Dear Liesel Marie,
Happy Due Date, my darling.
Part of me can't believe that you are not inside me and I will never hold you in my arms. The other part of me can't imagine what it would be like to have a tiny infant right now, to be responsible for raising a little human.
But let me back up and tell you how I got to this point.
You came to us on April 1st of this year; at least, that's when we found out about you. The awkward mix this year of Easter and April Fool's day seems appropriate for how we felt - was this a bad prank or a gift of new life?
The weeks leading up to that pregnancy test were full of health issues, car issues, busyness at work, and suppressing panic at the thought of being pregnant. Truthfully, we were trying not to have kids; but, no method of birth control is 100% effective, and so you came.
I'll be honest - as soon as I saw that positive sign on the pregnancy test, I felt a huge weight of fear fall on me. "We're not ready yet!" kept pounding through my head. As your dad and I sat on the couch overcome by shock and fear, I thought, "This isn't how it's supposed to be!" The arrival of our first child should be a time full of joy and excitement, not tears and uncertainty.
That first day or two were really difficult for both of us. My mind kept running in circles, trying to process this new life. How was this going to work out? We didn't have enough money, I was working three jobs, our apartment was really tiny, we weren't ready yet! I was afraid of others finding out; it was as if I could hear their voices loud and clear -
"How could you make such a stupid mistake?"
"There is such a thing as birth control, you know."
"You guys aren't prepared for this!"
"You've only been married 7 months!"
Abortion was never an option for us, but I'll admit that I can now understand why to some, it might seem like a good option at the time. I am SO thankful for the way that your dad and I came together during this time, and for the support of my sister as I shared all my fears and doubts with her. But, if a woman is faced with a surprise pregnancy, and her family won't support her, or her boyfriend is angry about it, or she's working several jobs just to make ends meet, I can better understand how our minds would make it feel like the best option is to just get rid of the "problem" and make everything go back to normal. But, it makes me so sad that any woman would ever choose that option. So, thank you for helping me to learn a new compassion and grace for others.
Well, as the week went on and we talked about you, and prayed about you, and our minds settled, we grew more and more excited. Yes, it was still kind of scary, but somehow we'd work it out and make it through, and, we had a child!
All along, I had been having odd cramps and back pain, along with other symptoms. That week, Friday afternoon, something changed. I remember thinking, "Oh, I feel normal again!" I still think with regret about how it seemed like a good thing to me at the time, but I couldn't have known. That night, I had the worst back pain I can ever remember, and the next day, Saturday, April 7th, we lost you.
It's ironic - they say you don't know what you've got til it's gone. That was certainly true with you. Although my excitement had been growing over the week, it wasn't until the moment I saw the blood and felt what was happening that I truly knew just how much I wanted you.
Miscarriages are cruel. It's the worst period, worst flu, and worst emotional trauma you've ever had, all rolled into one terrible bundle.
The next few weeks were some of the most difficult I've ever experienced. I felt so guilty - what if it was my fault? Is it because I didn't want you at first? Is there something I did wrong to cause it? My body must be screwed up.
I felt angry at God. Why did You allow this? Where are You? I felt like a little child, sitting on the floor and building a block tower. Just one week ago, God had come along and knocked down my tower with the news of a baby. And then, just as I had picked up the spilled blocks and starting building again, He came over and knocked the tower down all over again. Like a little child, I was sitting on the floor crying, angry, confused, and surrounded by mess.
It took a while. It took lots of ugly cries, and lots of shouting at God, and lots of reading Scripture, and lots of declaring the truth even when it seemed false. But eventually, things changed. Something a dear lady at church shared was the turning point for me. She showed a video of a little girl throwing her arms into the air and shouting "Daddy!" with such joy. She used this as an illustration for worship, and talked about how some of the times she needed to worship God the most were the times when she felt like it the least. I realized that like the child on the floor, surrounded by mess and confusion and tears, if I would just throw my arms up and say "Daddy, hold me!" that He was waiting to pick me up, hold me tight, wipe away my tears, and show me His plan.
That was the first time I truly surrendered you to God, and let me say, He showed up. I experienced Him in a way that was so much more real than I ever could have imagined.
Over the next several months, I continued to heal. I am so thankful for the way God used you in my life, and in my relationship with your dad, and how He taught me new grace, new compassion, and a new reliance on Him.
A month or two after, we decided that we wanted to name you. Your dad and I wanted to celebrate your life, not just remember the loss. After much searching on my part, your name came together in a more perfect way than I could have planned. The name Liesel Marie means "In the pain of this wished for child, God has been my satisfaction." It truly sums up that time.
Every month, when my cycle came around, I would relive the loss, guilt, and pain. It gave me a new burden for women who want to or have chosen abortion. I was feeling so hurt and guilty about something which I had no control over; I couldn't even imagine what those women must feel knowing that they choose to kill their child. So again, thank you for teaching me that compassion.
This month, the month you would have been born, has been especially difficult. Many times, I have literally felt empty inside, like there's a hole in me. Once again, I have had to surrender you to God, being thankful that you are with Him, and trusting in His plan.
As I look back over the last nine months, I am incredibly humbled and grateful for the ways in which your unexpected life and loss have allowed me to connect with, encourage, and be encouraged by other women. I pray that I can continue to reach others and bring glory to God through my experience, and know that this time has not been in vain.
And so, my dear Liesel Marie, you may have been with us for only a few short weeks, but you had a grand impact on our lives. I may never hold you in my arms on this earth, but I look forward with joy to the hope I have of meeting you in Heaven.
I love you,