In the spring of 2005, I had been married 2 years and I had a 1 year old baby. My husband and baby and I lived in a tiny 3 room apartment underneath another apartment that we were renting out, and he had just opened an auto garage and was trying to get it running.
And one morning, I sat down to balance the checkbook and pay the bills. I was sitting at the large desk that I had brought with me when I got married (whatever happened to that desk? I can’t remember.) and the baby was in the swing next to me, which he loved, and when I got to the bottom of the page, and had entered all the debits in, and written all the checks to pay bills, I was $400 in the red.
And I freaked out. I double and triple checked all my numbers, and it was right. But I didn’t know how it could be! I had a budget of about $80 a week at that time, and to be honest, I went over it maybe 10% pretty often, but four! hundred! dollars! I didn’t know what to do. I think at that time, our paycheck was about $600 a week, so this was a huge, huge setback.
And as I sat there, panicking, part of a verse came floating into my memory:
…Sorrow may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.Psalm 30:5b
As soon as I remembered it, I recognized the voice of the Lord speaking to me:
Don’t get shook by this. Trust me. You have sorrow now, but by this evening, you will have joy.
It calmed me down, and decided to deal with it head on- I packed up the baby, took the checkbook to my husband’s shop and told him what had happened.
Within about two hours, we both figured out- I had forgotten to record a credit. I had an entire deposit of about $1000 that I had just… missed. Hadn’t written it in.
We actually had $600 in the account.
That’s the beginning of this story.
A few weeks before this checkbook incident, I had tested positive for a second pregnancy. I was really excited, and I honestly was just really sure it was a girl. I chose a pretty popular doctor, and the soonest I could get in was when I was 10 weeks along.
But when I went in for my appointment, after sitting in the waiting room for about an hour, a nurse came out and apologized and said she would have to reschedule everyone in the waiting room because the doctor had unexpectedly been called away to the hospital.
So I rescheduled for 12 weeks, and went back. And it happened again.
When I was 14 weeks, I had a checkup with a public health nurse, who said- “Hey! You’re far enough along that we can hear the heartbeat! Would you like to?”
This was the day after the checkbook incident.
I said, “Sure! of course!” And laid back on the table, and she spread the cold blue jelly on, and started rubbing the little plastic microphone around.
And she moved it around, and moved it around,
And moved it around.
And all the time, me and my little naïve, optimistic self just laid there, waiting. Honestly, I just assumed I had my dates wrong. That I was a few weeks behind. I was not worried at all, in fact, it did not even occur to me that there was anything to be worried about.
And then she said: “I can’t seem to find it. I think I’m going to make a quick call to your doctor.”
And still I smiled, and said, “Okay!” And she picked up the phone, and quietly spoke to my doctor, and then she hung up and said, “The doctor wants you to come right in right now.”
And I just smiled, naively, and said, “Okay!” And went out and drove to the doctor’s office.
When I got there, the nurse brought me right in, without waiting at all. And laid me down, and the doctor came in with an intern and asked if I minded if he assisted her. And I said no, and she said, “This is Mrs. Siegrist. She is fourteen weeks and has been referred to us for possible lack of fetal heartbeat.” And I smiled at the intern, still thinking: I must be only 8 weeks along.
And then she spread that goo on, and took just about 2 minutes to listen, and said, “I’m not going to try anymore, I want you to go right down to the ultrasound.”
And I sat up, and wiped the blue jelly off, and smiled, and said, “Okay!” And thought: I get to see my baby today!
And she went out, and the intern went out, and I stood up, and then a nurse came in. This nurse was a family friend, so when she saw me, she took my hand and said, “What did she say?” And I said, “Oh, she couldn’t find it, she’s sending me for an ultrasound.”
And she said- “I’m so sorry.”
And I said- “Oh, I’m sure I’m just not as far along as I thought.” And she pressed my hand and said- “That’s right, you keep up hope.”
And I dropped my purse, and as everything spun to the corners of the room, my whole soul spun out of control with it.
I somehow managed to gather my things, to get to my car, and to call my husband, shaking, and tell him I had an ultrasound in an hour, and I was losing it- I was losing it, just, I know, it’s only a fetus, some people say, but it wasn’t to me, it was my one year old son, only a girl, that I loved, I loved her, I petted her through my belly, I loved her, and she was dead!?
And my husband told me to take some deep breaths and not get totally shook until we knew the whole story, and I tried to hear him, but I hung up and just heaved and sobbed, and really- lost it- and as I did, I heard the voice of the Lord again-
I heard him- I heard that verse
…Sorrow may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
And then I heard Him speaking to me:
Brianna, Do you remember what happened yesterday? I am the same God.
I let that happen yesterday so that you would know today that you could trust me. By this evening,, it will all be well…
I heard him, I knew His voice, in the middle of my sobbing, my wretched misery alone in that car in the parking lot.
And I… did I believe Him, then? I calmed down enough to drive back and pick up my husband, and we waited the hour, and I don’t know whether I did good job trusting Him, but I managed to go to the ultrasound and then to lie back on the table, and the doctor (who had presumably left a waiting room of patients to come attend me) came into the room, and the technician put the blue jelly on, and in a minute, I saw her.
A little dancing baby, with two arms above her head, jumping up and down, like for joy.
And the doctor said- “That’s all I needed to see: a healthy active baby. Take some measurements and send them to me, I have to get back,” and she was gone.
And my husband squeezed my hand, and we watched the screen, and our daughter dancing, and then the tecnician jumped up and left the room, and was gone a minute, and then came back in, and got on the phone, and said a few short words, and then plopped back into her chair muttering- “If she would have just waited a minute, these doctors think they’re so…” and my husband said, “Is it okay?”
And she said, tersely, “Well, first of all, there’s two.”
And I, because I am the naiive one in this story still, and because I still think we are “looking for a heartbeat” and that must mean possibly a problem with the actual organ that pumps the blood, say,
And she looks at me, the dummy on the table, and says, “No. Two babies.” And she turns the screen, and there, curled up like a kitten, is the sweetest little stowaway you ever saw, sleeping peacefully through all the fuss.
And then I was so full of joy that she could barely get the measurements because of my laughter.
I’m not writing this story like some kind of testimony that every thing goes perfectly every time. Lots of people don’t get happy endings to their stories. Lots of babies are lost for every set of twins that are born.
But I’m writing this on my daughter’s 16th birthday because I didn’t want to leave it any longer to tell the testimony that the Creator of the Heavens and Earth is a God who sees. He is intimately acquainted with grief, and He knows us and our days, and when there is trouble, He is there, and when there is a lack of peace, He is our Peace.
I didn’t know how to grab onto him that day- I admit I look back and though He clearly spoke to me, I wasn’t faithful enough to let it override my anxiety or worry. But I want to testify that He spoke to me. As I suspect He does far, far more often than many people realize. He is speaking peace. He is speaking direction. He brings things to our minds to give us comfort in our sorrows and to lead us in paths that actually keep us from harm. He speaks to us when we are tempted to walk away from truth. He is God who is near to all who call on Him.
He has been near to me, and I am so thankful.