Why, God, Why?
This question has been on repeat in my mind lately. I’ve learned by now to never question the Lord’s ways. His ways are higher than mine. But as I sit on my patio listening to the birds sing their goodnight songs and the medley of crickets in the field chirp as if part of a grand chorus I am reminded that the answer to my question won’t ever come this side of heaven.
I’ll never know why God wrote the chapter where Mila comes to earth as a beautiful baby and then He ends the chapter abruptly by taking her back to be with Him. 4 months, is that really all we get? I wanted so much more.
But oh, I often praise God for taking her because it assures me that she is pain free and in glory. Isn’t that where we all long to be? On the really hard days don’t we all long for something more? A place filled with peace and joy and perfection? I have come to realize I am homesick for heaven. This is not my home. This is temporary. Mila is already home. She is with our Savior. That is something to celebrate despite my broken heart wishing she was still with us.
It’s amazing what can happen in 4.5 months. Mila’s 4.5 months on earth transformed my entire life. Her 4.5 months were powerful. I’ll never forget those 4.5 months. I treasure those 4.5 months.
This past week I’ve been having flashbacks. Flashbacks to good moments: the time I walked into room 29 to find her in clothes for the first time and in a big girl crib. She looked so very tiny. Flashbacks to the first time Joanna from music therapy came and sang songs over her. My heart melted into a puddle on the floor.
I’ve also had flashbacks of the hard moments: the time we almost lost her on October 22nd. We watched through the conference room window as our tiny baby lay white as a ghost surrounded by machines, seeing a pacing doctor who didn’t know what was wrong. Flashbacks to the moment she desaturated and I watched as an emergency intubation took place. I remember the nurse standing by my bed telling me it would be ok. I remember the night I heard pounding on my sleep room door. I feared the worst. I kept asking “Is she ok? Is she still with us?” That time they just needed my consent to insert a chest tube. That time she would be ok.
In general though, my memory is a complete mess. I often forget my keys in the door. I go to the store and come home with everything but what I needed. I think I started the dryer only to have my husband tell me the clothes are still wet. But somehow, I can recall nearly every moment of Mila’s 4.5 months. Even though some of those moments are very hard I would rather remember everything than forget it all.
4.5 months. It’s truly a milestone period for us. As I type this I have to share the news that I am now 4.5 months pregnant. We recently learned we are expecting a healthy baby boy. We are grateful and so in love with this new little life. Every time I feel him move I thank God for the privilege of carrying another child. I love him already, so much.
I have to be honest. I asked God for a little girl. I prayed His will be done but if He wanted my input I was on team pink. Truthfully, I wanted to use Mila’s things. I wanted to see another little girl in the same headbands and bows. I wanted another sister for Brenna. I wanted to use one of our favorite girl names. Another girl made sense to me.
A fellow bereaved mom recently shared with me that when she was pregnant after loss she desperately wanted a girl as well (she has a daughter in heaven). But what someone said to her really hit home, “You don’t want another girl, you want Lauren back.”
I swallowed hard after she shared that with me. Of course I would have loved a little girl but that wasn’t really what I wanted, I wanted our Mila back.
As we started the anatomy scan this past week I told the ultrasound tech we wanted her to write down the gender so we could find out the next day as a family on Matt’s birthday. She reminded us that babies aren’t always predictable in their movements but she would do her best to keep us from finding out. Well this baby moved around a lot and both Matt and I were pretty certain we already knew. Mid scan we changed our mind and had to find out that very moment. The tech smiled and confirmed our suspicions, “It’s a boy!”
We were all excited. The scan showed a healthy baby. I breathed a sigh of relief and left the appointment feeling thankful and hopeful. I spent the rest of the morning calling family and friends to share the news.
Everyone was thrilled. Many people told me they had been praying for the scan and just as many said they thought it would be a boy! I was still trying to wrap my head around this- a boy. We’re having a boy.
Even before the scan I talked to God about the possibility of it being a boy. I asked God for contentment whatever the gender. He answered. I feel proud to be having a boy. I am excited for a baby brother and to learn all things rough and tough and well, oh boy, I have a lot to learn.
So why have the last three days since the scan felt like some of my hardest yet? Because I miss Mila. I miss her with my whole heart. It’s hard to answer people’s well wishes with a squeal of delight over how excited I am. It’s not because I’m not excited, I am. I prayed for this baby. I can’t wait to meet this baby and hold this baby and look deep into his eyes. I can’t wait to love this baby with my whole heart. But right now something has been stirred up in me. Grief.
Grief has surfaced stronger than it has in awhile. The past 4.5 months have felt ok, even good most days. But seeing a wiggling baby on the monitor and in the same moment reliving moments of my pregnancy with Mila have made me sad. I’m excited but I’m also very sad. Sad that Mila isn’t here celebrating with us. Sad that it feels like forever until we will see her again. Sad that our family won’t be complete this side of heaven. It’s all very bitter-sweet.
I share this because I want people to understand why it’s hard for me to socialize sometimes. Why a grieving mother can be fine one day and want to curl up and hide the next. Why some days we can’t put on a smile because inside we want to cry a river. Why some days we can laugh and joke and others we are mad and irritated.
I admit I’m weak. I’m ok with that. If I could choose joy every single moment I would. That would certainly make life easier. But I can’t. God’s truth is that I am loved no matter what. His grace is sufficient for me, sins and all, feelings and all. Good days and bad days, He loves me.
I love having a God I can run to when I feel utterly alone and misunderstood. My God knows the depths of my pain and sees the peaks of my joy. He loves me in the valley and on the mountain top. What a comfort that is. When the world around me crumbles, He is the solid rock I stand on. There is no bad day bad enough to make my Savior run from me. It’s quite the opposite, my Savior runs to me and carries me when I can’t do the work of choosing joy.
I won’t get the answer to why God wrote our story the way He did but I will continue to praise Him. He knows exactly what we need and I am grateful He picked this baby boy for us.
Mila is still very much alive and she is mentioned daily in our home. She may not be here physically but her presence is most definitely with us. We love you to heaven and back times infinity, Mila Rose.
I pray I can somehow balance the bitter with the sweet and enjoy all the good that I know is in store. I want to choose joy and pray God gives me the strength to do so. But on the days I can’t, I’ll be content knowing He loves me and will never leave me.