I had read a few places that naming the baby you’ve lost after miscarriage helps with the finality of it all. It is said to give a sense of identity to this little life that left as quickly as it came, but left an imprint you’ll never remove. I couldn’t decide if this was doing more harm than good, but we settled on “good” winning out and started the name hunt.
When I told O, he immediately suggested we name the baby Noah. “Noah. Because god knew best. Know…No…Noah.” I loved the name and knew right away it was the name of our baby, but I couldn’t figure out why (because O’s description felt like a long shot.) Not a minute after we both pulled out our Bibles and settled into them, O said “Noah means rest.”
And suddenly I understood.
The first clue to tell me I was pregnant was insomnia. It happened for a few weeks in my first pregnancy and it’s just the thing that perks my ears up to know something is different in my body. By the time I saw those two pink lines, I had already had a week of waking up at 1am and tossing and turning til 5. And the night sweats, oh the night sweats. I’d wake up to absolutely drenched sheets and dripping sweat. Sleep wasn’t the same anymore, and I just wanted to rest.
I found out I was pregnant in the crucial stages of packing up our lives in Virginia to move it all to Texas. The amount of things that needed my attention, effort and opinion had never been higher, but my energy didn’t quite match up. In a sea of boxes, I’d lay the kids down for a nap and crawl into bed myself. I needed the rest.
Two weeks after moving in, we heart the words. The words that don’t quite compute for a mother who has already loved the child in their womb, pictured them in the arms of their babies and planned the new house around their arrival: “non-viable pregnancy.” After that appointment, I didn’t see the boxes blocking the bathroom sink anymore. I didn’t care about suitcases well past overflowing. Everything that felt pressing could wait. It had to wait. I got back in bed. And I chose rest.
But then I couldn’t rest.
I stared at the ceiling in the middle of the night, I burst into tears in my sleep, I had nightmares and night sweats all over again. Most surprisingly, my always-steady, ever even keel husband was shaken. I knew how important it was for him to acknowledge his feelings so he could properly grieve but he truly didn’t know where to start. He said he was mostly heartbroken for me. For what i’d have to go through and for that rough first trimester and for this gaping loss that would inevitably be stamped on me like the branding on his own arm- but I knew if he let himself, he’d realize he was heartbroken for himself too. We were both stirring. Searching. Restless.
We walked into church that Sunday shells of ourselves, desperate for a Word. Our pastor was to preach his first message after being on his death bed a month before and we were waiting with expectancy. Paster Robert graciously shared in-depth what the entire experience was like, ending with a story about his time in the helicopter to surgery. He said the moment when he was laying there, looking up at the medic, he somehow felt time stand still. Time didn’t exist. And he knew in that moment he was ready to go to heaven. He said “I knew I’d miss my wife. My kids. My grandkids. Of course I’d miss them, but in that moment, I had an overwhelming feeling that I’d see them soon. I didn’t know when, but I just knew it wouldn’t be long. And I can’t even tell you how happy I felt.” Up there in that helicopter, he got a glimpse of eternity.
And he said some more profound and beautiful things, ending with the phrase that broke down any wall we’d built in our hearts; “If anyone has lost someone recently, just know they are so, so happy. And to them, it won’t be long at all before they see you again.”
Oh those words. They changed our lives. O hunched over and began to weep. Not cry-weep. His shoulders shook and tears flooded his face. He wrote “Thank you Father for taking care of my baby.”
Our tears didn’t dry until the church was empty and it was just us two sitting in the sanctuary. We prayed for the baby, thanking the Lord for the precious gift of ten weeks of carrying Noah and for changing our lives through this journey. We released Noah, entrusting our baby into the care of the good, good Father.
And just like that, we found it.