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This blog has been lovingly created in honor of our precious Brady Benjamin, who was born and died on August 6, 2010. He was not ready for life in this world, but will forever live in our hearts. We love you Brady.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Question

Cody is working late tonight, girls are both in bed, so I sit down in my quiet bedroom to work on my bible study chapter.  I begin with a prayer, then dutifully look up and write down my study verses for this week.  I review the chart of "The Stages of Grief" and mark the date on the point where I feel like I am now, just like the chart instructed.  My mark falls somewhere between guilt and anger.  I didn't even know grief was a 9-step process.

I was feeling pretty good with 5 pages down and only 3 more to go.  Then I dwelled for a bit on a quote from C.S. Lewis, made after the death of his wife: "I live each day thinking about living each day in grief".  Very deep, depressing stuff.

Then I move on to the next question and it hits me like a ton of bricks.  Up until now, I have blamed this unrelenting guilty feeling on the wavering doubts I had early on in the pregnancy, but now, here is this question jumping from the page like a big, fat finger pointed right in my face. 

"When did you first sense that something was wrong with your pregnancy?"

It catches me completely off guard.  I had no idea anything was wrong with my pregnancy.  We had just seen Brady on the sonogram 2 weeks earlier and he was perfect.  Why in the world would anything be wrong?  Then I remember Dr. Green's confused face shortly after the last sonogram as he asked, "did you not feel the baby stop moving?"

I had already had this discussion with the nurse on several visits (during this pregnancy and the one before it).  When you work all day long and come home to a toddler that needs attention almost 24/7 you don't have the luxury of being able to lay down in a calm, peaceful house... patiently awaiting your little one's fluttering movements.  I remember being able to do that when I was pregnant with Rayley and I loved it.  With Karley, it seemed like the only time life slowed down enough for me to really focus on her moving was when I was towards the end of the pregnancy... and who can ignore a knee or an elbow protruding out of your stomach?!

With Brady though, no... I never really felt much "kicking".  I felt the fluttering early on, but it was still a little too early to be worried about not feeling any real dramatic movements.  I wasn't worried at all.

When we did our introductions for our bible study class, the other women recalled experiencing sudden bleeding or a feeling that something just wasn't right.  They immediately called their doctor or went to the emergency room only to hear the tragic news.  Their insticts were right... something was wrong with their baby.  Where were my instincts?  Was I really that busy and concerned with the stresses of life to not notice that something was wrong?  Would it have even made a difference?  Probably not.

I remember being amazed when I was pregnant with Rayley and read that even though the scientific world has documented almost every single step in the fetal growth process, no one knew exactly what action inside the womb caused a baby's heart to start beating.  When you are pregnant, no doctor can tell you with certainty that on X day or after X happens your baby's heart will begin beating... they simply don't know.  Unfortunately, I now know that the opposite is also true.  They cannot tell you exactly when it stops beating either.  Was it the morning of my 5-month check-up as I got dressed for work... or the minute after we found out we were having a baby boy and the sonogram machine was turned off?  I don't know, they don't know.

So why in the world would this seemingly inncoent question, "when did you first sense that something was wrong with your pregnancy" cause my mind and heart so much turmoil?  I am asking the question, but don't really expect an answer.  Then I remember another quote from C.S. Lewis that we studied in Chapter 2:

"When I lay these questions before God I get no answer.  But a rather special sort of 'no answer'.  It is not the locked door.  It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze.  As though He shook His head not in refusal but in waiving the question.  Like, 'Peace, Child; you don't understand."      


  1. Wow, Ashely, a very thoughtful post. Makes me think of C.S. Lewis' life. People always quote from him when talking about grief... Actually, I think I may do a post on him and quote these words you did and others too...

    Thanks for sharing! I look forward to chatting wth you some more Sunday night.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I too, had difficulty with that question in the bible study and I was one of the ones who did go into the ER when I felt something was wrong. But it still leaves me with the question of "What if I had gone in sooner?" and many others. I think your last paragraph says it best, we will not know until we meet God and must learn to live without these answers that we search for.

    Check out my blog, I just gave you an award. =)

  3. Oh, Ashley. I just visited your blog after ABH tonight. I wanted to send you a "hug" and try to tell you not to beat yourself up about this question. So many why's - so many what if's. We all certainly have them according to our own stories. Big Hugs!


  4. Ashley, I just read your post, and I feel terrible that this has caused you so much turmoil. I think when I first read that question it really got me to look at why I felt responsible for losing Samantha.

    You know I did get that feeling. That 'something isn't right' feeling. But I ignored it. I told myself that I was crazy. I was too worried about what the nurses thought. I thought they would find nothing wrong and I would be completely humiliated. (having had a bad experience when I lost Elizabeth) So I just beat myself up over the fact that I let my fear of other peoples ignorant opinions keep me from saying something wasn't right with her. It broke my heart when I found out I lost her, and my mind was filled with what-if's.

    I felt like Job did. For every bit of his broken heartedness to be weighed on the scales, my "what-if's" could equal and surpass. That question got me thinking about how this just wasn't my fault, but not having anyone to blame, I just turned on myself. That's where my anger went. Not at God, but at me. But it isn't our fault, even had I known, even then, nothing could have stopped me losing her. For whatever reason, for whatever purpose, nothing would have stopped it because that was not to be for her. Though that doesn't do anything but cause me to ask why, it does let me know that it was not my fault, and if I had honestly been able to go on more than intuition and feelings, as a person, as a mother, I would NEVER had let anything stop me from protecting her, but I just didn't know, I didn't REALLY know. I felt something, some vague thing. Some "undefined, could be a million reasons why I feel this way," kind of feeling, but it didn't make sense until she was gone and finally understood then.

    I wanted to come over and give you a blogging award, but just saw this post and had to talk with you more. Please visit my blog, you're one of my top ten picks. Love you friend, Kristie


  5. Check out my blog - I gave yours an award! :-)