When Hope Hurts

When I was six months pregnant with Jake, I held my belly and with big slow tears running down my face I asked my husband, “If something happens to this baby, I can’t do this again. Please tell me you will be ready for adoption?” He held me, wiped my tears, reassured me that our baby would be just fine and then finished with, “Of course honey, it’s your body. I’ll be ready for anything with you.”

Intuition? Fear? Both. And then my biggest fear came true just a month later. Something did happen. Our baby died. Our perfectly healthy baby boy died.

And then the next most difficult journey of our life thus far began. We still had to give birth. How does one prepare for birthing your breathless child? There was no preparation. It was only He who gave us the ability to walk through such a dark and beautiful process. I have never felt such defeat. I have never hated my body so much. And then the most beautiful thing happened.

I became a Mom.

I held him in my arms and felt an immediate attachment like no other. I knew in that exact moment how Mothers love their children “no matter what”. It’s not something you choose, it’s something that is given to you as a gift, I believe directly from Mary, the mother of Christ.

After a few hours with our son, just the three of us in that hospital room and with Jake in my arms-I looked at my husband and said, “We have to do this is again. I’ve never felt like anything like this before. We can’t give up.” He looked up at me, tears pouring down his face, kissed our baby boy and said, “We won’t give up.” We decided right then and there with our baby in our arms that we would honor his life and become stronger because of it. We promised each other we would continue to fight no matter how painful the journey. And that’s a promise we kept.

We sought treatment as soon as we could after we lost Jake. We feared that if we didn’t move forward quickly, we would become paralyzed with fear and never try again. We chose love. And we all know that love is risky.

Risky indeed.

We learned we were pregnant just four months after Jake’s passing. Every ounce of hope we could muster poured into this little life, this little heartbeat that nestled in the same womb as his/her siblings. We shared the news little by little to those who have walked closely on this journey with us. We prayed constantly through every fear and doubt. We loved recklessly for ten weeks.

Yesterday we learned that we’ve gained another angel. Another appointment. Another motionless ultrasound screen. Another surgery to be had. Another piece of our hearts shattered. Our hope completely lost for our family.

Completely broken.

Hope literally hurts. It feels like a cruel joke on two naive and desperate parents. My heart aches like it never has. A deep ache like I’ve never felt. I never thought I could experience more pain that losing my child until I lost hope. Lost hope is the worst pain to endure next to the loss of your child. Because it’s empty. There are no words that can convince us that all will be “OK.”  There are no tangible items to restore our faith in this journey. God’s plan does not bring us comfort right now. We are busy grieving his plan. There is nothing right now. Nothing but pain and sorrow.

The fear is gone. I guess when hope is lost, then there is nothing left to fear for now.

I wish I could proudly state that we still won’t give up but I can’t. Not right now. I know the world thinks we are “so strong” but strong is so far from what we feel. There comes a time where you must sit in your story and allow the next chapter to unfold. A chapter that perhaps hurts a little less. A chapter that gives our hearts a rest. A chapter that  is just a little less scary. One heart can only bare so much before it disfigures into something very ugly. Pain, anger, grief, sadness. These things I can accept. Bitter. Cold. Helpless. These things I will not. My soul desperately needs time to sit, to grieve and to rest without anything else in the way of those three things.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I began to think about my three little babies who I lost so very early. The ones I lost before I even had the chance to name them, I decided to give them names. They deserve names. They were real. They lived. Their hearts beat in my womb. Their souls are in heaven where they wait for us. There names are Faith, Harbor and Hope.

Faith-without you I wouldn’t have learned what it really means to have faith. What it means to praise and believe in the midst of such an unexpected storm. I would have never realized how imperative forgiveness is to faith itself. I love you sweet Faith.

Harbor-I was once told that all souls exist for a very specific reason, that perhaps God gives some women souls to harbor in their wombs for as long as his purpose for them is served. I felt an immediate connection with you. I am honored to have harbored your soul. I love you sweet Harbor.

Hope-you have taught me that hope can exist even in the darkest of despair and in time I believe you will teach me what it looks like for hope to be restored. I love you sweet Hope.

And my Jake-you my son have taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. Perhaps you are more real to me because I held you. Perhaps I grieve for you differently because I had to literally let you go from my womb and then my arms. The lessons you have taught me are still unfolding. I love you sweet Jake.

Faith, Harbor, Jake and Hope…thank you for giving me such depth in my life. I love you each and am honored to have held your lives even for a brief time. I pray you will help guide us from here.

I want to conclude by saying that adoption is not a choice that is second best. It is a beautiful gift that I find to be one of the most powerful loves in this world. But it’s not something that is to be taken lightly. It’s a calling. Our hearts were called to adoption and we spoke of this dream long before our struggles with infertility and loss began. We will choose to listen to the small voice that leads us when the time is right. But right now, its too loud to hear.

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