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Words by Whitney Newby // Image by Marisa Albrecht

Not long ago, I experienced an early miscarriage. I say early, because as far as miscarriages go, that does seem to make a difference. But it was still an unexpected, unwelcome loss, and it came during the busiest week of the year.

As soon as my husband Shawn and I saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test, we were elated. Any hesitation or fear we might have felt about having another child was gone the moment we met our first son, Liam, whom we love with such unanticipated depth. We were thrilled to be adding to our family.

Less than two weeks later, I went to that same bathroom and saw blood. As a nurse, I tried to weigh both sides. I knew some women have bleeding and still give birth to healthy babies. But I just had a gut feeling that something wasn't right. That there would be no baby.

An OB appointment the following day confirmed what I had already come to grips with, and as we looked at the ultrasound screen, we saw no more evidence of pregnancy. The doctor surmised it could have been a "chemical pregnancy," which is the earliest, least vicious breed of miscarriage. He told us there may not have even been an embryo, and perhaps just an empty sac. But when you've seen those two pink lines and felt the nausea and have become a mom in your heart to a tiny child, a loss is a loss no matter which way you look at it. 

Shawn and I drove home from the appointment in silence, relieved to have an answer and weary from what the week had brought. That night would be the first performance of our church's Christmas musical, of which we were both a part. It had already been an incredibly long week for all of us—including my mom, who was in town—and so to muster up the strength to sing even one song with a smile felt like moving a mountain.

But as I sat there in the car, gripping Shawn's hand in silence, the thought occurred to me: I had just endured the loss of a tiny baby. And tonight, we'd be celebrating the world-changing birth of another tiny baby. A baby King. Had he not been my Savior, the One I center my life on, the whole thing would've felt like a sick joke the universe was playing on me. Or bad karma. Or punishment.

Instead, I knew it was far from a punishment, but was straight from the hand of a loving God. This God had become Immanuel, God with us, on the first Christmas so many years ago so that we wouldn't have to endure the hard things alone.

God with us on the exam table as we looked at an empty ultrasound picture.
God with us as we passed glowing pregnant women on our way out of the office.
God with us as he brought my mom into town at just the right time, to care for us and for Liam.
God with us when we feel depleted, run down, weary.
God with us as he scrapes away the idols in our hearts and reveals our humble need for him alone.
God with us as we trust him with our family's future. 

God behind us, 
before us,
for us.

God choosing to come down to us, to experience our pain, to share our grief, to bring hope and light in the darkest of places.