Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
Today we are celebrating my eldest daughters 8th birthday. But, I became a mother well before I held our little girl in my arms. Today I want to share the story of the child we never met, how I survived the fear and uncertainty following the loss and our beautiful daughter who was well worth the wait.
Patience has never been my strong suit and I have always wanted to be a mom. So when my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, I initiated a serious conversation about having children.
Although my husband was open to the idea, he definitely wasn’t in a hurry. I will never forget the way I felt inside as I was telling him all of the reasons why I felt it was time to start our family.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5
My heart was so full, it felt like it was about to burst. I looked him straight in the eye and told him it wasn’t right to keep all of that love for ourselves. God blessed us with a strong marriage and the means to have a family; we just had to try!
My husband is a kind and generous soul, and he sportively embraced my plan to begin trying for a baby. A month later we were pregnant.
I knew that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so I immediately quit my professional golfing career and began preparing for our little one to arrive. Like I said, I have never been one to take my time.
I could not wait to share our exciting news with my parents, and they were thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild. Not too long after that, we shared our joy with extended family and friends.
With great expectation, I went to the doctor’s office for my very first ultrasound at 12 weeks. I hadn’t been feeling well, but I figured that was a good sign. I was all alone and I will never forget the look on the technician’s face before she excused herself to fetch the doctor.
Something wasn’t right. I began to panic. This was not happening, not to me! The doctor told me the baby had died weeks earlier if there ever had been a baby. The doctor explained an anembryonic pregnancy to me, how sometimes fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. She told me it was likely that there never was a baby.
I did not cry until I reached the parking lot and had to call my husband. I cried once. Then I got busy and told myself there was no baby to mourn anyway.
What a lie!?! I knew it was a lie, but somehow it was easier to believe a lie than deal with the truth. It took two weeks, but finally my husband go through to me and the tears came in violent waves. I had lost my precious baby.
My Precious Child,
I write this letter to you on what could have been your birthdate if the Lord hadn’t taken you home to be with Him. I know that you are going to be well taken care of up there in heaven with your Savior, but oh how I long to know you & to teach you myself.
Your daddy and I were so very excited when we found out you were on the way.
I was so excited that you were going to be a spring baby, excited to introduce you to the world of sunshine, flowers, and ladybugs. It was wonderful to share the news of you with our closest friends and family, oh how much you would have been loved and cherished if the Lord would have allowed you even moments on this earth.
No matter how much I wanted things to be different, I trust that God has huge plans for you in heaven and there was a very good reason that He chose to take you away from us. And I believe, when we meet one day in heaven, all will finally make sense to me.
But for now, I want you to know how much you are loved, how badly you are missed and how thankful we are for you & for the fact that God sent you to us when He did. We are hoping to have many brothers and sisters for you to meet one day, and we were believing that one day our whole family will be together forever.
Please ask Jesus to pray for mommy and daddy, as we are missing you very badly. Ask him to comfort us and fill our hearts with peace.
Thanks to my faith, I knew I would meet our child in heaven someday and found great comfort in that. I was sick for months following the miscarriage, so we didn’t start trying for another child until about 4 months later.
It wasn’t so easy to get pregnant the second time. As the months passed, I began to wonder if I would ever give birth to my own child. After a year of trying, we began to see a fertility doctor and considered foster parenting. That was the most challenging year of my life, and I will never forget the lessons I learned.
I learned that fertility is a gift, children are a gift, and my ability to have either is far beyond my control. I learned that what I do does not define who I am and I learned to live with uncertainty. I am grateful for the loss that taught me that I am stronger than I thought I would ever have to be.
The week before we were to begin taking the foster parenting classes, we discovered we were pregnant again. It was a scary season, but when we heard a strong heartbeat at our 8-week appointment we began to believe that this time would be different.
“He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD!” Psalm 113:9
I was so ready for that baby to arrive and arrive she did! She came weeks early and not a minute too soon. She was perfectly perfect and well worth the wait. Although I will always love the baby we never knew, I no longer dwell on the loss. I am grateful that the Lord saw fit to fill that empty space in my heart with our beautiful, blue-eyed daughter.
She has grown into such a treasure. She is tender and gentle and kind. Just like her father.
She loves me, her mother, in a way that only she can. She constantly reminds me that she needs my love in return, and I am so grateful that God saw fit to give her to me in His perfect timing.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
The only way loss makes us stronger is when we give our pain to Jesus. It has been nearly a decade since we lost our first baby, and I will never be the same as I was before. But I did survive and the pain and sorrow that nearly destroyed me has lifted.
I loved and lost and now I live fully because God has restored me. The child I longed for now fills my days with joy and celebration. And one day, I will meet the baby we lost in heaven and our family will be complete.
But today we will celebrate the gift of life and the 8 years we have had with our daughter. We are blessed beyond words.
P.S. I have many friends who have experienced multiple miscarriages or complete infertility. I know that my story can’t even touch the surface of the pain these beautiful women have walked through. But, I have experienced enough to know how lonely it can be, and I pray that sharing my story will help people who have never walked this path better understand the daily struggle that accompanies this type of loss.