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11 October 2015

Hope's Story

It was four o'clock in the morning. I laid awake in bed trying to coax myself back to sleep. All I could think about was taking a pregnancy test. It had been about six months of trying for our first baby and I was starting to get disappointed and even a little concerned that something might be wrong.

I mean, if sixteen year olds can have sex for the first time and miraculously have a healthy baby—why can't we figure this out?!

I couldn't take it anymore. So I snuck out of bed, careful not to wake my husband, and went into the bathroom to find out if we were pregnant this time. 

Those two pink lines changed my life forever.

After I had myself a silent dance party in the bathroom I crawled back into bed, heart pounding out of my chest, and tried to figure out the best way to tell my man that he was finally going to be a Daddy!

I woke up that Saturday morning and tried to play it cool. On my way to the kitchen I asked my husband if he wanted some eggs for breakfast. As he took his time waking up, I cut up an apple and placed one of the little seeds in a bowl and put it at the table where he normally sits. My heart was pounding as he sat down. He looked at the bowl and then looked at me, "What is this?" to which I casually replied "Oh, I just thought you'd like to know how big your baby is before you ate breakfast."

The next few moments are a bit of a blur of excitement. We were finally going to be parents! We couldn't hold it in, we began to call our family and friends and asked them to keep our secret with us and pray for a healthy baby and pregnancy.  

At our first sonogram we entered the room like giddy kids in a candy store, we were going to see our baby for the very first time. We gushed to the technician about how this would be the first grandbaby for our parents and she smiled and talked about her own grandkids. Everything just seemed so perfect.

I laid there looking up at the screen and it just didn't look right. I glanced over at the technician and her smile had faded into concern. She seemed to know something that we didn't, but she didn't say anything definitive. But we knew this wasn't right. We no longer felt like kids in a candy store, we felt like parents. Helpless parents who desperately wanted to know if their baby was going to be okay.

As we waited for the doctor, I felt like I couldn't even think straight. This wasn't supposed to happen to me. We were supposed to have this baby. This wasn't part of my plan. Why would God let this happen?

The doctor came in (about 15 years later...) and told us that the sonogram was inconclusive and that we were either not as far along as we assumed, or this pregnancy will end in a miscarriage. It was too early to tell.

You know when something painful happens to you? Everything feels heavy. Everyone seems inconsiderate. No one understands. Nothing makes sense. There is nothing else except for the pain. You cling to it, like that pain is the only thing that connects you to your loss.

I left that day feeling crushed. My dreams of motherhood felt so fragile. I just wanted a little bit of certainty that everything would be alright.

My husband—eternal optimist and nothing-really-bad-could-ever-happen-ist, seemed to genuinely believe that everything would be fine. I am, admittedly, a bit "woe is me" and an if-something-bad-can-happen-it-will-most-likely-happen-to-me-ist. So I was honestly a bit upset that he didn't let me feel like I could go ahead and grieve this loss.

We had to wait to get some test results back from the doctor. Days later, he called to say that the results looked totally normal; he saw no reason why this wouldn't be a healthy pregnancy with a healthy little baby.

Such instant relief rushed over my whole body. I placed a grateful hand on my belly and basked in this good news. Carson gave me an "I-told-you-so" look, and I didn't even mind at all. We took this time to argue about whether a girl named Felicity would end up being a really cool chick or a cow herder.

Everything felt perfect again! Gone were the days of anxiety, forgotten were those moments of pain. The days of milking my pregnancy and deciding exactly how many baby bows is too many were officially at hand!

The bleeding started two weeks later.

When I saw the first drops, my heart sank into my stomach and everything seemed to move in slow motion. I fell to my knees and immediately began whispering to the Lord, "Lord, no. Please Lord, no." I called my husband who was at our church just minutes away from having to play piano for the service, and he told me that he would be home as soon as the worship was over. I still can't imagine how hard it was for him to play that day.

He had said all the right things and reassured me of the doctor's certainty, and that everything was going to be okay.

But in my heart I knew.

We went to the doctor the next day. After waiting what seemed like 3 hours in a horrible waiting room with unbearably happy parents-to-be, we were finally called back.

Hours later the doctor confirmed what I already knew: we would lose our baby.

He said the miscarriage should occur sometime this week or next. My body was already rejecting my baby. The doctor reassured me that this was not my fault—it was just an unexplained miscarriage.

An unexplained miscarriage. There is something so bitterly cruel about your own body rejecting your baby. Wasn't I created for this? Wasn't my body meant to create babies and bring them into the world? How could my body betray me in such a way?

I was completely numb as we spent the next hour in the waiting room before completing some blood work. That intense kind of loss and grief completely overwhelmed me. There was no room for hope. There was only pain, and it suffocated me.

At some point I asked my husband to go ahead and send out a text message to our friends and family who had been praying for us and let them know that we were miscarrying our first child.

I've always been rather open about my life but it still surprises me that I was so quick to reach out to my community. But I am so thankful that I did. The messages that poured in helped to keep my loneliness at bay. I still felt lost, but I had made myself accessible. I shudder to think of the potential darkness I could have succumbed to, had I cut myself off from those closest to me.

I was all alone in our apartment the day that I finally miscarried our baby.

I expected to feel some kind of contraction since I was about 9 weeks along, but there were none. I held in my hands a golf ball sized mass. Inside of it was my baby.

I just stared at it remembering things that well-intending friends and family had said, "At least you weren't that far along." But I was. Look at what my body had created for my baby. 

My body had been busy forming a beautiful home for this child that would ultimately become a tomb.

I flushed it down the toilet. I wish that I had known that its okay to bury your miscarried baby. I wish I hadn't been alone. I felt so barren. So empty.

The numbness returned. I shot my husband a text that said "It happened." and I don't really remember a whole lot from the next few days, except a whole lot of tears and sleeping. Maybe hoping that I would wake up from a really terrible dream to a swollen belly with a healthy baby inside.

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