It had been an emotional weekend. Newly pregnant with baby number three, crazy hormones, a poor decision on my part that led to the pain of a dear friend, and now the long drive home. My girls’ weekend up north was a blur of fun, festivities and mixed feelings and I was ready for it to be over.
The abdominal cramping started about half an hour into the trip home. My first thought was that I was experiencing indigestion from the ridiculously rich and creamy lunch I had indulged in. But as we continued down the road, sweat formed on my brow, nausea set in, my muscles continued to contract with more and more intensity, and I realized this was much more than a stomach ache.
Can you pull over?
I stumbled out of the car and quickly dropped to my knees. I could feel the rough gravel beneath my jeans as I hunched over and prepared to expel everything from my insides. Instead, I curled into the fetal position as another wave of pain descended upon my body.
My husband was called, and a decision was made. We were going to the closest hospital.
An exam and ultrasound concluded that I was going to need emergency surgery. They had found a large mass on my ovary and were concerned it was an ectopic pregnancy.
Thankfully my husband made it to the hospital just before we heard the news. I was so grateful for his presence and support. There were so many questions and emotions flooding my mind, and there was so little time to process what was really happening.
I tried my best to pay attention as the surgeon came into the room and explained what was about to happen. Chad, being a medical professional himself, seemed confident with the information. But I was feeling more than a little anxious.
Chad must have sensed my hesitation, and he squeezed my hand reassuringly. As the time for surgery drew near, we said “I love you” and our goodbyes and then they wheeled me down the hall to the operating room. With each step forward, I could feel my fear and uncertainty coming back.
Quickening pulse. Rapid breaths. Scattered thoughts.
What if I don’t make it? What will happen to my boys? I’m not ready to say goodbye…
And then, a gentle Holy Spirit whisper:
Christy, I have not given you a spirit of fear… I am with you.
Deep breath. God’s truth redirecting my thoughts. Sigh of relief.
I honestly don’t remember anything after that point. I’m sure I had to count backwards from 10 or something as they administered the anesthesia, but it’s all a blur. I woke up a few hours later in another room.
Chad and I were debriefed about all that had gone on. There was mass that was bleeding uncontrollably inside my ovary. It was assumed that the mass was my unborn baby, a rare ectopic pregnancy where the baby was growing inside the ovary. I had already lost a lot of blood before they opened me up, and when they couldn’t stop the bleeding, they had no choice but to remove my ovary. And that was that. Problem eliminated. And so was my baby it would seem.
It was late in the evening. Chad went home to be with our boys. He would be back early in the morning to pick me up. The lights were dim and all was quiet. The on-call nurse had stopped by to check on me, and make sure I was comfortable. And then I was all alone. Solo, in a silent room with nothing but my thoughts.
I lay in that bed, trying to process everything that had transpired in the previous twenty-four hours. I thought, and analyzed, and questioned. And then I sobbed. I cried because I was exhausted. I was utterly spent, emotionally and physically. What was supposed to be a fun and relaxing weekend away had been anything but.
I cried for myself, for the confusing circumstances, but mostly I grieved for the baby that I had never met and would never get to meet.
As the tears rained down my cheeks, I murmured a prayer to God and entrusted my unborn babe into His tender care.
That’s when it happened. I was given a most precious gift from my ‘Abba’ Father. ‘Abba’, translated Daddy, the name Jesus used to describe our Heavenly Father. A God who intimately understands the pain of losing a most beloved child.
The gift I received? It was a name. Emelia. The name was engraved on my heart like a signature scrawled on stationary. It was a whisper into my soul that was accompanied by an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and peace and unconditional love.
But it was so much more than that. It was also a glimpse into the heart of my Creator, and a taste of an eternal reality. The name revealed that the 7-week-old miracle that was budding inside me was a person who was worthy of a title. A person, who was not only known, but cherished by God.
“Emelia,” I breathed. My unborn daughter.
The next day at my follow-up appointment it was discovered that I was still pregnant. The mass that was removed wasn’t my baby after-all. A new ultrasound exposed a tiny heartbeat. But this glimmer of hope quickly faded when a couple of days later I really did lose my precious unborn tot.
In many ways, this experience felt like a dream. Still on pain-meds as I recovered from my surgery, dealing with pregnancy hormones, and the emotional roller-coaster of life events, through it all, that name brought me peace.
Some of you may be thinking all of this sounds a little crazy. It was obviously wishful thinking. The result of grief mingled with Vicodin? I wouldn’t blame you for having those thoughts. I had them too. Shortly after one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had with the Divine, I began to doubt. And aside from telling my husband, I kept the experience to myself.
I have come to believe that one of the most amazing things about God, is His longsuffering and patience. He knows how fickle we humans are. He knows our tendency to question and doubt. And yet He is faithful and kind to us, just the same. He doesn’t need us to validate who He is and what He has done for us. Yet, sometimes He chooses to remind us of how good He is. Even in the midst of our skepticism.
About a week after my hospital visit, I got a phone call from my sister-in-law. She was checking in on me and also wanted to share an experience she had just had. She confided in me, that some years before, in the midst of a long struggle with infertility, she had gotten pregnant and soon after lost the baby. She hadn’t shared this with anyone, because it was too painful. But my recent life events had brought back old memories that she had never really dealt with.
As she was pondering her past, she had her own Supernatural experience. God spoke into her heart and revealed that the baby she lost was a little girl. She was also given a name. Isabelle.
When I heard her story, I was overcome with excitement! I couldn’t wait to tell her about my own miraculous encounter.Maybe it wasn’t wishful thinking after all!
As I eagerly poured out the details of my hospital room story with Jen, she listened patiently.
When I finished, she urgently asked: What was the name you were given again?”
“It was Emelia.”
“Oh my word!” She exclaimed. “ Are you kidding me?!”
I was a little perplexed at this point…
“Christy! I was actually given two names: Isabelle and Emelia. Somehow I knew Isabelle was for my daughter. I didn’t really understand where Emelia fit in so I didn’t mention it before. But now it all makes sense! This is so amazing! We both have daughters in Heaven!”
As fresh tears filled my eyes, I was blown away by this beautiful confirmation of what I already knew in my heart.
I don’t know why things turned out the way that they did. Was the fact that I lost a baby all part of God’s divine plan or just the result of living in an imperfect and broken world? In the end, those are things we can’t really know for sure. What I do know, is that I have a daughter in Heaven. Her name is Emelia. She’s the daughter that I haven’t met, at least, not yet. But someday I will!
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:2-3
photo courtesy of ithinkmymomsgonecrazy.com