My heart is pounding out of my chest. I know that they know how nervous I am. My blood pressure reading and the trembling in my voice is making that pretty obvious. I’m lying on the exam table, in a very white room. It’s too sterile- too empty feeling- too cold. I just wish I could start this day over- that this could all just be a nightmare that isn’t happening.
Before I went to bed last night, I felt a little gush. Being only 8 weeks into my pregnancy, anytime I felt a gush of something, it made me a little nervous. Thinking it was probably nothing, I went to the bathroom to check.
There it was- the tiniest, most non-threatening little spot of blood. And I froze. I literally couldn’t move. You know that feeling when you’re riding a roller coaster and you reach the top of the first big hill? The feeling that happens in your stomach just before you free-fall into the rest of the ride?
Yeah- that’s what I was feeling right now. But, knowing that spotting can be normal in a pregnancy as long as it doesn’t turn into something more, I went to bed-hoping a little rest would fix everything.
Just two weeks earlier, I was lying on this same table, looking at my baby’s little heartbeat flickering on the screen. Crying, because I was so relieved to see that amazing sign. The sign of a new life, thriving in my belly. A promise of a beautiful beginning and a future I had been dreaming of.
Now, I am lying on this same table because the bleeding didn’t stop. It didn’t lighten up- it did the opposite. I woke to heavier bleeding- and now here I am having an ultrasound.
I have a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I can’t shake it no matter how hard I try. Even though something is telling me that my baby is gone, I’m pushing that thought to the back of my mind. I’m refusing to believe that could even be a possibility.
But the silence in the room is deafening. The doctor won’t even let me see the screen as she is searching. And when she finally puts the wand down, places her hand on my leg, and tells me to go ahead and sit up, I can’t keep the tears from pouring out of my eyes.
Because I finally know- and now I have to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life… Cope.
I always knew I wanted to be a mom. Before I was even a mama, I knew that I would stay home and be the one to look after my future children when they were young. I believe that some women are called to do just that.
When my husband finished his Master’s degree and was offered a job in Mississippi, we said “why not,” packed up our belongings (and our two kitties) and moved to Mississippi.
I was constantly questioned about what I was going to do while we lived there:
Aren’t you going to work?
Won’t you be bored just sitting around all day?
But it didn’t really matter to me. My answer was always the same: I just finished my teaching certificate- school was out for the summer- teachers have the summer off- I will find something in the fall. We had made the decision a month back to start trying to get pregnant. I knew if that happened, I would want to focus on the baby and didn’t need the stress of beginning a new job, in a new state, far away from my support system.
It was a new adventure, we were both fresh out of school and excited to see the world. I was supporting my husband in his new career- and I was happy to be going along for the ride.
We did all the touristy things- walked down Bourbon Street in New Orleans, went to the beach at Biloxi, visited museums in Jackson, ate lots of BBQ in Memphis (HIGHLY recommend Charlie Vergos Rendezvous)…
Any time he traveled for work, I tagged along and saw the sights. We soaked up a new culture in a new part of the country- and it was amazing. We met new people, made everlasting friendships, and immersed ourselves in a way of life we had never known. It was a time in our lives we will never forget.
That summer, I became pregnant with our first baby. I will never forget the tears we both cried when I took that test. We had been trying for a few months, but it happened quicker than I expected. Some people try for years.
I was still occasionally asked by the well-to-doer what I was doing with all of my time- and since “getting pregnant” didn’t seem like an appropriate answer, I just told them I read lots of books. It was partly true…
I intended on substitute teaching when school started back up in the fall. I didn’t want anything binding- since we had no idea how long we would be in Mississippi- and we could be transferred again at any time. I thought it would be a good idea to have something to keep me busy so I wasn’t sitting around online shopping for the baby all day every day (like a job would have stopped me anyway).
The end of summer rolled around and I went in for my first check-up at 6 weeks. The ultrasound was showing that the baby was measuring a week behind. The doctor didn’t seemed too concerned and said my cycle may have just been a little later than we originally thought. She asked me to come back in a week.
I did. And, I could tell the moment she found the heartbeat- her face lit up the room. I cried- of course I cried! That is the most magical thing in the world to see. I didn’t want that ultrasound to end. I could have stared at that little flickering on the screen all day.
We took a little shopping trip that weekend and bought our first baby item- a sweet little blanket from the Pottery Barn. We walked around stores, looking at cribs, strollers, car seats. We were new to this whole parenting thing and had no idea how much stuff a baby needed. We laughed at some of the more ridiculous items, took notes on some of the pricier items we wanted to shop around for, and checked out the baby clothes section for the first time in our lives. I still remember that day, and I can’t help but smile thinking back on it. That little one, who we never met, gave us so much joy.
Two weeks later, I lost our baby. Just two weeks after seeing its sweet little heartbeat flickering on the screen.
I was that statistic you see floating around all the time- but never think it will be you. I am 1 in 4.
It was as if God looked down on me in those few weeks that I was miscarrying and said- I’ve got you– because we were told that same week we were being transferred away from that place. That place that held that memory for me. As soon as my husband was offered the opportunity to move to Nebraska, I told him to take it. I needed to be away from that hospital, that house, that room where I cried myself to sleep every night for 2 weeks.
A fresh start.
I immediately wanted to fill the void that was left after the loss of my baby. I talked to my doctor about when we could start trying again- I researched the statistics on miscarriage and how likely I would be to have a successful pregnancy the next time. I felt like it was the right thing for us to do. I believe many women who experience a miscarriage feel this way. It is a coping mechanism. Believing that we can patch up broken hearts by masking the pain we feel with the joy of another pregnancy. So, we began trying again once I was cleared by my doctor. And by the end of our two month stay in Nebraska, I was pregnant again.
And a week after the positive test, I lost my second baby.
I was a mess. Literally a disaster.
I was searching for answers I could not find- not from the doctors, not from the Internet. Answers nobody had, except God.
So, I lost myself.
And not in the way you’re probably thinking. I didn’t fall into depression, take it out on my husband, crawl into a hole and forget about my life…(although I wouldn’t blame any woman for doing that in those circumstances.)
No, I lost myself in my faith. I leaned on the one thing that could save me, the only thing I had left. When the rest of me was completely and utterly lost in darkness, my faith brought light. And I found God all over again. I went to church every Sunday, and it was as if God was whispering the exact words into the pastor’s ear that I needed to hear.
“With God, all things are possible”- Matthew 19:26
“The pain that you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.”- Romans 8:18
I can’t even begin to explain it to you, but God was speaking directly to me. I knew He was. And I was listening. I gave it all to Him.
We had been actively trying to get pregnant for 8 months, and after two losses- I was done. I didn’t want to try anymore. All I wanted was to find myself again, and put it all in His hands.
I turned all my focus onto fixing myself, physically and spiritually. I began running- something I had never been into, but I now obsessed about. I lost some extra pounds I had been holding onto since my last year in college, obsessed over the new T-Swift album, and read daily devotionals that healed my mind. I was finding myself again, and I was in a good place.
Then two months later, I had two pink lines. Three pregnancies in the span of 8 months… Talk about a hormonal roller coaster ride. The first two were planned, but this one came as a shocker.
You would think that I would have panicked, went into a tailspin, lost the newfound peace I had worked so hard to find. But I didn’t. God made sure I kept that peace. And somehow, in the back of my mind, I knew this was the one.
This one was going to be okay. And I knew that because I had not planned this one. God had. It was His timing that was perfect, not mine- and there was something so peaceful in knowing that. This one was going to make it.
And she did. Our sweet Becca is our rainbow baby. (See the necklace around my neck in that picture? It is angel wings, given to me during the two weeks I was miscarrying our first baby. Becca’s big brother/sister was right there welcoming her into the world with us!)
God has His reasoning for everything. We can’t always see it at the time, but we have to trust that it is there. If we can’t believe in that- what can we believe in? What else could possibly get us through moments like those when we have nothing left? When we feel the darkness creeping in.
Now that I am a mother, I still hold tight to that faith. I trust that God has a plan for my daughter. That he holds her and her future in His hands. When I begin to worry about what will come to her in her life, I cling to that faith. And it gets me through. It always will.
So- my dream came true. I became a stay-at-home mom, raising my baby the way I was always meant to.
If I could give any advice to women experiencing one or more pregnancy losses, it would be to let yourself feel the pain. You are suffering a tremendous loss. Society today makes it seem as if a pregnancy loss is just a normal part of the process. That your body just has to learn what to do- like a trial and error. But it wasn’t just some experiment, it was your baby. The one you loved, celebrated, and cherished more than anything you’ve known.
So mourn. If you need to tell someone about the life that was, the life that you never got the chance to know, then tell them. Don’t ever feel like it’s a forbidden topic that no one wants to discuss. You will be extremely surprised by how many have experienced exactly what you are going through. Let yourself feel all that pain- until slowly you begin to heal.
And hold tight to your faith. Because even if you can’t see it in this moment, God does have a plan. And it is pretty perfect.
I want to hear YOUR stories! How has your faith lifted you up? How did or are you coping with your pregnancy loss(es)?