After Elizabeth shared her story last week, I received messages and comments from many of you. The response was a clear reminder to me that losing a child through miscarriage is a devastation - no matter how far along you are.
Some of you shared your stories with me. Though I personally have never experienced this kind of loss, I heard the pain in your words. But more than that, I saw a resilience... a steadfastness... a never-gonna-let-go-of-His-hand kind of faith and I knew that these testimonies had to be shared with more than just myself.
Below is Angela's story. She is a personal friend of mine and I've watched her walk through these miscarriages. If you have lost a child that you never got to hold in your arms, hope that you will find encouragement in her words.
We had discovered that we were pregnant after I had an ovarian cyst burst. I had spoken at my MOPS group about being content and thought that my stomach pain was nerves. I am the exact opposite of a public speaker by nature. As soon as the meeting was over I went to the bathroom hoping that my pain was just gas or something. I was wrong. I had never been is such pain and I have delivered a 9 pound baby! I passed out for the first time in my life. I fell on the tile floor, chipping a tooth and zygomatic bone right under my eyebrow. My sister was at the meeting and after being checked out by a nurse friend, we were on our way to the ER. They ran some bloodwork and decided that I was merely lightheaded because I was pregnant and sent me home. They shouldn’t have. Later that night I was in extreme pain. My husband called my mom to watch the kids and we went back to the ER where they finally managed to determine why I was in so much pain. Most ovarian cysts rupture slowly and then just go away. Mine basically exploded. Releasing all sorts of yucky things into my system. Knowing that I was going to be ok, I was done with drama or so I thought.
Two weeks later, I started to spot and then cramp and I knew something was wrong. It was Palm Sunday. We went to church and were hugged and prayed for and then went straight to the ER where we were told the baby was gone. Blood work told them that the baby had been gone long enough for all of the pregnancy hormones to be out of my system. I was devastated. I knew I would be ok. I clung to Christian music as my lifeline. It was the only thing at that time that made me feel close to God. I was angry and hurt that this had even happened but I knew that He had a purpose for this happening. I just had to learn to accept it. The next year seemed to be a constant battle to keep depression away. God has gifted me with a persistent spirit (sounds much nicer than stubborn, doesn’t it?) and I knew that this trial would pass.
February 26th 2011, we saw that faint plus sign on a pregnancy test. I was worried but excited. We had waited an extra two weeks so I was already farther along that I was when we lost the last baby. We didn’t tell people until it was obvious that I was either pregnant or dying from some strange stomach virus. We had an ultrasound at ten weeks to check on things and everything was fine. I felt the baby wiggle in April and was so happy to know that we were going to have a baby! We went to a routine appointment on Monday, May 18th. The receptionist said that our appointment wasn’t until the next day but my husband and I were certain that it was supposed to be that day. They managed to squeeze us in, a miracle in itself, and we were certain everything was fine. The doctor checked for the baby's heartbeat and couldn’t find it. He did a quick ultrasound in the office and couldn’t find it and sent us to the hospital to get a better ultrasound. The technician wouldn’t let me see the images and I knew then that there was no heartbeat. Kevin couldn’t see one either but the technician couldn’t tell us anything because she was following policy. The doctor came in and told us that he didn’t know what had happened but the baby didn’t have a heartbeat and we set up an appointment for the next day to discuss our options. We decided to have a d&c done because of my record of never going into labor on my own, the risk of infection was too great.
This is a note that I wrote on May 26th, 2011, a week after we learned of our baby’s death.
I was beyond broken just a week ago.I learned that the baby in my womb that I had felt wiggle was dead. There was NO heartbeat, the baby was too small, something had happened. My spirit crumbled into a shattered heap. I had lost a baby before but this time I was in the "safe zone." Miscarriages RARELY happen in the second trimester of pregnancy. I was almost 18 weeks but the baby measured only 15. It was so unexpected and it hurt more than I can even explain. But then, the Comforter came to me and said "Worship" and I did. With everything inside of me, I poured out my heart in song, in praise, in silence when I could no longer think and my heart cried to my heavenly daddy.
On Sunday, NOTHING could have kept me from church. I was like a spiritual sponge that had been squeezed and hung out to dry. When my heart broke on Monday, ALL I wanted was to be in church. I had every intention of going to church after my operation but that was not in the plan. I sat at church but I didn't want to, I wanted to dance. My dear husband let us go early so I could worship during worship practice as long as I promised NOT to do anything. I was still bleeding too much.
Worship that morning was as close to heaven as I have ever been! :) The first song was MY song for losing my babies. "Blessed be your name, on the road marked with suffering, thought there's pain in the offering, BLESSED be Your Name....You give and take away, my heart will CHOOSE to say, Lord BLESSED be YOUR NAME." Each song after was a love song to My Savior and about the JOY that came from Him. I was FILLED with joy.
A few dear friends came to me and prayed for healing during worship. They are each such a blessing to my soul and my dear sisters in Him. One spoke of the woman with the issue of blood. I knew how she felt bleeding everywhere all the time, that woman was on my mind ALL day Saturday and Sunday morning. I know that during worship I was touching the hem of my master's garment and that I would be ok. The bleeding nearly stopped after Sunday and I healed up just fine.
I don't understand how just a week after this tragedy that I am not only ok but I am happy and content with my life. I know that He has a plan for me and that this is a path that He has chosen for me and I must walk it for HIS glory and HIS honor. It's not about me. I'm a crumpled mess on my own but with Him I know that I can do anything!! :)
I am so very blessed to have my family there for me and not just my relatives! My brothers and sisters in Christ that have held me up in prayer are a continuous blessing into my day to day life. In this trial, I have learned one thing that I don't think I will ever forget. I am loved beyond my wildest imaginations by my Father and by those around me, that is the beauty in this stage of brokenness.
Do NOT be afraid to say that you are broken. Don't believe that you are not strong enough to get through this trial (I know I am not!) Just trust in Him and in the people that He has put into your life. They are there for a reason!!
Today is the third day of 2012 and I am exactly 18 weeks pregnant. I feel this little one wiggle every day and it helps to fight the fear of losing this child. I know that God is with me and that many of my friends and family are praying for me. No matter what happens with this child I carry I KNOW that this is all part of God’s plan for my life. I am blessed beyond my dreams with three beautiful healthy children and an amazing husband. I treasure them and lean on them on those days when I miss my lost loves.
The littlest things can make you remember what you’ve lost. The due dates are hard. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to have a November 19th or October 17th where I don’t cry but that’s ok. Life isn’t supposed to be fair or easy. God put us here to further His kingdom.. This is my path, I don’t walk it alone. He’s there with me...every step...every tear...every laugh...every day.
Angela can read your comments below, or you can contact Angela and I through email.
Sidenote: Angela is a coupon queen and recently began teaching classes to women in the area. Read more here on her blog.