Gone Before We Met You

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

We lost our baby today. Eleven weeks into pregnancy and our sweet little boy is gone. I will back up a bit and explain briefly that God told us to have a baby and that we would name him Elijah. We were closed off to the idea of another child as we felt grateful and hands-full with two children. Despite that, we opened our hearts and said yes to God. We fell pregnant immediately and at seven weeks told our families and soon after our friends. The first appointment at seven weeks went splendidly and our ultrasound placed us a week behind my calculations. I’m still sorting through this part in my head– Did I add things up incorrectly or was our baby already measuring small? With a strong heartbeat and no issues stated by the tech or doctor, I didn’t question any of it.

One month later my kids and I sat in the waiting room with excitement to hear our baby’s heartbeat. The first appointment was an internal ultrasound so we could only see the rhythms, but today was exciting for my son as he awaited the beautiful sound of his baby brother’s heart. I will preface all of this day with an explanation of my son Logan’s excitement for the new baby. Each morning my five year old kissed my belly and said hi to his new buddy. We named the spare room Elijah’s room and Logan spoke of him more often than not. I bought a baby carrier that we picked up from the mailbox on the way to the appointment and a handful of maternity clothes still awaiting delivery. We also spoke of excitement for baby kicks that would come in less than a month. These realities were exciting until now. Routine, the doctor asked how I was feeling and a handful of questions I now can’t remember. It was heartbeat time. I told my son to listen as the awaited moment was finally here.

The doctor pushed and prodded around and I began to panic. A few seconds went by and still nothing. She stated that I’m petite and it was nothing to cause worry. The ultrasound machine was rolled in and immediately I saw our tiny baby looking similar to the previous appointment, so tiny and little to no growth. I asked what she saw and if I should panic. A few questions and answers were exchanged until she stated that he had no heartbeat and measured two weeks behind. My baby was gone. I could see him, but there was no life in his little body. I wept and wept. My daughter who is two-years-old ran to me and rubbed my arm in concern while my son jumped into my lap with no understanding of why I was crying. We just sat. When I’d calmed down enough to speak, I asked a handful of questions, the why and where do we go from here? There was no explanation for why outside of it happening due to improper growth. With the absence of bleeding, there is no cause on my end, though that does not ease my agony and grief. I went home with my options for surgery, medicine, or patience. The latter was not an option as the mere thought of my precious baby sitting inside of me lifeless broke my heart to irretrievable extents. Sitting in the car was the beginning of the life-long reminders that this baby was no longer ours to keep. The nausea pops I had sitting in my console, the baby carrier in the passenger seat, and the hysterically crying five-year-old who aches for the loss of his brother. All of this was the beginning of a painful two days of losing Elijah.

Picking up the medicine in the afternoon struck my heart as they insisted that I state, “I am not pregnant,” as this medicine was high dose and not to be taken by those with child. My eyes swelled with tears and I drove home knowing this would not be getting any easier today. That night the cramping and contractions began along with severely heavy bleeding. I’m not sure what I’d expected, but that was not it. I nearly passed out from the mass blood and knew in the night I’d in a sense birthed my sweet boy. He felt gone. It’s a feeling that I struggle to describe, but I felt empty inside and missed my baby tremendously.

Days later and the physical and mental pain remain. I lost more than I can place into words. Most people have told me there will be another baby and you will become pregnant again. I do not fear not getting pregnant in this moment. I ache for never holding my baby boy, seeing him smile and hearing that baby giggle for the first time. There will be no first trip to target with three kids in tow, Elijah in his new carrier, and an aching body. We won’t experience his first birthday with the ridiculously messy smash cake, and I’ll never see his big brother and sister hold him for the first time. I did not just experience a loss but a lifetime of memories stolen. Our baby is significant and I can only imagine the ways he will change our lives and others. Though nearly impossible to expand into the why at the moment, I believe that God gave us the name of our baby to help us grieve and mourn the abrupt loss. I have faith that His purpose will outshine the pain I feel today, and that is enough. The life I was growing simply stopped, but our family will love and remember our baby forever. A place was prepared in our hearts for a baby that did not come.

 

Brittany Gohlke
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