The Baby Given to the Mom Who Miscarried
Many women are headed into Christmas with deep sorrow in their hearts. Some of us have arms that remain empty and others have arms less full than expected. I should be 8 months pregnant but the reality is, I just lost our second unborn child this year less than 2 months ago. I have a dear friend who was expecting a Christmas baby, but will not be meeting that sweet little, until heaven.
As choirs sing “Joy to the world!” our worlds sometimes feel crushed. But the reality is, our weariness has been interrupted by a thrill of hope–a reason for rejoicing.
Hope Between the Lines
This holiday season could very well be my most present yet. In this season of waiting, longing and mourning, my eyes are wide open. As they scan rooms and social media feeds, I’m faced with the many painful reminders of the loss of my two babies. We, whose wombs have been gripped with the reality of death, must learn to read between the lines to find the hope in the middle.
We feel broken when faced with yet another pregnancy announcement, but hope is found in new life.
Our hearts ache when we see our friend’s belly grow as ours remains in place, but there’s hope that God sustains life, even still.
Sorrow seeks after us as our due date draws near, but there’s a birth of a child that brings more hope into our devastated world than we could ever find in the fruition of the babies we lost.
What Child is This?
Here we stood, in our sin, shame and sorrow, unable to rescue ourselves, when God sent his only Son to pay our ransom. (Ephesians 2:1; 1 Timothy 2:6). The humility of Jesus is seen throughout scripture but with such clarity in his birth. (Philippians 2:6-8). He created the heavens and earth. His hands fashioned our bodies and shaped our hearts. (Colossians 1:16-17). And in obedience to the Father and out of his deep love for us, he came.
But listen, let this sink into your heart this Christmas as it has mine–Jesus left glory and perfect comfort to take on flesh, be raised by sinful humans he created and learn as a human learns. He, who had all knowledge, laid it aside to learn wisdom through seeking the Father. The Creator of life and Provider of all needs had to be provided for, fed and nourished. Our refuge took refuge in a mother’s arms under the sovereign hand of his Heavenly Father.
And friends, the fact that brings tears to my eyes even now, is that Jesus not only became a helpless infant, but the King of Kings submitted himself to a vulnerable womb. This reality strikes my heart because no one understands the vulnerability of a mother’s womb like a woman who has felt the life of her child fade from within.
This baby came to reverse the power of sin and death–the very cause of the grieving momma’s deepest sorrow. Jesus is the baby given to moms who have lost babies and he is not a consolation prize. He is the greatest treasure to be held. And he was given to us.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV)
When your arms ache to hold your babies, when your body reminds you that death has touched your womb, when you feel all hope is gone, will you join me in praising God for the gift of his Son, born to set us free from the chains of sin and death?
Death Has Lost it’s Sting
Because of his humble, perfect life, death and resurrection, we have a hope that nothing can steal. It’s a hope that anchors the soul, even as our hearts grapple with grief. (Hebrews 6:19).
We have a Savior who is coming back for us and will raise us to new life. Soon and very soon, friends, and he will wipe away every tear we’ve cried. God made low, to raise us up. This was always the plan, and in his perfect timing, he will crush all affects of death, including death in the womb. (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 ESV)
Take heart. And take hold of Christ. He is the baby given to moms who’ve miscarried.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:3-7 ESV)
Here Are a Few of My Favorite Things
My fourth love (after God, my husband and my dog), is writing about deep theological truths. But with the holidays approaching, I wanted to keep it light so that I can spend more time healing from my recent miscarriages, enjoying my friends and family, and savoring the season.
So, what’s more fun than talking about our favorite things?! Okay…lots of things are more fun… Oh well, for those who are interested, here are 10 of my favorite things right now. (Aside from coffee which is always my favorite thing.)
Okay, so I realize this isn’t really a “thing”, but I make the rules so there.
For those who don’t know, Poshmark is an app used to sell the clothes you no longer wear which, in turn, allows you to use the funds you’ve made to buy from other “closets.” It’s seriously awesome. If you see an item you like, you can make a reasonable offer and negotiate with the seller for a price that fits your budget.
The picture above is one of the items I recently sold. I may be slightly addicted.
2. Matte Red Hunter Boots
Speaking of Poshmark, I bought a pair of brand new–never worn Hunter Boots for a fantastic price on there. Owning a pair of these boots has been a dream of mine for years, but let’s be honest, it hurts me to spend more than $30 on a pair of shoes. I was so excited to sell enough to be able to afford these!
I’m loving this matte red color. They also come in many other styles, colors and finishes. We get a lot of rainy fall days here in Ohio and I’m looking forward to wearing these often. They’re gonna be great for snow days as well!
3. Anything with Foxes
If you know me, you know I love my dog. And you know my dog resembles a fox and therefore I love foxes to an unhealthy degree. Gimme all the fox things!
You could bet that 90% of the gifts I receive from friends have a fox on it. The other 10%–coffee. They know the way to my heart.
Fox scarves, fox socks, fox mugs, fox decor, fox garland, fox nail wraps…just to name a few. Still looking for the perfect fox pajamas. I know they’re out there somewhere, waiting for me.
4. The Blushed Nudes Eyeshadow Palette by Maybelline
My favorite color lately is blush. It’s so elegant and feminine. So, of course this palette stopped me in my tracks at Kroger.
Now, I’m not one to spend a ton of money on makeup because frankly, I’d rather spend my money on clothes any day. I realize many of you may like high end makeup and that’s totally fine! But for the cheap gals like me (Where my girls at?!), this palette is great quality eyeshadow and not too expensive.
Plus, look at those colors! Major heart eyes.
5. Papermate Flair Felt-tip Pens
These are the bomb. I have a weakness for pretty pens and these are not only pretty, but they write so well! They literally make my heart happier.
They’re great for inductive bible study and verse mapping. And with so many colors, it’s like bringing a rainbow to your quiet time.
6. Ankle Boots
But really though, how many ankle boots can one gal own? Apparently many, many ankle boots. Okay, I’ve only got 8 pairs. (Insert nervous emoji.)
They’re probably my favorite fall trend. They’re super comfy and look cute with leggings, jeans and dresses.
7. DevaCurl Melt into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask
Ya’ll. This stuff is seriously fantastic! First of all, I wish I could somehow make you smell it through the interwebs but alas…impossibility. It smells and feels like marshmallow cream without the stickiness.
Whether you have wavy or curly hair, you’ll love this stuff! I use it once a week so it lasts a long time. Which is good, because it is expensive in my opinion. (Thank God for free products from Influenster!) All that being said, I will probably splurge on this from now on. I definitely notice a difference in my curls after using it. They are much more defined and smooth and my hair smells good enough to eat.
Okay, so chances are you’ve heard of these bad boys. Maybe you use them, or maybe you wonder if they’re worth the money. Well, this cheapskate is here to tell you, they absolutely are worth it.
Powersheets are a goal setting planner that helps you prioritize and break down the goals that are most important to you. It’s been so helpful in my life and I notice a major difference in productivity when I take a month off from using them. I tend to be more prone to laziness and complacency. Powersheets basically kick my booty in to gear! They’re awesome! I recommend them 100%.
I suffer from adult cystic acne that sometimes makes me want to hide away for days. I was at a loss when I finally decided to try the Clarisonic and it has made all the difference!
The clarisonic is a facial cleansing brush that cleans 6 times more deeply than using hands. The first time I tried it, it felt like it cleaned months of dirt off in one use. It cleared my cystic acne up in a couple months and it stayed away for a long time. Along with my miscarriages this year, came intense hormones, which brought on the cysts again, but I am happy to report that after I switched to a new brush, they are clearing up very quickly!
*Deeply clean the brush head once a month.
*Buy a new brush head every 5-6 months.
*Wash with a cheap shampoo after every use to strip the oils from it left behind from your face.
10. The Happy Planner
Planning is my love language. (I hate love languages.) But for real, I love to plan. And the Happy Planner makes all my planning dreams come true. There are so many options and additions you can make to it to suit your lifestyle. Plus, there are so many designs to choose from and each of them are gorgeous.
Well, there ya have it. A few of my favorite things. Hope you have a lovely holiday season dear friends!
Even Now We Will Praise Him: The Story of the Children We Lost
Not many women feel led to share the details of their miscarriages. But as I look back on these last few months, I can’t help but share when I see all that God has done. My desire is that it would shine a light on God’s goodness in our suffering and the reality of miscarriage. I also pray that God would use my words to equip women to help their friends and family who may experience pregnancy loss.
I’ll never forget all the emotions I felt that morning. I had already taken a test on Mother’s Day and saw a faint line but wrote it off as defective. But here I stood, 5 days late holding another pregnancy test. I set it down and declared not to look at it until the full 2 minutes had passed.
I paced in the living room as I waited. Would I be excited or pass out in terror of the road ahead? I wanted a baby but had so many fears of the whole process. I walked into the bathroom thinking, “It’s negative. I probably can’t get pregnant and it’s our first month trying!” But as I turned into the doorway I saw it. Two purple lines proving I was wrong. And surprisingly to myself, I didn’t pass out. Instead, I rejoiced and thanked the Lord for his goodness to me.
I doubted him. But he gave the gift of life anyway.
When my husband arrived home from work, I had the proof of his fatherhood attached to our little pup who gives the best greetings. He was happy and said he knew it because I, “had been eating a lot.” It’s true. I was one hungry Momma.
“Take it away.”
Shortly after, the hunger turned to nausea and the cravings to aversions. And my joy turned to fear. For those of you who don’t know me, I have an irrational fear of throwing up that causes me to have deep anxiety at times. And this was one of those times. I was depressed and so very scared of facing that fear.
One day in particular was really bad. I found myself sobbing on my bed because of the deep panic waging war on my soul. In a moment of despair I prayed, “I’m so scared. Please take this away!” And he did. That was the last of the intense morning sickness. I still had aversions and small bouts of nausea but nothing like before.
And those words began to haunt me. I, of course, meant that I wanted the sickness to be gone, not my baby. But I wondered if God would punish me for my unwillingness to submit to sickness for the sake of my child.
Just a few days later on Memorial Day, my husband and I were talking about the change in my symptoms and If I was about to miscarry. I went to the bathroom right after our conversation and began very lightly spotting. I became so worried. I texted friends to pray and asked for advice. I was told it could be normal and to try to relax. So I did my best and pushed down the lie that God was out to punish me for my weak faith.
My group of midwives asked me to come in to do some tests. The pregnancy test was still showing positive so my midwife wasn’t worried. But wanted me to take 2 blood tests, one that day and another in 48 hours to check the rising of the HCG levels. The first one came back great. Unfortunately, we had to wait 4 days before hearing the results of the second. And I continued to spot everyday.
It was a confusing time. We were scared but also hopeful. We trusted the Lord.
That Sunday, God’s sovereign hand guided my Pastor to spend some time in his sermon talking about the Father’s love for us. He took us to these verses in John 17:
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:22-24 ESV, emphasis mine)
There it was. The truth needed to combat the lie circling in my brain. If the Father loves me as he loves his perfect Son, it is wrong to believe he would punish me, though I may deserve it.
The following day, I got the call. The levels didn’t rise as they should. They stayed exactly the same. They scheduled me for an ultrasound the next day. Immediately, after I hung up the phone, I began to sob. I spent that whole day crying and praying with my face to the ground, begging for God to sustain the life of our baby. I was ready to face his will, but wanted so badly for the cup of miscarriage to pass from my hands.
The song, “Though You Slay Me”, made for background noise to my prayer. The lyrics struck my heart.
Though tonight I’m crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You’re still all that I need
You’re enough for me
Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
I said with tears, “Yes, Lord. I will still worship you. You’re all I need.”
Awaiting Sorrow, But Given Hope Instead
As the hours drew near to our very first ultrasound, I became hopeless. I truly believed that we were going to see nothing but sorrow that day. I was preparing myself for the inevitable bad news.
According to my cycle, I was 8 weeks along. I never stopped spotting from the day it started. The ultrasound tech began her task as my husband and I stared at the screen above. Almost immediately, I saw a prominent flicker. Is that a heart beat? I thought to myself, too scared to say it aloud. She confirmed as if she could hear my thoughts. “That flicker is your baby’s heartbeat. It’s a strong heartbeat–around 112.”
I was shocked.
Once again, I had doubted God and I could almost imagine him gently laughing at me and saying, “Won’t you trust me now?”
They told us the healthy baby shown in the ultrasound trumps the mysterious blood test results. They printed out pictures of our sweet little and sent us on our way.
I’ll never forget the kind receptionist who said to us with tears in her eyes as we headed for the door, “I’m so happy for you. I was so worried.” I smiled and thanked her thinking, me too.
We got into the car and my sweet husband prayed and we thanked the Lord for our child whom we already loved so very much. We went to Homegoods to celebrate (just me??) and I’ll never forget how I felt as what we witnessed sunk in. I would turn around and look at Jim and say, “There was a heartbeat!!! I can’t believe this!” as we walked through the store. I’m sure all the other customers knew we were pregnant by the end of our time there. My heart finally began to rest and resume planning.
That heartbeat changed me, friends. I had always wondered if I could truly love a child since I wasn’t naturally drawn to kids. And in that moment, I knew I wanted to spend my life loving our baby. I had never been so excited to know someone. (Other than my Husband). There was life thriving in my womb! I was a vessel that God was using to knit together our baby.
But in just one week, all of that changed.
It had been just one day less than a week since we saw our sweet baby’s heart beat on the ultrasound screen. My husband and I had been walking almost everyday so we grabbed our pup and went out for our evening stroll. When we got back I went to the bathroom and was alarmed at what I saw. I hadn’t stopped spotting yet but this time there was a lot of red blood–something that hadn’t happened thus far. I was a bit worried but I was comforted by the heartbeat we had witnessed.
I was getting ready to leave for a birthday lunch when I decided to call my midwives, just to be sure. They asked if I could come in that day and fear began to wrap it’s lanky arms around my heart. My husband couldn’t leave work and most of my friends were busy. It was such late notice, I knew my mom wouldn’t have been able to go with me. I began to panic. What if I find out I’m miscarrying and have to drive myself home from the city?!, I thought to myself. I got on my face again to pray for the life of my baby and also prayed these words, “Father, please find someone to go with me. I can’t do this alone.”
My sweet dog who was laying near by inched over to me and sniffed/kissed my face as if to comfort me. I got up and left to head downtown.
The Perfect Person
My husband’s childhood friend and his wife were in town. We had just seen them a couple days prior and had filled them in on our crazy pregnancy so far. They had won tickets to an event and decided to stay another week.
I texted Emily the situation and asked for prayer, knowing that she would understand because she too had experienced miscarriage. I didn’t expect, nor did I even think about asking her to go with me but she replied with, “You shouldn’t have to go to an appointment like that alone. Do you want me to go with you? I can be ready in 10-15 minutes.”
The Lord provides. And he provided exactly who I needed to be with me that day.
Everything was still very much up in the air so she reminded me of hope on the way there. She prayed over me before they took me back and prayed as I was in there. She was Christ to me.
The midwife asked me what I was experiencing and scheduled me for an ultrasound the next day. I’ll never forget her face, close to mine, as she said, “I want you to make sure you bring someone tomorrow. I don’t want you going alone in case of bad news.” It was the first time I had seen it on their faces–concern. They told me to call them if I began to have cramps and heavier bleeding.
I walked back into the waiting room with tears falling, trying not to make eye contact with any of the moms sitting there.
On the way home, Emily shared more of her story, what was helpful in the waiting and even afterward, and the ways God showed his goodness to her. She gave me hope and truth to cling to.
She dropped me off at home and as soon as she left, I passed two blood clots and cramps began to take over my body.
When Death Enters Your Womb
It started off like bad period cramps but by 9pm I was in the most excruciating pain of my life. Not many people understand that for many women who miscarry naturally, we labor these tiny babies.
At one point, I was in the bathroom and in so much pain I nearly hyperventilated. I walked out to get to my husband who is good at calming me down. “I’m gonna pass out.” I said as my knees gave into weakness. I started to crawl to him and he jumped up off of the couch, scooped me into his lap and held me in his arms. He was Christ to me. “You need to slow your breathing down.” he said. I laid there gripping his legs as my own legs restlessly kicked toward the wall, writhing in pain–a physical display of the pain that was also waging war on my heart.
All I remember saying is, “This hurts so bad.” and, “I’m never getting pregnant again.”
Death had entered my womb and had taken away the joy that is meant to follow labor. Instead, there was sorrow and empty arms on the other side. There would be no healthy baby in my birth story. I would never get to see my baby’s first smile or learn anything about him/her. I carried a life, and that made me a mom, but no one would know and many would discount my motherhood as valid.
But I had never been so certain of my motherhood until I lost my baby who I was already so very attached to.
“There’s Nothing There.”
The next morning, still burdened with cramps, my friend took me to my ultrasound. (My husband couldn’t get out of work.) The pain, mixed with anxiety and trauma, made the ultrasound nearly unbearable. My whole body shook uncontrollably as the tech searched my womb for evidence of life or death. I swallowed back monstrous tears as best I could.
“There’s nothing there.” I whispered those words and the reality of them pressed down hard on me like a weight 10 times my size. It was a weight I couldn’t even begin to carry. No longer could the tears be held back.
My friend held my hand and whispered, “God loves you so much, Brittany. He loves you so much.” And she wept with me. She was Christ to me.
This was just over 6 months ago, and now we are facing the loss of two babies. We decided to name them, though their gender is unknown to us. We trust that God has given them names that are far more fitting.
Amos, whose name means “carried.” because it was my joy to carry him/her for the 9 weeks I did. Praising God that he/she is now carried by God as of June 12th 2017.
And James, whom we named after my husband.
We discovered that I was pregnant on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day and this little one was due to be born just days after the anniversary of losing Amos. We wondered if this would be our rainbow baby after the storm, but the storm raged on. Instead, we lost him/her on my sweet husband’s birthday, October 21st 2017.
The timing was tragic and left us with so much confusion and shock. It felt like an attack. But through it all, we have held tightly to the truth found in God’s Word. HE IS GOOD. His ways are higher, his ways are best, and his ways are for our joy and that we would treasure Christ more.
So, even now, we will praise him. We will lift his name up and pray for strength to glorify him in this journey. Though it is hard and could hold even more loss, he doesn’t waste an ounce of our pain. We are blessed. We are comforted. We are thankful.