Today, I am going to be brave. I am going to be strong. I am going to be honest.
Today, I am going to face with courage what almost broke me. Almost.
On April 14, two pink lines changed life as I knew it forever. I had come home early from work that cheery Friday afternoon, planning to clean the house and get groceries like I always do so I could enjoy my weekend. On a whim, I decided to pull out the box of pregnancy tests that had been sitting under my bathroom sink. The second line was faint, but it was undeniably there. >I was in complete disbelief, feeling every emotion I could possibly feel all at once—joyful, terrified, thrilled. My mind was running one thousand miles a second, instantly dreaming about who the tiny little person that was now growing rapidly inside me would become.
My heart leaped out of my chest as I waited for Jesse to come home so I could share the news. The next couple of days consisted of downloading all the popular pregnancy apps, reading an endless amount of blog posts, and filling my “secret” Pinterest page with a ridiculous amount of adorable and informative pins. The more time that passed, the more “real” this pregnancy began to feel.
Flash forward a week and a half. Spotting and light bleeding in early pregnancy is extremely common. Most women who experience this go on to have normal, healthy pregnancies. Regardless of the statistics, the first thought that popped into my mind was miscarriage. I made an appointment with the clinic as soon as they could have me. At this point, I was too early on to be able to see anything on an ultrasound (I was only about five and a half weeks), so they determined test whether my hCG levels were increasing yet. The two days I waited in between tests were long ones, but they were nothing compared to the waiting that I would soon endure. That Friday, I finally got the call that my levels were still increasing as they should have been, so they scheduled me for another appointment one week later.
On May 5, Jesse and I nervously walked into the clinic, terrified but hopeful of what would be found. To our complete and utter amazement, our little peanut’s heartbeat lit up the ultrasound screen. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. However, it was beating slow. The doctor informed us that it was possible that the baby’s heart had just begun beating, which is why it was so slow yet. However, she offered only cautious assurance to us as a slow heart rate sometimes indicates an impending miscarriage. They wanted to watch me closely, so they scheduled another appointment five days later.
I clung tightly to the image of that tiny beating heart for those next five days, begging God repeatedly to allow this baby to live. However, when I went back to the clinic that next Tuesday morning, there was no more heartbeat. Our baby’s short life here on earth had ended, and he or she had already soared into the arms of Jesus. I was devastated, angry, heartbroken, and confused. I wanted so badly to wake up from the nightmare that was now my reality. I wondered over and over again why we had been chosen to walk this painful journey, and desperately asked God to help me trust in his plan.
The next few days were a blur. We had been waiting to tell our family members about the pregnancy until we finally had good news and an ultrasound picture to share. And so were the tough phone calls telling them about the pregnancy that had already ended. There was a handful of more doctor appointments to determine what would happen next. Since I still was not really having any physical symptoms of my miscarriage, the reality of what was happening seemed to hit me again every time I walked into that office. I had wanted to let my body to take care of things naturally; however, after two weeks of agonizing waiting, the doctors were getting concerned, so surgery was finally scheduled.
In the weeks that followed surgery, I was busy traveling and logging long hours as it was busy season at work. I’m not so sure that this was a blessing. Of course, the work got my mind off everything, but I don’t know that I had time to allow my heart to heal. Looking back now, I feel as though I was pushing it all aside and putting a smile on my face rather than working through it because I had things that needed to get done.
And so here I sit today, two months after surgery, finally finding the courage to write about my miscarriage. I have felt the urge to share my story in the last few weeks because it’s important, and miscarriage isn’t talked about nearly enough today. Why is it that in our culture, we wait until it’s “safe” to tell others about a pregnancy? What is the point of keeping it a secret until we’re beyond the first trimester and “out of the woods?” Isn’t this something we want to share with others no matter the outcome? Because even if the pregnancy does end, then what? No one should ever have to walk through this journey without the support of their family, friends, and community.
I read a post the other day where the author suggested that by treating our pregnancies this way, we are only contributing to a culture that does not value life from the moment of conception. Isn’t all life, no matter how small, worthy of recognition and celebration? Is a baby lost before the first trimester any less worthy of acknowledgement than one lost in the third trimester? Absolutely not, so I decided that I would not be silent any longer. Maybe it won’t make any difference to anyone, but maybe it will to someone who is silently walking this painful path alone. My baby was an image-bearer of God, even at just seven weeks beyond conception. He or she was already loved and known by our Almighty Creator. Their short life changed mine forever, and I refuse to ever forget it. I refuse to be convinced that it isn’t worth sharing.
The loss of a child is not something that you just “get over.” My loss is real. My grief is real. I don’t have all the answers – I don’t know that I even have any answers. I am still walking this journey one step at a time. It is forever a part of my life now, and my baby will forever be in my heart. It is by the grace of God alone that I can get out of bed and function every morning. He has gotten me this far and will continue to carry me. I know that my baby is part of a greater plan, and I hold on to the hope that someday I will get to meet him or her in heaven. I got to hold this child for their entire life, and they got to meet Jesus before they could ever know the pain and sin of this world. And for that, I can be thankful. I can rejoice. I can find joy again.
(Originally written on July 26, 2017)