Sorry I've been so silent. Here's why: we had about 5 days of bliss. I had passed the twelve week marker and was beginning to ease into the fact that I might actually have this baby. We went in for our 12 week ultrasound and everything looked good from what the technician said. Brain, heart, spine, everything was as it should be. We walked out full of smiles and relief, finally letting ourselves feel some of the joy.
As it turns out somewhere along the way the technician had snapped a photo and passed it along to the doctor without a word. This photos showed an abnormality called omphalacele. This means the baby's intestines were never fully enclosed back into the abdomen and are instead outside the body in the umbilical cord. We don't fully know what we're looking at but we know we have a long road ahead with this baby.
We got the call while we were at my in-law’s house for Christmas dinner. We sobbed for a second on their front patio, pulled it together, and headed inside to try and survive the next four hours. In between bites of food I was secretly googling what this really meant and reading all these worse-case-scenarios, each one like a blow to my chest. I would look up from my phone with a pit in my stomach and smile politely to fain interest in the conversation.
Since then, as you might imagine, it’s been a pretty dark pit of grief and fear. Before this happened I was getting ready to write a piece on belief. I wanted to reflect on the amount of information I had studied and absorbed this year. I have gained all of this information and yet it wasn’t until life taught me a few lessons that I actually learned anything. I had found this belief that was without academics and words, all because experience taught me what books never could. I did ask the question though, do I just believe because I got what I wanted?
And here, life took another turn. So now I cannot see again, welcome to my roller coaster. The darkness has closed in and God is distant at best. I had a professor who used to tell this story of a mentor of his who tragically lost his young daughter. In his sermon shortly after his loss he said, “I cannot understand why this has happened”, and then with each word his pounded his fist against the pulpit and said, “but I will not curse my God.” This is how the faithful respond to tragedy.
This man I’m referring to is probably a genius, maybe one of the great hero’s of faith in our time. But I wanted to yell at my memory of that story and say, “you’re asking me to be simple minded. You’re asking me to reject the very ache in my soul that can do nothing but ask why.” I know that asking why is often times the wrong question as it is so rarely ever answered, but sometimes it's the only authentic thing we can do. So I got mad and let my mind do cartwheels of chaos and grief. And after I ran out of energy to continue my tantrum and in an effort to maintain any semblance of faith I let my mind get quiet, and in the silence I whispered again the only phrase I can ever find to say in grief, “Lord have mercy.”