The Waiting Room
I clung to my husband's hand as we sat down and waited for my name to be called. I realized that all of the other seats in the room faced each other as I looked up and saw a mother-to-be with a hand on her swollen belly, looking at her sonogram pictures. So I tried to hide my obvious jealousy and the "stink eye" that I'm pretty sure she saw me give her.
I readjusted myself on the horrible couch and tried to hold onto that little bit of hope that maybe this pregnancy wouldn't end in a miscarriage.
Looking over at my husband, he really didn't seem to be worried at all. Selfishly, I wanted him to be wringing his hands and anxiously bargaining with God. A very small part of me admired his denial.
My heart raced as they called my name. It's time.
We met the sonogram technician, she was chatty and all smiles. A sonogram tech sounds like a great job until you realize that they not only get to deliver happy news to happy parents, they also have to deliver the bad news too.
Her smile quickly faded as she scanned the screen, searching for any sign of movement. She became very quiet. I studied the screen too, maybe thinking that I would find my baby's heartbeat before she did, wanting her not to give up on me or my baby.
When she had finished she said something about the waiting room and the doctor calling us back. I don't remember.
Back we slumped to the horrible couch. Back to the waiting. Waiting for the confirmation of what we already knew what was happening.
If you are reading this then chances are it is because you have struggled with infertility, miscarriage or infant death and you too can relate to the doctor's office waiting room being the backdrop for some of your deepest fears and biggest emotions.
Personally, I despise waiting rooms. First off, they smell. It's either a really awful hospital-y smell or an extremely aromatic plug-in type of thing that reeks of happiness in a nauseating, headache-inducing kind of way. Little tip: if you see one of these in your own office waiting room, just unplug it - you'll be doing everyone a favor. Secondly, rarely is there ever good wi-fi, so you can't even distract yourself with Instagram stories!
Perhaps though the reason that we hate waiting rooms so much has less to do with the actual room; the horrible couches, happy couples and nauseating smells. Perhaps it's the waiting that we hate. In the waiting room we can't deny the situation. In the waiting room we are forced to come face-to-face with our new reality, with the questions that have been swirling in our head for weeks. And in the pain and the hurt it can feel almost like grabbing a dog by the neck and forcing him to see what he has done wrong, rubbing his nose in it. I know I have felt that way in my own waiting room. Running my mind with all the 'what ifs' and things that could have caused the loss of my baby or maybe could have prevented the loss.
What if I hadn't lifted that heavy box?
What if I hadn't taken that extra strength tylenol?
What if I drank more water?
What if that herbal tea had something bad in it?
What if I had doused my belly in coconut oil?? It's supposed to be magic!
But then, what's almost worse than maybe the idea that your infertility, infant's death or miscarriage is your fault and within your control - is the idea that you actually have absolutely no control over your fertility. And how incredibly paralyzing that helpless feeling can be.
If my 'research' has proven anything it is that; the good church girls miscarry, the preacher's wife loses her baby, the prison inmate miscarries, the missionary daughter's baby dies, the recovering drug addict miscarries, the teen mom's baby dies, the woman who has been longing for and praying for a miracle in her baby - loses her baby. There is no explanation except that God allows our suffering and has actually foretold it.
"In this world, you will have suffering" John 16:33
How depressing if this passage only ended there. You will have suffering. Period. That's it. It sucks, sorry. But friend, it doesn't end there. The second half of this Scripture is the game-changer.
"But take heart, I have overcome the world" John 16:33
As we are forced to walk a journey we never wanted to, we are also being welcomed into the arms of the ultimate sufferer. The Savior and King who walked this earth who loved the unlovable and died the most painful, sacrificial death on the cross for our freedom. He knows suffering. He knows that we will suffer the death of our babies. The game-changer here is that we are invited to "take heart" and know the God who overcame death, who overcame this world filled with grief and sorrow. He looked death in the face and said, "Not today" and in a glorious, rebellious display - and a major "mic drop" moment - He defeated death. He rose again. Friends, this is the same God that is inviting you into a relationship with Him. The same God that is reminding us to "take heart".
He is not an ethereal God spewing out platitudes like "everything happens for a reason" and "God only gives you things that He knows you can handle" (GAH. I don't even like TYPING those statements). He is a God who became man, who became sin, who defeated the grave and HE SEES YOU in your waiting and in your grief.
"So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.'" Genesis 16:13
And he sees your baby.
"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:16
When all the world only sees a fetus, God sees your baby. When your friends and family see the grave of your sweet infant, he sees you grieving not only your child but your motherhood. He sees you and is inviting you to take heart and rest in His victory.
He saw me in the waiting room, with a hand on my belly knowing that this would be the closest that I would get to holding my already-loved little baby. When no one else (not even my not-worried-at-all husband) noticed the tears welling up in my eyes, already grieving what I knew in my heart to be the loss of my first baby. The God of the universe, the overcomer of the world saw me and my baby facing our first and last fight together as mother and child. And he whispered "take heart my child, take heart."