The Waiting Room

Yesterday I had my 30 week pre-natal OB appointment. As I sat in the waiting room, I watched a couple walk back in from the Ultrasound room. They had the fresh pictures of their little baby folded up and gripped tightly. They both sat down and didn’t say a word to each other. They didn’t look at the pictures. They didn’t move a fraction of an inch for the entire 15 minutes I was there. They looked like they had seen a ghost. Judging by the expression on their faces, something was wrong.

I don’t know anything about this couple. I don’t know what their situation was and I want to be careful not to make assumptions. But watching them, I felt my heart drop. It wasn’t too long ago that I remember sitting in that same waiting room, completely devastated. I remember having to walk back through that waiting room full of happy, pregnant women after our ultrasound on that awful day, and trying to walk as fast as I could, eyes averted. I remember trying (and failing) to hold back the tears, and completely falling apart once we got into the car.

And here I was yesterday only several months later, sitting in the same room with a growing little boy kicking my ribs at 30 weeks into my pregnancy.

It seems like a bit of a cruel irony that the room that women have to sit and wait in for their quick healthy pre-natal visits is the same exact room that others have to wait in after hearing the worst news they could imagine.

As I held my swollen stomach to feel my son’s little feet dancing, I was acutely aware of the fact that I am now the woman that I couldn’t look at before. The woman that is too painful to see, because of the stark visual reminder of what you lost. I am now the woman I once tried to avoid in this very waiting room.

The room that holds both immense joy and deep pain, simultaneously.

I looked around the room and let this sink in. Some come here rejoicing. Some mourning. Some completely unaware of how great the gift is that they have; others painfully aware of the gift they have lost. I felt tears threatening to fall for those in the room that may be a part of the later group. My heart ached for them and I wanted to reach out and hold them. I wanted to tell them that their baby mattered. That it was a sweet life lost too soon. I wanted to cry with them and validate their loss and their pain.

I also felt a deep sense of gratitude, as I held my stomach a little tighter. There is nothing I have done to deserve this little boy. There is no reason that I should be here for a healthy visit. We are guaranteed nothing. I’m not even guaranteed that this pregnancy will end with a healthy baby in my arms, even though I’ve made it to 30 weeks.

Remembering our loss and reflecting on our pain isn’t exactly fun. It hurts. But it makes me alive again. It makes my heart beat for humanity. It makes me love and pray for others. It reminds me of the Kingdom of God and how desperately we need it, and it makes me cry out to our Savior for it to come! Because this world is hard to live in. There are so many people who need to be held. So I prayed to the One who created us all, from the day of conception. I prayed that He would see their hurt, hear their cries, and wipe their tears. I thanked Him for Salem. For the chance to be his mom, if only for a couple of short months of gestation. I have a son waiting for me with Jesus, and that is a gift I can look forward to for the rest of my life. And I prayed that God would not let me lose the soft heart that He had been forming inside of me, because of my loss. It made me more real, more raw, more human and more compassionate. I don’t want to forget that. I don’t want to forget those who are newly hurting. I want to ache with them as we call on Jesus and praise Him that one day every tear will be wiped away.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
-Psalm 139:13-16

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
-Revelation 21:1-4