Worry was beginning to replace my excitement. Lying on the couch, twelve weeks pregnant, I was hoping to hear my baby’s heart-beat for the first time. But there was no glorious glub dub, only silence. 

“I’ll try over here,” said the doctor, moving his instrument across my body, once more. “Sometimes it’s difficult to hear the baby’s heart-beat at this stage. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong.” He tried to reassure me but he failed. If a doctor can’t find a heart-beat, it probably means the baby has died. I knew this from my own experiences.

The doctor eventually gave up trying, and asked me to make an appointment for an ultrasound to find out what was going on.

As I walked to the hospital I prayed, “Please help me face any bad news.” I knew that seeing my lifeless baby on the ultrasound screen would be very painful. 

I explained my situation to the receptionist in the ultrasound department. “It’s Friday. You won’t want to spend the whole weekend not knowing one way or the other,” she said with empathy. “Start drinking this water. I’ll fit you in as soon as possible.”

So I sat in the waiting room with my jug of water, and as I sipped, I prayed over and over again: “Mother Mary pray for me! Help me get through the ultrasound.” I needed strength to face the words, "I'm sorry... your baby has died." I wanted to get home without breaking down.

An hour or so later, I was lying alongside the ultrasound screen with my eyes closed, trying to pretend I was somewhere else.

“There’s your baby. Let’s see if I can find the heart… Yes… It’s beating beautifully!”

“My baby’s alive?” I opened my eyes. Surely the technician had made a mistake. But there was no doubt. I looked at my baby. She was moving. Her heart was beating. She was very much alive.

I floated home with a huge grin on my face. I’d been preparing myself for sorrow, but instead I’d been given joy. I couldn’t quite believe it. I kept replaying the scene in the ultrasound room: “There’s your baby. Let’s see if I can find the heart… Yes… It’s beating beautifully!”

That baby was Gemma-Rose. I loved her from the moment I knew she existed. That love grew even stronger the day I saw her for the first time on the ultrasound screen. My heart overflowed with joy. I didn’t think it was possible for that love to increase any further. But my love for my youngest daughter has grown and grown and grown. It has grown so much it hurts.

Love hurts? Why does love hurt? I am sure love is God. Or is God love? Anyway, they are bound up together. God is perfectly good, so how can love hurt? I think some more and decide it’s not actually love that hurts but the thought of losing that love that causes the heart to ache. The more we love someone, the more it will hurt if we lose that person.

I wonder if I should hold back and not love so much. I could protect my heart just in case.  But it is impossible. That love will not be suppressed.

I think again about Gemma-Rose’s ultrasound.  I had prepared myself for sorrow and instead received joy. What if I step back and protect my heart, anticipating sorrow, and it never arrives? What a waste.

And if sorrow did arrive, and I were to lose any of my children, I do not want regret to be tangled up with the grief. I want to know I loved with all my heart while I had the chance.

So I am living in the present moment, loving as much as I can, cherishing all that God has given me, not only Gemma-Rose but my whole family.  

Despite this resolution, sometimes a tiny nagging thought appears (from the devil, I am sure), “Be careful about loving too much. What if…?” I try to crush it and answer with confidence, “If sorrow arrives, God will give me the strength I need. He will look after tomorrow. All I have to think about is today.”

Today Gemma-Rose climbs onto my lap. “You look like you need a hug," she says. I do.     

So today I hug. Today I enjoy. Today I love.
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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Susan! I appreciate you reading my posts.

      God bless!

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  2. Oh Sue- this is a beautiful post. As I read it I could relate so much to that overwhelming joy at knowing God was blessing you once again with a healthy baby. I felt that way when we found out we were expecting our fifth baby. We had a little "scare" with that pregnancy too, but God is good and all the fears were unfounded. It was through that little scare that I was able to see God's goodness even more deeply and understand His love so much better.

    God Bless, Kari

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    Replies
    1. Kari,

      I guess I got so used to being told bad news during ultrasounds, I never considered God was going to bless me with a healthy baby! Yes, the joy is all the more when it is not expected. I am so glad to hear you came through your scare and were also blessed with joy. Our children are definitely gifts from God. We learn so much from both our sorrowful times and our joyful ones. God IS good!

      God bless you! Thank you for your comment!

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  3. Love this post! In light of the tragedy in Connecticut, I just want to love - completely and with joy. Thanks for putting it into words so well.

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    1. Beate,

      There are so many people grieving at the moment. We just do not know the future and what might happen. I can understand your need to love right now. Love 'completely and with joy' Yes!

      With prayers for everyone who grieves. They will still love but joy must seem so far away.

      God bless!

      Delete
  4. What a beautiful post Sue! There are no limits on love if we allow ourselves to love freely!

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    1. Noreen,

      "There are no limits on love if we allow ourselves to love freely!" I agree! I would never have believed our capacity for love. It grows and grows, seemingly without end. But God is infinite. Why should love not be the same? Thank you for this beautiful thought, Noreen.

      God bless you!

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  5. Nice header and background Sue!

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    1. Thank you, Noreen!

      I was doing some thinking the other night, rather than writing. It's always a good time to experiment with my blog as I mull things over. I just love the possibilities for blog design. Creating headers and backgrounds is half the fun of blogging. Did you ever work out how to make a collage blog header? I would be willing to make you one if you tell me what you'd like. It wouldn't take me long at all.

      God bless!

      Delete
    2. Seriously? that's a generous offer. Part of my fear to experiment is that if I don't like what I come up with, then what I currently have, will be lost.

      Delete
    3. Noreen,

      I created a blog just for experimenting with blog design. If you did the same, you could try new things out and see the effects. If you like something, you could try it out on your real blog. My messing-about blog is private so no one can see all my mistakes!

      Of course I am serious about helping you. It would be my pleasure. All you would need to do is give me some idea of what you have in mind: photos/images and arrangement, font size, style, colour... any other little details. I could put together some sample headers for you. I would need some idea of header size too. My header is 1140 pixels by 430, but I have an extra wide blog because I changed the widths. You will find your blog size in the 'adjust width' section of your template, or perhaps you already know the size of your present header?

      Please let me know if I can help.

      God bless!

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  6. Sue, what a beautiful post! And, it is so comforting to remember that "love never ends.."

    I love what you wrote about "love hurts" and then related that to the idea of it's really "losing" love that hurts. How precious love is..to have such power. I know that you could never love..less.

    PS thanks for the tip you gave Noreen. I'm going to make a private blog to play with too. :)

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    Replies
    1. Patricia,

      Yes, love is powerful and never ends... like God. When that overwhelming feeling of love rises within us, I am sure we are, at that moment, very close to God. Thank you for sharing my story and your thoughts on love.

      I hope you have fun playing with your private blog. Isn't it wonderful how we can create another blog in a matter of seconds and all for free. Blogging was such a good invention!

      God bless you!

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  7. Sue, I loved reading this again....linking from your facebook page. Just beautiful. How mysterious love is! I try to contemplate the infinite love of God for each one of us. I love how Jesus says the very hairs of our head are numbered. God's Love counts each breath, each heartbeat, each tear...as well as those hairs on our head. I think HIs Love is alive in every cell of our entire being. And you....what a great capacity to love He has given you! All those you love are so richly blessed. Thank you for sharing you heart with us. Love you xo

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    Replies
    1. Patricia,

      I didn't know you were reading my posts on FB! Thank you for following the link.

      Yesterday I was reading something by St Bonaventure which made me think again about love hurting:

      Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, and with true calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with Thee.

      Love indeed is mysterious. I feel so overwhelmed by it at times, but don't understand it. It is so very powerful. "I think His Love is alive in every cell of our entire being." Yes!

      Sending you a hug. Love you too!

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    2. Of course I'm following your Facebook page.:) I "liked" it, but am not showing up in your liked box for some reason. crazy Facebook :)

      What a beautiful prayer. Longing for the beloved is painful, but also sweet...yes, a mystery.

      Some of the Saints have described a "wound" of love received from God which is utterly painful and yet utterly sweet at the same time. They cannot bear the pain, but wish it never to end!!! Talk about mystery.... St Teresa of Avila is probably the most famous one known to have received this wound in her heart.

      Sue Elvis, I love reading your awesome thoughts here! Thank you. xoxo and HUGS!

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    3. Patricia,

      I don't understand FB at all. Maybe it's all to do with privacy settings. I've been wondering if its possible to like a page privately, and not have your name visible to anyone else. Could be.

      Yes! A wound of love. That's exactly what I was thinking about. Now I want to reread St Theresa's writings.

      It is always such a delight to chat to you and share thoughts, Patricia. Thank you for stopping by! xxx

      Delete

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