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reflections on loss

It's Christmas day. Along with starting our day first thing with the eager faces of our children ready for family and gifts, we also celebrated the birth of Jesus with our church family, Karis. It's been a long week, and it was a sweet day to remember the goodness of God displayed in the lowly birth of our Savior, Jesus, Emmanuel.

So, this story actually starts about a month ago. Right after Thanksgiving, I took a test to see if we were pregnant. We hadn't been planning on getting pregnant, but I did notice that we were late. The test came back positive. The girls were screaming in the next room, i think fighting and whining. Jeremy and I stood over the results for a moment, smiled, and moved on quickly to dissolve the little quarrel my girls were in.

I didn't know exactly all the things i felt at the moment: excitement, fear, anticipation, anxiety over lack of planning... I didn't really feel quite 'ready' for all the demands of pregnancy, labor, and the sleepless newborn stage that are expected. Verity still seems 'baby' to me.

The last month we have experienced all sorts of emotions, but most were met with a quiet contentment that this is what God had for us in the season, and we were thankful. Previous to our discovery of our pregnancy, I had found the name for our next daughter. As a side note: naming our daughters has always been a very special and meaningful process for us. One that was produced by conviction of what we wanted to be true in their character and how we brought them up. Evangelene Yvonne: Bearer of Good News/my mother's name (her character i value highly). Verity Grace: Truth/Grace which i believe the Gospel of Jesus displays perfectly to a hurting world.

Since Verity's birth, i knew i wanted our next daughter's name to have 'victory' however, i couldn't think of the name that should go with it. Not coincidentally, i 'found' the name Vivian before our knowledge of our pregnancy. Together, Vivian Victoria. I loved it, i told Jeremy immediately this was our next daughter. It means Alive/Victory, which sums up what Jesus did when He rose from the dead after dying on the cross for the sins of the world. In his Life, we have victory over sin and death. He makes us alive unto God.

It had been a quick month, we only told a few people, and we were holding on until Christmas to tell our families, revealing our secret with the tell-tale picture of our girls grasping and gawking at an ultrasound photo. I had intentionally waited for our ultrasound appointment to be scheduled right before Christmas, giving the pregnancy more certainty and the baby more time to be formed for ultrasound pictures.

One week ago, I saw I was bleeding. Having experienced a miscarriage in the first trimester before, I knew what to look for, and this was not similar bleeding to that, The confusing light bleeding continued until Thursday, when I went to our first OB appointment. the ultrasound tech confirmed that the baby had indeed died, but that my body had not quite recognized it had. I felt disappointed. All week long i had prayed for my little baby, that it would be safe, and that I wouldn't be discouraged. Post appointment, after hearing this news, I took a moment to just let it sink in. I prayed. I cried. And then, following the appointments at the hospital, my body just let go. Sparing the gory details, my body indeed miscarried. The next day, it was like it was done. In a small way, I think it was just God's grace giving me closure to that life.

Jeremy and I processed that evening all the sequence of moments of the past month: the anticipation, the naming...praying for this little one, and hoping for our future to add another Grove to morning snuggles and all other family affairs...and what I came to is that I want to name my baby the name I felt God gave me for this pregnancy. Vivian Victoria. Because that is exactly what I know to be truth about what she is experiencing now with the creator, her savior. A life eternal because of the victorious life of Jesus.

Jeremy's thoughts: The mystery of conception and the soul are ones that he says he knows he can't figure out on this side of life. Regardless, Vivian Victoria represents the truth that we hold in that Christ's life, death, and resurrection, outweighs our personal experience. Specifically, where we can look at this and grieve, saying here's a potential life that was lost-a tragedy. Instead, we can say with hope, Vivian Victoria-Christ is alive. Fast forward to the week after. We were in Lee's Summit reconnecting with my (Jeremy's) extended family at a memorial service for my grandmother (on my mother's side). It was a beautiful service where we reflected on her life and legacy. She traveled to over 30 countries in order to share the love of Christ with those who had not heard of it through the Jesus Film and other mission trips. She lived missionally, making disciples all around her whether state side or in other countries. What I remember most (along with my cousins) is her beautiful voice humming and singing hymns of praise to God. Now (as my cousin Annie said) she is singing them face to face with her Savior. It is our hope to continue her legacy and the legacy of all believers since Christ's great commission to go and make disciples in Japan who will one day join us in singing hymns of praise to our great Savior!

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