Dear No. 2, or rather, dear Ethan,
Your daddy and brother and I were really looking forward to meeting you, but it turns out God had different plans for you.
Your daddy had been away for almost two weeks, traveling around the world for work, and I missed him a lot. The day he was coming home, I had scheduled an ultrasound, per doctor’s routine orders. All week, I was so excited to see you. My weekly email updates told me you were about the size of a lime. It was hard not to picture you green, like Elphaba in Wicked, but it was great to think of how much you’d grown since I last saw you, just three weeks before.
After dropping your brother off with Maddy and Emma, I went to the hospital for our appointment. I always got a kind of dread when I went for ultrasounds with Jacob—like there was an extremely important test I was about to take, but I hadn’t studied. I tried not to think about things going wrong before I went in this time. The feeling had always turned into nothing with Jacob, so I decided it was a waste of energy.
I waited over an hour, but that was okay, because I was about to see you! I’d stopped feeling sick just a week before, and I was in my second day of maternity pants. My belly had already popped a little bit. I was looking forward to watching you grow over the next few weeks.
As the tech did the ultrasound, she started to ask me some questions, but I didn’t think anything of them, figuring they were routine. She asked if I’d had any bleeding, if I had high blood pressure. I responded confidently that I was healthy, that this, like my previous pregnancy, had thus far been without complications. I barely thought about the horizontal line that worked across the screen a couple of times. You didn’t seem to be moving, which worried me a little bit. It also concerned me that the tech did an extra belly exam at the end, which wasn’t part of the plan, but I again, I didn’t think much of it.
The doctor came in soon afterward, and he looked around too. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find your heartbeat. He was very kind and gentle, and told me I’d talk with my doctor about it more later in the day. I cried. I knew I’d make the appointment for the next day, when your daddy could come with me. I knew he’d want to be there and that I’d need him there for whatever happened next.
As I’m writing this, I don’t yet know what happens next. What I do know is that I’m sad and I miss you. I stood in the exam room, waiting for the official report to bring to my doctor, and I cried some more. Still, there was a strange sense of peace that felt like a blanket over me, softening the sharp edges of hurt and sadness enough that I knew I would make it through the rest of the day, at least until your dad came home.
I thought of your brother at Maddy’s house. I knew I’d get a big smile and hug when I picked him up, and I felt even better knowing that you’d be praying for him all the rest of his life. I worried a little bit about what Jacob would do if he saw me crying. Later in the day he did, and he laughed. I guess my face looked silly. It’s okay; it made me laugh, too.
I’m nervous about what happens next, but as the song goes, “Twas grace that brought me safe thus far / And grace will lead me home.” Thank God for His faithfulness, merciful love, and the good care I know He is taking of you.
I don’t know if we’ll be able to learn if you were a boy or a girl, but right away I thought you were a boy. I think the next one will be a girl. I do have hope that there will be a next one. If that is a girl, then I will be all the more confident you are a boy.
I told your daddy, probably two days after realizing I was pregnant with you, that I thought we should call you Ethan. Ethan Karl Schlegel. A good, strong name, right? Karl for your grandpa, of course. Never mind that Ethan is currently the #2 baby boy name (after Jacob). Your daddy thinks I’m just going down the list, but I really didn’t know until I looked it up. Ethan means “strong and optimistic, solid and enduring, or permanent.” I think that’s fitting for a saint, don’t you? You are permanently with God, permanently a part of our family, permanently our special little baby.
I know you are looking down on us and praying for us, and I am so grateful for that. If you were born, I know I would have called you angel, because my mommy calls me that sometimes, and I call Jacob that, too. But you really are an angel, or rather, a saint, and I know you will pray for your parents and brothers and sisters, God willing, until we meet you in Heaven.
This might be my last letter to you, but it will not be my last thought. I love you with all my heart.