I’m not sure how to start this post. Or how to share this story, exactly. Because it should have been a pregnancy announcement. I would have been 12 weeks today. And I wish I were nearing the end of my first trimester and getting ready to tell the world about Quarles Baby #2. I have peace and joy in the midst of the sadness, but the sadness is still there.

We lost our baby.

I found out I was pregnant with our second little one on October 5. Jeremy and I were hoping to get pregnant, so I was on high alert for every sign of pregnancy and got that positive test as soon as I could—right around 4 weeks along. I jumped up and down in the kitchen and squealed and prayed. Jeremy was on tour, and I wanted to wait until he got home to surprise him with the news, but I couldn’t hold it in! So the next day, I surprised him on Facetime. When I found out I was pregnant with Judah, I felt excited but also super nervous about becoming a mom. This time, I just felt pure excitement and joy. No nerves. The timing felt perfect. We couldn’t wait to add another tiny person to our little family!

When I was 6 weeks 4 days pregnant, I was in a car accident with my mom on our drive home from High Point Market in North Carolina. It was a traumatic and scary accident, but I walked out without a scratch. Even still, we went to the Emergency Room for some tests and I had my first ultrasound. They assured me that everything looked good and that the pregnancy seemed to be right on track. That gave me a lot of confidence moving ahead.

I went to my first official ultrasound with the midwives at Baby & Co (so thankful for that place) on November 3 at 8 weeks along with full confidence that everything was normal. I was having all the first trimester symptoms that I did with Judah. I accidentally scheduled it on Election Day and forgot that Judah wouldn’t have school, so, last minute, I went to the ultrasound alone and Jeremy stayed home with Judah.

“Chandler, I don’t see a heartbeat. And the baby is measuring too small.”

She said it with so much compassion and kindness and clarity. It still took my breath away.

Baby was measuring at 6 weeks 1 day and there was no heartbeat. We had already lost our little one; we just had no idea. It’s called a missed miscarriage. I had never heard the term before.

The midwife came in and explained what was happening. She let me cry. She walked me through next steps. She explained to me that this is really common and that 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage. She was kind and gentle and exactly what I needed.

I called Jeremy crying. And I did my best to hold it together until I got home. We held each other and cried and sweet Judah said, “I’m sorry you went to the doctor’s office and it made you cry, Mom.”

The hardest part of the whole thing was the waiting that followed. 2.5 weeks of waiting for my body to recognize the miscarriage. I ended up truly miscarrying at home on November 21 with the help of some medication.

Now that I have had almost a month to process this loss, I feel like I can share this story with hope. And it’s my prayer that my story will remind other women that they aren’t alone.

When I first found out that we had lost our baby, the loss was so much deeper than I ever imagined it could be for a baby that we never even got to meet. And the feelings and losses and grief have come in waves.

I grieved the baby. I wanted to be a mom to this baby. This particular baby.

I grieved the future I had imagined. Life next summer with a newborn. I had the whole picture in my mind of what our family of four would be like in 2021.

I grieved the timing of giving Judah a sibling. I was ready to watch him become a big brother. I had bought him a Big Brother shirt and we had begun talking about the baby in mommy’s belly. He is going to be such an amazing big brother.

I grieved the loss of pregnancy. I was excited to be pregnant again. To see my body change and grow. To buy maternity clothes and complain about my ankles swelling.

I was mad at my body. I felt like it had failed. It hadn’t kept my baby safe. And when we lost that sweet little life, it didn’t recognize the loss. I felt disappointed and deceived by my own body.

I was afraid. Afraid of what the actual miscarriage would be like. Of the pain and potential trauma of it.

I couldn’t find God in it. This one is hard to admit. My faith is so important to me. And I’ve heard other women say that when they experienced miscarriage, they felt God’s presence so strongly. To be honest, at first, I didn’t feel it. I was looking for Him, but I couldn’t hear his voice.

But with time, and the love of our wonderful community…

The couple of weeks of waiting in the middle of the miscarriage were some of the hardest of my life. It was hard for me and Jeremy as a couple. It was hard for me to focus on work. Hard for me to have the energ to do normal things like cook and clean.

And in the midst of that hard, I began to see God showing up in the little things. And with all of those little things combined, the presence of God became so thick over our little family that I couldn’t miss it. And the PEACE OF GOD THAT SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING truly guarded my heart and mind. There’s no other way to describe it.

God showed up in the little things like…

Meals delivered.

Prayers prayed over us.

Texts to check in.

Ice cream delivered.

Dinner gift cards.

Flowers given.

Cards of encouragement.

I have never felt as loved as I did during those weeks. So cared for and lifted up in prayer. So seen by God and by other people who have experienced similar losses.

We named our sweet baby Shiloh. Which means God’s gift of Peace. And right now in this Christmas season, as we all prepare to celebrate God’s greatest gift, we are not only grieving this loss but also resting in the peace of God. We have confidence that our sweet little one took his or her first breaths in the arms of Jesus and we will see them again someday.

We have hope for the future babies we will have here on earth. We have joy knowing that God has been with us in every step of this process. And, honestly, we still have a lot of sadness because we miss little Shiloh and we wish he or she was still here with us.

To all the people in our community who loved on us. And to all the women who have reached out and said, “I had a miscarriage, too. I’m here for you,” I am forever grateful.

if you’re reading this, whether I know you in real life or not, and you have experienced a miscarriage, please reach out. I mean it. I hope that God will use this hurt in our lives to be a support system for others when they need it.

We love you forever, baby Shiloh.