For more than two years, we asked God to bless us with a baby. For more than two years, He repeatedly shut that door. It has been the most painful and tear-filled journey of our seven-year marriage. We cried out to God over and over as we watched numerous friends and family members experience the joy of becoming parents. As happy as we were for each one, there was always a sting. Why not us, God? He was silent and our hearts were breaking. We wondered if we would ever get a turn at this thing called parenthood. One Sunday after church, we ran into someone my husband had known in high school. His wife was pregnant and I could barely hold the tears back as we chatted with them. Everyone gets to have a baby. What about me? I felt forgotten.

On March 14, 2014, we found out all that was set to change. A positive pregnancy test turned into morning sickness, doctor’s appointments, and a growing belly. The entire pregnancy was healthy, happy (well, as happy as you can be while throwing up at work), and full of impending excitement. The guest bedroom became a nursery and tiny baby clothes were washed.

On November 15, 2015, our precious baby girl was born one week before her due date. Bringing her home and watching her grow has been the greatest joy of our lives. Difficult at times, but also breathtakingly beautiful. In the middle of the sleepless nights or the messy days, a frustrated thought often crosses my mind but quickly turns to I can handle this because I know what it’s like to wonder if I’ll ever get the chance to hold my own child.

That mindset, that’s not me. That’s all God. The heartache before becoming a mom serves as a valuable reminder on the days when she doesn’t nap or turns our whole house into a disaster zone that this is worth it. Even when it’s exhausting and hard, it’s not nearly as hard as living with the sadness that you might not ever get to experience it.

In the days since our little girl was born, I’ve prayed that God would give her a sibling. My husband and I are both extremely close with our brothers and sisters and I can’t imagine her growing up in a world where she doesn’t have that bond with at least one other person. When I prayed about another baby, I often heard God say, What if she’s it? Do you trust that I know what’s best for your family?

Ouch. That’s a hard pill to swallow. If she’s the only one we get, I’ll spend my life thankful that I’ve had the chance to be her mama. And I know deep down in my soul that God doesn’t make mistakes. But if she’s our only, there will be sadness in my heart. A missing piece.

On November 29, 2016, we got a positive pregnancy test. In some ways, this one seemed more surreal than the first. This time, there were no tears or ovulation tests. This one simply happened. We couldn’t believe it! A quick Google search told us the due date would be early August. We were over-the-moon excited! God allowed us to appreciate the ease, simplicity, and lack of tears this time around. There was so much joy and excitement that He answered before we had really even asked.

We quickly bought a big sister tee and couldn’t wait to share the news of our growing family.

Two days shy of our seven week appointment, we lost that baby. Our hearts had been ripped open once again. We had to say goodbye to a precious life before ever getting to hear a heartbeat. Before kissing squishy cheeks. And before our oldest got to experience life as a big sister.

We cried at the doctor’s office. We bawled our eyes out on the way home. We wept with our family. We laid in bed and wondered how we could miss someone we never knew? Prior to the first pregnancy, we wondered what we were missing out on and hoped for the chance to experience it. This time around, we knew what we were missing out on and that’s why it hurt.

The hurt is real… so real. I still miss that little one at the most random times. When I’m putting away the Christmas stockings I have to blink back tears because there’s supposed to be another one hanging there next year. Or when we make plans for the fall and there’s no need to factor an infant into the agenda. I think I’ll always miss that baby.

But I’m choosing to cling His timing. He’s proven over and over that He sees the whole picture and I only see one tiny part. Before, we didn’t know if we’d ever get to experience baby, round 2. Now, we’re choosing to believe that this is God’s way of telling us that we will. We’re actively making the choice to see this as God’s symbol of hope for the future.

The hope that this isn’t the end of our story.

The hope that our family will grow again.

The hope that our girl will become the leader of her younger sibling(s).

The hope that there will be more baby toes in our future.

The hope that our life will be turned upside down again.

The hope that our living room will have that fourth stocking hanging at Christmastime.

The hope that there will be a bond that only siblings can know.

The hope in His perfect time.

Until then? Pass the wine…

Claire Hoots

Claire is a wife and mom taking on her second career. She spends her days out-and-about with an opinionated one year old. While the little one sleeps, she pounds on the keyboard. She’s a big fan of the crockpot, netflix, and gratitude lists. In her free time, she loves exercising, shopping, and reading. She believes that the perfect evening is spent drinking wine with girlfriends.