Driving up I-75

This morning, I woke up sometime after 6.  There was a light around our bedroom door which was unusually closed. That meant Stephanie was up which also was unusual but the past24 hours had been anything close to usual or even remotely closed to what we expected.
Yesterday started with great anticipation. After all that was the day we would see our child and hear a heartbeat for the second time. That afternoon, I met Stephanie at Emory and I felt like a kid in a candy store.  We sat in the waiting room and waited on our name to be called.  I even made the comment that I wanted to record the sound of the heartbeat on my phone.

“Mrs. White?”  and off we would go. I believe I actually may have ran to the ultrasound room.  The nurse would take pictures for the doctor and then show us what she is seeing. I took out my phone to record the heartbeat……only there wasn’t one to record.  The nurse asked questions and made a few clinical comments. Finally, I had to ask, “What does this mean?” I knew what it meant. I didn’t want to hear it but I knew.

It was over.

For 8 incredible weeks, Steph and I were parents of a .32 cm child. A child that we loved. A child that had a heartbeat. A child that we wanted to share our world with and now it was over.

The nurse informed us that we needed to talk to the doctor and go over options. None of those mattered any more. As I told Steph, at that moment in time, I went into full on protect Stephanie mode. After what I deemed a wait far to long to hear from the doctor (20+ minutes since hearing the news), I walked out of the room and actually went and barked at a few doctors telling them this was killing my wife to wait this long, when actually it was killing me just as much. The doctor came in, and after that, the next few hours were a blur. Calls were made, people were told, tears were shed.  I never left her side knowing I had to be there to protect Stephanie and be there if she needed it but also knew, we were in 2 separate cars and an hour away from home.

We did what we needed to do physically to help Stephanie and made our plans. Now began the long, separate walk to 2 different cars. My truck was closer to the exit so I knew I would be our first and would have to drive slow to allow her to catch up. This sounds awful, but looking back now, its what I needed because our faith was rocked pretty hard right now.

I needed my time to grieve, to be upset, and honestly, I yelled, screamed, and fussed at God.

“I don’t understand!”

“Why would you bring us this close and let us down?”

“Why?”

I needed to vent. I called a few that needed to know and a few that I needed to talk with. One of my closest friends in the world prayed with me right there on the phone, going up I-75 in 5 pm traffic while I was fighting  back the tears.  Others told me that unknown to me, they had been right where I am right now.

By this time, Stephanie had caught up to me and I was back in full on protect her mode. I had to suck it up, and be strong for her. I had asked her parents to come, against her wishes and as soon as we walked in and saw them there, I knew that she would be ok.

I sat in the chair, apart from them listening intently. Steph was in the middle and even though she was listening to them, she was looking and speaking directly to me. She spoke volumes without saying a single word.  Her eyes told me that she was going to be ok.  Her eyes told me one of her favorite sayings, “this too shall pass” (then her mom actually voiced those exact words)

My work here for the moment was over and her work began.

That night, we talked about the day, the situation, our thoughts and our plans, emotions we were feeling etc., like never before and my healing had began.

This morning, seeing her up earlier than usual and up before me, worried me. I got up, got dressed and went out in protect Steph mode once again, but this time was different. She will always have me to protect her and comfort her, but this time, God said, “I got this.” She went on to tell me how God spoke to her through probably the most unusual  passage of scripture in the bible that there is but it was exactly what WE needed.  God shared it to me through her and it gave me the peace that I needed. It doesn’t mean the pain is gone or tears won’t be shed any more, but I can ease up on the worry about her knowing God is there. He never left me for an instant, even when I was screaming at Him. The louder that I got saying “Why why why?” He kept saying “let it out, I still love you” “I know it hurts but I am here, even through the pain.” He loved me, when I was mad. He guided me when I couldn’t see for the tears. He never left our side when I felt like we were alone.  He had faith in me, when my faith in Him was rocked.

And He still loves me.

Dear God,

I don’t know why. I don’t know why a loving God like You are, would answer our prayers, allow us to get this close, and then take it away. I don’t know the answers but I know it’s part of a plan, much bigger than me and Stephanie. I know that You never left us and were sitting with us when we got the news.  This happened for a reason and one day maybe You will let us know. Until that, I will accept Your will and know this is because You have greater things in store for us. Forgive me for yelling at You. Forgive my doubt and questions. Thank you for driving me home up I-75.

Keith