Thanks for reading with us this last week of August – a significant week for our family.
It’s not often that we hear a dad’s perspective on miscarriage. Today Steve is sharing his side of the story.
I remember pulling out of our driveway, driving down Clark Street, calling my mom.
“Mom,” I said, holding back tears, “We’ve lost the baby.”
“Oh, Steve,” my mom replied. “I’m so sorry.”
I fought back the tears as long as I could – but it was a losing battle. My baby was gone. My wife, whom I had spoken with moments ago, was heart-broken and alone – and I was 20 minutes away, driving with blurred vision. This kind of thing didn’t happen to us! It wasn’t supposed to.
Through each of our first three pregnancies I fretted every step of the way. Something’s going to be wrong with the ultrasound. The baby isn’t going to make it to term. The baby won’t be healthy – and so on. But I didn’t worry about number 4. Making babies is what we did! (My wife did the heavy lifting, but I added my part.)
When I found out we were expecting I knew what it meant. I was going to get teased. “You know what causes that, right Steve?” or “Wow, are you guys Mormon?” No one seems to have 4 kids any more. For us it was a goal – our idea of the perfect number. We were from big families, it was our destiny or something. So yeah, I was a little worried about teasing. Not a lot, but I knew it would come. One thing I didn’t worry about? The health of Lauren or the baby. We got this.
No. We didn’t have it at all. We lost the baby at 18 weeks. We went to the hospital just like we had in the past few years. They hooked up Lauren to all sorts of machines. But one machine was missing.
There wasn’t a machine to hear and monitor the baby. It was in our room, but it wasn’t connected.
Lauren was induced. We sat together. We cried together. In our delirium we even laughed together. At one point I left the room and got a soda. On my way back, I noticed they had put an image on our door. It was of an oak leaf floating on a still pond. It was a sign to those that entered the room that we had lost our child. I remember thinking that none of the other rooms had that sign.
As I heard, through the wall, the baby in the next room cry out with life, it all took me back a few years to when I was on the other side of the situation: That night, as I had walked back to my room and to my healthy son and wife, the hospital intercom had called out: “Code Blue, Maternity. Code Blue, Maternity.” It was an eerily calm voice. I’m assuming it was pre-recorded in a fashion that didn’t incite panic. The fact was, calm voice or not, at that moment those parents, whoever they were, were facing a challenge that I couldn’t even fathom. Thank God my baby was safe.
Now, back in my room awaiting the delivery of our deceased baby, I was in shock. I can’t tell you the number of hymns and choruses that went through my mind. The main one being –
He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.
I sang that line over and over again – willing it to make the pain stop and bring sense to the day.
Lauren eventually delivered Emanuel Reuben. We chose the name because Emanuel means “God with us” and Reuben means “Behold a son.” We held him. His hands were so small. His feet the size of a dime. He was so human. He was my son.
They swaddled him, as they would’ve done a newborn and we held him. Then, shortly after, they wheeled Lauren out of the room to have a D&C. I was alone in the room with Emanuel. I was alone for quite a while. I’ve never felt so alone.
In the song “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald” there’s a lyric that goes like this:
Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
I felt that line. I never blamed God – I know we live in a broken world. I know that in this world we will suffer – and I know that we have hope in One that felt our pain and overcame it all. Sometimes knowing and believing isn’t enough. It still hurts.
God wasn’t done with us. That August was a warm-up. The following August we miscarried again. This time a month after our youngest cut off her pinky. Bottom line – I wasn’t a fan of August. “We don’t deserve this,” I thought.
But here’s the thing I was reminded of. August has a lot of great things in it as well. My parents were married in August. My dad, mother-in-law, and eldest niece were born in August. My brother was married in August. There is a lot to be thankful for in August. And that thought led me to the ultimate healing conclusion: We are blessed. God has blessed us with three beautiful children. Morgan the wise, impatient first-born, Levi the energetic, rough and tumble middle, And Taylor the wake-you-up-at-6am-on-a-Saturday-so-she-can-climb-up-and-snuggle-in-your-bed third.
Does anyone know where the love of God goes? It doesn’t go anywhere. It’s exemplified in the friends that bent over backwards to help and offer their support. I see His love in my children as they hold us tight. I see his love in my wife – a woman I feel God must have meant for someone more deserving…
I love my God. I love my wife. I love my children, Morgan, Levi and Taylor. I miss my son and our 5th baby I never got to meet.
I thank God for the trials and rough patches in my life – without them, I wouldn’t treasure the love and blessings I’ve been given.
God is with us. Behold a son. I love you little man.