Category Archives: Prenatal Loss

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Daring to Trust God in the Midst of Heartache

January 7, 2016

“If I just knew the end result, then I could trust, God.” I would pray in a whisper. And then laugh disparagingly at myself. Knowing requires little trust. Trust and faith happen in the face of uncertainty.

For 15 months my husband and I had tried for another baby. At first we assumed it would happen quickly. Even with our losses, we had never had any issues getting pregnant. Staying pregnant had always been the problem.

Now, it seemed, this would be hard too.

I kept thinking, if I just knew, then I could move on. If I knew that we were never to have another biological child, then I could grieve and move forward. If I were to find out that we’d have another child but not until a certain time (preferably given the knowledge of the exact month and day we’d find out, because planning) then I could relax and live fully in the now without worrying about the future.

But where is the trust in that?

Then it happened. Two little lines on the pregnancy test, “I don’t believe it,” I cried as I called a friend. “Can this be true?” And it was true.

Early pregnancy symptoms kicked in, but I didn’t care. I felt awful, but I was finally pregnant and so full of joy. “Thank you, God.” I prayed, not taking a minute of it for granted. This is probably my last pregnancy, I’d tell myself and I wouldn’t allow myself to be consumed by worry or complaint.

Then the best news of all: TWINS! God’s grace and favor felt abundant. Perhaps this is why I needed to wait for another baby, I reasoned as I googled double strollers and non-minivans that could hold three car seats. But the good news was couched in some concern. The babies were smaller than they should have been and the doctor was uncertain of what that meant. As I left the appointment, anxiety overwhelmed me, but my husband and I quickly concluded this was just another area we needed to trust God, and provided another means for Him to show His glory and power. I began to plan our Christmas announcement.

A week later – in early December – we were devastated to learn that both babies had been lost. As we prepared to celebrate the coming of the Christ-child, I felt numb and void.

I had trusted God to make things go my way. But that wasn’t how it went. Could I still trust? In the midst of this shattering heartache and new uncertainty, I didn’t know.

TRUST AND FAITH HAPPEN IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY, NOT IN THE KNOWING1.

This is where my sticky friends came to my aid. I didn’t want to talk – I didn’t even want to see anyone. But cards starting pouring in with words like “I don’t understand but I’m sorry” and included gift cards for coffee and treats. And I realized that even in the midst of my hurt, God heard my cries and provided comfort. I began to want to trust. I prayed for God to fill my lack of trust with faith that only He could provide, and I looked up verses on trust.

Two verses especially stuck out to me:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4

Notice that both begin with “Trust in the Lord.” Perhaps He’s trying to say something? Even in the middle of my pain, I’m choosing to trust. Not because I have any idea of what’s next. And not because trusting is easy, because it isn’t. Rather, I’m choosing to trust because I know that I know that I know, that God is good and His love for me (and you) endures forever. Even when we can’t see what’s coming next, He has a plan, and we are just called to trust in the Lord.

After all, trust and faith happen in the face of uncertainty.

3.13.12

March 13, 2014

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Today is my son’s second birthday.

From the moment that plus sign appeared on the pregnancy test, J and I planned and dreamed and waited. Waited for the first ultrasound with the beating heart. Waited to feel that first flutter of movement. We watched and we waited and we prayed for our firstborn.

With a thatch of dark brown hair on his tiny head from me and J’s muscular calves he was beautiful. But life had already left his body when I held him in my arms at 20 weeks gestation. I was just meeting him – just finding out that he was a he – and already I had to say goodbye.

“You’ll have more…” they said. They were right. Although many are not so fortunate.

“You are blessed,” they say. It’s true. We just celebrated Reagan’s first birthday and I love being her mom more than words can say. She brings joy to my life and is the beat of my heart.

“You’ll get over it.” Never. You never get over losing a child. You continue on {hopefully} and the pain lessens. You don’t think about your child quite so often. Then a song comes on the radio, a breeze blows through a wind chime or a smell catches your attention and the memories come flooding back. And with them, tears. Tears on the solitary drive to work or in the quiet hours of darkness. And guilt that you had forgotten even a little bit.

Others move on and it feels like they have forgotten. Maybe they have. Or maybe they just don’t know what to say or if it would hurt more to bring it up.

Bring it up.

You can never hurt me by thinking of my child. You can never wound me with your love for my son. Your concern, your thoughts, are like a balm to my broken spirit.

Since this journey began I have met many moms like me. Moms without babes to be held in their arms, but mothers the same. If that describes you, know that you are not alone.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

This post is in honor of Samuel Evan Oliver. Mommy can’t wait to hug and kiss you in Heaven!

Special thanks to all who have walked alongside me on this journey, both family and friends. And thanks to Wendy, Eva, Stephanie and my many friends in my Incompetent Cervix support group for sharing their own stories of pain and encouraging me when I wasn’t sure how to move forward.

Hope After Loss

February 20, 2014

Sitting on the exam table for the ultrasound, J and I could see our precious babe: heart pounding, hands waving and legs kicking – a perfect little miracle. At 20 weeks we were hopeful that maybe this impromptu ultrasound would result in a gender reveal. But as the tech continued to move the wand she paused and asked us to wait while she called for the doctor. A person I had never met before – but who has since become precious to me – walked in. Dr. Abarca, one of six doctors in my OB/GYN practice, looked at the ultrasound and in silent agreement dismissed the tech from the room.

She calmly and compassionately explained that I was dilated to 4cm. She then put me in a wheelchair and pushed me across the parking lot to the hospital where they would attempt to keep me pregnant. However, as soon as they got me settled, my water broke.

Twelve hours later, Samuel Evan was born. Stillborn.

Samuel

I went home later that day to a quiet house and an empty womb. I would stare into the bathroom mirror with a hand on my abdomen and wish/beg/cry to feel my baby’s – my Samuel’s – movements. In the beginning I thought I would never be “normal” again. How could life go back to the way it had been before such a loss?

But hours turned into days and days to weeks, and slowly the pain numbed and I didn’t cry as much. Local friends brought meals, my Bible study girls, my co-workers and even my doctor’s office sent flowers, Facebook “friends” I didn’t know well or hadn’t seen in years sent cards. I felt so loved in the midst of my deep pain. {Check out my post on the Hello, Darling blog for ways to love on a hurting mom.}

You never “recover” from losing a child, but life does return to a new semblance of normal. God has graciously blessed us with another child {my sweet baby girl Reagan} who takes up much of my waking hours. But little things remind me of Samuel – a song on the radio, a holiday {we found out we were expecting him the day after Thanksgiving two years ago}, even fast food {which I craved during his pregnancy}. Although I can only hold one of my babies in my arms, my heart is full of love for each of my children.

*This article originally appeared in The Fridge Door, a weekly e-newsletter from MOPS International.