I can remember it so clearly.. talking on the phone with a girlfriend as I painted our front living room dark blue and wondering how long it might take us to get pregnant, if we would be able to tell our families by Christmas, whether or not we would have twins. For some reason, I always suspected that I was fertile. Weird, I know, but it was a niggling little thought in the back of my mind.
Fast forward a month and a half, and two pink lines popped up on a Monday afternoon after work. I was shocked and elated... I think hubby was just shocked. Obviously, this was what we were hoping for, but talking about it, dreaming about a baby and imagining all that goes along with it is quite different from being told Yes. This is happening. Get ready, because life will never be the same.
And life wasn't the same.
We kept our sweet little secret for weeks before telling our parents. We made plans, talked about names and imagined what our girl might look like. I knew without question that she was a girl.
And then the week before Christmas, on a Tuesday night, I saw a few spots of blood in the shower. The next day we spent over 6 hours in the emergency room before learning that our girl was gone. That she had been in heaven for weeks... It was, without question, the worst day of my life. Even the trauma, pain and aftermath of the miscarriage over the next week didn't compare to the mental, emotional and spiritual blow those words had on me. I wanted to crumble to the floor and fall right through. I wanted to wake up to realize it was all a horrible dream.
We were advised to wait 3 months before trying to get pregnant again. So we waited. And grieved. And healed. And exactly three months later, I was once again staring at a little magic stick with two beautiful pink lines.
Our Tiny Dancer was born 9 months later. The love of our lives.
When she was about 8 months old, I started to get baby fever. Hubby- not so much. Evie had a rough start and the endless crying and sleepless nights weren't quite a distant memory yet. It didn't really matter anyway. I was still breastfeeding, so getting pregnant wasn't exactly an option. But we did start talking about timing and when we might want the next one to come along. We thought that when Evie was about 18 months, it might be a good time to start getting serious.
So image our surprise when I got a positive pregnancy test at the end of February this year. We were fairly shocked. But happy. I immediately felt pregnant. Ohsotired, a little bit nauseous and just.. pregnant. We didn't tell anyone yet- hubby was still getting used to the idea, honestly. I was very excited and hoping this baby would come in October, just to spread the birthday cheer out a little bit (Evie's bday is in November).
Five days later I started spotting. And just like that, fear crept over me. Not once when I was pregnant with Evie did I spot or bleed. Not once. So while I knew spotting could be completely normal, all it signaled to me was something bad. After letting hubby know, I made two desperate calls for prayer and support. One to my mom and one to the girls in my bible study.
It's hard to think back on this season of my life. I have absolutely no doubt that this was a refining time in my faith.
I was no longer pregnant, but for the next month I prayed and pleaded to be. I spoke to my body and cried out to God and stood in faith, believing and knowing that I serve a God of miracles. That nothing is too big or too hard for Him. That He can breathe life where there is none. It was such a tough time. Very isolating. At the end of that month, I went back in to see my doctor and to confirm that I had miscarried. At that point I just wanted to know. I was trying not to doubt, but if this was the reality of the situation, I wanted to know for sure so that we could move on and start to heal. Once again.
In July, it happened again. A positive pregnancy test. A sweet little note to surprise hubby and calls for prayer for the new life.
And then in a blink, less than a week later, it was over.
Shortly after, I went in to see my doctor again, and he suggested I start taking baby aspirin. The low dose aspirin can help thin your blood, if clotting is what the problem is. We didn't know at that point, if clotting was causing me to miscarry, but baby aspirin won't hurt you and he didn't feel like it was necessary to do any testing yet.
Three weeks later, another positive pregnancy test (I mentioned I thought I was fertile, right??). This time, I put Evie in a little Big Sister shirt I had picked up on a whim at some point. She was wearing it when her daddy got home. He noticed, but didn't say anything at first. Then he kind of looked at me with a question in his eyes and I smiled and said yes.
It's hard to describe what disappointment and loss does to you. To your hope, your excitement. I can't think of anything more pure, wonderful and precious than a baby. And finding out you're going to be a parent, for the first time or the tenth time (I imagine), is such a rush of emotion. But looking for that excitement in someone else's eyes and not finding it is devastating. My heart ached that he didn't react the way I hoped he might. That he didn't jump for joy and cry out in excitement. Not that I expected him to any of that- not in the least. But knowing that his heart was guarded because of what we had experienced before, well, that made me want to cry. Please don't misunderstand.. my husband was very surprised and excited. But it's hard not to be jaded. The news loses some of it's luster when it's been delivered so many times before, just to be stolen away.
We waited a bit and then shared the news with our parents. Three weeks had gone by since my first positive test, so we were feeling really good about things. On the day of my first appointment, I woke up to some light spotting.
We went to our appointment that afternoon and everything looked normal. Super early, but normal. All we could see at that point was the gestational sac. But it had been the same way with Evie- they always measured her a week or so off of my dates- so it wasn't concerning. We would just come back in 2 weeks to see and hear the heartbeat. My doctor was not at all concerned about the spotting.
I wasn't concerned either, at that point.
But the next day, it continued. And on the third day I knew in my heart that it was over. The pain took my breath away. I just couldn't believe this could be happening again. For the third time this year. Three times. I had started three new baby books this year.. each with only one entry. I had written a little note in Evie's baby book each time I learned I was pregnant, saying we found out she was going to be a big sister.. I didn't want to wait to start documenting my babies. I didn't want to hold something in because of fear and doubt. But I still haven't decided what to do about those words written in ink. Three times.
I don't know what I would do through all of this without prayer and without my Savior. If I was not a Christian.. if I did not know that I know that I know that my babies are in heaven with Jesus right now, I honestly don't know how something like this wouldn't break you. I can't tell you how many times I just prayed that He would hold me, carry me, cover me in His peace. That he would heal my husband's broken heart. What do you do if you don't believe? Who do you cry out to and lay all of your cares on? Not once have I doubted how much God loves me through all of this or blamed Him. The opposite, in fact.
Ever since my very first pregnancy and loss, I have clung to Psalm 139:
o Lord, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways..
.. Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there..
.. if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
This scripture speaks life and mercy and love right to my heart. But not just because He created my babies and formed them in my womb. Not only because He saw each of their unformed bodies and now holds them in His arms.
But because these words are also meant for me.
He knows the longings of my heart, of my desire to have more children. He cares about the small and mundane things in my life as well as the heavy. No matter where I go, no matter how far I might stray or how sad I might feel, He'll always be right there with me. Waiting for me to lean on Him, to rest in Him and more than able to carry me when I don't think I can go on.
I can't really even fathom that kind of love. But I am so very thankful for it.
At this point, we don't know what keeps causing me to miscarry. We'll start some testing soon. But truthfully, I don't really think there is anything physically wrong with me. I think the devil just wants to steal our joy and our children.
But he won't win.