About this time a year ago my husband, Ashley, and I were anxiously anticipating Christmas because we would finally be able to announce to family and friends that we were expecting our first child. We were consumed with scouring the internet for nursery themes and baby names. We talked incessantly about our baby we were expecting and we couldn't wait to break the news so we could shop and paint and joyfully spend the next 8 months planning to be parents. When Christmas approached, those days surrounding it were like none I will ever forget. There were shouts and tears of joy from members in our church when Ashley announced it from the stage, there were phone calls, hugs and planning in place for baby showers and quilts by family. It was all about us and our baby. Facebook was littered with congrats and well wishes and cards came in the mail. We couldn't be anymore happy, or self-centered.
Fast forward two weeks at my 11 week OB appointment. Ashley and I went in there planning on going out to eat since it was a Friday night and maybe looking for some baby items at the store. I felt great and the high from announcing our pregnancy was still floating with me. But after an hour in the doctors office and several ultrasounds later, we walked out into the cold January air in shock. "I'm sorry, I can't find the heartbeat." Those words from the ultrasound tech still bring tears to my eyes and will forever be ingrained on my heart. Quickly passing from a state of shock to utter despair we somehow made it home and in bed as the tears soaked our sheets. I didn't want to tell people because I wanted to continue to live my "perfect" life. Anger, despair, frustration, pain...they were all coursing through my body at the same time.
Those next few weeks were a blur, filled with awkward conversations, tears and pain. I had decided to let my body run its course and pass the baby naturally. It may have been my background as a nurse, but I think it was more my love as a mother that I wanted to see my baby instead of having it surgically removed. Little did I know that 20 days later I would say goodbye. After passing the baby, Ashley and I set him in a beautiful box my dear friend gave me and we put on our coats and boots at three in the morning and trekked outside in our backyard through the snow to bury our baby. I will never forget that night. The sky was so clear filled with stars and the air was so cold. My tears froze on my cheeks, and at that moment, it was just Ashley and I alone in our pain. As the weeks followed I somehow found the ability to keep going with life. Every day I would look out my back window at the tiny mound of snow-covered dirt topped with flowers and my heart would break again and again.
A few days following the passing of our baby, Ashley and I decided we didn't want to keep referring to the baby as an it, because to us, our baby had a place in the world, even if it wasn't recognized by everyone else. So with little discussion our hearts both agreed on the name Elliott. Shortly after deciding that name, I looked up the meaning and Elliott means, "the Lord is my God". How true is this. Despite the pain and sorrow, the Lord is still my God, my Healer, my Comforter. Deep down I knew this, but in the darkest moments of sorrow and pain it was hard to believe. And little did I know that the next 12 months God would continue to show me His Love and would mold me into a person who not only "knew" these truths, but believed them with my whole heart.