In one of my previous blog posts I talked about my amazing trips to Haiti. My primary reason for going was to implement a program for expecting mothers in the area to increase their health and in turn increase the health of their baby. Our end goal would be to end the cycle of malnutrition and preventable disease in future generations.
One of the women that was chosen for our program was a 28 year old woman named Berthelus. She had had 8, EIGHT, failed pregnancies. She delivered at 7 months, 8 months and 9 months....all still born babies. It is so much to process. So much pain and loss at such a young age. Add in the culture that teaches that if many bad things happen its probably voodoo. It's you. It's your fault.
On the last day, we got to meet the women, assess them, educate them, give them supplies, love on them. Our program offers 5 women in the community a year of supplements and food, weekly. This food is so valuable in that it, for these women, costs about what a monthly wage would be for a good paying job in the area. Their are not many good paying jobs in the area. We were also able to use a doppler, that we brought, to hear their sweet babies heartbeats. Berthelus went last. When she laid down Christa searched for the heartbeat. Nothing. Everyone in the little storage closet area where we were performing the exam held their breath and prayed. After trying for a while we all knew what had happened. We decided to take Berthelus to the hospital to make sure our diagnosis was correct and that she could get the care she needed if the baby still needed to be delivered. I got in the bed of the truck and prayed. About halfway to the hospital Shannon stopped the truck and called me over. Berthelus told her and Vero that she had lost the baby the Thursday before. It was a girl. She was so ashamed and embarrassed and didn't know how to tell us. My heart broke into a million pieces. I looked into her eyes and told her "I have lost 2 babies. This is not your fault. You did not do this. This is not voodoo. You are not broken. This is not your fault." As Shannon translated for me Berhelus' eyes widened. She had never heard these words before. No one had told her. How? This was here NINTH loss. How can she not know this....
On Christmas Eve I had my third miscarriage. Clay and I weren't actually trying to get pregnant, but we could be the poster children for abstinence is the only way to not have babies. We were shocked at first. Honestly, I was more concerned about what people would think and all the jokes that would be made about us once the news that we were expecting got out. Then I lost the baby. My first two miscarriages, before Cole, I was in a horrible head space. God worked so hard on my heart and broke me. I'm so grateful for that excruciatingly painful season. It required that I fix my eyes on the Lord and have a greater hope for eternity. This time, as I processed the loss of our third baby, I just kept thinking of Berthelus. Her story. I debated telling this part of my story. Then, as I prayed and processed this third loss, multiple things I read and a recent sermon I listened to talked about embracing ALL of your story. When I lost my first two babies I was so sad and embarrassed. I was embarrassed that I couldn't keep a baby safe an healthy inside of me. I was embarrassed that I couldn't give my family their first grandchild and clay is first child. I felt broken. This time I knew. I know that God chose this child for such a time as this. He or she's short sweet life was not to be forgotten, he or she is part of my story.
I write this to any woman that is suffering loss. To remind her that you are not alone, but to also remind her that this is not your fault. It is not because you are broken. This is part of your story. A painful part, but still a part. This is forming you into the person God has intended you to be. Their is hope. Their is joy in the morning. So, as we enter this new year, my prayer is for joy. For rest and for peace. For a hope that rests in the joy and peace that one day, I will be able to meet my three sweet babies and maybe, just maybe Berthelus' nine sweet babies. That is where I will rest.