Heart Check


I hadn’t felt movement all day.

By the time Ryan came home and I said those words out loud, my eyes clouded over and I let myself believe that we lost this baby, too.

Before the moon even took its place solidly in the sky, I tucked myself in bed, and stared at the wall, hoping to feel some movement that would put my heart at ease. I lay so still, but nothing.

Tears streamed down my cheek as my mind ran wild.  Thoughts of doom blanketed over my mind and heart. Oh, I cried and I cried. I simply couldn’t imagine any other option for my reality. I tried to pray. I tried to reason with myself, but there was no reasoning to be had. Despite my recent blog post proclaiming the beauty of hope, I hopelessly deferred.

Ryan curled in around me and whispered, “You know, you are only just finishing your 16th week, and it’s rare to feel movement at all at this point…”

I snapped back, “That doesn’t matter. The fact is, that I was feeling regular movement, and now I’m not.” The only heart I could hear beating was hopeless, ugly, angry.

“I understand,” he murmured gently, and held me.

Finally, he slipped out of bed and I was left alone to cry out all of my fears and imaginings. If we lose this baby, I’ll buy a plane ticket to Europe and ride my bike for days on end. I simply can’t continue living this same life if that happens again… I won’t deliver this baby dead. I just won’t do it! They’ll have to knock me out or kill me or something. I can’t do it again. I can’t do it!

Tears and tears and tears.

Then the Holy Spirit took His turn at curling around me and whispering into my ear, “Remember, eucharisteowhat you’ve been learning through Ann’s book? Remember, remember to give thanks…”

I couldn’t think of a thing to be grateful for.

Not one single thing.

And then, Ryan curled up behind me again. One strong hand holding my shoulder.

I stumbled through the darkness of my mind to place my foot on the small square-inch of hope offered by God himself: giving thanks.

Thank you for Ryan’s strong hand. I felt the warmth against my skin and I tried to breathe in and out through my tear-drenched head.

Thank you for his comfort. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Thank you that he’s here with me. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep.

In the morning, I felt utterly exhausted, but better. I still didn’t feel any movement, but my heart felt more stable, as if the Holy Spirit had whispered to me throughout the night, “My grace is sufficient for you. My grace is sufficient for you.”

Ryan told me that last night he had read hundreds of comments on maternity list-serves. “It turns out, your fears are common. At this same point in pregnancy, hundreds of women expressed the same exact fears. You are very normal. Most likely, everything is fine.”

Later in the afternoon, I went to the doctor’s for a heart check. She searched around for a few seconds, until we both heard it and our faces lit up: that energetic, wonderful, glorious thumping! That thump-thump-thump-thump-thumping. The baby is alive?! The baby is alive!!

Thank you, God! Thank you, God! poured from my heart like a waterfall.

Thank you for this little one, who has always been so strong; who has been growing and thumping and being, even in my darkest moments of doubt and struggle.

Thank you for sparing our lives, despite my dark and hopeless thoughts!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Then, over the next 24 hours, God cleared away the darkness and doom to instruct me in the way I should go: Laura, you must take those thoughts captive! They are vain imaginings. Think about things that are true. You can trust me at all times. All is well for you, but even if it were not, my grace would be sufficient for you. Fear no evil. Fear no evil. Give thanks to me, and trust me at all times.

I’ve been feeling consistent movement again: good, strong consistent movement. I have every reason to believe that all is well. I will continue to hope.

And I thank God for checking in on my fragile heart, and creating a new, stronger one in me.