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This time last summer I sat in a Drury hotel lobby enjoying their “Kickback hour” as they call it. I was loving the free nachos and cheese. It was exactly what my pregnant self was craving. As I sat there, I was watching all the families buzz around me and my heart felt like it was growing bigger by the second. I couldn’t believe that in just 5 months I would be welcoming another baby into this world. A baby sister for my 2-year-old daughter to play with. In ignorant bliss, I smiled thinking about what our lives would look like in the next year as a family of five.
I never planned any of my pregnancies and didn’t know for quite some time with my first two due to an extremely inconsistent cycle. But last summer… at five weeks I knew! I stared at the test in amazement. I don’t understand how someone can go 13 years in between having kids and then fall pregnant twice within two years. If you have ever read anything about how my two-year-old daughter ended up here then you’ll realize how much of a miracle me getting pregnant is.
There was so much doubt and fear when I first found out wondering what it would be like to have a toddler and a baby to take care of at the same time. Obviously, I didn’t have that problem before since my son and daughter are 13 years apart. I was so naïve. I thought being pregnant meant that after nine months you would have a baby. That’s the way it always went before anyway, and I had no reason to think any different this time. My check-ups were good, the sound of that little heart beating was mesmerizing.
Until one day it wasn’t.
A few short weeks after learning we were having a girl. A routine checkup revealed, that little heart beat no more.
A second trimester pregnancy loss is rare. A fetal demise they call it.
Nobody had any answers. They never found any problems. I was on uncharted territory.
As I paced the hospital floor later that week with contractions, I repeated to my husband over and over that “we can’t let this ever happen again.” Going through the motions on the maternity floor and leaving empty-handed is cruel and something I never would wish on anybody. I made my mind up that I wanted to be done with this for good.
A Change of Heart
A few weeks later as I sat at home, something changed. I remember the moment so vividly. In one drastic instant, my mind completely shifted just as if someone turned the page and I began to entertain the idea of another baby. I debated with myself at first. Logic was telling me that it was a terrible idea, too many risks again, it’s not safe. All those doubts about raising two small children at the same time were still there, as well as finances, and health.
So, what was happening?
Was this me unable to deal with the grief anymore? My heart seemed to reject the logic. Bottom line, I felt robbed. I wanted my toddler to have a baby sister. I envisioned there to be a 3rd child here. Not just now, but 20 years from now.
That’s it… we have to get back on track with expanding our family.
But I desperately needed someone to tell me it was okay. I want support. If family wasn’t going to do it then hopefully God would. I read and read and read scripture. I wanted to know for sure.
What I got was more complications. Two months later when I went for a checkup after my “fetal demise delivery”, I was told despite me delivering naturally it looked like I still needed a D&C.
“Great!” “How long is this healing process going to take?” “Doesn’t my body know I’m on a mission?”
Six weeks after that I felt I was good to go.
But months came and went and no more periods. During this time I would cry out to God for Him to please straighten out my hormones and heal my body for another baby. Feeling this incessant need to have another child was a desire I felt God had put in my heart. I couldn’t understand why He would allow that pregnancy to begin and end. I was just minding my own business; my husband and I were even being careful before I got pregnant.
Now losing a baby made me obsessed with filling a void I never even had before all this happened.
Then one tragic day this past April, just one month after what should have been my due date, I realized why I hadn’t got a period for a couple of months. Sitting in the back of an ambulance the paramedic told me it appeared that I was having a miscarriage. The next several hours laying in the emergency room were scary and traumatic. This was NOTHING like my fetal demise loss last fall. Two losses in seven months and they were completely from unrelated causes.
It’s Messing with my Head
There were so many mixed emotions and so much confusion. I took a pregnancy test one day in mid-February and it said negative, although I proceeded to dry heave the rest of that day. Weeks after that I was scared something was wrong with me. I was exhausted all the time and my breasts hurt. I was emotional, but couldn’t bear to look at a negative pregnancy test again so I chalked it up to it being hormonal issues, after all, I was no stranger to that. I thought that my body was just unable to recover from my loss in September and D&C in November.
That evening I made my way out of the ER and into my own room on the OB floor for observation. I couldn’t believe I was enduring this again. Being wheeled through the halls filled with baby foot prints hanging on both sides, while the outside of my door had a “special” sticker on it indicating to staff that no baby belonged to this room.
I laid awake all night, exhausted and weak yet I couldn’t sleep. I was trying to make sense of it all. Where was God in all this? Part of me questioned my mental stability because all I kept thinking is “I ovulated!” That’s a big deal for someone that went a decade barely having a cycle and has been deemed infertile in the past. Why was it so easy for my body to get pregnant now?
I made a vow that if and when I would ever be admitted to the OB floor again, I would be holding a healthy baby in my arms, as if I even have any control over that.
Hindsight is 20/20
All those months I was asking God to make my body be able to conceive again and yet I already had. Had I not canceled my follow up appointment with my gynecologist because of COVID, then I would have known. I think I would have much rather known than have been caught off guard at home alone with the kids on that horrific day I experienced the miscarriage in April.
There’s so much to discern. I have talked to my pastor, girlfriends, other loss moms, family, my husband, and of course God.
After all this… the desire is still there.
And then fear hits and it isn’t…and then it is. Back and forth.
Feelings waver in between logic and desire.
Is this what it’s like to experience a miscarriage?
Something inside you changes. The focus is always on babies, having babies, or grieving babies.
My pastor made it clear to me that God doesn’t CAUSE DEATH. He didn’t take these babies from me. Miscarriage and death, in general, are unfortunately inevitable in this world. And more times than not God allows the natural course of nature to take place rather than intervene.
This is a hard season for me. Although the due date came and went for my baby girl this past spring, it’s not that date that is most memorable, it’s this time last year. The time I began to show, the time my excitement and acceptance was growing more than my fear, this time last year when I found out I was having another daughter. In the few short weeks, I was able to embrace my pregnancy before my life turned upside down.
The past year has been a blur, teetering on the edge of destruction and survival mentally and physically. Too focused on chasing the rainbow at the end of the storm.
Throwing You an Anchor
There is so much uncertainty to what comes next, but I’m reminded of God’s promise every day and He works EVERYTHING for HIS good. God allowed these experiences for a reason, and I may never know why. But I don’t want it to be in vain.
My hope is that putting these words that overflow with vulnerability out into the world can be an anchor for others going through this; an anchor to hold onto during their storm. Those times you obsess so much you feel like you could go crazy, unfortunately are just part of the territory. That feeling of being incomplete is just part of the territory and I’m not sure if it will ever go away. And although sometimes I can’t help but entertain the obsessive thoughts, I know it depends on God’s will and nothing can or will happen that He isn’t in control of.