one of the many, many women who has experienced miscarriage. For me, I’ve experienced the loss of a baby from my womb, twice. My first miscarriage happened nearly 15 years ago when I was barely nine weeks along.
My second born was less than a year old at that time and I was a bit surprised I was already pregnant again. Because of that surprise, at nine weeks, I hadn’t really bonded with the pregnancy yet. And because of that, though the loss was painful, it didn’t grip me and impact me in the same way my second miscarriage did.
Yesterday was the one-year mark of delivering my second son’s lifeless body. We had gotten the news, via ultrasound, five days earlier that I was carrying a tiny body that had quit developing weeks before, with no sign of life.
The impact of that news dazed our entire family. We had taken all four of our daughters with us to the ultrasound, so we lived that fateful moment together. Looking back, I wouldn’t have wanted it any different.
But I have to back up to tell the story of Malachi’s feetprints…
Our first three daughters are stair stepped at 2 1/2 years between each. So when we found out we were pregnant with our fourth daughter, nearly nine years later, we were shocked and then got the best surprise ever with our Journey Joy. Having her so far down the line, sent us into a conversation whether we should have another for her to grow up with. That conversation went back and forth for a couple years.
It wasn’t until about the summer of 2014 that I begin to have an intense desire for another baby – but not just another baby – a son. I love my daughters and our girly world but my heart began aching for a son.
Months went by. My husband didn’t have the same urgency to add another little to our crazy home and lifestyle, and though we weren’t using any sort of birth control, I also wasn’t getting pregnant.
I would tell myself it was a ridiculous desire. We were so good with just our four girls. I had never had a desire to have a son in the past so I tried to ignore the yearning in my heart.
Finally in January 2015, I sat before the Lord on the front row of my church, having a moment with Jesus. I told Him that, if this desire wasn’t from Him, He needed to take it from me. I told Him I didn’t want to feel this way, especially since my husband wasn’t necessarily on the same page as me.
The Lord began to speak to me about how He doesn’t do things to tease us. He is not a God that shows us something good, giving us a desire for something, only to withhold it from us. His voice is so tender and loving. So, I came to terms that this was from Him and I was going to continue to ask. Little did I know that I was actually pregnant at that time!
Usually when a woman is pregnant, every one has an opinion on what gender the baby is. This pregnancy was no different. The unusual thing about this pregnancy, is that in 20 weeks, I came across only ONE person who thought I was carrying a girl. Everyone – family, friends, strangers – all thought it was a boy.
Though we had to wait until 20 weeks to get the ultrasound confirmation, we all knew I was carrying my promised son.
I don’t think I’ve ever had so many people pray over my womb, so many prophetic words spoken over this little one – all in those 20 weeks. This unborn child was destined for greatness and impacting the nations.
When we went in that day for the 20-week ultrasound, there was so much anticipation with everyone who knew we were going. But then…
I had to write the most painful Facebook post of my life, telling our friends and family the devastating news.
The prayer support that came rushing in from friends, literally, all over the world was beautiful. I know the grace that undergirded us during this season was due to those prayers.
Over the next five days, I lived through the most heart-wrenching pain I’ve ever felt. We believe in miracles and, at times, a wave of hope, would come and we would pray for a raising of the dead. Then, the reality of what was happening would grip my breaking heart again, and I would grieve my loss.
I remember waking up every morning, thinking, “OK. I can do this. I feel better today.” But by the time I made it to the couch with my cup of coffee, I was sobbing, telling my husband, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”
The best advice I received was from my spiritual mama, “Make sure you cry enough.” I believe I accomplished this.
When we went to the hospital 5 days later to induce labor to deliver our baby’s empty body, I had cried buckets of tears, yelled at the devil, soaked up comfort and love from my Faithful Jesus and bonded in a special way with my family. And with the friends who checked on me daily.
That day of delivering that tiny body went as well as it could have, medically speaking. When the doctor said with confidence, “It’s a boy”, I knew the promise the Lord had given me less than 20 weeks earlier, was fulfilled.
The nurse asked me if I wanted professional photos done. And if I wanted his footprints taken. I said no to both. But when she later brought me a birth certificate with his tiny little feetprints, I was so grateful she didn’t listen to me.
Those little feetprints, Malachi’s feetprints, have been a beautiful and whimsical remembrance of our son. The little boy who’s body never took a breath on this side of heaven, but who’s tiny feet and life have made imprints on his family and on people all over the world.