This past Christmas, we missed you.
It was different from any other Christmas before. Yes, we celebrated in a new house with our 1.5 year old and cradling another little blessing in my belly, but that is not why. This past Christmas was different because we were missing one little heart.
Our sweet little Hope Turvey.
We were shocked when we saw the 2 pink lines. We kept going back to the box to make sure that it was real. We read the instruction manual of the test over and over again to be sure we did it right. I mean, it was only our 5th test that day, but we just couldn’t believe it. “2 under 2” is what we were in for. I thought for sure we’d missed this month, but I was more than a week late so figured we should probably check. I did 4 tests on my own before calling my husband to pick up a 5th on his way home. I completed my 6th one the next morning when I woke up thinking I was dreaming FOR SURE. I couldn’t process the emotions fast enough.
I should have known when I unexpectedly gagged in the meat section of our grocery store or suddenly needed to eat all-beef hot dogs as soon as possible one warm Saturday in late April. All of the signs were there – I just didn’t connect the dots.
It took me a couple of days to process. A second baby. Were we ready? Would we ever really be ready? I slowly moved from shock to excitement. A second baby! What a blessing, a sibling for LC, another little life to fill our home.
A couple of weeks later I wasn’t feeling too well and started having sharp pains in my lower back. I had read that with additional pregnancies that back pain can increase – I weathered on and continued through my day. The next day the spotting started – I knew something was wrong. I told myself it was nothing, spotting was completely normal in pregnancy. But that was the thing, I woke up that morning not feeling pregnant. I was on edge all day as the spotting continued and the cramping started. I called the midwife’s office, who told me to head into the emergency department. My husband and I dropped LC off with family and headed to the hospital.
After a few hours in the ER waiting room – we had come to the understanding that we were losing the baby. As the wait was still hours to see a doctor, we decided to come home to continue the process in private. As I waited in the car for my husband to collect LC from my sister’s house, I was completely numb. The song “Surrounded” by Michael W. Smith played on the radio. The lyrics rang true in that moment and even more true today.
“The Word says,
“For the spirit of heaviness
Put on the garment of praise”
That’s how we fight our battles
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
This is how I fight my battles”
As I sat in the car alone and listened to this song, I knew that even though I’d never felt heartbreak like this before, that this process was a beautiful moment in God’s sovereign plan. We drove home, holding hands with tears streaming down our faces, not knowing what tomorrow, next the day or the next month was going to bring. We put LC to bed, suddenly loving her exponentially more than when we woke that morning.
The night didn’t bring rest, it brought pain and sorrow, physically and spiritually. The next morning, we were up early sitting on the couch in a strong silence; the kind you could cut through – reading, praying, processing – when I felt a whisper in my heart that the baby’s name was Hope. I looked over at my husband and told him – he nodded his head in agreement. The Lord tells us that there is hope in our suffering (Romans 5:1-5) and now we have the reminder that there was literally Hope in the midst of ours.
The next few weeks were rough, like a tug of war between my heart and my mind. My heart reminding me that God is sovereign and that even though I didn’t carry Hope anymore, that He carried her instead – and my mind telling me that it was all my fault. My body failed me. I drank too much coffee, not enough water, walked too far a distance, lifted too heavy of items up and down the stairs – all lies but exhausting to weed through. The weeks were spent by taking long showers to cry and pray through, tidal waves of grief that would hit while driving around the corner, doing the dishes or anytime someone touched me.
But, in the midst of the rawness, they were also filled with love – for my husband, for our daughter, and for this child who I got to carry for 2 whole months! God chose me to hold Hope close for the precious time that she spent here with us, how comforting. The next weeks brought an overwhelming sense of closeness to our Heavenly Father, knowing that the only way we would get through this would be to rely on Him for our strength. Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 3:3, Psalm 46 and many, many more verses were my constant reminder that we were not alone in this.
Almost 2 months later, I had a dream. We had just given birth to a precious baby girl, but she did not have any hands (the symbol of helplessness). I hugged her so close and kissed her head. I told her how much she was loved and through my tears I handed her over into the hands that were outstretched waiting to hold her. I knew that they were her father’s hands, I assumed they were that of my husband. This dream sat heavy with me. I spent time and time again in prayer, asking God to relieve me from the weight that this dream carried. Then, He did. The Lord revealed that I did hand Hope over into her father’s hands, but those were not my husband’s – they were His – Hope’s Heavenly Father’s hands.
A couple short weeks later we were sitting in my daughter’s room, I was listening to my husband read her one of her books and I couldn’t help but cry. The sweetness, the softness and the tenderness in that moment of watching them together. My husband took one look at me, let out a little laughter and said “you’re pregnant.” I denied it, “there’s no way” I said. After he went downstairs, I decided to take a test. Sure enough, up came a little “plus sign” before I even had time to leave the room.
The Lord is always good and His plan is good always; even when it doesn’t feel good. Life after miscarriage is not easy, and pregnancy after loss isn’t something that I ever thought I’d experience. It has not been without heartache but I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I sit here, cradling this baby in my belly, I can’t know what tomorrow will bring but I do know Lord is faithful, now more than ever.
I remember the day that my husband took this photo – I wasn’t feeling great, it was Mother’s day – just 2 short days before we lost Hope. I remember thinking how terrible I looked in this photo, that I’d likely never look at it again. I joked with him that this was our first photo of me holding both of our babies – it is now one of my most prized possessions. It really is the first and the last photo of me holding LC and Hope at the same time.