National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day was yesterday, and October has become known as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. So, in honor of the awareness month I’d like to take a turn at “breaking the silence”, and sharing my husband’s and I’s story.
In July 2014, Frank and I had learned we were pregnant with our second child. On Tuesday August 5th, 2014 as I was preparing for work, I started having severe cramping, and then I starting bleeding a large amount. I had a sinking feeling. I just knew. I was having a miscarriage. I didn’t need the doctor to tell me. I just knew. I got a fellow nurse to cover the class I was supposed to be teaching, and my husband and I went to the OB/GYN that morning.
When we saw the doctor, he didn’t give us false hope, but he wasn’t negative either. He explained that some women bleed early on in pregnancy, and we won’t really know anything until I had blood work done. We drew blood, and my amazing husband took the day off to spend with me. I was to come back on Wednesday to draw more blood work.
Wednesday morning came, I worked in the morning, and had an appointment to draw my blood again just after lunch. As I already said, I knew I was having a miscarriage. I didn’t need the blood work to confirm it. But what i didn’t know was that Wednesday August 6th, 2014 would be one of the hardest days of my life, and a day that I have never felt so alone.
I went to the doctor appointment alone. Frank offered to come, but I knew he had just taken and entire day off to be with me, and he still has a job he needs to do. So I told him to stay at work. As I walked into the doctor’s office, I didn’t even consider how many pregnant people would be there in the office. I checked in, unfortunately, I was about 15 minutes early. As I sat there, watching all these pregnant women around me, I couldn’t help but cry. Here I was sitting in the waiting room with tears rolling down my cheeks, because why did all these women get the joy of having a child, but I lost mine???? The Medical Assistant for my doctor is amazing in every way. She looked through the glass and saw me crying. She called me back. It’s not her job to draw blood. It’s the lab techs, but she was at lunch and the MA knew how I felt. She didn’t need to ask, because she has once had a miscarriage too. She said “I can draw your blood. It’s not a problem.” She took me back. She looked me in the eyes, and said “You’re young Stephanie. There is still time. You will try again.” At that moment, I thought “Hell no. I can’t risk feeling like this again.”
I quickly left the doctor’s appointment, got in my car, and I bawled my eyes out. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I have a ton of family that lives near me, and we are all very close. I have a constant support system, except for this Wednesday. You see, first off not many knew I was pregnant, so that’s a hard phone call to make “Hey, I was pregnant, but I miscarried, and all I need is a hug.” —not exactly the phone call you want to make. Now, my grandparents didn’t know I was pregnant, and they are someone I could of gone to, but they were in Florida. Frank was at work. My other grandmother had just broken her hip and was in the hospital, so my mom, fairly so, was with her sisters at the hospital waiting for my Mima to get out of surgery. So, I called my dad. He answered, but said he wasn’t home. He offered to go home, but a huge weakness of mine is admitting I need help. So, I lied, I told him I was fine, and never mind. So, I went home. It was just Maddy and I at home, and I felt so, so, so alone. I have never felt like I needed to just be held, and there was no one to hold me. My poor two year old probably thought I was crazy. All I was doing was crying. To top it all off Frank had to work late, to make up for being gone the day before. In fairness to him, he had no clue how much I was struggling, because like I said I don’t like to admit when I need help.
Have you heard people say God meets you in your darkest hour? Well, He did. I clearly remember sitting in the bathroom while I bathed Maddy thinking “How can no one be here for me when I need them most?” And God whispered, “I’ve been here the whole time. I’ve been with you all day today. I’m right here.” I just broke down harder, I started praying fervently. I asked for forgiveness. I asked for God to just hold me.
I learned a huge lesson that evening, I learned to lean on God.
Learning to lean on God is not a quick process, and neither is grief. It took several months to stop being sad. The hard part about this sadness was no one wanted to talk about it with me. I didn’t want to talk about having a miscarriage, but I did want people to remember the child I had lost. I’m sure many didn’t ask about it, because it’s a sensitive topic, but I didn’t want this child to just be forgotten. It broke my heart, because I loved that child as much as I loved Maddy.
The doctor encourages you to try again in 3 months after the miscarriage. I’ll be honest, this was a hard leap of faith for me to take. I didn’t want to try again. How could I allow myself to be that vulnerable again?! What if I lost the next child? I spent a lot of time in prayer about it. Through that prayer, I knew God had more than one child planned for our future. So we started trying. Three months passed of us trying, and we still weren’t pregnant. This let down was almost as hard. Frank and I both discussed having feelings of inadequacy. We were discouraged. I read, and re-read the verse Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” After the third negative pregnancy test, Frank and I decided we would try one more month, and if we still weren’t pregnant we would seriously consider adoption.
Then, January 2015, I had a positive pregnancy test. Finally. Joshua 1:9 would become my rock for this pregnancy. I would have to learn to be courageous. Fears of losing this child were all to real. God would help me learn to live in the present, because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. I would constantly tell myself “I’m pregnant another day. I got to know this child one more day.” God was helping me grow in a big way.
September 28th 2015, Libby was born. Our amazingly perfect second daughter, third child. I didn’t get the pleasure of meeting our second child but! I wouldn’t change having Libby in our lives. Plus, I can’t help but think God has huge plans for her. He will do great things with Libby on this earth.
Now, I know there are many women out there, some I know personally, who have experienced multiple miscarriages, still born births, or even tragic losses of infants. My heart goes out to each of you, because I think you have felt loss even deeper than I have, and I can’t imagine your pain. Please know that I pray for you. My God is a good God all the time, and there is a plan. I promise.