I reached for his hand as we went down the familiar hallway.
The one I’d walked alone the first time. The one we’d walked together, the second. The one that spilled into a room that meant so many different things…
Joy. Sadness. Silence. Sound. Tears. Laughter.
Hearts beating. Hearts stopped. Hearts breaking.
It had been a week since the doctor hadn’t found a heartbeat. A brutal, gut-wrenching week. One where I’d fought everything within me to keep from demanding an immediate ultrasound…
But instead, I waited.
Every blessed day, I held my breath and I waited.
Until the day I reached for his hand…
And the tears began to form. It happened the moment I knew we were walking into the same room where the sonogram had been silent two years ago. Part of me wanted to run the other direction and never look back.
But his strong and gentle hand reminded me I had to walk through this door.
So I held my belly tightly, lay quietly down on the table and tried desperately to breathe.
In and out…in and out…and then…
A head. A hand. A heartbeat.
Strong and healthy and beautiful.
More tears came from the very depth of me, the place that now understood the last week had been but a preview to a journey that would juxtapose joy and pain.
My baby was healthy…for today.
I tell you this story, friends, because I am still very much the girl standing in the hallway, reaching for a hand and downright scared as to what door I will have to walk through next.
I never want anyone to read of our journey and not hear this amidst the beauty and the hope:
I am scared.
I know all the statistics. I know all the risks. I know all the potential complications.
I am not blind to reality.
I face it every time I pray over my little one as I swallow countless meds that are “not recommended for pregnant women.” I scold it every time I yearn for the naiveté of believing I can control the outcome by not eating deli meat or drinking coffee or painstakingly charting my birth plan. And I stare it down every time I see the bruises on my belly, the ones that remind me of high stakes and a hiccupping brain.
I pray. I scold. I stare.
But no amount of yearning can change the hallway I must walk steadily down.
So in the moments where my fear is overwhelming, I sit squarely on the floor. Hold my belly tightly. And turn up a gentle melody, listening to these words over and over again until they echo in my heart:
“Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior…”
I speak it. I cry it. I shout it.
In the kitchen. In the car. In the quiet of my bedroom closet.
It is a melody I cannot stop singing in the way I cannot stop breathing. Because even with tears flowing, heart, pounding and feet, wobbling, I will eventually have to stand again. Fear and all.
No matter what beckons or who calls my name, I am in this hallway for the long haul.
And yes, I am afraid.
For it is altogether too familiar, too uncertain. So much so that I often wish I could turn around, run the other direction and never look back.
His strong and gentle hand holds mine.
And His firm grasp reminds me that I must keep walking through each door.
For no matter the joy or the pain, He and I will make it through this hallway, together.
One wobbly, beautiful and messy step at a time.