The Day My Box Was Crushed
Is there hope after miscarriage? In February of 2010, I was in a happy and contented place. I was a foster momma, and content to work towards the reunification of the children in my home. I had 2 beautiful little boys that I loved deeply. I had a confidence that I would complete my family through adoption, and a contented spirit ready to wait for God’s timing. I felt certain that we would not have any more biological children, and I was completely comfortable with that thought. I was, also, quite confident in my Savior. I knew 3 very important things, things that I hung my hat on and rested in: 1.) God is good. 2.) He is in control. 3.) I could trust His plan for my life. And, then, one day I realized I was pregnant. It made me nervous. It was not my plan, but because Joshua and I having never actually planned a pregnancy, I continued to remain confident in my 3 truths. I vividly remember saying “God’s ways are better than my ways. His plans are better than my plans, so I will trust Him in this pregnancy”. I remember thinking that I could probably still foster and later adopt. I would take a short break while I got adjusted to life with a baby, and then I would add another little one into the mix. It would be fun. It would be an adventure. God is good. He is in control, and I can trust Him.
We scheduled our first OBGYN visit with a family friend, a doctor who attended our church. He joked with us in his office about us having twins (the worship pastor at our church was having twins a few months before our due date). We laughed. We had no risk factors for twins, not one single set of twins on either side of our family. I had never even dreamed of having twins. I preferred to have babies one at a time. He sent us back for a sonogram, and unbeknownst to us, he had talked to the sonogram technician about continuing the twins joke as she showed us our baby.
Well, we all had a little joke waiting for us. We were having twins, not the joke kind, the real ones. We couldn’t help but laugh. We had no plans of having one more baby, and here we were making plans for TWO more. I was terrified. Josh was calm, but at the end of the day I knew 3 things: God is good, He is in control, and I could trust His plans for my life. Maybe our foster care journey was ending before we had planned. Maybe adoption was a farther off dream than I had originally thought, but God’s plans are better than my plans. It would be fun. It would be an adventure.
We called our families, laughing and crying together. We announced the ridiculously wonderful good news of our babies. We worked to wrap our brains around what had seemed impossible just a few weeks before. I got excited. I began to long for the thing that I had never before wanted, expectantly waiting for the day I would know my precious babies.
And then, twelve very short weeks into my pregnancy, I began to bleed. For the first few days, the doctors told me not to worry. It wasn’t abnormal to have a small amount of spotting in pregnancy, but on Sunday morning, as I sat through church things began to change. I KNEW something was wrong. I wanted help immediately, but I knew that my pastor husband could not be reached until the end of the service. My nervousness grew as the minutes passed. I grabbed a dear friend and asked her to take my children home with her. She hugged me and asked if I was okay. I shook my head “no”. I was terrified, but I reminded myself that God is good, He is in control, and I could trust His plan for my life.
Joshua drove me to the hospital. Our kind OBGYN friend was on call that day. What a precious blessing that was. We sat in our room waiting, passing the time. I laughed that day. I talked about inconsequential things to keep my nerves at bay. I hoped. I prayed. I trusted in my Good, Good Father who was in control. They sent me to have a sonogram. The jovial technician became oddly quiet. I continued to hope and trust until my doctor came to give me the news I never wanted to receive. I had lost both babies. Our kind doctor cried with us and prayed over us. I made Joshua call and text our families. I couldn’t even put words to my loss for fear of shattering into a thousand pieces. My parents offered to come that night, to drive 5 hours to be with me. I told them not to. I would be okay. They did not listen. I’m glad they didn’t listen. I needed their presence, their gentle care, and their love as I walked through those first hours of grief.
The first 24 hours I felt an overwhelming, aching numbness. Could there be hope after miscarriage? I laid motionless and without words, unable to sleep, unable to process the road I was supposed to walk, and then the tears came. Deep guttural tears. I spent months crying constantly. I wondered if I would ever have another day free from tears. I ached for what I would never have. I cried over the lost kicks and wiggles in my womb, over the pleasure of knowing whether I was having boys or girls or one of each, I felt the depth of loss in not knowing their hair color or eye color or the sound of their cries, to never get to hold them next to my chest and soak in the smell of their heads. I would have given anything for one kick, one day, one moment with those little loves.
I struggled with guilt. Maybe I had done something wrong, eaten the wrong thing, exercised the wrong way, not taken good enough care. Maybe it was me. My womb was broken. I had not protected them, because I could not protect them. I felt guilt for feeling so much pain for children I had never known. It was silly to hurt that much. I felt guilt when I laughed, because maybe that meant I didn’t care enough. Maybe there was no hope after miscarriage. Guilt became my constant companion.
The hardest pain, though, came as the box I had put God in, the one I thought was based on truth, was crushed around me. I was hurt. The God I thought I understood had broken my heart. Why would He give me something I never wanted, cause me to long desperately for that thing that I was content without, only to take it away? I trusted Him. I was comfortable with changing my plans to fit His. I was willing to walk wherever He asked me to walk, but why THIS road? I began to wonder if God was truly good. THIS did not feel good.
And, yet, through it all, on those darkest of days, I heard the gentle whispers of my Father telling me of His love for me. I continually asked Him WHY. I wanted something tangible. He wanted to change me, make me more like Him. I cried out for answers. He softened my heart. I wanted something to fill my aching arms, and He knew it was my heart that needed fixed. He let me cry out in hurt. He let me voice my distrust, and all the while He worked to heal the wounds that I had never knew I had. He used my grief to make my faith grow.
I used to be the girl that never cried. I prided myself on the ability to control my emotions, hide them from everyone. Through those hard days, I sat in church and felt the reality of heaven in ways I never could have imagined. I quietly cried through praise songs, knowing perhaps for the first time how true the words really were. I grew in compassion for those around me, able to enter into other people’s pain in a way I never had been able to do before. I learned that I would never truly understand God, because He was infinitely more good and more holy and more real and more sovereign and more MORE than I could ever grasp. I realized that my twins were safer in the arms of their Maker then they ever could have been with me, and I was reminded constantly that one day we would meet and all that I had lost would be found. I have never come to a definitive answer to my WHYS, but somehow these small changes in me are enough now. I have found hope after miscarriage. I wouldn’t want to go back to who I was before.
Tomorrow will be the 6th anniversary of my due date. I think about them often. I wonder what life would have been like with 2 sweet 6 year olds learning to read, bringing us laughter and tears, talking constantly, fighting with one another, snuggling in between us. I would have loved every second of being their momma. We named them Allie (Baby A, a shortened form of Allman after my parents) and Dorothy (tiny Baby B, named after her tiny Great Granny Ledbetter). I laugh sometimes about getting to Heaven and finding out that they were boys. I will never stop longing to hold them and know them. The twelve weeks of being their mom brought me great joy and forever made me better.
I love you, Allie and Dorothy.
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name