Thursday, December 01, 2005

Our baby

Hello all. Christ is risen!

As you have read, we made the announcement recently that Aubrey was pregnant.
Monday, however, Aubrey began to feel pain and to bleed, so we eventually took her to the hospital in Kikai and then flew to Naze (on Amamioshima), during which trip the pain and bleeding grew worse. Our baby did not survive the trip - at only 7 and a half weeks, she passed away due to a miscarriage.

Aubrey has had to endure quite a bit of physical discomfort and pain, including the labor-like contractions on the way to the hospital and the surgical procedure to remove the remnants of our baby and the baby's development from her uterus. We returned home w/ heavy hearts on Wed morning at 12:40 am and have been resting at home since then.

We are sad at our loss. Baby Sora ("Sora" means "sky" in Japanese) had already occupied a place in our hearts, though we had never known much about her, never seen her on an ultrasound, never heard her heartbeat, never felt her kick or move - she was far too small for that.

Talking to a friend after we had heard the news, our friend offered words of comfort, that Christ is risen, that Sora is w/ the Father and will never have to suffer, that God will bring good out of our pain. Then she added a qualifier: "...though all of that may seem to be empty right now..."

That, friends, is just the point. These are NOT empty platitudes. Empty is what we'll hear from those around us, most probably, in the next week or two. "It is so sad." "It will all work out." "Cheer up - you loved your baby and she knew that." "All things pass."
Empty is what the world offers, what is full of misplaced hope in whatever comes to mind, what is designed to re-direct our minds from the truth. And what could people who know of no truth about the afterlife offer in terms of comfort to the bereaved? This is precisely why Christ's "I am the resurrection and the life" is not empty but full, of promise, of true hope, of love, and of compassion.

[Aubrey's thoughts before, during and after the loss] The bleeding actually started Sunday night (light and little pain). We decided to wait and see how I felt the next day. As I did my quiet times with God, He kept bringing a lot of verses about trust and strength into my reading.
I was actually drawn to the passage in John 9 about the man born blind. The Pharisees were arguing among themselves and with Jesus if it was the man's parents or himself sinning that caused the blindness. Jesus told them that none of that was true but that the man was born blind "that the works of God might be displayed in him"(John 9.3b). Over and over that struck me but I didn't know why at the time.
As I began to get worse, Alan wasn't near me but at the store buying lunch for me. I texted him to come quickly. Providentially, the only other American on the island, Ariana (who speaks excellent Japanese), grabbed her sister-in-law who was a nurse and they drove us to the hospital. Kikai doesn't have any OBGYN facilities and I was surprised they even had an ultrasound device. It wasn't of such good quality
so, they urged us to catch the last plane (there are only three a day) to the neighboring island, Amami, to the hospital there. My pain had lessened and the bleeding was not so much but as soon as I landed in Kasari (50 minutes from Naze where the hospital was), I was in tears and was rolled out in a wheelchair to the airport entrance. Again, we were provided with another American who had not only superb Japanese but
had also had two kids in Amami and new that medical vocabulary. She drove us to the hospital. On the way, I experienced probably the most pain I have ever had. It was rush hour but no one was in a rush. In Japan, the roads are narrow and you can't really just put on your blinkers and pass...people just would slow down and cause more problems. Shelly took as many side roads that she knew to cut down the time. Each time,
I kept hearing 'trust me' over and over. The pain came in waves. I had guessed by now that the intense pain was actually contractions. I tried breathing and cried out to God out loud and silently...His presence was there amidst my pain. Alan was with me the whole time. I was admitted immediately when we arrived and after the test was done (internally), I knew. The Japanese doctor was kind but his eyes
were heavy. He spoke the little English he knew to confirm that I had indeed miscarried. As I tried to take in the blow, my body sunk into Alan's and the nurse's arms...I momentarily passed out. We stayed overnight there and it rained the whole time. Shelly was a super great help with interpreting. I think what stood out the most was that God was still there. I wasn't abandoned. He still loved me and His peace
plummeted me even deeper into an understanding about Him: He is still good, sovereign and working even though we see only darkness. His ways are higher than mine. And so, the blind man in John makes sense now. I wait to find out what wonderous works will be displayed even through Sora's death. We grieve and still are grieving but we have hope...because He has risen, so has she also; and that is the best comfort and truth I have ever known to be real-even in sorrow.


troy said...

He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

I feel that any words I may offer pale compared with what you've been through. So then, as fellow pilgrims, we rejoice in knowing that our Lord uses trials to build our faith and demonstrate his power as his kingdom advances.

Es Hdr said...

I'm sorry to hear of your (temporary, but terribly difficult) loss of Sora chan. May Jesus continue to comfort your hearts.

We appreciated your many photos of the Kagoshima area. We lived in Kagoshima City from 1964 until 1994, when we transferred to Singapore. Our son, now in Ohio, sent your web address for us to check out.

Thank you for being in Japan.

David Bryan said...

Indeed, He is risen. May Christ our God, who accepts the innocence of infancy in His Kingdom, have mercy on you, comfort you, and grant you peace.
His love's stronger than our dying enemy.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

I am so sorry. May the God of comfort be your strength. Blessings.

Angie Walden said...

My heart hurts for you guys right now, yet I am so encouraged by the fact that you are resting in God's peace and letting Him have His way in your lives. Praise the Lord!
Here are some words from Osald Chamber's "My Utmost for His Highest" that I find comforting in hard times and hope you will too:

"The first thing God does with us is to get us based on rugged Reality until we do not care what becomes of us individually as long as he gets His way for the purpose of His Redemption. Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God's purposes and die away of self-pity, and all so-called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says, "Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine." If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart. "