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 meThough 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.