WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES
WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES
By Elizabeth Sigler
Why is he so quiet? Does it normally take this long to hear the heartbeat? I thought my uneasiness would be gone and we would be excited about the baby by now.
Finally, he starts talking but something is wrong. His words are just a blur getting drowned out by my sudden, silent panic. I knew something bad was going to happen, that’s just the way things go for me health wise. I couldn’t just have a normal pregnancy.
I’m fine, it’s fine. I’m tough. I don’t really know how I feel, but I’m fine. I just don’t want to cry in front of all of them.
Once we sit down in his office, the doctor explains two options. Though there is hope, I get the vibe that he thinks it’s more likely that something is wrong and the baby stopped growing. He sets me up for another ultrasound 2 weeks out to see where I am at. In the meantime, he lets me know that it’s possible my body will naturally abort the baby.
I walk to the car and I still feel like I’m in shock. I can’t really get a read on my emotions. I pull out my phone to text my husband, Jacob, because it’s his first day of work so I can’t call him. Or is this important enough? I don’t know what to say. I will just text him.
The next few days were kind of hazy. There was a constant battle between numbness inside of me, deep sadness that would break through, and a little seed of hope. I remember telling myself, these are the times that I should be praying and studying my scriptures the hardest, but instead I would just lay there, looking out my bay window, doing nothing. Looking back, I realize that I felt God there. In my times of need having a prayer in my heart was enough for me to feel His presence. He understands.
We decided to tell our families so they could pray for our little buddy. As those prayers came flooding in, so did the peace. I suddenly felt completely different. I knew God was with me—heaven felt so near, almost tangible. It felt as though I had sweet angels around me filling my mind with clarity, positivity, and peace. I could do this, whatever this was.
The next weeks consisted of a few more doctor’s appointments only to reveal that the sack had only grown by 3.5 days, though it had been weeks. My doctor kept prepping me, telling me that my body would pass it naturally, but at my last appointment there was new news. The placenta looked abnormal and the doctor was suddenly worried that I had a molar pregnancy, which is cancerous. He told me I needed to get a D&C as soon as possible.
On Friday I went into the outpatient surgery building. I got all cozy on my cot, and slowly closed my eyes with the ones I love most right by me.
I woke up to my nurse and it was all over. I was hazy, but no drug could mask my feeling of defeat. I had lost something. Jacob came in and the tears quickly came, accompanied by the words I couldn’t control…
My baby is gone.
My recovery was difficult and scary, though the doctor said it shouldn’t be. I had abnormal symptoms—some that were really scary. At one point I ran to the bathroom and I remember sitting there in horror, just shaking, feeling so hopeless and sick to my stomach, not knowing what was wrong with me. I prayed that Jacob would come find me and check on me and he did. As he walked me to our room I was filled with anxiety and fear, shaking me to my core.
I sat down on the bed and we decided to pray. As my husband prayed for me, I felt Jesus with me. I felt a sensation that I’ve never felt before. It felt as though my breaking heart was being held by the hands of Jesus Christ. God sent from heaven, to be born here on earth, to bear my burdens with me. In that moment I knew He knew exactly how I felt. He was my Comforter. He had me. He was never going to leave me. Everything would be ok.
In those moments of quaking fear, Jesus found me.
Two years and another two miscarriages later, I find myself in a completely different place in life than I assumed I would be. Enduring trials that I never imagined would be mine to bear. I often feel hurt and broken inside. I find myself doubting or wondering why now isn’t God’s timing. I have increased anxiety and greater insecurities than ever before. Mostly, I feel shame and embarrassment that my body can’t do what it was designed and created to do.
I remember in the beginning of all of this my doctor said to me, “I’m sorry that you have to grow up so quickly.”
I can only imagine that Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have felt a little bit like me.
She may have felt shame from the people who didn’t know the context of her pregnancy. She may have been fearful of having to tell Joseph she was pregnant. She may have been discouraged, being an imperfect human carrying the Savior of the world, realizing that one day she would have to mother Him as He grows.
Despite all of the self doubt and fear she might have had, she believed in God’s plan and believed in the coming of the Messiah.
She was a young woman from Nazareth whose world was about to change forever. A young woman who had no choice but to grow up. A young woman who had to choose to trust God and fear not.
I sometimes think about how I could have a 2 year old right now. How joyous and different our lives would be. But most of the time I don’t wish it was different. For some reason, I was called to do this and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Whether that’s to help someone else, or strengthen my faith, this is my story—the moments that make me, me. It’s God’s plan and there is beauty and love in every moment and phase of life, if we are open to receiving it. God has not forsaken us.
So I add my voice to Mary’s, a young girl who was “troubled” (Luke 1:29) when she saw an angel of the Lord and questioned how God’s plan would be so (Luke 1:34)…
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38, KJV)
Mary was a fair, sweet, and tender maiden. But she was also brave, strong, resilient and faithful. She changed the world.
I see these qualities in so many of the women I am surrounded by today. Mary was a woman of strength and so are we. Because at the end of the day, she had Jesus, and so do we. He is our strength. He is my Strength and my Comforter. And through Him, I have found my purpose. Not everyone births a child, but EVERYONE touches a life. I can do that UNFAILINGLY. That is something that I can do no matter what. I can love every person who crosses my path. I can comfort them, as He comforts me.
My faith isn’t a perfect faith and it wavers greatly at times. But God sent me people that I can rely on in times of weakness. The sweetest, faithful husband who always reminds me that I am enough and that I haven’t failed him. The women who have shared their vulnerable stories with The Faith Collective. But most importantly, God gave me a Savior who went willingly to Gethsemane so that I would never have to be alone. So that He could wrap me in swaddling clothes during the bitter cold of grief and despair, just as Mary swaddled her sweet babe on that first Christmas night. Oh how grateful I am for this blessing of a trial, that has brought my soul depth and my spirit closer to Emmanual, God with us.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” (Mary’s Song, Luke 1: 46-49, NIV)