So not much posting lately. Tis the way of summer. I always envision having more time during these months when Steve is home, but it never fails to end up being the opposite. Usually in a good way – lots of trips to see family, doing our own family stuff around town, house projects we’ve put off doing forever. That kind of stuff. If I can ever get motivated to download the 800ish pictures on my camera (oh the joys and curses of technology- ha!), then hopefully one day I can share some of the fun things going on around here. Of course GA’s bday is almost 2 months past and those pics have yet to see light of day, so no holding your breath! 🙂
But this summer hasn’t been all good. To be honest I’ve debated back and forth in my head over whether to share this over the internet or not, but my desire for transparency won out in the end. Again w/the joys and curses of technology- the internet can be such a connecting power, yet how real and vulnerable do you make yourself amidst keyboards and computer screens? My thoughts are to just be true – if I get on this silly little blog and share all the good and happy stuff, then the bad and painful stuff is ok to share as well. I never want to paint my life out to be anything other than what it really is, and in doing so it’s obvious that everything isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. (Which btw, is a new favorite expression of mine…..rainbows and unicorns…..i seem to hear it all over the place now- is it just me??? ).
Ok, so off the rambling and back to what I was going to say. This past April Steve and I found out we were expecting another baby. Yay!!! Lots of excitement and joy. We always knew we wanted more children, even right after GA was born and I was in the midst of the zombie sleep-deprivation/24 hr breast-feeding phase…..I just never felt like our family was complete even with these 2 beautiful girls. So we decided to let things happen right after I finished my marathon in March. When I got that positive pregnancy test the very next month we were both happy and shocked at how quickly things did happen. Felt very blessed.
Baby was due Jan. 3 of next year. Initially I only told my sister-in-law and 3 close friends. I am never one to really tell lots of people till after the 3 month period, so this was no different. But I will say that even from the second I saw the positive test, I felt a bit unsure about this pregnancy. Just felt like something wasn’t quite right. I was happy about things, but for some reason didn’t totally trust what was happening. When the few friends I did tell talked about the baby with me, they would be all excited and saying things like “I can’t believe you’re about to have another baby”, and I would just give a wary smile and say something like, “Yeah, we’ll see….”. Looking back, that is a very odd thing for a pregnant woman who really wanted another baby to say. But all is providence I think.
The first month or so of the pregnancy was a little off for me in the physical sense. I was really tired, but that was about it. Hardly any nausea at all. And that is SO not like me. My girls had me throwing up several times a day for the first 3-4 months. Smells would send me over the edge in a nanosecond. But this time was different. I know they say every pregnancy is different, but the thought that just kept recurring in my head was that either this time it was a boy, or that something was wrong. I knew it just had to be one of those options. Sadly, it was the latter.
My family came up for GA’s birthday and I was 9 weeks along. I bought her a “Big Sister” t-shirt as one of her gifts as a way to tell my family. She opened it up and they saw it and it was a great moment. The funniest part was when my dad thought it was a mistake and we had actually given GA a shirt of Bailey’s or something like that. The fact that we had to spell it out to him cracked me up. The following week was when I had my first ultrasound (had already had an appointment at 8 weeks, but just drew blood and filled out forms, no heartbeat test or ultrasound). The night before the appointment I was really excited. Just because all those fears and worries were so strong in my mind. I knew this doctor visit would either put them to rest or bring to light what I was already feeling; either way I just wanted to know- the uncertainty was tough……the battle b/w doubt and faith playing out in my head.
So at 10 weeks, on June 7th, we went to the doctor. Steve and the girls were with me. They called us back to the room with the ultrasound technician. Got everything in place and started looking at the black and white rounded triangle picture on the screen. Looking back, it was so obvious. But at the time we just smiled and looked at the screen, eager to see our baby. The technician didn’t say much, just hit some keys on the computer and prodded around a bit. We just saw the black triangle with a little circle in the middle. What I thought was our baby. After a few minutes she finally spoke: “I’m concerned with what I’m seeing here.” Heart drops to the pit of my stomach. Oh no. Here it is……everything I was afraid was happening is really happening. “See – here’s your uterus and here’s the amniotic sac. But I don’t see a baby.”
“Ok”. That was all I could say. Steve and I looked at each other, sad faces, teared eyes. The girls still bouncing and whispering about. She tells us it looks at though the baby stopped developing at about 7 weeks and there was nothing there now but a sac. She said she was going to have the doctor look things over just to makes sure, but really, what was the point?
Spoke with the doctor, Dr. Q, the same one who delivered Georgia. He’s so kind and compassionate and comforting. Just the kind of doctor you hope for in such a situation. He told us our options- to have the miscarriage naturally or schedule a D&C. If all things had been going normally I’m pretty sure I’d of just opted for natural and let things happen. But it turns out we were going camping the very next day and then the following week Steve was going on a trip with all the guys in his family for about a week (the girls and I would be staying with my parents during his trip). The thought of having a miscarriage by myself while Steve was gone, while still taking care of the girls while my parents were at work, did not sound appealing to me . Not that the other sounds so appealing either, but at least it would be scheduled and I’d definitely have help with me to deal with it. So we scheduled the D&C for the following Tuesday, 5 days later.
Left the doctor’s office and still hadn’t really broken down in tears. It wasn’t till I had to call my mom and tell her the news that they finally started flowing. Saying it aloud, realizing the future you had been picturing has drastically altered….that’s when the hurt came. Called my sister-in-law and other 3 friends and told them too. I really felt the need to have anyone who knew about the pregnancy know about it’s outcome as soon as possible. The thought of them leaving me an excited baby text message or voicemail after the fact was something I did not want to deal with. Everyone was super kind and understanding.
We decided to still go on our camping trip and I’m so thankful we did. We went with some awesome family friends and their two girls and had the best time. Mountains, swimming, smores. And I could actually enjoy a beer by the fire – one perk I guess. And sadly, the friend I went with has had 3 miscarriage herself. SuperWoman in my book- having to go through this more than once…….wow. She was so open and raw with me through it all. Allowing me to ask as many questions as I wanted, no matter how personal or specific. She listened. She understood. She prayed for me. She let me vent. She allowed me to probe her past pain in search for answers. She was an amazing friend through it all. And thankfully, I didn’t miscarry while on the camping trip (something I didn’t even consider happening, which looking back is kind of crazy).
However, when we got back Monday I was busy packing for our weeklong Georgia trip when the actual miscarriage happened that night. I was one day shy of being 11 weeks. We had the D&C scheduled for the next morning (we were going to drive down right after the surgery…..again, probably kind of crazy and not really thinking about what that would have been like), but when I called the doctor and told him what was going on, he said to just cancel the surgery and let things happen naturally. So we did. And damn! It really, really hurt. Not going into specifics or getting graphic or anything, but the pain was just not something I was expecting. I had talked to several friends about the emotional loss of a miscarriage, but the physical part never came up. So if you’ve never had one (and I hope no one reading this does), just be warned that it hurts a lot. At least for me it did.
There really isn’t much left to what happened. Drove down to GA the next day, lying in the backseat on a makeshift bed. Steve left the next morning for his trip. He wanted so badly to cancel and stay w/us, but I wouldn’t let him. He gets so little time with his family and there wasn’t anything he could do at that point. Even though we missed him – A LOT!!!! – I’m happy he got some quality time with his dad and brothers. I stayed with my parents and just chilled out and relaxed as much as I could. I had so many plans to visit friends while in GA, but dealing with the cramps and pain from the miscarriage, I just couldn’t make it happen. And that’s ok. My parents took good care of me and the girls and I spent tons of time just the 3 of us.
It’s been over 2 months since this all happened. Physically I feel strong and back to normal again, which is a huge relief; the physical part of it just seemed to go on and on for me for various reasons. And emotionally I feel good too. Which is maybe why I felt safe and ok in writing and sharing about this.
And something else I really want to share about it is this: throughout the whole thing, from the moment I saw a positive pregnancy test in my bathroom to the weeks after the loss when I saw a negative pregnancy test in my doctor’s office, I truly felt held and comforted by God. Cradled in the palm of his hand. I say that b/c I think sometimes as Christians we hear about all the goodness of God, but usually that’s during times that are actually very good. I find comfort in hearing the goodness of God when times are bad. When we talk about God loving us and being there for us…..about “God is good all the time- All the time God is good”…….those are not just empty words, just catch phrases meant to “share the gospel” or sound spiritual in the church prayer circle. Those words have action behind them. True meaning. Legit emotions. For me it’s when this whole Christianity thing stops becoming a religion and becomes what it’s meant to be – a relationship.
And with my relationship with my Creator, my God, He has been there for me throughout it all. I think he actually prepared my heart for what was to come, softened the painful blow we took in that ultrasound room that day. I remember as a teenager having a conversation with my mom about how she had had a miscarriage between my brother and me. The only thing I remember her saying was the sentence, “I just never felt fully pregnant”. Odd thing for a teenager with no babies on the brain to remember, especially me b/c I have such a fuzzy memory! That sentence has always stuck with me, even though she and I never really spoke about her miscarriage again. So when I got pregnant this time and I kept waiting for all those pregnancy symptoms to arrive, those words kept floating around in my head. Never for once felt that way or even thought of those words when pregnant with Bailey or GA.
Another moment when I felt so held by God came right after my very last doctor’s appointment. This part of the whole thing is something I found so particularly awful – having to have repeat doctor visits to keep testing hormone levels just to confirm over and over again that YOU ARE NOT PREGNANT. Ugh. As if I didn’t know. It’s not fun. Sitting in the waiting room that just a few weeks ago you sat in, but that time with a baby in your belly, and this time just to test and make sure the baby is completely all gone……not my happiest moment. And then having a disagreement with the receptionist over insurance stuff to only have her say (a little too loudly, at least to my ears, and a little too thoughtlessly, at least to my heart) “I’m sorry- that insurance only covers you if you’re pregnant, which you aren’t now.” Really? As if I needed another reminder.
So anyways- that last visit really had me down. After the receptionist debacle I couldn’t get out of that office fast enough and into my car where I could lose it and cry like a normal heartbroken mama, all by myself. And as I sat there in the parking lot I just cried out to God. Don’t remember what I said really…..just tears and pleas for him to comfort me, hold my heart; I swear I was not alone in that car.
20 minutes later and I managed to put my face back together and decided to brave Walmart for a few quick items. Not my normal Walmart since I was by the doctor’s office. A few minutes of gathering stuff and running up and down the aisles and all of a sudden I see the back of someone who I hope so desperately is the friend I think it is. The one who gets my heart like so few do. The one who is real and loves Jesus and is purely comforting and calming to just be around. God- please let it be her! I could really use her peace right now. I call her name down the coffee aisle. She turns around and yes! It is her! I am so, so happy.
Warm hugs and the usual hellos and how are yous and before I know it I’m tearing up and spilling to her about the miscarriage and my last awful doctor’s appointment. She listened and hugged and said all the perfect things. (And believe me there are perfect things to say in such a moment and not so perfect things to say, but that’s another post for another time). Anyways. While she listened I told her about how I had felt God’s presence through the whole ordeal. Specifically I told her that a couple months prior to even getting pregnant I had really latched onto the song “Blessed Be Your Name“. The song is beautiful and basically states how God is God and we should praise Him and bless Him when things are good and when things are bad. Our circumstances, our happiness barometer, shouldn’t be the gauge that determines whether we praise the God of the universe or not. We praise him no matter what.
Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name……
Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
So I told my friend how I had been listening to that song so much and praying that when those hard times came (and they surely would in this life), that I would not be angry at God, but still turn to Him and thank Him and praise Him. Life had been so amazingly sweet the past couple of years and I wanted God to grant me the faith to still turn to Him and lift up His name, even when the sweetness ran dry. And the truth is that when the miscarriage happened, I did still praise God. And for that I am thankful. I’ve heard of so many women who miscarry and turn from God (which is understandable too), and I’m thankful the situation is one where God drew me closer.
Well while I was telling my friend all this, about the song and it’s imprint on my heart, she started tearing up. She said, “Renee, you are not going to believe this. But just this past Sunday at church (Steve and mine’s first one back since the miscarriage, though we weren’t in service, but working in nursery) when that song came on during worship I just started bawling like a baby. My heart became filled with a burden. A burden of grief, but not one for me. For someone else. And I just cried and cried in pain for that person. At the time I didn’t know who, but it had to be you!” Talk about giving me chill bumps! I know lots of Christian friends who have all these cool coincidence-God stories that are so amazing. Not me. Kind of boring in that sense :). But this one just blew me over. And maybe it doesn’t seem so amazing to anyone else, and that’s ok. But to me, it was just another reassuring moment that God is right there with me, through every step of this journey. The good ones and the bad ones. He will not desert me. I will go through pain and I will not have all the answers and I will often wonder and ask why. And He’s ok with that. But He will never leave my side.
So I guess there’s really not much else to say or add to it all. Didn’t really intend to make this so long and I hope it doesn’t sound all dramatic or anything. Just had lots of thoughts and feelings about it all. It goes without saying that even though I’ve always felt really lucky and blessed to have my two girls, this whole experience has amplified my gratitude even more. Having Bailey and Georgia- I have already won the lottery. I know there are women out there who either never can get pregnant or who do, but have miscarriage after miscarriage. Not that what we went through doesn’t hurt, but my pain is so little in the big picture. And I feel that when the time is right and if it’s meant to be, we will hopefully be gifted with another little one in the future. But if not, I know that my cup already runneth over. Truly- God is good ALL the time and ALL the time God is good. No doubt about it.