“Storm” has been a theme in my life this last week. A week ago today I was frantically cleaning my house, preparing meals for my family and packing for a quick blogging trip to Arkansas. It was the day before my period was expected, and I figured “oh what the heck! I’ll take a pregnancy test for the fun of it, maybe I won’t have to pack feminine products!“. I took the test, and stared down at it unknowingly. I saw a fuzzy pink line appear and then fade away as the test line turned a vivid dark pink line, like it’s supposed to. The test was not positive, so I put it on the window sill of our master bathroom and went about putting the kids to bed, as Jay was out working in the fields preparing for the upcoming harvest season.
After the kids were snuggled and tucked in their beds after a story, song and prayers, I grabbed my phone and texted my sister-in-law Laura that I was “definitely not pregnant”. Laura has been excitedly cheerleading for us to have another baby, as we have been sitting on the fence of having one last baby to add to our family for the entire year. I have gone through seasons on both ends of the spectrum; sometimes my mind changes hourly about adding another life to our family. Needless to say, Laura was disappointed in my news that I wasn’t pregnant. I replied to her that I actually wasn’t as relieved as I thought I might be that I wasn’t pregnant…but that I also knew I would definitely be panicking a bit and feeling anxious if the test showed two pink lines vs just one.
I went back to the bathroom to clean up a bit, glanced over at the test on the window sill “just in case” and low and behold…another pink line had appeared. At least, I thought so. I started second guessing myself. Was that really a positive test!? Was that an evaporation line? A false positive?
My next text to Laura was “OMG. OMG?!?!” Followed by “Is this an evap??? I just went to check it again”
I started wondering if I could really handle three children. I felt a little numb with the shock and semi-surprise of being pregnant with our third baby. I even felt guilty running rampant with emotions, glancing over at a picture on our dresser of an almost 3-year-old Braden happily snuggling his new 5-day-old brother Ethan. I wondered if I would rock their world too much by adding another baby to the family. I even cried. Real tears. Worried tears. Anxious tears. I felt all the emotions. I was happy, but scared. Excited, but nervous, because it was all happening so fast and seemingly so soon. I had a bad day with the boys that day, I was stressing out over my trip to Arkansas and all the things I had to get done and
I think I know I was a bit short with the boys that day, but we did have a good bedtime as I tried to make up for my shortcomings of the day. Needless to say, my emotions had emotions that day.
I then texted my husband asking when he would be home. He told me an hour, and I just couldn’t wait that long, so I called him and said “well, I think I’m pregnant“. I knew I was pregnant. He completely took me by surprise and told me how excited he was. It made me feel so at ease and calm knowing that he was excited, because in all honesty that was not my first reaction. For our other two pregnancies, they were as planned as they could possibly be and I was over-the-moon happy, whereas Jay admitted he felt guilty for being scared and not excited off the bat. He then told me that our kids are the absolute best part of our life and having another can’t be a bad thing. Jay completely calmed me down and got me excited too. He told me that this was in God’s hands. And it is—it truly, always is.
After I got off the phone with Jay I walked out onto our deck. There was a storm rolling into the south of us and it looked so pretty. I’ll always remember it, but now I wish I had taken a picture to really remember it. I prayed to God that He would take my anxiety away and to bring joy into my heart about this. I then heard God say to me “I’ll take care of the storm for you“, and I was at peace. I felt my emotions storming, certainly not my circumstance and He helped level me out and brought me peace and hope for the future.
All the Feelings
The next day I was in Arkansas and bought the most expensive pregnancy test I’ve ever purchased, because I just had to confirm the pregnancy with an absolute—not a faint line. A $17 cab ride and a $15 digital pregnancy test later (with $0.75 Canadian on the American dollar!) I went back to my hotel room to confirm without a doubt that “YES+” I was pregnant and due with an early April baby. I excitedly texted Laura and Jay and starting really looking forward to this spring baby. I even got to share the news with my brother and sister-in-law in person when I returned home on the Friday as I saw tears of joy well up in their eyes at the news of another niece or nephew to love, but admitting to them that it was “still really early”…as most expecting moms are trained to think.
On Friday evening as I was getting ready for bed, I knew something was wrong. I could just feel it in my gut (perhaps literally as well as figuratively). I went to the bathroom and saw what no expecting mom wants to see on the toilet paper: a reddish/pink streak. I had spotting with my first pregnancy at 6 weeks and even a bleed at 28 weeks and everything was okay. But I had never had anything this early and I just felt that something was wrong with our baby.
I prayed that night that God would take care of our baby and that He would heal it if something was wrong, but also that I prayed that He would give me strength and that I would try to understand if He had to take our baby because something was definitively wrong. I also had the thought cross my mind of “I’m going to be another statistic. I’m going to be a 1 in 4“. Sadly, at 3:30 that morning when one of the dogs woke me up, I would find out that I was going to be the 1 in 4 women who experience early pregnancy loss.
I was bleeding. I was having a miscarriage and losing our baby.
On Grief, Loss and Hope
Even though on one level I knew it was coming, on another I was completely beside myself. How could it happen? I had two healthy pregnancies and two healthy boys to prove it. I had never had a miscarriage, so why now? Why me? I waited until an ‘appropriate’ time to test with Braden because I wanted to be certain it was positive. I just knew I was pregnant with Ethan from almost the moment that it happened, tested much earlier than with this one…and it all went fine. What happened to me with my third pregnancy is called a chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage. Most women won’t even know they had a miscarriage when a chemical pregnancy happens, I only did because I tested on the early side.
Luckily my mom was up so I got to call her to talk to her about everything that was happening. It was hard to say it out loud and tell my mom that I was pregnant, but that I was miscarrying and losing the baby. Somehow I managed to get back to sleep and I told Jay, my brother and his wife that morning.
I cannot believe how attached I got so quickly and the pain of searing loss I feel over our two week old developing baby. If not for the pain of the loss, then for the pain of “what could have been”. I also never knew how many of my own family and friends have lost pregnancies. It happens more than you know, and I have found the thing that has helped my healing so much is talking about it with other women that it has happened to. Everyone is different, copes differently and grieves differently, but I could not be where I am right now without the help of these women’s counsel. I reached out to trusted people to pray for me and for Jay—thank you to our prayer warriors, we feel and appreciate your prayers.
I know deep down that something was wrong with our baby, and as they say it was “not meant to be”. If our baby would not have been viable later on, I am truly thankful that God took our baby as soon as He did. I try as hard as I can to be thankful in every circumstance and lean on and trust in God’s plan for my life. I am thankful that I now know for certain that I want to purposefully try for another baby, but that if that is not in God’s plan for us, that I will find not only peace in that—but joy. Joy and thankfulness that we are already blessed with two amazing boys and so much more in our lives than we deserve.
I find peace and hope knowing that God wrote my story long before I was even born. I look back on my life, and in particular the last two years, and see my story unfolding and the pieces of the puzzle fitting together. I don’t always understand, or quite frankly like, how the pieces fit together and the order that they go—but I do trust in it. It helped me get through my Dad’s death and it will help me get through this loss. God knows everything about me, so who better to talk to about all of this than Him?
My father-in-law texted me his sympathies, as they were away on vacation and he said: “May God wrap you in His arms and be your portion. May He fill you with his peace in the midst of the storm.” (emphasis mine). Storm: the recurring theme of my last week. He told me to run to the Psalms, so I did. How comforting Psalm 139 is.
If you have struggled with loss or if you are struggling with loss, I hope in any minor way my words have helped. It is so therapeutic (for me) to talk with women this has happened to for support and grieving, but it has also helped me to write it all down. In light of Mark Zuckerberg sharing the news of their pregnancy and the importance of talking about miscarriage, I thought I would add in my own recent experience. Thank you for reading.