A few weeks before I discovered I was pregnant I learned that a family friend was expecting triplets. I was so happy and excited for her. I knew she had been waiting to become a mother for some time, so the news of three at once, although overwhelming I'm sure, was very welcome. While talking on the phone later with my sister, she mentioned that this friend had just had another ultrasound and they had found another baby. She was carrying quadruplets and I think was in a state of shock. Wow. Four at once. But, I thought, if anyone can do it, she can. She's strong, driven and determined, but calm. And she has faith.
Though no one knew at the time, I was currently adjusting to the idea of being the mother of four myself. The thought of having all four of my children at once was a reality check. I thought of my son, times four, with his new found ability to crawl around where ever he pleased, picking up whatever small objects that lay on the ground to place in his mouth. I could not imagine how draining that would be. Worth it, no doubt, but very difficult. My new baby was coming fairly fast on the heels of her brother, but it wouldn't be anywhere near having four babies at once. I vowed that whenever I felt too overwhelmed by the task given to me, I would think of her.
This sweet girl lost her babies last week. Her water broke and they tried to keep her from delivering until she reached 24 weeks, when the babies would have a chance at surviving outside the womb, but they came a little too early. They were all born alive and were all named and blessed. And this weekend she buried them.
My heart broke when I found out. I just can't imagine that. I can't imagine having to first adjust to the idea of having four at the same time, and then having none. The evening after my mom called me with the news I put my girls to bed and carried my son downstairs with me. We sat on the couch and I cried. And this small little boy looked at me in wonder and then smiled, bouncing up and down as I hugged him.
When the Lord says "My ways are not thy ways" he's not kidding. There are so many incomprehensible things that happen throughout the course life. Why is it that she had to lose her babies, and here I am with three healthy children, and another healthy one on the way? And why is it that she must deal with an overwhelming heartache that I can't even comprehend, much less find the words to describe, while here I sit, in my house, with my day-to-day before me. The floor to sweep, the bathroom to clean, the kids to feed; mundane and tiresome a lot of the time, but I think now that maybe it shouldn't be. It doesn't seem fair, my brother said.
Still, and yes, there is a still, God's ways are indeed God's ways. And in the end, though it may take every ounce of faith we have and more, his way is the way whereby all things are restored and made better and ultimately understood. Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted. I believe that promise. It's not an empty one. It is full of love and mercy and tenderness, more than we could ever understand. But like all of God's promises, it does require some faith, while waiting for it to be fulfilled.
I have thought a lot about her the past few days. I have mourned. I have reflected on my feelings about her journey, and realised that I never anticipated this outcome, and this particular path she is now treading. I wonder if she did? I pray that all of the things that would have allowed her to take care of four little ones will instead help sustain her through this time just after having brought those sweet spirits to earth, before ushering them back home. And I have resolved to continue with my inital vow: that when I am overhelmed with all that is before me, when I'm tired and don't want to pick up the toys one more time, or make dinner even if it is just macaroni and cheese, or read one more book outloud though I may like Frog and Toad, when I haven't showered and am short on patience and feeling like I'd rather selfishly hide away under the bedcovers while little hands that need to be washed are following me around making a mess of the space around them, that instead of letting it all get to me I will stop, and I will think of her.