On January 10th, 2016, we found out that we were pregnant. We were so excited! Six months has passed since we miscarried our first child. The heartbreak from losing our first was inexpressible. Though we were thrilled for this new pregnancy, we were cautious. I wrote in Charlotte’s baby journal three days after finding out we were pregnant, “I’m filled with both overflowing joy and fear. Jesus, hold this baby in Your hands, have Your way, bind Peter and I to you more.” How He has answered this prayer and in ways I could begin to imagine.
On February 2nd, 2016, we had Charlotte’s first ultrasound. Shortly before the ultrasound, my dear friend, Sarah, texted me the verse I decided to claim for Charlotte’s pregnancy, John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus spoke this to his disciples after explaining to them that He soon would be taken from them. His disciples would be losing the physical manifestation of their friend and Savior in this world. Jesus wouldn’t be physically walking with them for much longer. Soon, Jesus would conquer death on the Cross and through His resurrection. A few verses earlier in verse 19, Jesus expressed, “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live.” Jesus was promising his followers the Holy Spirit, the Great Comforter, to be with them in their earthly loss of Jesus and that “whoever believes in Me [Jesus] will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12). Jesus’ words cover me with peace.
Charlotte lives because Jesus lives.
I have hope through the deposit of the Holy Spirit. On February 8th, 2016, I journaled, “Jesus, during this pregnancy and always, allow me to fully TRUST in you by the power of the Holy Spirit and not be a white-washed tomb. Without You, I am unable, unworthy, undone.” I marvel at a God who even orchestrates our prayers.
Jesus was giving His dear friends and followers what they needed to hear before their had a clue they would need to hear it! God did this for me, too. After Sarah shared this verse with me, my other dear friend, Kara, asked me if she could calligraphy a verse for Charlotte’s nursery, a verse I had perhaps claimed for the pregnancy. Frankly, I didn’t give this much thought. I knew Sarah had texted me John 14:27, I liked that verse and really didn’t have another verse in mind. So rather flippantly, I informed Kara that I’d love to have John 14:27 for my baby’s nursery.
I was reflecting on this with my incredible sister-in-law and friend, Holly. She said when she heard this story at Charlotte’s baby shower (which was the day before we found out Charlotte had died), where Kara gifted the calligraphy to me, Holly thought to herself, “Why peace?” I mean it is kind of funny to have that verse in a baby nursery.
Why would God give that word to me? Why would God have me be reflecting on that Scripture during my pregnancy? The answer is crystal clear now. God gives us words of encouragement – words of peace – before we realize we will need to hang onto every one of them.
On April 16th, 2016, we shared that we were pregnant with the whole Knabe family. We were all together for my cousin, Katie’s, wedding. Everyone caught on pretty quick that we were pregnant. It was so fun.
On Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016, we found out we were having a girl! My friends and co-workers were taking bets on if we were having a boy or a girl. It was such a fun and exciting time. I was craving root beer, pickles, caesar salad dressing and vanilla ice cream. Peter was such an patient supporter.
The pregnancy progressed wonderfully. I savor that friends and family members were able to feel sweet Char Char, as I call her, kick and move! She even got to wear the most beautiful dress for her Auntie Holly’s wedding! She was there for Aunt Liz’s high school graduation. Sweet Pea, as my mother-in-law called her since we didn’t share a name, brought so many people such joy. And she keeps doing so and I know she always will. She will always bring this mama such pride.
We had three lovely baby showers and felt so supported and loved. One in New Jersey, one in Pittsburgh and the other in Richmond. Each was so fun and special.
Charlotte even got to tag along for some lake fun at Findley Lake, NY. It was so fun to share our news with everyone. And just as deeply as our friends and families shared in our delight over being pregnant with our little girl, they have just as deeply shared in our devastation of losing her.
Quickly, her nursery filled up with the cutest clothes and Pete got working on her nursery furniture with his remarkable wood working skills. He built a stellar changing table dresser for her. We now use it as a dresser and it looks lovely, but just not quite right.
During the pregnancy, people asked us if we felt ready? Our usual response was, “We feel as ready for her as we know how.” And we were ready. We were thrilled! We had been praying for a baby for so long. We had the gear, the clothes, the car seat, the stroller, the rocker. I had painted her nursery twice because the first color wasn’t to my liking. As my husband later explained at Charlotte’s memorial, we can plan and plan and feel like we have some sort of control, but that’s all an illusion. We have no control. But we have abundant hope.
Peter’s Papa selflessly gifted us this incredible painting of his for Charlotte’s nursery. She is Nana and Papa’s thirteenth great grandchild. Peter used some of the walnut wood he was planning on using to make Charlotte’s crib to instead create this gorgeous frame for Papa’s artwork. It is now hung in what would have been Charlotte’s nursery. We re-made the room to be a guest bedroom. The theme for her nursery was going to be elephants. We call the guest room the “elephant room.”
Despite losing Charlotte, we continue to expect great things from Jesus. We trust in His goodness. We just trust Him.