one million words

find your voice. tell your story.

#write31 Day 26 Disappointment

I could write about my greatest disappointment, losing my unborn daughter Sophie eight years ago but I am not in the mood to ponder heavy disappointment tonight after work. Treated some adorable babies today. I no longer think of Sophie every second of every day, it’s a distant grief I carry somewhere deep and most of the time I feel fully healed. I didn’t for a long time, I wrestled hard with grief and fear and doubt but in the end I found peace.

I sensed, actually deeply believed she came as a gift, after a long season of not getting pregnant despite every effort. She came just after I reluctantly released the dream of having more children and everyone said, see what happens when you let go. And: I knew it! And: God is soooo good. I kept quiet for a while, the first trimester just in case God was messing with me. All seemed well so I told my whole world, praying church ladies, co-workers, distant friends. Celebration.

I felt happy and unafraid, like I had figured this whole thing out. Wrestle, let go, celebrate. Baby=reward=miracle=keeper=gift from above. It made for a great story until her little heart stopped beating half way through my pregnancy. Hadn’t felt her move much in a couple days but wasn’t too worried. We were in the middle of moving to a bigger place to get ready. Had a routine check up with little J watching a DVD in the corner.

Right before the Doppler we were still chatting cheerfully about babies and letting go but then my OB fell silent fast while looking for heartbeat. It took too long and she asked me when I felt her move and I couldn’t remember for that day. But I could feel that she was gone. The whole thing just felt like a cruel joke, like someone I trusted had held my hand this far then turned around and pushed me off a cliff. My heart started pounded faster and faster and adrenaline rushed through my body and my doctor’s voice suddenly sounded far far away. We stared at the ultrasound, the still little baby curled up like she was taking a long nap and I wanted to wail but there was no breath. What now?

Next day I birthed and held her tiny body. For days, weeks even I wept, everywhere I went. Then slowly my heart healed. For a long time I wished this had never happened. If the baby won’t live then just keep it, great giver of babies.

Eight years later I wouldn’t change a thing. Acceptance took a long time. All those pieces- prayer/gift/faith/death/miracle whatever- they sort of fell into their place. And in the end, I decided she was a gift. The gift of the broken heart. No one wants that sort of gift yet nothing has transformed and shaped the landscape of my soul like this broken heart.

My faith died with Sophie it seemed, then slowly a tender shoot pushed through cracked ground. New life. Transformation. Broken heart mending. I hate grief but love it’s fruit.

Almost forgot that I wanted to write about something light. My lighter sort of disappointment is that I don’t own a TV which is fine for an entire year, maybe even two but tonight the Olympics start and I am a little ticked for not being able to watch the opening ceremony. Growing up we always, always watched the Olympics. They were our window into the free world, my former athlete father’s great interest and my future dreams. I wanted to become a figure skater. Mostly in my head- never actually tried it. I am not disappointed it didn’t work out.

I hadn’t talked about Sophie in a long, long time. Then the other day she came up in conversation while talking to a new friend. I wasn’t expecting to feel sadness when a few tears rolled. Our deepest disappointments need time and space to weep. Over the years I have been given just that.




4 Replies

  1. Thank you for sharing this.

    On the Olympics, I’m traveling so watching the opening for once, but from another country, which presents an interesting glimpse into another’s national pride commercial breaks and announcements 🙂

    1. Astrid Melton

      Definitely! Fun window into the world. I am sorry to miss it. The free internet re-caps are pretty brief usually… Oh well, I don’t regret not owning a TV otherwise although if we do rent out our place through Airbnb I hope our guests enjoy watching Netflix on their laptop

  2. Heather T.

    Such a touching story, Astrid. Thanks for sharing it with us. I’m so glad you now have two girls to help fill that spot in your heart, although I know a hole will always be there to mark the loss. On a lighter note, you guys are welcome to come watch the Olympics with us! We’ve recorded everything so far (including the opening ceremony last night), and are looking forward to watching today’s coverage this evening. Just text me if you want to come over. 🙂

    1. Astrid Melton

      Move back into your old neighborhood and I’ll come

Leave a Reply