“It’s alright, I need you…”: When Rain Falls
(Authors note: Healthy marital sex is a topic that is not often talked about or discussed, especially in Christian environments. This in turn has caused certain issues and problems, as many of you know personally. Another topic that rarely, if ever comes up, especially for men, is miscarriage. That too is unfortunate. Ladies will talk about it in their inner circles when it happens to one of them, which is a good thing. It helps them to heal from the emotional pain of loss. But men are often left out of town he loop. But they also experience the pain of loss and other emotions that accompany miscarriage. And they don’t often have an outlet to foster healing. Maybe we don’t talk about it because it’s such a sad and personal circumstance. I don’t really know. But like sex, it is important to talk about. The story you are about to read is about both sex and miscarriage and may not be a “typical” Marriage Heat story. It is my personal account of what happened to our family about 10 ½ years ago. I felt God impressing upon me to write this story. My prayer is that it will be a blessing to anyone out there who may find themselves in a similar situation. I have written it in the third person, and changed most names for reasons of anonymity.)
It was Wednesday at noon in early October when Rick’s cell phone rang. A quick glance at the screen told him it was his wife, Mandy, calling. It was perfect timing. He was in for lunch at the wilderness camp after having been out for a morning hunt. Otherwise, he would have missed her call. This week long elk hunting trip was something he had been looking forward to all summer long. In fact, it was his first experience hunting elk. What made it better was that Rick’s father, Bob, two uncles and a cousin were also there together on this hunt. When he was a teenager, Rick had a precarious relationship with his dad. They didn’t spend much time bonding together. But Bob had been softening over the years, especially now that Rick and Mandy had given him some grandchildren. Although Rick had only started hunting a year before, he now shared a common passion with Bob. He relished any opportunity he could take to spend time outdoors with the veteran hunter he called “Dad”. Yep, this trip would be one Rick would never forget.
Rick flipped open his phone and said, “Hey there!”.
Mandy replied, “Hi, how’s it going over there? Any luck?”.
“No, not yet”, said Rick. “At least not for me, but dad and uncle Jim each got an elk last night, so that’s good. How are things going for you?”
There was silence on the other end of the line. He could tell she was still there.
Rick asked, “Honey, are you there? Is everything alright?”
Mandy’s voice cracked as she said, “I think I’m losing the baby.” Her muffled sobs could be heard over the line.
Now it was Rick’s turn to be silent for a few seconds as all the blood drained from his face. It was only just two weeks ago that they had discovered that Mandy was pregnant again. He was still adjusting to the news about another mouth to feed and the excitement of a new family member. But now, at this very second, all that came crashing to a halt. His mind and heart raced together with a blur of mixed emotions. Here he was standing in a wilderness camp some eight hours drive away from home where his wife was in distress. He had never felt so unable to help in all his life. What could he do?
Rick asked, “Are you sure? How do you know?”
Mandy replied, “I just know. There’s been bleeding, and contractions. It’s been happening slowly over the past few days. It’s kinda like going into labor, but different. Karen is here right now with me, she’s been through it before and is helping me and taking care of the kids too.”
“A few days!?”, Rick said somewhat bewildered, “Are you going to the hospital?”
“No”, she said. “I don’t want to. It’s so uncomfortable and unwelcoming there. They can’t do much for me anyway. I just want to stay home where it’s safe and warm. Don’t worry, I’ll be okay.”
Rick replied, “Listen, if I pack up camp right now I can be home before midnight…”.
Mandy cut him off. “NO! You stay. I want you to stay and spend this time with your dad. It’s a special time. You’ve been looking forward to this for so long. You two need to spend time together. Don’t worry about me. Karen is taking care of me. It’s alright. I’m sorry it’s bad timing, but it’s alright.”
“Sweetie”, Rick said, “The timing is not your fault. But I don’t feel right staying here though.”
Mandy assured him, “It really is okay. I feel better knowing you are spending time with your dad rather than off working or doing something else. Please stay the rest of the week like you planned. Get yourself an elk.”
“Ok, if that’s what you want, I’ll stay,” Rick said reluctantly. “But you call me ASAP if you change your mind.”
“Don’t worry, I will. I’m in good hands here. You enjoy yourself. You can check in with me tomorrow. I love you,” said Mandy.
“I love you too babe,” said Rick. With that, he closed his phone.
Rick stood still for a few seconds. His head was spinning with the news. It felt like someone had just sucker punched him in the gut. He drew a deep breath and tried to compose himself. Silently he offered up a prayer of grace and protection for his wife, and if at all possible, the baby in her womb. But something told him the baby was already gone. He knew enough that if a miscarriage starts, it’s likely the baby was already dead and the body was in the process of eliminating. What was he going to do? His mood and demeanor was now dramatically different than it was just a few minutes ago. Surely his family members would notice something was up. Rick and Mandy had not yet told anyone they were expecting. What was he going to say to his dad?
Rick made up his mind to tell Bob exactly what was up. He called Bob over and in the same breath told him that Mandy was expecting but was in the process of losing the baby. Bob’s face dropped as he uttered an expletive.
“Is she okay? Are you going to head home right away?” asked Bob.
“She is doing alright considering” Rick replied. “But no, she insisted I stay. Her friend Karen is with her and looking after her.”
Bob appeared to be at a loss for words. “Um, ah, well, ok then. I guess we will carry on,” he finally said.
A few hours later Rick headed out by himself for an evening hunt. One of the best things about hunting elk is that these animals choose to live in some stunningly beautiful country. He admired the wondrous creation around him as he wandered along. It was hard to keep his mind on task as he kept thinking about his wife back home.
He paused to watch the scenery with the setting sun splayed out before him, His mind recalled a spring evening some 14 ½ years earlier that was not too unlike the evening he was experiencing now. Back then it was Rick and Mandy’s newlywed year. Rick was part way through college studying for a career in tech. Then, Mandy missed her period and they found out she was expecting their first baby. They had gone to a walk-in clinic to have a pregnancy test done. It showed positive.
Later that evening, Rick grabbed a lawn chair and sat out at the end of the yard under a tree, looking down the valley and admiring the landscape. They hadn’t planned to have a baby so soon, but a night of newlywed passion changed all that. In fact, it changed a lot of things. Rick considered he was likely not going to be continuing his studies. He would have to start working sooner rather than later to provide for his family.
The weight of responsibility weighed in on him more than ever. Rick sat in that chair and cried out to his Lord in praise and awe and wonder and petition. He thanked God for choosing him to be a father. He asked God to guide him and Mandy as they raise this precious gift and to help provide for everything that would be needed. Rick also thought about the distant future and prayed for their baby’s health, education, and future spouse. He also prayed that his child (and any other children they might have) would follow Jesus. He just sat there, wondering about the future and absorbing the fact he would be a father at 21 years of age. Rick finished his prayers very much like Jesus did the night of his arrest, “Not my will Lord, but Yours be done. I will accept what You throw my way. I know You will be near.”
Rick’s mind was drawn back to the present. Now, he was crying out to God in a slightly different way. He thanked the Lord for His faithfulness all these years. His provision had always been there. Sometimes there was abundance, sometimes there was just enough. God was indeed good. Rick knew there was a lesson to be learned here somewhere, but it would likely only be revealed in the passage of time and experience. But he still had to ask….”Why?”. “Why is this happening God? What are You trying to do here?”. All Rick could do at this moment was trust. Trust in the goodness of his Provider and that He knew best.
He couldn’t help but think about loss. The loss of a life never lived. No birthdays, no school, no first dates, no first vehicle, no marriage. Again Rick concluded, “Your will be done, Lord.” It was in that moment that a thought first occurred to Rick. Even though his baby would never see the light of day here on earth, it would instead have the privilege of growing up in heaven. While he wasn’t sure that is the way it actually works, the thought warmed Rick’s heart all the same as his eyes moistened.
A phone call to Mandy the next day confirmed that it was all over. Rick noted however that her demeanor over the phone was indeed melancholy, yet with a hint of wonder mixed in. That was something he hadn’t expected. He thought she was going to be a mess. She stated that they should have a small funeral service to bury the baby when he got home.
Mandy marveled, “You should see it, Rick. It’s so amazing to look at. It is incredibly small, but it’s all there, a tiny human. I can’t wait for you to come home and see it”.
“See it?”, Rick questioned. “What do you mean? H…how…how am I going to see it? No. You…you didn’t…..??”.
It hadn’t yet occurred to Rick what Mandy would have done with the baby once her body passed it.
“Yes. I had too, in order to preserve it. At least until the funeral. Its tissue is so delicate. It wouldn’t take long for it to break down unless I froze it. So yeah, it’s in the freezer,” explained Mandy.
Rick was once again silent for a few seconds. This most recent bit of information seemed to him to be just…..weird. But, as a logical man, he concluded that it made sense. “Ok”, he said, “I should be home this weekend, whether I get an elk or not”.
“Ok, will see you then. Love you”, she said sweetly.
“Love you too,” Rick said, as he signed off.
The next day Rick got his elk. It was the coolest thing and a total blessing for him to have his dad present for it. This was indeed a trip he would never forget. The next morning was Saturday and they broke camp and headed for home. Rick arrived home around supper time. He enjoyed the meal with his wife and kids. Not long after, they put the kids to bed. Then Rick and Mandy retired to their own room. This was their first real chance to be alone since he arrived back.
They were both at a loss for words this time. They simply embraced and held onto each other for several moments, savoring each other’s presence. It was Mandy who finally broke the silence. She looked up at Rick and asked, “Do you want to see it now?”
Rick drew in a deep breath and sighed it out. “I don’t know,” he said, “I mean, I..I do, but I don’t–if you know what I mean”.
Mandy nodded her head. “I know what you mean. It will be alright. Just sit down on the bed,” she said.
Rick sat on the bed cross-legged. Mandy left the room and returned moments later, holding a ziplock bag with a cloth inside. She sat beside him and opened the bag, removing the cloth. “Hold out your hand,” she said, as she started to unfold the cloth. Rick held his hand out, palm up. She placed the cloth in his hands and unfolded the final layer, revealing the small body hidden within. Then she removed the cloth altogether, allowing the lifeless baby to slide onto his skin.
Rick gazed in wonder as Mandy peered over his arm as he held their wee baby. He had only ever seen pictures in books and magazines showing the development stages of the human fetus. But now, here it was, in his very hand and no bigger than the size of a quarter. Mandy pointed out that it was at most only ten weeks old. Still, it already had arms and legs, a torso, and a head with eye sockets. Rick noted that the color of the skin was the same as his own, even at this early stage of development. He then carefully reached out his finger and gently stroked the body of his baby. He could barely feel anything, it was so soft. But it appeared…flat.
“It had more form to it originally. But Karen explained that once the air gets to it, the tissues break down and they kinda “deflate.”
“I’m sorry, I’ve pulled it out a few times to look at it already. I don’t want to rush you, but once you’re done looking, we really should put it back into the freezer before it breaks down further.”
Rick agreed as he placed the babe back onto the cloth. Mandy wrapped it back up and returned it to the freezer. As he waited for her to return he tried to process the mix of emotions he was feeling. In a moment like this one would expect sadness and grief. Rick did in fact feel that, but he was also amazed at the sight of this creation. Both he and his wife were awed at the form and shape of God’s handiwork. It was indeed beautiful. But his thoughts reflected that this was also unfortunate. Instead of having held this tiny creature in his hand, it should be inside his wife’s womb, alive and growing. More thoughts of great loss rambled through Rick’s head.
Mandy returned to the room and closed the door. She again sat next to Rick. He reached out to hold her hands, leaning his forehead against hers. A few seconds later she pulled her head back. She placed a hand on his chest, running a finger along the collar of his shirt. She kept looking at her own hand and fingers, but glanced up briefly to look at his face. He could see she was starting to well up with tears. She looked back to her hand, but her facade was crumbling away rapidly. She began to tremble as she blurted out, “Hold me! Lay down with me and hold me.”
Rick carefully yet quickly wrapped his arms around her. He placed his chin on her shoulder and his cheek against her cheek as they lay back, side by side. He felt her body shuddering as she sobbed. At this moment Rick felt like a heel. Other than misty eyes from time to time, since he had heard the news from that fateful phone call a few days earlier he was unable to cry. He seemed frozen in his emotions, perhaps in a state of shock.
It was right then, however, that something else started to happen.
Mandy, in her tears, began to kiss his cheek and neck. She quickly worked her way to his mouth. Her kisses were soft yet desperate. Rick didn’t know what to think but he didn’t resist either. She rose up slightly and kissed him even more passionately. That’s when Rick felt her hand back on his chest, rubbing it slowly. She then trailed her hand down his belly, finally resting it on his crotch and stroking him gently. Seconds later she was trying to unzip his jeans. “What is she doing?” Rick thought to himself. Ever since the news hit they would lose the baby, sex was the farthest thing from his mind. How could he even get hard at a time like this? Yet, with Mandy’s actions, his cock was beginning to stir. Rick reached down to stop her hand and began to protest, but she quickly interrupted him.
“It’s alright” she said, looking at his chin, “I need you. I need to be close to you, to feel you inside me.” Her eyes rose to meet his. From her look he knew she was serious.
Rick was blown away for two reasons. First, Mandy never talked this way. Not once had she ever spoken with sexual desire like that towards her husband. Secondly, how in the world could she want sex right at this moment?
Rick spoke up, “Honey, you just had a miscarriage. We can’t do this. Can we?”
Mandy replied, “It’s okay. The bleeding has stopped. Sure, it was a bit like childbirth, but the baby was so small, everything is good down there. It will be alright. I just need you inside me. To be close.”
With that, Rick surrendered and allowed his wife to continue undressing him. She got him unzipped and lowered his pants and underwear enough to allow his cock to spring free. She then quickly lowered her own stretch pants and panties down to her knees. Mandy inserted a few of her fingers into her pussy, drawing out some of its natural lubrication. She proceeded to rub it on Rick’s shaft. As they lay side by side she slid a leg up onto his. Then she guided his now fully erect penis into her waiting pussy. At once, she began thrusting with a mild yet deliberate hunger.
Rick still didn’t know what to do at this moment. He wanted to be there for his wife, to comfort her and receive some comfort as well. But he wasn’t 100% sure sex was the safest thing to be doing at the moment. She was the one initiating this though. He decided to allow her to continue at her own pace, doing whatever she was comfortable with and trusting what she felt in her own body. He would participate, but with gentleness and care. The fact that he hadn’t seen his wife in over a week wasn’t lost on him either. Even though he hadn’t been thinking about sex, there was a notable sexual tension in his body after not seeing Mandy for over a week. He tentatively welcomed this unexpected interlude.
Their movements were slow and deliberate. Rick began sliding his cock into her warm wetness on his own, Mandy gyrating her hips in return. Their kisses were loving and delicate. Mandy’s tears ran down her cheeks and splashed onto Rick’s and he didn’t mind one bit. This act of love was not just physical or about passion, rather, this was pure connection. Their spirits were intertwined on a even deeper level. They needed each other physically, spiritually, and emotionally. This was about healing. But they weren’t alone. The presence of their Creator was also in the room, feeling and sharing in their pain. Yet all the while bringing them comfort.
Still laying beside each other, Rick reached down and fingered his wife’s clit. A familiar heat was building up within them both. He could tell she was getting close to release, and that only served to bring him closer as well. Mandy’s breath quickened as her body began to melt into his. A few seconds later her body convulsed as her pussy contracted around Rick’s member. That triggered his own climax and they both experienced mutual sweet release.
They continued to lay there in each other’s arms, cuddling in silence. Then Mandy tried to wipe away tears off herself and Rick. But that action only served to bring about giggles from them both, since it was a rather futile attempt. When she was finally able to speak, Mandy said to Rick, “We need to come up with a name for the baby.” Rick nodded in agreement as he looked off thoughtfully. It was his belief that since mothers have the honor of growing a baby in their womb, it was only fitting that the fathers have the honor of naming the babies. Rick had come up with the names for all their children. He was sure he could find a fitting name for this one.
A week went by before they held their little funeral service. It was Rick’s dad, Bob, who suggested they bury the baby next to Grandpa. Bob and his siblings had grown up in the country outside of town on a hillside. Some of his family still lived there. When Bob’s dad passed away they spread his ashes up at the top of the hill overlooking the property and valley below. There was a memorial plaque that was placed there. Both Rick and Mandy thought this was a perfect location. They chose Saturday as the burial day.
A few days later Rick’s mom stopped by the house with a small wooden box.
“I thought you could use this as a tiny coffin,” she said. “I found it in a store.”
The box was about the size of Rick’s fist. It was plain wood, no paint or stain, with a hinged lid. On top of the lid someone had glued a flat wooden heart. This box was perfect. A few minutes before they left the house for the burial, Rick took the box and a wood burning pen and began to engrave something on the heart. Then he and Mandy and their kids loaded into the SUV and headed out to the hillside.
Thankfully there was a road, more of a goat trail actually. It led right to the top of the hill, otherwise they would have been in for a steep hike. They located Grandpa’s plaque, and a few feet away they dug a small hole with a spade they brought along. It was another clear and sunny fall day, with a noticeable nip in the air. Everyone was wearing long sleeves and jackets. They brought a camera with them in order to have a record of this day’s event. When the hole was finished, they started the service.
Rick and Mandy gathered the kids close. Some of the kids had made ‘gifts’ for the baby. One had cut a swatch of fabric from a fleece blanket they had. They opened the small box and placed the fabric inside as a bed. Another child had made a beaded bracelet, and they placed that on top of the tiny bed. Before placing the baby in it’s final resting place, Mandy once again placed the baby into Rick’s hand. Rick drew their attention to the lid of the box, specifically to what he had engraved on the heart. There in the center of the heart was a solitary word, ‘Rain’. Around the word he had carved little raindrops. Rick stood there, holding the tiny human in his hands, tears forming in his eyes, and said the following….
“Sometimes, rain falls in our lives. When it rains, some people tend to get moody or cloudy. The clouds block out the sun and everything is gray. Sometimes when it rains, we feel sad. However, we need the rain. Without rain, there would be no growth and everything would dry up and die. Rain brings life. After it rains, the sun comes out and its heat and warmth, together with the rain, brings that life. We need that rain. I’ve decided to name this baby ‘Rain’. Yes, we are sad right now because ‘Rain’ died, but we can also be happy because we are alive and together as a family. Rain’s death will serve to help remind us to bring sunshine to one another’s lives, and the lives of people we encounter. With Jesus’ help, we can bring life to those around us.”
With that, Rick placed Rain in the box and closed the lid. They placed the box in the center of the hole. Around the box they also placed several flower bulbs, and then proceeded to bury it all. As a final touch they placed several small rocks in a circle around the fresh dirt, to serve as a marker. It would be the following spring that Rick would return to the site with his camera. There inside the circle of rocks was a beautiful array of red and purple flowers. Life, among the dead.
In the weeks that followed, word got out that Rick and Mandy had a miscarriage. At church several ladies approached Mandy at different times to offer their condolences. These ladies shared with Mandy stories of their own miscarriages. No one approached or talked to Rick at all. He tried to be stoic, but he felt left out and alone all the same.
One elderly lady in her 80’s shared through tears a rather sad yet encouraging story. She told them she was glad Mandy was able to have the baby at home, and then have the ability to bury it and have closure. She explained that back when she was a young woman she too had a miscarriage. Her husband was away at the time and she had no one to help her. She went to the hospital and still-birthed the baby there.
She was farther along in her pregnancy so her baby was much larger than Mandy’s. However, as soon as the baby was out of her body, the nurses covered it up and hauled it away. She was not allowed to even see her baby, let alone touch or hold it. The doctors and nurses were rather cold about the whole ordeal, but they did tell her the baby was a girl. As soon as she was able, they sent her home. She described the situation as awful. It took her many years to heal from the ordeal. However, some 16 years later, God gave her a vision. Now this particular lady was known to have visions from time to time. This time, she saw a beautiful young teenage girl with blonde hair and glowing smile, surrounded by a bright and warm light. This was a vision of her baby daughter growing up in Heaven. It was at this point the woman found closure and healing. Both Rick and Mandy found comfort in her story.
About ten months after the miscarriage, Mandy gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Rick gave her the name, ‘Sunny’. It proved to be a very apt name. As their daughter grew older, they noted a distinct personality in her. While she indeed could be very ‘Sunny’ at times, ironically she also could be very moody. Rick often joked they should have named her ‘Cloudy’ instead. It’s at those times he remembers the burial speech he gave. Whenever it rains Rick also reflects about ‘Rain’. Sometimes he, or Mandy, or one of the other kids, even Sunny, will pull out a picture album and look at the pictures of the burial site and of the service they held that day. Rick is reminded of the commission that Jesus gave to His disciples to go out and spread the “good news”, or in other words, “bring life.” Perhaps that is what God wanted Rick and Mandy to learn from losing Rain, to use the opportunities He gives them to bring life into the lives of those around them. And that is something both of them have tried to do ever since.
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