Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. In honor of my own babies, I wanted to share my story.
After years of trying to get pregnant, you can only imagine the excitement we felt once we heard that we had a positive pregnancy test. Even though our infertility doctor couldn’t offer an explanation as to why we had trouble conceiving, the treatment he offered us worked. We were pregnant. We were elated and we couldn’t hide our excitement. Our prayers had finally been answered. We went to our first ultrasound anticipating getting to see our little miracle, instead the only thing we saw was emptiness. No signs of life, a blighted ovum. I couldn’t believe it. How could this be? God had heard our heart’s cry. Surely there was a mistake, surely this miracle story wasn’t over yet. So we waited, all the while contending for yet another miracle. If God could raise people from the dead, then He could breathe life into my womb.
The second ultrasound was more bad news. No change and no signs of life. I was staring at a picture of what I was feeling–emptiness. I needed more time to believe this, so we asked for another ultrasound days later. Still no change. I began to accept the reality that my first baby wasn’t going to get to live life. The numbness began to overtake my heart, but I was resolved to become a mom. If I could get pregnant once, then maybe I could get pregnant again. I rationalized with myself, ‘lots of women have miscarriages. I just joined a new club that I never wanted into.
For our next step we wanted to increase our chances and increase the aggressiveness of our fertility cycle. When the doctor called with positive results, I felt a huge sigh of relief. But I quickly found myself holding my breath. I knew the journey wasn’t over. During the first ultrasound, I was able to breathe a little. There it was…the first flickers of life, a heartbeat. I knew we weren’t out of the woods, but we were further than we ever had been. The next ultrasound confirmed every fear and doubt I had. We had lost a heartbeat, and with it, I had lost my ability to breathe. I felt frozen. There were no words to say, nor words to hear that would help my broken heart. I was losing my second child and I couldn’t do anything about it. I carried my baby for weeks, hoping that the ultrasounds were wrong, beginning to believe that apparently I wasn’t good enough to be a mom. Not only could I not get pregnant without medical intervention, apparently my body wasn’t able to keep a baby alive.
The loss of my second child left me wounded. I hated my body. It must be to blame. Who else could I blame? I never stopped believing that God was able to give me a child, but I had little hope that He would deem me worthy of one. I knew if He wanted to give me a child, He would. So it must have been something wrong with me. The very thing that women were created to do, the very thing I had dreamed of becoming since I was a little girl, apparently wasn’t for me. Walking through the pain and struggle of infertility taught me something significant about my faith. I believed in God and I believed that God performed miracles for other people, but I questioned whether or not I was worthy enough for me to be one of those people.
For months I moved through life just going through the motions, pacifying myself by immersing myself in work and going through infertility cycle after infertility cycle. With each month’s disappointment, my heart toughened.
After 6 infertility cycles and a difficult pregnancy ending in preterm labor, the Lord finally blessed us with a child. He had heard my prayers and gave me a miracle. The day she was born, I remember clearly thinking to myself, “I want to do this again“. She was 6 months old laying on the floor cooing and smiling. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my little miracle. Then I had a God moment, “You see her as a miracle, but you don’t believe that you could be healed.” It was painfully true.
My friends were celebrating my birthday with a tea party. It was then that I shared my heart’s desire to have another child. I confessed my unbelief to friends and family. They surrounded me in prayer and believed with me for my own miracle. For the first time in a long time, I was stepping out of the boat in faith for my miracle. I wasn’t just hoping for a miracle, but I was beginning to believe that God would do it for me.
The next month, for the first time in our married life, my husband and I got pregnant without any medical intervention. Shock and awe only began to describe our emotions. Because of our journey with infertility, we quickly went to the doctor, and she confirmed that we were indeed pregnant. I knew God had healed me. I knew that He had felt my heartache and blessed me with my own miracle. Days later, we found ourselves in disbelief. Our fourth child would never live life on this earth.
In some ways, it was bittersweet. Sweet, knowing that we could get pregnant. Bitter, because even if you have a child and even if you’ve been through it before, losing a pregnancy is exactly that….a loss. I realized that three of my children were conceived and lived in my body for a short period of time, but they each were able to experience the glory of Heaven without ever experiencing the pain, sin, and suffering of life in this world. From glory to glory they lived and will forever be. I was given an honor to be the vessel that allowed them to live. Seeing my body as a vessel in this way, made me love my body again. And now I look forward to the day that I will see my children face to face–what a glorious day it will be!
If you’ve experienced pregnancy or infant Loss, we want to join with you in prayer. Tell us your story. Whether its through a story, a name, a number, or just a ‘me too’, we want this to be a place where your loss is acknowledged and where you will remember that you are not alone.