Two weeks ago I was full of nerves and excited anticipation, along with bouts of nausea, extreme fatigue and growth in my middle. For my body knew what my head still hadn’t fully wrapped itself around… I was pregnant. Expecting, a little life-form growing inside of me. We have two beautiful, healthy and thriving little men in our lives; Jay (6) and Liam (4). For over a year, we had been leaving what happened next completely in God’s hands. Honestly, even though we knew the possibility of becoming pregnant lied before us, it had been so long with no new happenings that we were beginning to become pretty confident that God’s plan for us was to end strong with these two guys. So when I saw two pink lines staring back at me from those plastic sticks, I sat in a bit of shock. Over time the shock was melting into joy, excitement and eager anticipation. I became busy making mental plans for the baby’s name, pinning ideas for the baby’s room, imagining what a family of 5 would look like and how that would impact the two big brothers, and even picturing what it was going to be like someday having a 6th grader, a senior in high school and a college student all at the same time. I was planning, dreaming and letting reality sink in.
We decided to tell the boys our family news. Jay was soooo thrilled! He shared a million times a day that he desired a sister and would frequently announce how excited he was that there was a baby in my belly. Liam was more reserved, but made it known how he wanted a brother. Then one morning, he shared, “I told Jesus I want a little brother and He laughed. He said, “It’s a sister.’” And we let ourselves go there… hopeful a girl might grace us with her presence. Even while all of these thoughts ran through my mind and the words passed our lips, I still wasn’t 100% sure this was all real.
Then it started. The bleeding. It came like a dark horse passing in the night, with its powerful gallops shaking the very ground on which I stood. With the hooves landing so close to my being, also came a forceful gust of wind blowing fear over me that made my hair stand on end. I called my Midwives office and they asked me to come in. They asked all of the necessary questions and sent me to have an ultrasound. This is the part where I lay back and fully expect to be reassured that everything looks perfectly normal and then I can go back to planning the nursery décor. Instead silence from the tech, following by a lot of moving around and clicking of the keyboard. I ask what she is seeing. As matter-of-fact as one can be, she states that she doesn’t see a pregnancy in the uterus, but there is a mass on the left fallopian tube. From what she can tell, she thinks it is an ectopic pregnancy, but I will have to wait and talk with the Dr. Then, as if we were just discussing whether we would prefer tuna or egg salad sandwiches for lunch, she is interrupted by a pressing thought… she must remind her son that Kevin Hart is coming to town this week and proceeds to text him, lest he forgets. So, as I walk in complete numbness, the texting technician escorts me back to my Midwives office.
Can I interrupt for just one second to remind our awesome and wonderfully hard-working health care providers that, while I know you deal with these fragile situations daily and they become somewhat normal to you, for that person sitting on the other side, these are just that… FRAGILE situations. Please treat them as such. And I step down from the soapbox.
Back in the Midwives office, I have hope that this is all just wrong. She didn’t know what she saw, I mean, clearly she was distracted by Kevin Hart. This is just plain inaccurate information. I still have not fully grasped the pregnancy. This can’t be happening. Next, I am referred to the OB/Gyn to talk options. Thankfully, the Doctor who delivered both boys was available and agreed to meet with me. She wasn’t 100% convinced that it was an ectopic pregnancy and wanted to gather more information before we did anything drastic. She ordered blood work, then sent me home with things to watch for and a tiny sliver of hope that this was still a normal pregnancy. All I needed was a sliver.
Upon returning home, I called on a prayer warrior of a friend who specifically prayed for the spirit of fear to be lifted off of me. I immediately felt His peace come and cover me. To this very moment as I type, that Peace has not left. We prayed for the baby to be right where it was supposed to be and began believing for a miracle to prove them wrong. This is where Paul and I stood for the next 24 hours. I refused anything else and needed to stand on that sliver as if it was the only iceberg in the stormy sea.
The bleeding subsided. Then on Tuesday, it started again, first light, then a little heavier, but still not too concerning. No test results came that day and I turned in for the night trusting God needed a little more time to pull off his triple-back-flip-of-a-miracle. At 1:45am Wednesday morning, I woke to heavy bleeding and a feeling of wooziness. Something was definitely off. I woke up Paul and said we needed to go. A wonderful neighbor/friend/Texas family member came over to be there when the boys woke up. We headed to the ER, where I was poked, prodded and scanned; again by health care providers who were all too used to seeing hard things and lacked the ability to deal with “fragility”. Then the Doctor on call came in. She had located the blood work results from Monday. She shared that the pregnancy hormone levels had dropped in half over the past 48 hours. Then she said these words…
“We now know that this pregnancy is not normal and isn’t going to make it. I’m so sorry.”
The weight of her words “this pregnancy” hit me with the ultimate gut check. It was THAT MOMENT that I became 100% aware that I was in, in fact, pregnant. Then, I was spun around to face the devastating words “not normal” that confirmed I was losing this baby.
The very first image that came to my mind, was Paul’s beautiful sister, Ellen, with her big bright smile and arms wide open, welcoming our child to Heaven. Paul’s sister passed away in 2012 and it is no secret she was one of the world’s greatest Aunties. The vision of her greeting our little wee wonder, brought me to tears. And then there was the Doctor’s compassion. “I’m so sorry.” Fragility. I was grateful for her.
The next several hours were spent admitting me and waiting. After being given a long list of options, including several we were very uncomfortable with, we opted to do laparoscopic surgery: go in, have a look, and either rule out or deal with an ectopic pregnancy. Surgery happened. It was ectopic and my left fallopian tube was removed. I arrived in the ER Wednesday at 2:30am, pregnant. 19 hours later, I was discharged, still reeling from the anesthesia, no longer pregnant and missing a body part. I felt like I had been dropped into a blender without a cover, splattered back out, unaware of where I landed, confused and cut-up. I remember saying to Paul on the otherwise quiet ride home, “What the f#?!* just happened?”
On that long ride home, we picked the boys up from another trusted friend/Texas family member. We had agreed to wait until the next day to talk with the boys about what had taken place. Funny thing about parenting… it doesn’t wait until YOU are ready. Jay is my son-of-a-thousand-questions. He does well with lots of information. He doesn’t do well with only a little. As we pulled away from the pick-up site, he starts firing.
“Mom, why did you go to the hospital?”
“Because something wasn’t right with me. I needed help.”
“Was it your belly?”
“Yes, Jay, it was my belly.”
“Mom, did the baby die?”
And there it was,
“”Yes, honey, the baby died.”
“It did?!” Almost as if my answer was a complete shock and confirmation all in the same breathe. His wide blue eyes welled up with crocodile sized tears and, then, lip quivering, they spilled over. He was overcome with sadness. My little precious love, hurting over a hope of a reality that was no longer to come.
The medication and physical pain kept me pretty numb for the first few days. As the medication was weaned away, the fog began to lift and reality set in.
I was pregnant.
I lost the baby.
I have three children.
One is in heaven.
My new reality… as it sunk in, so did the hurt and the sadness. For two days my eyes were brimming with tears and my heart full of confusion as I sorted all this out. The one thing that remained constant was His peace that covered me and the mental image of Auntie Ellen’s loving open arms.
Today marks one week since that Wednesday. I weep for my baby that I won’t meet or hold until my eternity begins. Yet I am at peace in His arms and am hopeful of the future. I am walking forward fully feeling all that comes, allowing God to heal me along the way.
A friend of mine recommended giving the baby a name and shared that this brought her peace when she walked through this very thing. I was skeptical. Then another friend left me a timely voicemail and shared Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” There it was… a name. My little Harper Joy. My baby has a name. I didn’t anticipate how much giving this child an identity would make me feel better. It did. It does.
I keep mentioning how His peace has covered me… literally like a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold winter’s night. I can’t describe it fully, only to say it is His peace, not my own. Then, today I opened “Jesus Calling” and this is what I read…
“Seek My face, and you will find not only My Presence but also My Peace. To receive My Peace, you must change your grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust. The only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is My hand. Ask My Spirit within you to order your day and control your thoughts, for the mind controlled by the Spirit is Life and Peace.
You can have as much of Me and My Peace as your want, through thousands of correct choices each day. The most persistent choice you face is whether to trust Me or to worry. You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what. I am an ever-present help in trouble. Trust Me, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Romans 8:6 and Psalm 46:1+2
His blanket of Peace brings warmth and comfort. This past week has been laden with loss, sadness and pain, both physical and emotional. And while I have no idea what my future holds, I do know that no matter what life throws at me, I choose Him. I choose to trust. I choose Life and Peace. You can too.