Getting pregnant is one thing. Staying pregnant quite another. I found out the difference one morning in April 2008 when I was about 4 months pregnant. I had been diagnosed with uterine fibroids about 7 weeks earlier when light cramps turned into excruciating pain. At the time, my husband was out of town for work, but I was lucky enough to have my sister with me and she took me to the emergency room. After a long, winding night, I was informed (quite casually by the doctor) that the pregnancy would probably not end in a live birth.
Despite that, the pain lessened after a few days and my hope grew.
Maybe the doctor is wrong about this pre-term labor thing. Maybe the baby will be alright after all. Maybe the pain won’t come back.
There were a lot of maybes, but I believed that God would allow me to have a healthy baby. I certainly knew he could and I hoped he would. But He didn’t.
That morning in 2008, I got out of bed and liquid gushed down my legs. Even before we went to the OB/GYN’s office for the ‘official pronouncement’, I knew. I knew the baby I had carried for 4 months would not draw breath on this earth.
That entire period was one of the darkest in my life and I spent days, weeks … months, railing at God, my husband, the doctors … and my body, which had let me down in such a terrible way. It took a while before I was okay, before I stopped bursting into tears at the sight of pregnant women, before the cry of an infant stopped piercing my heart.
In His time, God has indeed made things beautiful. I have been blessed with 3 wonderful children and I am filled with gratitude every time I look at them. I have also had 3 miscarriages, and each has been devastating in its own way. I never thought I would survive one, let alone three, but God has been merciful and has not allowed my experiences to break me.
One thing that encouraged me was testimonies from other people who were brave and honest enough to share their stories of loss – and eventual victory – with me. In the same vein, I would also like to share three things I learned from my miscarriages:
1. I had to be okay with God
After my first miscarriage, I was not only devastated; I was also angry. I was angry at God for allowing it to happen in the first place, at my doctor for not doing anything to prevent it, at my husband for being able to move on (or so I thought) after such a short time. I cried a lot. I asked God questions and I raged at him. One day, in the middle of one of my tirades, a question dropped in my spirit, and it literally stopped me in my tracks.
“So, will you stop serving God because of this?”
I stopped my restless pacing, and with tears streaming down my face, I answered – what was to me – a very hard question.
No. I wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop.
There in that moment, I knew that I wasn’t serving God for what I could get out of him, but because I loved him and wanted to please him – whether I had a child or not.
I think that was when I started to break free of the sorrow that had bound me so thoroughly. My anger fled. Though grief remained, it was no longer colored by rage, but by love – my love for the baby I lost and the God who had allowed it to happen.
2. There is always something to be thankful for
I had another miscarriage in December, 2010. In some ways, that second one was more difficult than the first.
Not again, I thought to myself. Not after everything we had just been through. I couldn’t understand it … and I still don’t. But, I refused to sink into another depressive state. By this time, my daughter was about 17 months old. Just looking at her reminded me of how good God had been.
“If God has given me one child, surely He can give me another,” I reasoned. “And even if He doesn’t, I’m so grateful for what He has already done.”
It was important for me to count my blessings and stay grateful. That Christmas was spent with my sisters and their families and I resolved to relax and enjoy being surrounded by my loved ones. Maintaining that spirit of gratitude helped me keep things in perspective.
Two months later, I discovered I was pregnant. My son’s due date was October 18th, the exact same due date as the baby boy that would have been our first – just 3 years later.
3. Believe God for something better
By the time the 3rd miscarriage came, I would have called myself a pro – if one can be a pro at something so horrific. The circumstances of that last miscarriage were very traumatic, but once again, I refused to give in. Even though I already had two children, I didn’t want a miscarriage to be my last memory of pregnancy. I wanted a different ending to my story. I believed God for something better. And 4 months ago, God gave it to me.
I now have 3 children, each one a special gift from the hands of my loving Father. I am learning faith from the things I’ve suffered … learning to believe that ALL things truly do work together for my good (Romans 8:28).
What lessons have you learned from the things you’ve been through? Please, share in the comments!