I debated on whether to finally hit the publish button or not. Is this too private to share? Will this help me heal? Will this help someone else right now or ten years from now?
I hit publish.
Before I go any further, I will say that I am ONLY speaking from my experience. I have friends and family members who have been through similar but worse experiences or who have been dealing with this longer than we have been. The story is theirs to tell. Mine cannot be compared to any of those; it does not hold a candle to any of those situations. But this does forever open my heart to the struggles other are facing more so than ever before.
The purpose of this post is not to make anyone sad or to feel sorry for us. It is not to elicit sympathy from others, but rather offer encouragement to anyone seeking it for themselves. This is more than me sharing loss, it's me sharing a greater hope.
February 25, 2016.....yes, you're reading the year correctly. This was the due date for our first child.
On Monday night, July 13th, I suffered a miscarriage. I never understood the phrase "suffered a miscarriage" before this. Our world was turned upside down in the matter of three very long, harsh hours.
I have never cried, never screamed out to God, begging, pleading to God so much in my life. And I hope, by His mercy, I never will again.
My heart has never hurt more than it has since then. My heart has never been so heavy as it has been since then. I have never felt as lost as I have since then.
Without getting into too many personal, health details, we had been trying to have a baby for a long time and were absolutely FLOORED the morning I took a positive pregnancy test. We just couldn't believe it. I called my doctor's office as soon as they opened and they got me right in that morning. I tested positive there as well, and the nurses all cheered and clapped when the girl came around the corner nodding her head and smiling because they all knew what we had been up against.
We decided to wait until after our first real appointment before telling family. At that time, I would've been almost 11 weeks.
We were tossing names back and forth. We were making plans for what furniture we would need to buy. We were talking about things like: which school to send them to, who would drop off and pickup, how long I would take off work, cleaning out a shelf or two in the kitchen cabinets, I ordered some maternity clothes from a too-good to pass up sale that Old Navy had online. We were making plans.
We were SO excited to tell our families. We knew exactly how we were going to tell them; we just couldn't wait to share the news. Everyone was going to be SO excited with us. Our families didn't even know we had been trying for so long...they just thought we were waiting / weren't ready yet. They were going to flip out and we were just beside ourselves excited to share our news!
I was almost 8 weeks along in the pregnancy when we lost our baby. All of sudden at work one afternoon, I started having some problems. Since my office is literally just steps from the OBGYN office, I called and they said come on over. I walked over and waited. Stephen met me there. We had an ultrasound and the baby looked perfect, with a strong heartbeat of 130. I immediately started crying when we saw the heartbeat. It was our child. It was real. It was thriving. I was examined following the ultrasound and the NP was very encouraging of the situation saying multiple times, I had a "healthy pregnancy". Nothing to indicate that something horrible may happen. And then, five hours later, my body was maliciously getting rid of my pregnancy and our baby.
It was the worst thing I have physically experienced and I would never wish that Monday night on anyone.
Over two weeks later, my body was still "ridding of debris" as they refer to it. (Which is not what you want to hear your pregnancy and baby being referred to as...debris; but that's their medical terminology for situations like this.) I would pray for that part to come to an end, because it was just a constant, daily reminder of what I had lost.
Unfortunately with a miscarriage during a first pregnancy, there's really no way to pinpoint what went wrong. "Sometimes it just happens." To an excited mother to be, that's not a good enough answer. It's a truthful answer, just not a comforting answer.
I never opened the Old Navy package I ordered. I removed myself from the private Facebook groups I had joined for February 2016 Due Date Moms. I deleted pregnancy tracker apps. I removed myself from online newsletter mailing lists that had anything to do with pregnancies or babies. I didn't want any of it around me.
I had friends and family reaching out to me, offering to do whatever I needed, clean our home, bring us meals, take us out, come visit....but I wanted none of it. I didn't want to be around anyone, didn't want to go anywhere, didn't want to talk to anyone. I found myself saying "No, thank you" more times than I probably have said those words in my entire life. But I did ask each of these people one thing when their hands were stretched out to us....
I asked them to pray for us and pray often.
You see, miscarriage is one of those topics that if you've personally not experienced it yourself, you cannot totally relate to the one going through it. You can say all the comforting words you think of, but for a time being, they will fall on deaf ears. And then one day, your words will be appreciated.
If there is something wonderful to come of this, it's that I have never loved Stephen more than I do now. Yes, he can still irritate the snot out of me, but I saw and felt our love grow exponentially during this past month. I'm not one to rely on anyone. I'm independent, self-sufficient, "let me do this on my own" kinda gal. Until that Monday night. That night changed so much in our marriage. Nothing was broken to be fixed, it just changed things. I have never needed Stephen more than I did to get through this. I didn't want to talk to our family or my best friends about it all; I wanted to talk with Stephen. I felt like no one understood my hurt and my heartbreak like he did. I put on a brave face to others I talked with saying, "I'm ok....just taking it one day at a time." And, then turn around and break down to him as the sobbing mess I was.
Truth is...I wasn't ok. Truth be told, I don't know if I would classify myself as "ok" today. One day I will be.
Deep down from the beginning, I knew that one day this wouldn't hurt and one day life would be normal again. My heart wouldn't hurt as bad. I wouldn't be jealous of the friend / acquaintance posting pictures of her newborn all over Facebook everyday. I wouldn't ask "Why me?" when I saw the pregnant teenage girl with the twenty-something year old guy in the waiting room at the OBGYN office. I wouldn't feel guilty thinking I had done something wrong or missed something that could've saved the pregnancy. I wouldn't be mad at the nurse for telling me earlier in the day that I ended up miscarrying that night that I had a "healthy pregnancy" and that the baby "looks great and has a strong heartbeat." I wouldn't cry every time I saw the photo of our healthy, strong, perfect baby. One day.
One thing I keep reminding myself daily now that it's been almost a month, is that our child never knew pain; never knew heartbreak; he or she has only known joy and love. Our child was alive, thriving and growing. There was a strong heartbeat....our baby was alive. There is no doubt in me that our child is now in heaven. The perfect little angel that one day we will meet. I like to think that my grandparents are taking good care of him or her for us, until we get there to be with them. My Mammy is rocking and patting his / her leg. My Papa is telling that child things that no doubt he or she is too young to hear. haha
One night I took to Pinterest and searched "miscarriage" and a million images were suddenly flooding my screen. Most of which you will see scattered in this post. I read and re-read several of them more than once....more than twice. I still cry every time I read some of them because they are so perfectly worded. They've offered a glimmer of hope and somewhat of a new perspective to, no doubt, what has been the darkest time of my life.
However, it was over three weeks later, sitting in an exam room at my doctor's office, waiting for her to come in that I came upon this passage on my Bible app. The words and timing could not have been more perfect. God knew I needed His reassurance at that moment. In a way, I felt like it was in that moment that He chose for me to REALLY realize that everything was going to be ok. I can make it through this. God showed up in that exam room that day. Just like He's shown up so many times before this one and just like He will for the rest of my life.
This is from 1 Peter 1:3-9.
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now, we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance - an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls."
We'll never forget our first child, our favorite "what if". We'll never forget the incredible blessing he or she was to us. This child made us parents and opened our hearts to a new, indescribable love that we will never be able to lose sight of. One day we will meet our child face to face.
But for now, we have faith and hope that our baby is perfect and healthy.....and loved far more than we can ever imagine.