Grief & Loss

"The Doctor Said the Baby is Incompatible with Life"

Doug Bender

November 22, 2019 | 3 minute read

22 Days of Peace brings you the stories, perspectives, and insights of writers and guest bloggers from many backgrounds. Here, they will tell you how they chose peace, when they found Jesus. Click HERE to find all the articles in the series.

Excerpt from I Choose Peace...

The doctor said the baby is incompatible with life,” my wife, Catherine, said on the phone. “She’s giving her a 0 percent chance of survival.”

The baby hadn’t died yet. She was alive and still moving inside of Catherine. The doctor thought she would pass away within the month and certainly wouldn’t make it two months. We were at week twenty already. They gave us the medical options. None were pleasant. We could end things early or let nature take its course. We decided to wait things out.

Our baby passed several weeks later. I didn’t know this before, but when a baby passes in utero you still have to give birth. It’s called a stillborn birth. As I write this, it’s three days shy of the anniversary of that date. We commemorate it each year by releasing a balloon in honor of our little one and saying a prayer.

Catherine processed the experience quicker than I did. She could cry and talk to people, which meant she had an immediate support group. She spent that first week on the phone with everyone and anyone. I, in contrast, hid in a corner. I went three weeks without even answering email from work and nearly got myself fired. I couldn’t muster the words to explain why I went dark on them.

I couldn’t talk. Talking about it made the loss of our baby more real, while keeping silent made it feel further away, like it had happened to someone else. My prayers dried up. What do you say to God in those moments? He’s in charge of the universe. Doesn’t that make what happened his fault?

“I don’t know why you’d do this,” I told God. I trusted him— that never was on the line. I just didn’t understand. I knew he is a God of love, and losing a little baby to this terrible syndrome just didn’t make sense in that context. How did death and love work together?

“Why did you let this happen? Why did our baby have to die?”

I had no peace.

And then I heard God's reply. “I am still in charge,” he told me. “Trust me.”

The sky didn’t split open with a booming voice from the heavens. I just had this overwhelming inner voice that could only be him. I wanted God to stop the pain and remove the wrongs of the world. People shouldn’t die like this. I should not have lost my baby. And God didn’t give me the answer I wanted from him. He gave me the answer I needed to hear— the promise that he could still be trusted to fix what was broken in our lives. I just had to wait.

We called our baby Hope. Choosing the name was an expression of both our turmoil and our faith. We hated the loss and cried for God to give her back. The name Hope was a way for us to say that we trusted he would do so. We just had to wait. God didn’t erase our problems or our pain, but trusting him gave us a peace while we waited.

I don’t know what you are waiting on God for, but I can tell you he’s worth the wait. He keeps his promises. I Am Second has spent the last decade telling the stories of people who have found him trustworthy. Some saw their prayers answered and their dreams filled. Some are still waiting. But all of them have sampled enough of God’s habit of keeping promises to know he’ll pull through in the end. They each came out saying, “I am Second. He is First. He will fix this mess and bring me peace.”


Want the full story? Order the new I Am Second book, I Choose Peace: Raw Stories of Real People Finding Contentment and Happiness. In stores everywhere. Click HERE to order or learn more. 


Doug Bender is a writer and small- groups coach for the I Am Second movement and organization. He developed many of the tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have three children: Bethany, Samuel, and Isabella.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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