This a different kind of story compared to the rest that we share. It is long, honest, and really raw, but one that I want to share with you nonetheless. I apologize if this is too much information for some of you. I want to share this story in its entirety, both to honor my experience, and to share it with others that are going through similar situations themselves. It has only been six weeks, but now I feel that I am ready to open up and share what I have been through over the last month and a half. I wish that I had written this during the days that I was going through the experience, but I was in varying stages of denial, so writing it down would make it real, and I couldn’t face doing that.
Justin and I have been trying for our second baby since the time that we had our first. I know that sounds ridiculous to some, but we waited a long time to get married, and having children has been a dream of ours for years. Falling pregnant with Elijah did not happen instantly, and I remember the pain that I felt then when “trying” felt more like “failing”. I wondered what was wrong with me… and why others were able to fall pregnant without trying, and worse, why there were people in the world who didn’t even want children who could fall pregnant with no trouble at all. The month before we fell pregnant with Eli, I was sure that I suffered an early miscarriage but having not taken a test to know with absolute certainty, the loss didn’t feel as painful. It was, however, a very confusing time for me. I remember close friends and family members calling us to tell us their good news, and I’ll never forget the twisting-ache in my stomach every time I heard someone say, “I’m pregnant”. There is no way to explain it. To many it would seem like jealousy, but it was far from that. What I felt in those moments was pure sorrow – I felt completely forgotten! I recall crying out to God, “What about me?”
The Desire for a Big Family
Anyone who knows me well, will know that I have always wanted children. Many children. When I moved to London, almost 13 years ago, I took on a job as a nanny, and in my care were three beautiful children. To this day, that is still the most enjoyable job that I have ever had. As I was growing up, if you had asked me what I “wanted to be one day” – the honest answer would have been, a wife and a mother. There really isn’t anything that I wanted more in my life than these two things. I consider my relationship with Justin more blessing than I could have ever asked for, so when God blessed us with a child, we were over the moon. Elijah has been the most adorable, peaceful, happy child. It is no understatement that we adore our life, and everything that we have been blessed with. There are times when I think that things are perfect just the way that they are, and that we don’t need any more children, but the yearning is always there. I can’t help the burning-desire for a big family.
Six months after Elijah was born, my period returned. I had waited, hoped and prayed for that day, and all I think of was getting pregnant again. Everything I read said that as soon as my period returned, my body would be ready. And yet, month after month, test after test, all we got were negatives for the next eight months. If you ask me how long we had been trying for baby number two, I can easily say, “since Elijah was born”. In my naive state, I assumed that I’d be pregnant before Eli was even three months old. Oh, if only I knew then that things weren’t going to be that easy. I share everything with my husband, but as the months passed I began to tell him less and less about my unfailing hopes, and the monthly disappointments. Although he loves me dearly, and he wanted another baby too, I knew that he would rather just find out that I was pregnant.
One evening in August, I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I was hit by strong waves of nausea and dizziness. We had spent a lot of time around the pool the day before, so I assumed that I was feeling the effects of too much sun. In the morning I was fine. That afternoon I drank an alcoholic apple cider drink, and again, I woke up feeling nauseous in the night. It felt like I had been drinking all night. That was when I started to get suspicious. When I was pregnant with Elijah, I found out VERY early because I drank a glass of wine, and woke up with that same nauseous feelings. I didn’t want to hope and be disappointed again, but I took a test anyway. Negative.
Over the next couple of days, I started to get more and more nauseous, mostly in the afternoon. I knew that something might be happening, and I could barely contain my excitement so I went to buy a few tests. I got what I thought were some extremely faint lines one afternoon, but not wanting to make Justin hold them up to the light, like I had, I held off on telling him. On August 22nd, I had a clearly visible (although still not dark) positive. Everything online said that a positive – no matter how faint – was a positive. I’ll never forget the moment I told Justin. He flew off the couch and came running to me with a big smile on his face! Truthfully, he had known that something was up… we had both been hinting at it (and giggling with excitement) during the daily afternoon bouts of nausea. Seeing how excited Justin got about the positive test really sealed the deal for me. I was completely over the moon! In the back of my mind, I felt some apprehensiveness about the fact that the lines were still not dark. My only reassurance was that I NEVER got a dark line when I was pregnant with Eli. Back then, the lines started out suuuuuper faint, and only got a bit darker every few days. Justin and I then began the wonderful stage of telling our loved ones. They all knew how much we had been wanting a second child, so all of them were ecstatic for us! We had an exciting weekend planned, and since four of our close friends were driving to Dallas that same day, we decided not to tell them our news until they arrived. August 22nd was a special day for three reason – we Dedicated Eli, we did a garden ceremony blessing for our marriage, AND we found out that we would soon become a family of four. When our friends arrived, we were bursting with excitement! One of the couples, Trent and Angie, are pregnant, and we have been very much involved in their sweet pregnancy story. The other couple, Zachary and Heather, have been with us for over four years, and they were the first ones that we told when we found out that we were pregnant with Elijah. These two couples are very special to us, so we were very excited to share our news with them. It was a perfect weekend filled with laughter and joy. Here we are praying for Elijah, our marriage, and the tiny baby growing inside my belly…
I continued to takes tests, and delighted in the fact that they slowly got a little darker as the days progressed. I continued to feel nauseous every afternoon and early evening. Justin was set to fly back to China a week later, and although I was really sad that we were about to face a month apart, we were both full of happiness, knowing that when I saw him again I would be carrying both of our babies. In in my arms, and the other in my belly.
Denial Sets In
The day before Justin’s flight, I began to feel mild cramping and some very light brown spotting. These were also symptoms I had experienced with Elijah, and to ease my concern, Justin kept reminding me of this. The following morning we said our, very sad, goodbyes, and the countdown began. I had a few projects that I wanted to complete, and I knew that those would keep my mind off being apart from Justin. The evening after Justin had left, I began to cramp heavily. The brown spotting turned to red. I remember the moment that I realized that something was wrong. It was like a train hit me, and everything around me started to become a blur. I called Justin in a complete state, and told him that I thought I was losing the baby. I read every article I could find. I prayed, desperately, that somehow this bleeding was not the end. During the course of the next two days I rested as much as I could. I cried and I cried. The bleeding increased, as did the cramping. Still, I hung onto the hope. I wish now that I had written down how I was feeling in those days, but the truth of the matter is that I was on such an emotional rollercoaster. One moment I was absolutely certain that I was having a miscarriage, and the next I found some new glimmer of hope that everything was going to be okay. All the while, I wanted nothing more than to have Justin there to help me through all of this. My mother
and father-in-law were only slightly aware of what was happening, but in my delusional-state of denial, I couldn’t utter the words that would confirm to them that I was losing the baby. I put on a brave face, and tried to leave my room as much as I could, but there were numerous occasions throughout those days were I just lay on my bed, absolutely bawling my eyes out. All I wanted was my husband to be there to comfort me, and I didn’t understand why God thought that I could handle this alone.
My friends, although far away, tried to counsel and support me. I know, so many of them would have been there with me, had I not been on the other side of the world. Everything about the situation felt cruel and cold. One evening, while riding a wave of hope, I fell into the final state of despair when I passed a very large mass of blood clots and tissue. I’ll spare you the graphics details of that evening, but basically I knew that it was all over. I spent the rest of the night, crying my eyes out, arms wrapped tightly around my dear sweet Elijah. In those moments I tried to remind myself to be thankful for what I had, and that I could make it through this. I wondered where God was, and why I had never felt more alone in my entire life. I struggled to understand why he wasn’t comforting me or bringing me any peace, despite the fact I had been begging for relief for days. One can never fully understood the pain of miscarriage until you fall pregnant, celebrated the life inside of you, and then watched it all slowly fade away. Acceptance was the toughest part for me, and being alone was a close second. Where was God? And why was he letting this happen to me.
In the week that followed, the beginning stages of acceptance seeped in. All the while, I walked a fine line between my new found acceptance, and complete denial. One final, and very painful, negative pregnancy test confirmed all of my fears. It was official. The life that was once growing inside me was gone. I managed to tell my close friends who had been counseling me, but I couldn’t bare to utter these words of confirmation to my parents or my in-laws. Justin and I then had to face the painful process of re-calling all of our friends and family to tell them that we were no longer expecting our second child. Each call, message, and every response, cut into my heart like a knife. I cried more that week then I have in a very long time. Although I was very far away from the majority of family and friends in my life, some of those nearby really surprised me with acts of kindness and support. Those people probably don’t realize how much their small acts of love brought me hope. Friends far away messaged me daily to ask how I was, and others spent hours talking through the experience with me.
It was in those days that I began to feel God again… I felt him in the messages from friends, in the support of my in-laws, and in the surprise visits and gifts. Two of my friends drove for HOURS just to pick me up and take me for lunch. I felt God in the kindness that people started to show me. I felt it in the quiet days I spent working on the projects I had set up to take my time off being away from Justin. Oh how ironic that those project would become so vital in my grieving process. I sat down for hours, creating beautiful artworks, as gifts for others. As I busied my hands with crafts, I stopped them from googling articles that only fueled my last few remnants of hope that I had not had a miscarriage. Yes, even AFTER a negative pregnancy test and the heavy blood and tissue loss that preceded it, I still fought of irrational hope in the idea that somehow I was still carrying our baby.
Loss is loss. You question everything about it, just like I did. It doesn’t matter how many weeks along a woman is – if she feels the joy and hope of a life inside her, if she feels a connection – the loss is real. For me, it was the loss of a life that I had been praying and planning for, and even though I have hope that we will go onto have other children, my heart will always ache for this loss. There’ll be moments that remind me, and I’m sure, many milestones that I will grieve.
God has been here with me all along. He is my Hope. He provided people to show me love, friends to support me, family to watch over Elijah when I felt my lowest, joy in using my hands for the creativity he blessed me with, and above all, he showed me that even when I don’t “feel Him”, he is still there. For now, I don’t know why this happened but I do know that God has a plan for me, and for our family. Most of you know that Justin and I hate being apart, but this is why our most recent period apart was so incredibly tough. Being back by Justin’s side has helped a lot. I am grateful for the two weeks that I got to spend in Medora, for my brother’s wedding, because I did a lot of healing in that time. There were many therapeutic runs, long walks, and chats with God.
Through this experience, I have been reminded, “God did not promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, and sun without rain, but he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way”.