Have you ever been curious about what goes through someone’s mind at any given moment? The times that seem as if it’s just the same old life, only to realize that it only takes a second for everything to shift?
Maybe it’s an innocuous memory, maybe it’s a random replaying of a conversation. Maybe it’s a note-to-self “oh I can’t forget to pick up milk”. For me, while I can’t remember what was going through my mind that day, I do recall that exactly one week later, it was song lyrics. Song lyrics that I was singing in my head to carry me through the next sentences spoken…
I think that happens multiple times in a life. As sad as that is to think about, knowing that we have experiences that we go through, that as monumental as they seem at the time, that there is no guarantee that something even more altering won’t come somewhere else down the line. That’s the side effect of living – leaving ourselves open to knowing that one day it may take every effort we have, just to breathe in and out.
It’s here that I need to have a disclaimer. It’s a pretty important one, so please read.
After reading this, there is one request: if you know my husband, we kindly ask that you do not reach out to him. This is his one ask, after he graciously gave me the permission to do what I need to process and heal. He knows he is loved and valued, and you can show that best by honoring him in this way.
In February we took a trip to see dear friends of ours in San Diego. One of the many advantages of marriage is getting to know people who your spouse has walked life with. These two were his friends first. I met them through my husband and they quickly became some of my favorite people.
Prior to February, we had decided to start trying to expand our family. Short story is that it didn’t happen right away and I took it hard each time a month passed without “success”. (I recognize that it really wasn’t that long at all that we had been trying. I know that. But it still hurt.) I had decided that I was taking February “off”. No tracking, no data entry, no testing. Just – relaxing. I knew our trip was coming up and I just wanted to let loose a little and not worry about what had been consuming my thoughts.
I’ll take a quick moment to say that ever since my early 20s, and without lapse, I had held the belief in my gut that it wouldn’t be easy for me to have children.
A misdiagnosis in my high school years led to a doctor saying it would be harder for me and while the diagnosis ended up not being true, what he said stuck with me.
It latched and implanted and it never budged. Not for decades.
I prayed and released that even if that were the case, that God would prepare me. I felt that because that belief never left, that preparing me is exactly what He’d been doing.
Our trip was a ton of fun and we loved our adventures with our friends, and the exploring a beautiful coastline. It was busy and full and we came back exhausted but happy.
On March 1st, a Friday, I took a test because it had been a few days and I realized “hmm, this is unusual” It was early morning. I remember lots of specifics about that day. Because that’s the morning I saw on a little digital test: pregnant.
I audibly said aloud: seriously?? and preceded to hit my head on the cabinet. We have a half bath in our bedroom that I generally use, while James uses the full bath in the hall. He must have heard me hit my head because he asked through the door if I was alright. I said “yeah I just hit my head” (not a rare occurrence here – I’m a klutz). See I wanted to go to the doctor first, make sure – and it was our first, I wanted to think of a way to tell him that was unique. So I made an appointment for that afternoon.
Tests at the Doctor confirmed and my levels (that I would receive later in the week) were high and looked great. That night, I gave James a card and I had these scratch off stickers where you can write a message, lay the sticker over, then the person scratches the sticker (like a scratch off ticket) revealing the message beneath.
I will always remember that moment, when I told him. I’ll hold that forever and it will always bring me mixed emotions.
We filled our weeks with talks of the future. We made small plans, had fun conversations. We waited until I was week 8 or so to tell our parents and siblings. Everyone else was going to wait until after week 12, for safety of course. But we had decided that we wanted our family to be there and know in the event of anything, so we followed that plan. I told my closest girlfriends (my core 4) and he (the private person he is) told only his best friend.
I didn’t have much morning sickness and was thankful. In the beginning, I was cautious in my emotions but as the weeks came, I grew more settled into the future that this was actually happening.
Because of my age, I was on the high risk pregnancy path. I have visited my OBGYN already, made a 12 week follow up with them and a 13 week with the high risk center.
I honestly didn’t want to wait until week 12 to see and hear our baby. So we made an out-of-pocket appointment at week 10.
We had met my newly chosen OBGYN at her office. Had decided where we’d give birth so we made sure to select a partnering practice. We were becoming regulars.
It’s a Thursday and my 10 week appointment was upon us. I was excited because being a visual person, I couldn’t wait to have something to see. I was going to press for the Doppler too, because who doesn’t want to hear that miracle sound? I had forgotten to drink a lot before hand, so I tried to chug as much water as I could.
The TV was in front of us, me on the table, James to my left. White ceilings tiles, warm room, friendly tech, chatting away. She could tell I hadn’t had enough water, so she said we would move to an internal scope. I apologized and laughed, because ‘my bad’.
We kept looking at the screen and I remember thinking, good thing she’ll circle for us because the baby will still be so small, I’m not sure if I’ll recognize it right away.
Move scope around.
It doesn’t hit me yet to be nervous. Until she says she isn’t seeing what she needs to see.
I think it still doesn’t settle. I look at James. He’s leaned a little forward, taken my hand. I think I had a moment of awareness of thinking “I don’t get to see him smile” But my awareness is brief because the tech is talking again and apologizing and hits a series of keys that don’t change anything and mean nothing to me because I still don’t see what I came to see.
She apologizes more and tells us that it’s one of two scenarios: “This isn’t the image of a 10 week. I can say that. It’s either a 6 1/2 week image, or it means that there isn’t a viable pregnancy.” I’m paraphrasing because to be honest, I don’t know word for word. What stuck is either 6 1/2 or no. She said that unfortunately there isn’t any test she could run that day that would give us an answer. We’d need to come back in one week and we would know for sure. There would either be growth from a 6 to a 7 week or there would be nothing – confirmed.
She hugs me and says she will get the OB and apologizes more. It isn’t setting in so I’m still smiling an autopilot and thanking her and just sitting there. Numb.
I don’t remember what I first say to James when she leaves. I think we both just stare. A few tears come but I’m in a room that isn’t mine, going to be sent home without the picture I came for. The OB comes in, says more things. Apologizes also. Remarks that I’m handling this quite well. Lets us know she’ll see us next week.
We’re somehow in the parking lot and we decide we’re driving back home.
We try to be positive but I say that rationally speaking, there’s no way it’s 6.5 weeks. All the tests, the levels, we know. We try to hope, but we know. We text our parents but say we won’t know for certain for a week (which makes it more real), allow ourselves to fall a little in each other’s arms. Then head to work. We can’t sit around the house. We have 7 days we have to get through.
Fast forward to the next Thursday. It is April 18th. We’re leaving that day for Colorado. We had our 1 year Anniversary trip planned.
It is at this appointment that I start the song in my head. It just comes. I don’t think I actively chose it. To get me through what I know we’ll hear. The words start on their own but I repeat it over in full, as I study the tiny holes and boarder of the tile ceiling.
“I hear you whisper underneath your breath.
I hear your SOS, your SOS…
I will send down an army to find you in the middle of the darkest
night – it’s true. I will rescue you.”*
Leaving the long windedness aside, we were told without further uncertainty, it was not going to happen this time.
I will say that I am very glad to have chosen the practice we did. My OB is great as is the whole staff. She gave us the options of how we could begin the process and encouraged us to enjoy our time away and we could discuss it when we returned.
We had already decided that we were leaving town right away. We were going to our favorite place and the timing was so gentle and gracious for both our hearts. We told our family, we began grieving, but we headed West for our therapy and medicine.
It was only an hour or so later that I began my miscarriage naturally. No need to plan or get medicine to induce – it was here. The whole time we were in Colorado, my body was emptying out along with my heart.
But we were where my heart finds joy. We hiked, we laughed, we ate, we had a beautiful time. It was harder than I can describe (typing this story has been no small work either) but it couldn’t have happened anywhere else to allow us to survive it as we did. Our trip was not tainted. I will remember that trip with love and gratitude and laughter and peace. Colorado gave me my smile when I couldn’t possibly imagine it would be available.
Our 1 year Anniversary was April 22nd. We got back on April 21st, a Sunday. The deepest physical pain happened on Sunday night and with that, it finished.
I was emptied of what was supposed to be my greatest joy. Without being in Colorado in the following days, it increased the difficulty to bear. Depression came for me but we clung to each other and survived each day. With Jesus. With one another. It was the only way to move an inch.
Our baby’s due date would have been November 5th. I was so happy I would have Thanksgiving with a newborn. I already saw the passing around from arms to arms, the laughter, the food.
I found out I was pregnant only a couple weeks after one of my dearest friends. I can’t express how happy and honored I was to get to walk through something so wonderful with her. Her story isn’t mine to tell, but she has had her own scares and heartbreak along the way. In two short months she’ll have the unspeakable delight of welcoming her son into this world. She has been so kindhearted and supportive. Yes, it is difficult sometimes when I see that my own belly doesn’t match hers, but you know what? At the same time, heights of such joy and love and gratitude are there, mingling beautifully and I have comfort in seeing her growth. What a gift God gives for this miracle! I am astounded that I get to witness my friend’s happiness. Never before did I realize how intermingled grief can be with joy. There is room for both. How marvelous is that?
There has also been my best friend. She has been invaluable. She has been with me every step. She even made a blanket for our little one early on in the pregnancy and when I went to a conference with her, she had bought baby his or her first gift. A handmade elephant.
I am so thankful for these priceless gifts because God willing – whomever we welcome into our family – that child will have two treasures too special to describe. And the memory of our first would-be will live on. I can’t even convey the extraordinary legacy that lies in these.
Our families have been spectacular. Everyone, of course, so compassionate. I have even met marvelous new friends because of this season and I count myself so fortunate. There is even a local friend whom I have come to treasure in this short time. What blessings we have.
I couldn’t have endured any of this without my husband. He has been my sturdy foundation. My stronghold in the storm. He has modeled Christ in every action, every embrace. I could fill libraries with how his love and character transform me every day. We are even stronger and we’ve remarked to one another on more than one occasion how we didn’t know that was possible and how we can’t believe we got here. To each other. I can only pray I’ve been as much of a respite for him.
There is more to the story. How our time in Colorado went. How the weeks after affected us. How the days oscillate between “normal” and deeply low. I don’t want to falsely indicate that it’s sunshine and birdsong and I’ve “had rough days but all is okay and it isn’t a big deal”.
It will always be a big deal to me. It would be detrimental to pretend that this wasn’t and isn’t still a debilitating era. For anyone who has gone through something similar or even worse, to communicate that in time, you won’t hurt anymore – is a lie. I will always have an ache. I will still have triggers that sneak up on me. I don’t think I’ll ever not feel it.
But it be less sharp. I will be able to breathe more deeply as time goes on.
It will always hurt. Sometimes it will come back with such a blow and slice me open as if it were yesterday.
Those are the hardest days/moments.
When I am driving to work and the mere sight of carseat in the back of a neighboring car will punch me so abruptly that I’ll feel as if someone physically slammed into me. Then I will audibly moan and the tears will rush out of me without control and I’ll feel so surprised and helpless and a million other emotions in the 10 seconds it took me to look….
A true story. It happened. I know it will again.
My point is that some things remain a part of who you are. It changes your description and your perspective. That layering of self is the byproduct of breathing.
Our story won’t end here.
I cannot pretend to know where this will take us. What other experiences we will face. I know this is a small pinprick in the vat of rusty nails that some people have to wade through. I actively try not to compare because I know it diminishes my own hurt. I do that as a defense mechanism. Try to downplay my pain so I don’t lose perspective, but also to distract myself from being lost beneath it. It doesn’t help me heal, it just delays it when I don’t give myself permission to feel whatever I’m feeling without dismissal. I’m working on that – being gentler with myself.
What I do know is that I am fiercely loved. I’m constantly astounded by the scope of my husband’s love. He has been my port in this storm. My firm footing when I didn’t believe I could stand. He shows me God’s persistence and provision every day. We hold one another up, but I admit that he has carried more of the weight. We both marvel often in how we are enormously blessed to have found each other.
Telling this story has taken a long time. To gather the wisdom to know how/if I should. Many discussions with my husband. We are built opposite in this area and I agonized over doing something that I know is the very act of how I heal – how I process the unimaginable – how I understand my own mind and heart. I agonized because it is the direct opposite of how he processes. How he heals. To hurt him would be out of the question and even bringing this up caused me physical pain.
Yet God prepared us both for such a conversation. I would never share this publicly without his permission because it’s not just my story to tell. But this is just my personal perspective. That is important to know.
You can speak with me or message – that is perfectly okay. I promise to be honest if it’s not a great day to do so, but I am a person who repairs through conversation. The ultimate decision to make this public is this: I want to be a testimony to God’s grace in an impossible time. I want to be a resource for anyone who worries about this or has gone through this. I felt God was going to use something full of pain, to grow beauty from beneath it. I personally wouldn’t be at the level I am without the bravery of those who opened their stories up to me. As a woman, having other women to talk to who survived this (& more), has been more vitally transformative than I can describe.
I want to be brave. I want to follow where I feel the Spirit is asking me to go. I want to give myself the opportunity to heal. For me, how I’m built, with the soul He gave me – I do it through the sharing of myself. The writing it through. The vulnerable conversations and the realness of pain. If I close up, I die a little inside. That is how I’m fashioned and so I choose to give myself the best chance to repair day by day. To give glory to the One who keeps me breathing. To listen to those who need it. To lean on those who are there for me.
I have prayed so much for this choice – for how He will use our story. I have been more sick the tighter I wrap around myself. I needed to breathe free. And I’m asking Him to use this for His glory and my liberation.
I know this is an extremely heavy topic. I do not say this lightly: thank you for reading this long, windy, not particularly poetic or coherent story. It’s not perfectly edited, but it’s honest.
Thank you for prayers, for compassion. Thank you for hearing the importance of our disclaimer. Thank you for being a person who cares for us. We stand taller because of our community of family and friends.
And to my love whom I lost…..I wrote you stories in the journal I bought for you. I’m sorry I stopped. I miss you more than I understood possible. I will remember you forever. Even if you medically never formed, I believe you were part of me in a very real way that no one can argue against. I have shame and anger and confusion and emotions that don’t yet have names in a language that one can utter. I love you so so so much. One way or another, we will have a family and you will never be separate in my mind. We have a blanket that was only made for you. We have an animal that is yours. I will share it with our future ones and I will not be ashamed of you or try to wish you away. I do not regret the start of this story – I only regret the way it ended.