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‘I know we’ll see her again’

How does a fully formed, healthy baby just slip away, back into the arms of Jesus, and her vigilant mother not know it? 

I had failed. God had failed. I was being punished. David deserved better. He should have a wife who could give him children. 

Grief is an unwelcome, foreign agent. We weren’t created to die, so it’s like our bodies, our minds, our hearts don’t know what to do with it. 

“(W)e who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”   — Hebrews 6:18-20, New Living Translation

Even now, 20 years later, I still don’t understand.

But I know I didn’t fail. God didn’t fail. I wasn’t being punished. That’s not who God is. I don’t know why — as if any “why” would make it all OK, make it all make sense. 

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(1/3) Her name is Hope. 20 years ago, I was beginning my 8th month of pregnancy with my and David’s first child. It was New Years Eve 1998. I sat in bed just before midnight watching David Letterman and sipping orange juice, trying to take my mind off of a growing concern inside my heart, hoping the sugar in the juice would make the baby kick his or her legs. Mine was a high risk pregnancy. I had fibroid tumors and had been told it was possible I’d never be able to carry a child full term, or become pregnant at all. This baby was a “miracle.” I’d had intermittent bleeding throughout my pregnancy with at least one trip to the ER. I was receiving extremely watchful care under a perinatologist and had ultrasounds at each visit. We were assured that he or she was developing and healthy, despite the fibroids, and the umbilical cord having only two, instead of the normal three vessels. We’d come this far—viability was an option now if the baby came early. Relief! So this night, it was beyond comprehension that something could be wrong. I had gestational diabetes and wasn’t supposed to drink fruit juices, but I needed to feel his or her familiar movements… How does the human mind allow itself to enter into a place of denial when all the signs are pointing to the obvious? We registered at Babies-R-Us the next day. I was mindful all the while: no movement. I was anxious. But if I just went on, it would be ok. Stop worrying. God wouldn’t do this to me, to us. He’d brought us this far. I was praying, willing him or her to be ok. In my anxiety, I was irritable with David. We argued. I didn’t want to speak my fears out loud, afraid they’d come true. Back at home, I laid down on my side while holding the musical globe my excited husband/soon-to-be father gifted me on Christmas morning to my swollen belly, hoping the sweet tune would “wake him or her up.” Still, no kicks or flutters. A combination of inexperience and denial, Braxton Hicks contractions deceived me into believing he or she was moving, just differently. And I’d been “one of those” first time pregnant women who called the nurse a lot. I was embarrassed to bother them again…

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I know we now have a unique perspective of sorts and have been able to sincerely empathize with countless mamas and daddies ever since. I know it could’ve been much worse in so many ways. 

I know the odds are against marriages that experience the death of a child — and that David and I grew closer because of our shared loss. I know we probably wouldn’t have our beautiful, special, unique lights of Mackenna and Jonathan if she’d stayed. 

Amy Cady

Amy Cady

I know God is love, and this wasn’t “his will.” I know she’s the lucky one to not have to ever experience heartbreak, sadness, all the heaviness of existing, and to have only ever known warmth and love. 

I know we are incredibly fortunate for all we have — and for what hasn’t happened to us. 

I know that this life isn’t it. I know all will be made new again someday, that all will be as it originally was. 

I know we’ll see her again. 

Her name is Hope. 

And we are beyond thankful for her.

Amy Cady and her husband, David, serve the Wellspring Fellowship Church of Christ in Waipahu, Hawaii. Their first child, Hope, died in utero after a complicated pregnancy and was delivered by cesarean section on Jan. 10, 1999. The Cadys have two more children, Mackenna and Jonathan, both teenagers and active in ministry. 

Filed under: grief In the Word infant loss Opinion Top Stories

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