Joy comes in the morning

Exactly one year ago today, I walked into my ultrasound room and picked up a probe with the intention of seeing my firstborn on the screen to check up on the heartbeat. What I found would change my life. Immediately my heart sank and I started having a mini panic attack. I stayed in the room for a minute trying to compose myself after finding what I knew was one of my nightmares. My baby, this teeny tiny human, had something called a cystic hygroma. Not only that, but the spine was deformed, the heart was in the abdomen and at least 50% of her organs were outside of her body. Even at 10 weeks, I knew the prognosis wouldn’t be favorable for life.

Here I am, one year later, having lost this teeny tiny precious human last July and pregnant with another teeny tiny human. The only difference is, this baby is healthy. Completely. There’s not even a single soft marker or placenta previa or anything concerning (yet). Seriously, Praise the Lord! I went from a pregnancy where most of the baby’s organs were growing outside of her body, inevitably leading to her very early death to a pregnancy that looks 100% normal. It’s a lot to take in for sure. It took me a long time after we found out that I was pregnant to let myself truly feel joy, plan for the baby and just breathe. One thing is certain: GOD. IS. GOOD.

It’s barely been 6 months since we lost Cora. I’m due June 27th with the second baby. Cora was born July 2nd. I could very easily have my second child on Cora’s “birthday”. I still don’t know how I feel about this. Honestly, I still don’t know how I feel about anything. I don’t know how I feel about Cora’s death or this new pregnancy. I have so many emotions. I’m thankful, happy, sad, devastated, anxious, you name it. I have days where I feel completely at peace with everything; days where I feel God is in total control so I can handle anything.

Then there are days like today. Days that punch me in the gut. Days that remind me, “Oh yeah, I had a baby before this one that went straight to Jesus’ arms”. Days when my heart breaks all over again. Days when all the anxiety and fear I felt for her future come rushing back to me. When I walk into my ultrasound room today, I will be reminded this is the same room where I found her body was deformed last February and the same room I found her heart stopped last July. It’s one of the most difficult  experiences I have had to face. Every day I scan reminds me of Cora; my job is in a high-risk OB clinic and I can’t get away from pregnancy. Patients remind me of Cora every time they ask about children or if I come across a baby with a similar prognosis as Cora. I will always be devastated over Cora. That will never go away. But God is good. And I’m also overjoyed. Overjoyed that we get a second chance on earth with the joy of children; her brothers and sisters who will know who she was and how her story changed lives.

It’s been said children are one of the greatest blessings from God to their parents. Jesus loves the little children. For sure, He’s loving on Cora right now and that gives me comfort. Yes I would rather have Cora in my arms now than in Heaven, but that is only from my own selfishness. Why would anyone rather be on earth when they can be in His presence in Heaven? Earth is temporary; this life, this pain is only temporary. God placed people and events in our lives to give us comfort in hard times. He meets you in your pain and comforts. He. Conquers. Everything.

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

That being said, I have been innocently asked countless times if I have children, or if they notice I’m pregnant, if this is my first. So far I have not told a single patient about Cora. At first, I felt a lot of guilt about not mentioning her. However, I work in a very sensitive environment to bring up stillbirthed babies; it’s not always appropriate or necessary. I have assessed the people who have asked, and I feel they are not ready to hear my truth as well as the fact that I’m just not ready to tell it. Sometimes I feel I am doing Cora a disservice, but we were so public about the pregnancy that I need this time to be private. I’m not sure that we’ve fully processed everything. Thousands of people read Cora’s story due to this blog and I am grateful that so many people still read about her on a daily basis. I am just not ready to tell someone her story face to face, especially if that someone is pregnant. It’s a very scary thing to be pregnant and I’d rather not give them something else to worry about. I will get around to talking about Cora when I feel it’s time. I’m just not there yet and I’m not sure when that time will be.

I will cherish the time we did have with her while I was pregnant. That was the only time I would get with her while here on earth, but I will see baby girl healthy and whole when I get to Heaven. And that….that is worth all the pain here on earth without her.

Psalm 119:76
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. 

In Him,

The Shraders