It Was Us Three

“You should invest in a timeshare for this week,” said my doctor as he checked on my C-section scar. I was obviously in a hospital and not a beach resort, but this was the third year in a row that I had checked in during the same week at Franklin Woods. I had the same nurses, knew the daily routines, and could order my meals without looking at the menu. Even though some things remained the same, my experience the previous year with our middle daughter was quite different than the first stay and this one.

I was frequently asked by strangers the question, “Is this your first child?” To which I would reply, “No, Collins is almost 2, Vivian is in heaven, and Evelyn is in here,” as I rubbed my huge belly. Vivian Lee is our daughter in heaven, because during my 19-week gender reveal/body scan ultrasound, the doctor discovered that she had anencephaly, a 100% fatal condition in which the brain does not form. I could not even get the words “she’s not going to live” out of my mouth without breaking down hysterically when asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?” the next morning at work. After many discussions with numerous doctors and much prayer, I delivered her at 22 weeks. She had no skull above her eyebrows.

Psalm 121 was God’s truth that I meditated on each night during those devastating and painful three weeks and beyond. I also repeated, “God is good, God is faithful, God is loving,” as I patted our soon-to-be one-year-old to sleep. The four nights before I went to sleep in my hospital bed waiting to deliver Vivian, I read, “He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Even though the world slept, God did not. My husband Casey, who was faithfully by my side encouraging me, had to at least get some sleep on the futon. It was in the quiet, still moments of the night that God gave me reassurance that He was taking care of Vivian Lee and me. It was us three.

God was generous enough to give me a room with a beautiful view of the mountains! During the days, I repeated “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” I stared at the lovely, rolling mountains, sometimes talking to God and sometimes listening. He calmed my anxious thoughts and gave me Peace Like a River, a favorite song Collins currently likes to sing in the car.

While clinging to the final days with Vivian, I cried hard while reading through most of a book called Anchored for Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss, which was given to me by The Lucy Simpson Foundation. One in four pregnancies end in devastating loss. The verse that I desperately clung to from the book and had Titus read at her burial was Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” My daily joy comes from the confidence in knowing that this is not our permanent home. Who would want it to be?

Motherhood to me means knowing how desperate I am for Jesus. Who better to trust with our children’s lives than the Father who created them? This can be difficult, yet is essential. My own mother is a shining example of generously loving with grace and kindness. Being a Mommy is a pure gift and blessing that gives me the opportunity to pass on the love of Christ to our two daughters numerous times a day. I did nothing to deserve it, but am eternally grateful to God. When the last week of September rolls around each year, the birthday parties here will pale in comparison to the celebration we look forward to when meeting our Vivian in glory!

Lindsay Carmical