Since I could not find the right place to break the remainder of this story into two more chapers, I decided to leave it as one long last chapter. At the end of this extra long post, you'll find a reward for reading through all of this!
I hope as I conclude, this has not just been a sad story that cost you a box of tissues. I hope that the end is uplifting and God uses it in some way in someone's life.
Read Journey into Motherhood Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4.
On October 18, I began to suspect that I was miscarrying. I was only 8 weeks along and was terrified of another miscarriage. It seemed to be too much. Sure, lots of women lose one baby during their life. But two? That was too many. One more than I could handle. I called my doctor and went in for an ultrasound. The screen showed no problems but instead a healthy little baby with a strong heart beat.
I was still not feeling right but tried to convince myself that it was just fear and negative thinking. My primary cause for distress was the unique distinctive headache which I had felt when Grace had died was throbbing in my head again. We went out to dinner with Seth’s parents and I candidly told them that I feared I was preparing to miscarry. When we came home and got ready for bed, I came into Seth’s arms and asked him to pray that we would not miscarry. He began to pray a prayer expressing a yielded will, telling the Lord that we only wanted His will. I stopped him in the middle if his prayer and shook him. I demanded him to prayer that the baby would not miscarry.
At this moment, Seth and I had conflicting philosophies regarding prayer. He would only pray to tell God that His will was good and we would accept it. He wanted to tell God that we trusted Him with our lives, including our baby. I, although I would not have openly admitted it, trusted God with everything except my baby. This was no doubt the cause for the distance that I had felt from the Lord all those many months. I did not want to tell God that I give Him permission to take my baby. Another baby. I wanted to change His mind. I wanted to convince Him to let us keep our child.
Whatever the approach either one of us took to praying that evening, during the night the answer came.
I woke Seth up and called my Ob’s office. Despite the fact that nothing could be done to stop a miscarriage in progress, we hastily headed to the hospital. I just needed to know if the baby was gone. I was still clinging to a hope that the baby was alive and well. I could not stand not knowing any more. If I was actually loosing the baby, I wanted to know… and I wanted the people at the hospital to tell me if this baby had perished due to Turner’s Syndrome as well.
As we entered the E.R., a nurse sat across a desk from me and began to inquire about why I was there.
“I think I am miscarrying.”
“Is this your first pregnancy?”
“No, my second.”
“Do you have someone watching the other child?”
“I miscarried her too.” And that was all I could say. Seth took over the questions and filled out the paperwork.
I laid down on a very uncomfortable exam table and the hours passed. An unfortunate ultra sound technician was roused from her sleep and came to the hospital to administer the ultrasound. She was friendly despite of the late hour but forewarned me that she was not permitted to tell me any information during the test. A doctor will tell me the findings when she was done.
The screen was much blurrier than any ultrasound machines I had experienced. I could not make out any images clearly so I closed my eyes and just prayed during the ultrasound.
Back in the ER exam room, a doctor with sad tired eyes told us that the baby was gone. Even though I knew that he could not answer this question, I still asked him what had happened between noon the day before when we saw on the ultrasound that the baby was alive and well and now. He looked very sad for us and said that no one would ever be able to know what happened. I asked if we could test the remains to see if this baby had Turner’s Syndrome. He said it was impossible to do at this point, and even if it were, the cost would not likely be approved.
As he left, I turned my head to face the wall. I noticed the wall clock. It was 6 am on October 19th. My 22nd birthday.
We went home and I curled up on the couch for the entire day. Seth made me homemade soup, which was the first thing he’d ever cooked for us. It was really delicious.
Sometime over the next few months, my spirit revived. I gave my babies to Jesus. They were His all along anyway. Clutching onto them was not working and though I was still sad to not have them in my arms, there was peace in simply surrendering them to His care. I fantasized about them in Heaven. I wondered if they were babies, or if in Heaven we have no age. I cannot find many verses in the Bible describing what form my children took… if they are being raised up there, or if that will be for me to do when I get to Heaven, or if when they entered Heaven they were fully matured instantly… but I know whatever Heaven is like it is good. And Grace and our other little baby do always behold the Father’s face.
Despite the restoration that my soul was benefitting from, my emotions were more rampant than ever before. I could literally feel my hormones soaring out of control. The level of control over when I cried was gone. I cried all the time, in the worst of places and when I least wanted to. I stuffed tissues into every pocket and filled my purse with them. Tears would overcome me at any given moment and it was embarrassing and annoying to me.
At a dentist appointment, my crazed hormones would rear their ugly head in the most embarrassing way yet. My dentist is a very very nice man, and is careful to make sure his patients are as comfortable as possible. I was there to have two perfectly healthy teeth removed as part of my orthodontic treatment. Dr. J numbed the area for the injection and then proceeded to administer several doses of Novocain so that I would not feel any pain as he yanked my teeth out. He joked about how intimidated people are of him, despite his stature of barely 5 ft. I had come into the office relaxed but as he joked and continued numbing my mouth, I began sweating. I ignored the uneasy feeling that was growing in the pit of my stomach and Dr. J reached for his metal instruments. I laid there remembering my junior high science class when I learned about the “fight or flight” reflex that we experience in times of stress. I was most definitely in the midst of a real “fight of flight” kind of situation. I was leaning toward “flight”. Dr. J was first to notice the tears that I had not even realized were escaping from the corners of my eyes and running down my face.
“Are you alright? Does this hurt?” The only portion of his face that was visible behind his mask showed concern.
“Um… I don’t… it doesn’t hurt… I’m okay.”
“Are you sure?” Dr. J actually took a tissue and blotted my face for me. Now part of my tears was just pure embarrassment that my dentist was wiping my mascara and tears off my face.
I nodded and Dr. J continued.
I started to feel very cold and actually started to tremble. I’m a California girl living in NY so I’m cold most of the time but rarely do I actually tremble when I’m cold. Dr. J stopped.
“Oh, I know what’s going on here. You’re having a reaction to the Novocain. It’s the adrenaline. I gave you a lot too so that you wouldn’t feel the extraction.”
And so I learned the hard way that after a pregnancy, things change. Weird things.
My list (so far):
-allergic to Novocain
-once a roller coaster enthusiastic, I now hate them because they hurt my hips
- super strength deodorant is now a must
So now whenever I have an appt. with Dr. J, he is careful to use special Novocain, and has a blanket and box of tissues set out just for me, just in case.
As fall turned to winter, our whole family was ready to bid 2005 a dui. Not only had we miscarried two babies but my sister in law had been very ill for most of the year due to complications from a molar pregnancy. I began to read and research pregnancy and miscarriage avidly. I had stopped working secularly and was now volunteering at our church’s small academy. This gave me lots of time to read as many books and articles as I could find.
What I realized was that as much a man has come to understand about pregnancy and the creation of a baby, there is still so much beyond our comprehension, and certainly beyond our control. God rules and reigns above all our medical and scientific advancements. Only He can create life. I felt such peace from the recognition that God was in control. He would determine the final outcome.
For a person who has never faced the possibility of never being able to bear children, the ability to surrender that desire to Him and truly decide to be content whether or not your arms ever hold a baby may seem like an obvious step. Especially when we have already surrendered our life to God. Wouldn’t the area of having a family be included in that acceptance and yielding to His will? But I do believe it is an extremely difficult resolution to actually arrive at when you are in that situation. When the very desire for a baby seems to be God given, for that same God to require the desire to be cast at His feet, it seems almost too hard. Too much to require.
I was struggling with this question of whether God was asking me to give up my dreams of having children. It probably seems like it was premature to really doubt if we’d ever carry a baby home from the hospital but after just a year of this struggle, it really did weigh on my mind. I had spent 7 months pregnant but had a childless home.
I was reading my Bible but had finally deserted the book of Psalms. I thought that maybe God would not give me a special hug from Him because I was a “big girl” now. I should just do right out of character not because of some special sign from Him. I was in the book of Isaiah, chapter 54, when I came across these verses, God’ promise to me. My hug.
“Sing, O Barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud…”
I did not feel like singing. I felt like crying. I’m not sure if I actually qualified as a “barren women” but even if I wasn’t, I thought of all the truly barren women in the world and thought that they probably didn’t feel like singing either.
Later in verses 6 and 7 it says,
“For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, said thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.”
Has there ever been an author like the Lord, who could so poetically and perfectly relay the emotions of the human heart?
Verses 11 and 12:
“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.”
I read these words and thought “Yup. That’s me: “afflicted and tossed with tempest”. The tempest may have my own emotions running me ragged. I had been seeking a special comfort from the Lord and had mostly felt “not comforted” as verse 11 said. Matthew 2:18 tells of the slaughter of all the innocents at Herod’s hands and speaks of Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted because her children were dead. She would not be comforted.
There are some very hard things in this life. I thought of truly tragic situations, far worse than my own, such as people who have lost their entire family in a fire or car accident. Or those parents who have lost their children to cancer after long painful battles. Or people whose love ones are stolen from them by some cruel crime. How can a person find comfort after those horrible events? As the women in Isaiah 54:11, and Rachel representing the children of Israel, there are times in life when comfort is evasive. Some things are so hard, we “would not be comforted”. Comfort is impossible.
But we are blessed to have a God who does the impossible every day.
And then in verse 13, God gave me a promise. Not a general Bible promise that applies to all of His children but I promise specifically to me. I realize that it may sound very presumptuous to say such a thing, or maybe just insane. But when two friends get together, the conversation goes two ways. When God is our Friend, He talks to us within the quietness of our hearts.
“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
God told me that day that I did not need to relinquish to Him my desire to have children. He assured me that I would have not just a child, but children. All He wanted from me was that my children ultimately be given to Him. They needed to “be taught of the Lord”. And the peace that they would enjoy would be from His hand, not my own.
This was the hug from heaven that I had been looking for and needed so badly. It was like I could finally breathe a deep full breath and not just barely have enough oxygen to get through that moment alone. I highlighted the verses in my Bible and thought of them constantly.
True to His promise, we conceived again early in 2006. I wish that I could say I rested peacefully in the promise God had given me but the truth is that my faith wavered for most of the pregnancy. Every “funny feeling” left me convinced that I was miscarrying. I had never really had trouble with the sin of worrying before this and found it to be an addicting habit. The trouble with my habit of worrying was that it bled into all areas of life not just my pregnancy. Worry begat more worry.
I was again extremely nauseated and ended up being admitted to the hospital for dehydration.
At that hospital, I was under the care of a high risk pregnancy specialist. This specialist also was an expert in fertility treatments. One of the resident doctors was looking in on the fertility doctor’s patients and came in to see me.
He was a younger doctor and had an easy going personality. He reviewed my chart and then asked me if I was taking a particular fertility drug.
“No.” I answered, looking at Seth in the corner of the room, who shrugged his shoulders.
“Did you conceive through IVF?”
“No.” I said again.
“Did you conceive via…?” He rattled off terms and acronyms I’ve never heard of.
He put down his clip board and looked at me. “So how did you conceive this baby?”
I know I shouldn’t have but I couldn’t resist.
“Well, doctor, this is a conversation you should have had with your father a long time ago.”
The resident laughed. Seth groaned and shot me one of his “Women, you are trouble!” looks.
This pregnancy, despite my anxiety and lack of faith, progressed normally. Finally, at about 6 months, I felt completely convicted about my lack of faith and trust in God. What a slap in the face of God to trust Him with my eternal soul but not my baby’s life. I again gave this baby, and all my babies over to His care. I continually had to recommit myself to trusting in God in this area. I could not worry my baby into good health. The worry habit was hard to break but breaking it was so helpful to my state of mind in all areas.
October 17th, Madison was born. Healthy and beautiful as any baby girl has ever been. Even as I held her with her cord still attached, I thought inwardly that this would not be the only baby I would parent. I knew God would give me at least one more. He had promised.
A year and half later, on May 7th, Eden Grace joined the family. The name Eden means “delightful” and it certainly suits her well.
And now for you reward for reading this entire lengthy story, I will let you in a secret:
In mid October 2010, we expect another. ♥