Family Photographer – Mom Life – Our Journey with Joy
To all you mommas who have lost a child or your heart is aching to have children. I see you. I’m writing my story with full knowledge that I have never understood the full grief that you have experienced. But I know that God is still a God of miracles. I’m writing this for you. To give you hope because “joy is yours”.
John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be full.
Before you ask. yes this tattoo was done before I found out I was pregnant. We had a completely different name picked out for this baby girl. But in the matter of one week, she would be called Joy. After struggling, yet again, with doubts and fears of having more children we both finally arrived at the same place and decided to start trying again. “Joy is yours” was birthed out of season of grief, insecurity, and doubt. I realized that the Lord had been speaking John 15:11 my entire life. We had been trying for five months up to this point.
On June 9th, my Bobo (my grandfather) passed away after a very long and debilitating road of neuropathy issues among many other health issues. About 2 weeks before his passing, I whispered in his ear one day to pray for a baby to grow in my belly. The day after we buried Bobo, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. All I remember was being so excited and yelling. So loud that Sam woke up from his nap and walked in as I was reading that positive test. I told him and he kept pointing to my belly and saying ‘baby’! Of course Ben was ecstatic along with the rest of family.
Walking into my first appointment, I was excited. Ben couldn’t go with me to this one so my mom went with me instead. I walk into the ultrasound completely hopeful and excited. And then it happened…a look came across my mom’s face. I knew that look. Because she had been through this before I was born. We couldn’t see baby or a heartbeat. There was a sack that definitely showed that I was impregnated but nothing. My heart dropped. The doctor told me it could be one of two things. 1) I was just really early. 2) The baby didn’t make it. She said she would run my blood work and see what my pregnancy and hormone levels looked like and we can find out more that way along with a follow up ultrasound in a week.
I remember my mom calling Ben because I couldn’t bring myself to do it through the tears. I could hear the sound of his heart breaking over the phone. A few hours later, I called him at work to check in. Holding back tears, he told me about his afternoon in the chapel at the hospital. As he was praying and asking for God’s will for this situation, he kept hearing the Lord say, “Call her Joy.” Mind you, we had no idea what the gender of this baby (or no baby) was at the time. When he told me this, I’m not going to lie, I had serious doubt.
That was the longest two days of our lives, waiting for the blood results. Finally, the doctor called me. She proceeded to tell me that with that kind of low levels, it’s highly unlikely the baby made it. We would confirm at the ultrasound in a few days. I don’t think I ever cried as much as I cried that day and the days following. I remember Ben getting off early and we just laid on the bed and weeped. We had been trying for so long and waiting for the Lord to prepare my heart to have another baby for almost 3 years. We had so many people praying for us and a few that were believing for a miracle.
Friday, July 7th comes and we get to the doctors office. We stop and remind each other that this is not the end of our family and, again, God is good. Ultrasound begins and the first thing I see on that screen is a flicker. I immediately start weeping as the ultrasound tech says, “oh my goodness, look at that!!! There IS a baby in there!” I look at Ben and he has the smile. The smile I’ve only seen a few times: 1) our first date 2) the day we got married 3) when Sam entered the world 4) this moment. Apparently, baby was only 4 or 5 weeks. I had to be on progesterone supplements . But I didn’t care. There was a baby and God still works miracles and is the Great Physician.
As you could probably already tell, we were almost positive that I was carrying a girl because of the story God had already written for this baby. God has always been very clear on the names of our children. (Sam’s name story). Also, we were failing miserably at finding another boy name we both loved. So when the ultrasound tech told us it was a girl, we couldn’t help but ugly cry. So now, Joy Elizabeth Lowe had a testimony even before she was born.
To the mama who is waiting and/or grieving
I will never know the full weight of losing a baby but the grief I fell that week was real and I can’t imagine living with it for a lifetime. So hey sweet mama, I see you. But more importantly, God sees you. I hope this story fills you with hope.
Joy with a Milk Moon House piece I found around my birthday (yes, I cried when I saw it at Bradley’s) and her first heartbeat ultrasound
Header photo by Leah Price