Remembering Matthew

Thursday, July 8, 2010
Seven years ago I joined the ranks.
The club nobody signs up for.
The group of millions of women who have lost a baby to miscarriage.
I was twenty-two and we had just landed in Ukraine where we would spend the next 5 years as missionaries. I was thirteen weeks pregnant with baby Matthew when I started bleeding. We’d not even settled enough to seek out a doctor and begin prenatal care. The twins were barely one-year-old and we hardly knew anyone in the strange and foreign country. We asked a team member whom we had met a couple times to come and stay with Tristan and Abi so that C and I could navigate the new and confusing subway system to find a clinic.
The examination was painful and brief.
A translator clinically interpreted the doctors diagnosis.
No heartbeat.
The baby had probably been dead for a week or so.
A D&C would be necessary.
C held my hand as I sobbed during the ambulance ride from the clinic to the surgery center. I was given a paper gown to wear and told to sit and wait on a cold plastic palate until they wheeled me into the procedure room.
No inquiries as to if I had any questions.
No sympathetic glances.
No one who understood me when I asked where the restroom was.
I remember them starting the IV.
Then darkness.
I awoke with a keen sense of emptiness. My baby was gone.
I never got to see him.
Never held him in my arms.
I would never get to count fingers and toes.
There would be unsung lullabies.
And many sleepless nights….with no baby to rock.
The journey was painful as any mother knows who has a wee one in heaven. There has been a process of healing. C gave me a charm bracelet on our first anniversary and every year since, has given me a charm to represent something significant from that year. 2003 he gave me a mother & child silloette. Matthew is the child I cant wait to meet on the other side of eternity. Many days go by that my heart isn’t plagued with grief.
But the 7th of July always haunts me.
Seven years later I look back at what our experience taught me with baby Matthew. Before the miscarriage, I completely took life for granted.
Dont get me wrong. Im adamantly pro-life. I believe life begins at conception. I believe with all my heart that every baby is a gift from the Lord.
Conceptually I believed that only God can breathe life.
However, I embraced an arrogant notion that getting pregnant and having a baby was a given. I really believed that any time I wanted…..when we were ready……we could make a baby.
It rocked my world when we lost Matthew and I was consumed with a heartbreaking thought that I might never be able to have another baby.
It boils down to a minimized view of God. I had reduced Him to being a God that accommodated my requests…in my timeframe…at my convenience.
We have watched so many friends battle infertility, walked with friends through the loss of a child and our painful experience with Evie has further confirmed that He alone is the giver and sustainer of life. I feel like Im just beginning to wrap my mind around what “fear of God” really means.
Im not referring to a fear of condemnation or judgement or punishment.
It does not evoke a need to hide prompted by shame.
Its not a fear of the unknown, but a fear of the known!
Knowing Him, knowing who He is, what He’s capable of should magnify our conception of God.
Know Him. Fear Him!
Im talking about a reverence.
Im not fearing Him if Im assuming rights and privileges that are not mine to grasp. I dont pretend for a minute that I have “arrived”. I still daily fight the urge to take back what I feel a sense of entitlement to. We all have our plans. Our goals and dreams that we often try to fit God into.
How deeply I desire the reverse to characterize my life.
Oh that my fear of God would put first His will above my own so that my plans would fall into His perfect purposes!

  • Rebecca says:

    Thank you for sharing your second son with us, Mandy. Your words and even more so, your heart, are beautiful.

    Love you, dear one!

  • Lacey says:

    How scary for a young couple in a foreign country. We hope to be traveling to the Ukraine in a month or so!

  • Rachel C says:

    What a beautiful post. You have a great gift of putting feelings into words. Thank you.

  • Nichole says:

    I don’t know what the gender of mine would have been, but I would have hoped for a boy. I had a miscarriage in march and it was a very hard experience for me at first. Thank you for your story. I really hope we can see our lost babies in heaven someday.


  • Emily says:

    Mandy, this broke my heart to read. Your lovely words were so amazing. I cannot even imagine what you have gone through. I do know that you have always been a courageous woman of God, and this just shows another side of that. Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing this.

    Much Love,

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