I spent the first part of today wondering why August 1 rung a bell in my mind. Well, I thought, my sister and dad have birthdays coming up. I ignored that feeling that you get when you know you forgot something, but can’t remember what.
Early this afternoon I remembered that August 1, 2007 was the due date of our first baby, who was lost due to miscarriage during the holidays of 2006.
It’s a comfort to hold our two little kids. If this August 1 baby had made it, we wouldn’t have Malaki. And we love Malaki very much. But there’s still pain, a stinging lump in my throat. And there is shame; what kind of dad forgets something like this for 1/2 a day. To be honest, losing our first baby is something I think about most days, but for some reason it hadn’t crossed my mind in a few weeks and I feel guilty about that.
This isn’t the kind of thing I want to get over, I doubt that I will or should. There are so many thoughts. In some ways, losing the baby so early makes it more complicated. We hadn’t told anyone that Kassie was pregnant, so the grieving was a lonely process. Christmas felt like hell.
It kind of feels weird to to talk about “losing our first child” when he or she was only 4-6 weeks old. Many people aren’t even suspicious of pregnancy at that point, and we were really attached to the idea. I know that the pro-life mantra is “it’s a human at conception” but that feels strange. Our baby had no name, no gender. Our best photo is a blur. I love that baby in a way that is hard to explain. Still processing, three years later.
I bought Kassie a small plant tonight, remembering pain that brought us closer together. The tiny house plant can grow up to 30 feet tall in it’s native climate, there was something about that fact that gave me a sad smile.
Of all the things that brought Kassie and I some comfort, especially in the months between losing the baby and conceiving Malaki, this song did us the most good:
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”
John Newton (1779)