I love that God puts dreams and desires on our hearts, both big and small. The dreams and desires of my heart, shared by my husband, are to continue to grow our family. Recently my plans have become more simple and less complex, as I was forced to relinquish control of figuring out the when and in some ways even the how. In spite of my sorrow this reality is bringing me great peace. I have to keep in mind that God has a Plan A for us, and it might look a little differently than my plan. His plan is always best. That’s the simple truth.
That’s exactly what I kept telling myself sitting in the OBGYN’s office on January 16, 2018. His plan is always best. Over and over. Both aloud and in my head. I went in for a routine appointment two days prior to being 13 weeks pregnant. We had found out we were pregnant right before Thanksgiving (which was also our four year wedding anniversary). We therefore celebrated with thanksgiving doubly, a baby and a blessed four years. Then, we told our closest friends and family members that we were pregnant during Christmas. Sure, we knew the statistics and that our nightmare had a 3% chance of happening. But, we had also heard a healthy heart beat and choose not to live in fear. I had more than my fair share of pregnancy symptoms (also known as, I was throwing up on the regular among other glamorous things). Everything seemed to be growing and happening much more quickly this time around. My assumption was that I had already grown a healthy baby before, my body would just do it again. I was waiting, with a bit of anxiety though, to get this appointment over with so that I could really breathe and enjoy being pregnant. Until I couldn’t…
Andy was supposed to be joining me for this appointment since we felt like it was a milestone one; but, he was also closing on a big business deal that week and needed to make a stop at the bank first. He would be there soon to celebrate a healthy baby with me and maybe hear that precious heartbeat on the doppler. That was our plan. Neither of us were worried about our baby because God was in control and He had a plan.
I was called back to see my doctor, while being greeted by one of my favorite nurses to do all of the routine things. I remember the atmosphere feeling very calm and peaceful because we were all awaiting a winter wonderland, not the usual landscape for my sweet home Alabama. I didn’t have to go to work that day because we had a “snow day.” Nothing was rushed, everything seemed to be in slow motion, especially as I look back now. The doctor’s office was also unusually quiet and peaceful since many patients and staff didn’t want to travel with the risk of wintery weather. It seemed like the perfect day to hear good news about our sweet baby and move on with making our plans.
We had plans to really announce our big news and tell more friends soon. I had plans to play a fun game with my students to let them in on Mrs. Sentenn’s fun secret. There were plans of finding out the gender in a month or so, and then crossing off the names from the “master list” in my phone’s notes- probably only to argue with Andy until we decided on just the right one (ha!). There were plans to transition Abigail into her big girl room on her 2nd birthday in March, so that we could use the crib in baby’s room. I was thrilled to have a summer baby, and was in the process of making plans to stay home for a while for all the baby cuddles. There were surely going to be matching sibling outfits in my future too. I couldn’t wait to see Abigail as a big sister, and I still can’t. It was so exciting, and everything was going according to my plan. Until it wasn’t…
My doctor, who is also a friend of ours but has become even more dear recently, came into the room feeling the same ease that I was feeling. I remember it clearly, “You’ve made it! The 12 week appointment!” We thought we had made it, me and baby, but we didn’t know what God had allowed behind the scenes. Soon thereafter she took the doppler to my belly and pretty quickly I could tell something was wrong. She didn’t like what she was seeing, but she also didn’t want to have to communicate this to me I’m sure. Time stood still in that moment. Honestly, I felt sorry for my doctor that she was having to walk through this with me. I was instantly saddened, but also had a bizarre and supernatural sense of peace and strength. “We are going to need to get an ultrasound tech to take a look. I’ll head back there with you. One second…” I am so grateful that we did another ultrasound, but I already knew my baby was gone.
So, there went my plans. I wanted to scream in anger as I walked the halls passing growing pregnant bellies, but instead my eyes just filled with tears while I continued to repeat “His plan is always best” in my head. The ultrasound confirmed that my baby was there, but there was no longer a “flicker.” And so I began to grieve many things that day: unfulfilled dreams, a false sense of control, cancelling plans, but most importantly- longing for a baby I will never know this side of heaven. I didn’t lose my baby that day because I know, with full confidence, where we will meet again. My baby’s home is in heaven, and so mine will be too. Praise God!
But as a mother, before the ultrasound, how could I not have known that my baby was in heaven? I think that was my first initial question, and it’s probably still the one that haunts me the most. When did my plan and God’s plan no longer intersect? I thought we were on the same page here? We are on the same page, but His ways are higher than mine. His plan is always best.