That's how many times I've been pregnant.
It always felt so weird to write that number on forms when I was pregnant with Archer.
"Live Births _____" was the next line.
Four. That's the right answer now. Even typing that number pokes a raw and tender place in my heart. Those four are the most precious part of my life. They are my every day. And second only to Kyle Wiley, they are my greatest adventure and the most abundant blessing I have. They are my people.
But there were three more.
Three more dates on the calendar engraved in my heart. 2 miscarriages and 1 ectopic pregnancy. 3 more babies growing inside of me. Each for very brief periods of time, they were mine.
This kind of grief has always been so intangible to me. I have a hard time understanding and it has never been something I could verbalize well. Kind of like trying to hold a handful of sand. You can feel it, but it slips between your fingers. And yet, I don't grieve as one without hope.
I'm past asking "why" and am finally content in a place of rest and knowing I won't ever fully understand why. Not that it was easy getting to that place. But each loss was carried in the sovereign, sufficient, loving arms of the One who made me and made by babies. And the greatest mystery and miracle of it all is that while His purposes are unknown, His goodness remains intact. His character remains the same. And I know that NOTHING slips through His fingers. Nothing.
It's not easy to remember, but it's not easy to forget.
Some years when the calendar rolls over a date, my emotions respond before my brain remembers. Saturday was like that. My throat was thick and my eyes were watery and I felt sad. My body remembered before my brain did. I filtered through my brain until I found the right match for the emotion. Oh yeah. I lost something precious on that date.
Precious things are worth remembering. People remember this kind of loss in different ways. Normally for me, it's just me and the Lord and a few thoughts, tender heart twinges, and thankfulness. Thankfulness to the Lord for creating that life and thankfulness in His carrying me through the loss of it.
Three precious dates. Three precious lives worth remembering.