One year ago today, we walked into an ultrasound room with hopeful hearts. We walked out of that very room heartbroken and confused. February 24, 2015 looks very different than February 24, 2014. I spent the better part of that day last year packing for a planned trip to Florida and processing next steps for our unexpected loss, all while weeping uncontrollably over the baby I would never meet.
It was a harder miscarriage than our first. Emotionally it registered about the same, but physically it took its toll on me and dragged on much longer than anyone ever expected. It made us wonder if we could endure another pregnancy, another rise and fall of dreams for a child. So we waited the months that were medically necessary because of the physical effect of the miscarriage and asked God to unite our hearts around the possibility of another baby--a baby we knew in our hearts we ached for.
And God heard our prayer.
We spent the better part of the first half of this pregnancy convinced we were having a girl. All the old wives tales about gender seemed to be leaning pink, so we were pretty sold on a name for the baby should we have a girl. But a boy? We were stumped. We had already used up two names on the sons we currently have, so thinking about another name proved difficult for us. So we didn't.
When the ultrasound technician informed us that our suspicions were false, we were floored. Daniel kept saying "wow" over and over again. We are delighted to add another boy to our brood, we just weren't expecting it this time around.
For weeks we talked about names, wrote down names, looked up names, and then talked about names some more. We could not come to a consensus. As we were driving to the airport for Christmas we settled in to listen to a seminar on parenting. The speaker read from Genesis 4 and when he got to verse 25, we stopped:
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”
"What about Seth?" Daniel said.
We have always liked the name, we just forgot about it until that moment. Seth means "appointed one" and in particular to the story in Genesis, he is the God-appointed son in place of the one who was lost. So much of this pregnancy has linked us to the baby we lost.
We heard Seth's heartbeat the day after our other baby was due. We found out we were pregnant the month we were due with the one we lost. In many ways, we feel like Seth is the joy that has come in the morning (Psalm 30:5). After we talked about this name, and the meaning behind it, we knew that the story of how he came to be would be perfectly woven into his very name, much like the names of his older brothers.
For his middle name we went off from our normal way of naming our kids. So far we have chosen family names for our children. Luke's name is Lucas Daniel (after Daniel). Zach's is Zachary Garrett (after my grandpa), but we could not find a family name that went with Seth! When I first became a Christian I was exposed to the writing of Elisabeth Elliot. Reading her gave me a context for a female Christian writer. Prior to my conversion, I wanted to be a writer. As a new believer, she opened up God's word to me, and gave me a female example to emulate. And he also happens to be due the month my first book releases! Jim Elliot's story influenced Daniel as a college student as well. So we felt it fitting to name him Seth Elliot, to honor the lives of two people who have impacted us greatly.
As I reflect on all God has taught me in the year since our second miscarriage, like our first, I am undone by his goodness once again. In the dark days that followed our loss it felt as if I would never see the sun in my circumstances again, let alone in my own soul. But God is faithful. He restores the years that the locusts of sin, suffering, and loss have eaten. He brings joy out of mourning. He causes the sun to rise in the dark corners of our hearts when his frowning providence seems to tell a different story.
In two and a half months we will meet this precious boy, Seth Elliot. We love him already.