I want to share our story with you. It’s not spectacular or dramatic. In all honestly, it’s very ordinary. But it changed us, and that makes it important and worth sharing.
While we were visiting Dallas in April, we thought I had started to miscarry. I thought I was about 7 weeks along, but we weren’t able to see a fetal pole in our first ultrasound. My hormone levels were high, we were told, so this wasn’t a good sign. Then we found out my hormone levels weren’t rising like they should, and in the week following our first ultrasound- which happened to be the week we were in Dallas- I started to bleed on and off.
Over and over, my doctor told us “This pregnancy doesn’t seem to be progressing as it should. If you start having any pain or heavy bleeding, please call us.”
Almost every day, ever hour of our time in Dallas, we swung between feelings of despair and hope, devastation and joy, disappointment and peace. I’ll never forget walking through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and receiving a call from my doctor that my second round of blood work had come back, and hearing for the fourth time, I would most likely miscarry. Walking through so much beauty in the gardens, the Lord gave us the perfect place to reflect on how life is precious and beautiful even when it’s tiny and surreal.
All week, we anticipated the worst. As we looked for a new apartment, explored our new city, and ate to our heart’s content, we spent a lot of time alone together. We cried, we prayed, and we mourned. We asked God to protect this life knowing the outcome wasn’t in our control.
We knew, either way, this baby had already changed us. “Whatever happens, you are the best gift we have ever been given. We will love you for however long we have you and more.”
I spent countless hours that week researching hormone levels, types of miscarriage, what it feels like to miscarry, and how to prepare for it. I can still picture us laying in our hotel bed, tears on our pillows, reading about others’ miscarriage experiences and trying to convince myself that it could still be okay.
Finally, the day came to head home. I had scheduled another ultrasound as early as possible, so we woke up at 3:30am to catch an early flight home to Chicago.
We rolled into the OB’s office rumpled, somber, and exhausted. As we prepared for the ultrasound, the ultrasonographer and ob-gyn, again, prepared us to expect a miscarriage. “Let’s see how much tissue is left, and then we can talk about your options.” We expected to see and hear that the baby was gone, or would be soon. We held our breath to hear confirmation. It was the longest 10 seconds of my life.
As soon as she started the ultrasound, we saw our baby and heard the heartbeat. We wept. Right there, with the ultrasonographer.
What a beautiful gift. We watched our little one wiggle around, and thanked the Lord. Relief and joy. (And a dash of anger at all the precaution, if I’m honest.) Despite the early warnings, we were told that everything looked healthy and normal, and that I should take it easy for a few weeks. After all of our anguish, it was hard to believe that everything could change in a matter of seconds. We are so thankful.
From the moment we found out I was pregnant, I thought about all the what-if situations.
I thought about all of the women I know who have miscarried. Some who continually miscarry without explanation. Others who have lost their little ones late into pregnancy, or hours after birth. Parents who have watched their children go through extensive medical treatment and care in their first years of life, and into their childhood and adulthood.
No age seems safe. There’s no time we can point to and say, “After this, you’ll never have to worry again.”
I don’t pretend to know the pain of miscarriage and loss. But knowing that we are stepping into something so unknown is scary. I know that, while everything continues to look healthy, something could still happen because we live in a broken world, full of sin.
Good or bad, part of me needs to remain rooted in that reality. That I can’t control the outcome. That my baby isn’t mine. Nathan isn’t mine. My own life isn’t mine. Nothing is mine. It all belongs to the Lord.
I can’t expect it to be perfect. We don’t wish for things to go wrong, and it’s devastating when they do.
While we celebrate this gift, I also grieve with people who endure those unplanned difficulties of miscarriage, loss, and complications. I’ve written, rewritten, deleted, and drafted this post at least five times because I struggle to balance joy in our blessing while others grieve their losses.
I ask myself, how do I handle the excitement of this new life, while also mourning with them?
Through our story, I’ve been more deeply learning about the hope of the resurrection. The hope of Jesus, that permeates even the most difficult of situations. That while we live in a broken world, full of sorrow, Jesus continually draws us into eternal realities of heavenly living. Always present, always loving, always full of grace and justice. Jesus is where we turn in hard times and in joyous times.
Loss feels so unfair, and it changes us forever. Grief can follow us for our lifetime, and flow like a current beneath our everyday life. There’s anger, fear, sadness, a deep longing for justice and peace. The forever question of why? Why does it have to be this way?
And as we wrestle with the overwhelming, ambitious weight of grief and suffering, we ask Jesus to return quickly. That he would come and restore peace and take us home. That our lives would turn, exclusively, and entirely, to him in eternal worship. And while we are still here, on this earth, that we would mimic what will be: forgetting ourselves, forgetting this world, and gazing only on God.
He is our hope. He is our comfort.
I need a greater faith to believe his truths. I can write, think, and say whatever I want, but actually living out these realities is much harder.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. I embrace all of these feelings of fear, love, joy, excitement, sadness, and pain, and turn to Jesus. While I celebrate this gift, I also mourn with others, and I mourn sin and brokenness.
God, may you be more real to us than ever. May we worship you more deeply. May we pray more fervently. May we be changed into your image more every day, and express your gospel in our words, actions, and perspectives. Thank you for the gift of your life and your love.