I was in my third month of expecting my fourth child when I had a very disturbing dream. I dreamt that I miscarried in very vivid detail. I remember looking in the mirror the morning after, feeling satisfied that all was well. I had seen my doctor several weeks before and he said I was fine.
A short time later, however, that dream came true. How good of God to prepare me for one of the toughest times of my life using a dream. The OB on call reassured me that bleeding could be perfectly normal, but in my heart of hearts, I knew it wasn’t. Not for me. At the hospital, the ultrasound technician confirmed that my baby had stopped growing four weeks previously. There was nothing to do but go home and wait for the loss to be complete. I didn’t feel comfortable doing anything surgically. I had driven myself to the hospital and my husband had met me after we got someone to watch the kids. I felt completely alone when I got behind the wheel and turned on the radio. The lyrics playing on my favorite Christian radio station were, “When you feel like you’ve lost it all, Jesus will still be there.”
I was comforted and really thought that knowing for sure I had lost a baby would be the worst of it. It wasn’t. The next several weeks brought excruciating pain as I miscarried at home alone, a hormonal roller coaster that made PMS seem refreshing, and painful questions about God, relationships, and the future. Even while in the middle of the valley, I knew that I was there for a reason. I called my editor and asked to write a pamphlet for Lutheran Hour Ministries called “Losing a Baby Without Losing Hope.” My experience and the process of writing opened my heart to so many women I knew who had miscarried. I even called a friend who lost a baby years before and apologized for not being as sensitive as I should have been.
One of the recommendations I made in the pamphlet was to find a way to memorialize the baby. I knew I wanted a Christmas ornament, but I hadn’t yet chosen one when I spoke at a church on the subject of grief and loss. (As an aside, that speech happened to be scheduled the day after 9/11.) I was given a gift as a presenter–an angel ornament. I am comforted looking at that ornament every year as I decorate the tree, but I really look forward to seeing my angel in heaven one day.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)