Lately I’ve been feeling that my posts have lacked a little bit of depth, that they’ve been surface-y and lackluster. Have you been picking up on that, too? Having a blog is a strange thing. There are boundaries to what I will and will not share on this site; I don’t post personal details about my marriage, family dynamics, disagreements, and things that are not mine to share. As a rule of thumb, I try to sit on and process most important life events for quite some time before blogging about them. I don’t mind sharing personal stories and information on E&C, I just like to be sure that I’m comfortable with what I do decide to share.
Since August, I’ve been sitting on a post that I’ve been debating whether or not to share. It’s personal, certainly, but I think God gives us life experiences so we can share them with others. After all, the Body of Christ is about community, right? And what good are our experiences if they are never used to help and encourage others, to connect and relate with those in similar situations.
Joe and I have been married about 2 1/2 years. By most standards we got married young (at the age of 23) and knew that we wanted to wait at least 4 to 5 years before ever thinking about having kiddos. Joe will be the first to tell you that he can’t wait to be a dad someday, but we wanted plenty of time to travel, get further along in our careers, be puppy parents and manage our schedules as we pleased. Side note: Being a young married couple is the best. Stay up late watching Prison Break marathons on Hulu Plus? Slumber party on the couch for the night? Late night ice cream runs and sleeping in on the weekends? Amazing.
However, all our perfectly-laid plans got shaken up in July when I (very unexpectedly) found out I was pregnant. Joe and I were not trying and the whole thing took us by surprise. There was a lot of disbelief, some fear and nervousness and eventually a lot of excitement. So many times in life I’ve seen how God takes our plans and shakes them up to make room for something better he has planned. We both figured that although it wasn’t exactly our timing, God’s timing must be better.
After the initial shock wore off I was overwhelmed with anxiety and fear about the whole thing. Since we weren’t trying, I wasn’t exactly primed for baby making. Drinking wine, drinking coffee like it was water, long and excessively hot summer tennis matches, taking Retin A for my skin, you name it. For some reason, I couldn’t shake the fear that I was going to miscarry this baby. I tried to brush off the nagging feeling, but it wouldn’t go away.
I went in for my first doctor’s appointment with a nurse practitioner at around the 8 week mark. Since I have always had slightly irregular/long cycles, the nurse practitioner decided to do an ultrasound to accurately date my pregnancy. Since it was just supposed to be a routine exam, pap smear, blood work and not a lot else, I figured it was okay to go while Joe was out of town on a work trip. When the nurse practitioner suggested doing an ultrasound I was surprised but also excited, as I suppose any mom-to-be would be.
The ultrasound tech was super sweet and warm. She quickly pointed out our baby to me and took measurements. From her estimation, I was measuring around the 7 week mark instead of 8, which didn’t surprise me since my cycles sometimes varied and I hadn’t been doing any type of charting. However, her demeanor changed from warm and friendly to quiet and cool when she found the heart beat. When I first heard the heart beat I thought it was my own since it was so slow. I didn’t know a lot about babies and being pregnant, but I was pretty sure that heart beats at that stage are supposed to be much faster than the chug I heard on the monitor. The tech quickly printed off photos for me and told me to head back to the nurse practitioner’s office to chat without further explanation.
The doctor proceeded to inform me that our baby’s heart beat was, as I thought, pretty low, somewhere in the 85 beats per minute range. Although she tried not to alarm me, saying that it didn’t necessarily mean anything horrible, she did say that she wanted to see me back in a week. The low heart beat could mean that I was about to miscarry. In retrospect, I really wish the nurse practitioner would have given me a bit more information. I know she wasn’t trying to scare me, but leaving me without much information only drove me to the internet to do more scary research. Another side note: Stay away from the internet when it comes to pregnancy related issues. There is an extreme story on both sides of the spectrum for any scenario you can think of.
Two days before I was scheduled to go back to the doctor’s office, I started feeling some severe cramping. Although I wasn’t bleeding at all, it was enough that I felt the need to call the doctor. They did another ultrasound and confirmed that the heart was no longer beating and I had, indeed, miscarried. The timing was less than idea, with Joe away on a work trip. Although he said he would drop everything and come home, I told him not to take PTO. (Maybe it sounds silly, but I was insistent that he save his PTO time for a happy occasion.)
My amazing mom made the trip up in his place and sat with me, let me mourn and did loads and loads of laundry while I laid on the couch. I have never been so thankful for a woman like her with an amazing servant’s heart!
I know that miscarriage is incredibly common (well, that’s what the internet tells me) but I was shocked at the lack of stories I have heard from women who have personally gone through such an experience. After I miscarried I desperately wanted to read and hear stories from other women who had experienced miscarriage and gone on to have healthy, happy pregnancies. The whole experience has a way of making you feel fearful, hopeless and, if you’re not careful, it can make you question/blame yourself. I was very ill prepared for the physical and emotional toll that it would take on me, but man it’s no joke. Aside from the emotional grief I felt, the physical and hormonal healing process was just as hard.
Today, three months after the fact, I can say that I feel much more at peace with what has happened that I did in month to two months following. It took some serious time to process what I experienced and come to grip with the fact that God does have a plan for our family in His perfect timing. Although I can’t claim to know what His plan is right now, I have to believe that being able to bring this experience in front of others and share with you all what we’ve gone through is part of that plan.
I’m still fearful about what the future holds, but I’m working that out with God right now. Do we want kids in the near future or do we want to wait a while, like originally planned? I don’t know. Although miscarriage is completely normal and common even among healthy women, I still fear the worst-case scenarios. Does it mean that we have a long journey ahead of us along a rocky road? I’m not sure of that, either. What I do know is that I have seen God work in amazing and unexpected ways, and I’m choosing to trust that His plan is the best plan for our family. I’m working on getting to a place in my heart where I can say that it is well with my soul.