Unboxed Feelings: Our Story of Pregnancy Loss and Trusting God in Waiting

This is a post that I wasn’t sure I would be able to actually publish. In fact, it’s one I tried to talk myself out of writing for a multitude of reasons. I’ll be honest with you, I’d rather share a thousand videos of my kids being silly than to share much of anything overly personal about myself. I don’t want extra attention (or heaven forbid, to seem needy or attention seeking!) and I certainly don’t like to be vulnerable. Especially to people I don’t know. Which includes a lot of you. But today I’m pushing past all my internal flashing yellow caution lights (okay, actually big red flashing STOP lights!) and sharing our journey because there are some stories that deserve to be told. My babies in heaven deserve to be known just as well as my babies here on earth.

This past November, I became the 1 in 4. I became a part of the 25% of women who experience pregnancy loss, and it was a club I NEVER wanted or even remotely thought of which I would be a part. We have two healthy girls, ages 3 and 5. And while we had wanted to get pregnant for most of 2018, many circumstances (some in our control, but most of them not) kept us from conceiving baby #3. It was frustrating because “our plans” (you fellow Type A control freaks know what I’m talking about) were being derailed month after month after month. So when I finally saw those two pink lines, I was BEYOND thrilled. All the hopes and dreams for the next 9 months flooded my mind. We talked about how we would surprise our immediate families with the news on Thanksgiving, and then plan an epic way to tell our girls on Christmas Day - super magical, right?! We planned out how we would rearrange & redesign our spare room, settled that we would be team green this time around, and I even started thinking of names (and of course baby outfit ideas because duh, that’s how I roll).

But in cruel twist of fate, on Thanksgiving Day, when we were supposed to share our news with our parents and siblings and exclaim how thankful we were for this much longed for blessing, I was cramping and bleeding, miscarrying our baby that we had prayed for over the last year. Even though I wasn’t too far along, I went through a huge range of emotions at this time. I felt heartbroken that our dreams had slipped right through my fingers, but also felt so thankful that at least we had two healthy, beautiful children already. Perhaps it would be accurate to say I even felt guilty for feeling sad? Did I really have a right to mourn our loss when other couples have suffered much more than we did? I wasn’t sure. So I remained in a place of ambivalent grief, with a lot of contradictory feelings and emotions. And in turn, I stayed silent. 
So fast forward a month and...surprise! We were pregnant again. I figured the odds were on my side this time. Surely we wouldn’t miscarry again — the chance of back to back miscarriages was only 2%. A couple weeks later, we shared the exciting news with family and close friends and again we began planning for the upcoming 9 months. But a couple weeks later, I had a multiple signs that something wasn’t right with my pregnancy. Even after good blood work numbers at 4 weeks, and seeing our sweet baby via ultrasound at around 7 weeks, along with a strong heart rate of 134 beats per minute, I knew deep down that something was off. Our friends and family were our prayer warriors during this uncertain time. And if love alone could have saved our baby, I know for a fact I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. But unfortunately, despite heaps of prayers, support and love for our precious child, we became a part of that ugly 2% statistic and I miscarried naturally at home the next week.  The days leading up to and after my miscarriage were heartbreaking and draining - filled with a unique twofold pain that is both deeply emotional and also very physical. That process could be a blog post in itself. But suffice it to say, we were devastated. How could this happen to us twice? And what if it happens a third time? Will I ever be able to just enjoy a pregnancy after this without feeling like it’s going to end at any moment?
I quickly reasoned with myself that I would never share these stories publicly until I was pregnant again, and well along in my next pregnancy — IF I ever shared it at all. A rainbow baby announcement softens, and perhaps overshadows and deafens, the devastation of the loss. It makes something awkward and uncomfortable a lot more palatable. Because truthfully, it’s easier to share uncomfortable things when there’s a happy ending, where all those feeling of sadness and confusion can be boxed up in a package and tied with a sparkly bow as if to say, “Sure it was hard, but look at the good that came from it!” And while I do to my core believe we serve a God of redemption, I also know that the periods of sadness and pain are what make redemption so powerful. So despite my hesitation to speak up about our pain, God has spoken to my heart very clearly about sharing our story now - while I’m very much NOT pregnant. Sometimes we need to hear stories from people in the midst of their journey - before they reach the finish line. And that can not happen if we only share the challenges AFTER we get our picture perfect ending. I’m realizing that it’s important that we don’t neglect sharing what happens in the periods of waiting. Where the big feelings, sadness, broken dreams and deep uncertainty are laid out on the floor for all to see, with the pretty boxes, wrapping paper and ribbons tossed aside. A place where we don’t know what the future holds, so we are simply trusting God to hold us. 
I would venture to say that a lot of you or people you know have experienced, or will experience, pregnancy loss. Many will be early like ours were at almost 5 weeks and 8 weeks respectively, and some will be much later in their journey. Each situation is different and I can’t pretend to understand how others feel when they lose a baby later on in their pregnancy or after experiencing years of infertility. I’ve never been there and I hope I will never have to endure or comprehend that kind of devastation and loss. But I have gained an immense amount of compassion for women who have broken hearts because their babies went to be with Jesus - regardless of how far along they were. It can be a very lonely place because initiating the conversation about the loss can feel awkward and uncomfortable. And because it feels like such a faux pas to proactively tell people that you miscarried, many of us grieve in silence while we make up excuses for why we missed days of work. We smile and create an equally lame and fake response when we run into old friends who ask when we plan on growing our family. And lie through our teeth when people harmlessly ask us, “What’s new?!” while we casually and robotically reply, “Oh, not much!”, all the while secretly thinking that everything has changed.  
So to those of you who have grieved your loss in silence, who have questioned if you have the right to feel sad, who wrestle with how to tell people about your feelings — we stand with you in love and prayer. Know that you are not alone. Its okay to feel a rollercoaster of emotions - there’s no right or wrong way to process those complex feelings. But know that the more you speak up about your experience, the more you will realize that there are so many people who know what you’re going through.  I truly believe God uses our stories and testimonies as a way to comfort and encourage others.  If we just box them up, and only share the good, we miss out on so many opportunities to minister to others and walk with them in seasons of challenges. When our second miscarriage was looking very likely, I reached out to several women who I know had experienced loss for their advice and support. Had they never shared their story with me, I don’t know who I would have gone to in my time of pain. So because of their courage, I was able to garner strength for my own journey, and that is precisely what we need to do for each other as women, friends and sisters. And in turn, it is why I feel so compelled to share my story with you. I am going to leave you with a verse that spoke to me just days after I experienced my first miscarriage. God miraculously brought this verse to me in a beautiful way (that’s yet another story for another post...I really should write more!) and I hope it speaks to you like it did to me.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 English Standard Version (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.[a]

If you have experienced loss, please know you can always reach out to us for support and prayers. And if you're struggling and looking for additional support, please check out No Footprint Too Small Birth & Bereavement Services. This organization was founded to provide support for women, men and families experiencing pregnancy or infant loss and they'll be happy to help connect you to resources and/or refer you to services which can help you through your grief journey in your community. 


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