A year ago, on July 4, we were in Driggs, Idaho with Christopher’s family. At the time, we were anxiously awaiting a third early ultrasound (we had already had two) after being told at our previous appointment that the baby did not appear to be growing as it should.
Little did we know, though I would come to expect and fear in the days before our next appointment, that we had already lost that little one, too.
It was the furthest I had made it into pregnancy — the first miscarriage that went beyond what they label as “chemical” (such a harsh word when you believe in life at conception, as we do). The renewed hope we had experienced after my cystectomy last spring died quickly and, once more, I felt the keen failure of my body and its inadequacy in keeping our children alive.
The loss total now hit four — two unconfirmed and two confirmed — and I realized that I felt created to be a mother and utterly incapable of becoming one. I didn’t think I could bear the toll of another loss, so we decided to wait until I felt I might again be able to handle the outcome.
In the fall, I threw myself into finally finishing my master’s thesis and making my way through a grief cycle that had become very familiar to me over the last several years. My committee fell into place. I began collecting and dissecting data. It proved a nice distraction.
But December rolled around and I found myself completely terrified that I was pregnant again — I truly, deeply, feared it. I couldn’t handle the prospect. Thankfully, it was not so.
As the new year began, I wrestled extensively with what the previous months (and those ugly fears) had revealed of my heart. The answers I unveiled were decidedly shameful — I had no hope left, no trust in the God to whom I had once looked to for guidance and comfort. While working on our annual AIM resource, I had to (several times) turn off my office light, sit on the floor against the wall, and weep. I didn’t want to see or to acknowledge the places I had dragged my heart. I didn’t want to reopen wounds that I knew would still take years to heal.
And I really, really, really was sick of crying.
In the days that followed, we made a conscious decision to step forward in whatever simple faith we had and work to trust that God had some sort of good for us. We knew we desperately needed to move forward, even if we had no idea what that might look like.
February 12 saw the passing of my due date, as well as the day we had found out I was pregnant in 2013. On February 14, a date I most recently remember as the day we realized I was miscarrying in 2013, I anxiously discovered that I was once again pregnant. The fears of history repeating itself, of stacking another missed due date right next to our 2013 loss, of having yet another reason to despise the second week of February — it was all a little too overwhelming.
In all His grace, that was when God began to write a new story for us. It’s hard to describe without listing through every detail where He showed us that He had been paying faithful attention, that He had not been silent as I had feared — but merely waiting. He displayed full knowledge of my heart’s depths as I recalled dates, sequences of events, and how they so closely tied to each of my fears. Humbling doesn’t begin to cover the experience.
My blood work came back better than it ever had, but anxiety still securely gripped my heart. Those early weeks passed and each milestone was boggling in its details — things I had linked to the last two losses were unbound one by one from the horrible pattern into which I had sunk.
And then, one morning, just before our 10.5-week ultrasound, I was praying and felt God grant me a measure of peace that had been absent for many months. He reassured me that I would survive another loss. He wouldn’t leave me. He would pay close attention to the needs of my heart.
Later that morning, I wept as I watched this little one’s heart beating strongly and as we were shown his spine and his arms and legs. He was growing — and he has continued to grow — just as he was designed to grow.
It has been a very wet season in terms of tears. Joy, sorrow, and shame have intermixed in ways I never thought possible. This child doesn’t exist outside of the story God has crafted for us, that there were those who came before — that there was a season of loss that we lived through (however difficult it was). It all overlaps emotionally and I cannot untangle it.
Somehow, I finished my thesis and my master’s paperwork in those early weeks. The burden I had schlepped along for the four years I had been done with coursework and back in the working world was at last removed from my shoulders.
And, little by little, I have been settling into the fact that I have a healthy, growing little boy inside that will (by God’s goodness and grace) be joining our family in October. It has not been an easy thing to accept — on the contrary, it has been particularly difficult because my heart cannot help but ache for the other four whom we will never know.
But this little one is a beautiful gift. We look forward to loving and treasuring him, to being fully aware that we will make mistakes in raising him. We are grateful that we are not alone in any of it — that we have One before whom we can come and seek grace. We pray this little boy will come to know the same merciful and loving and grace-giving God who has given us so much more than we could ask or imagine — and most certainly more than we ever could begin to deserve.
The last long, hard season has come to a close. We are transitioning into something new and we are so incredibly grateful.