I miscarried on Sunday, August 13, 2017. It is a common occurrence, a nurse informed me that morning. One in three pregnancies end that way, she said. That knowledge didn’t make it any easier.Almost two weeks later, I finally had the opportunity to get away by myself and journal about what had happened. After reading or describing the outcome of my processing to several people, I was encouraged to share that writing publicly. It took me over a week to be emotionally ready to do so.So here it is: my raw, unpolished journal entry about the baby I lost.
Saturday, August 26, 2017I begin this new journal at the Norbertine Center for a less-than-pleasant purpose to my visit. There is much I need to process – to explore – thoughts and feelings deep in my soul that may have opportunity to express themselves on paper when they have difficulty doing so in any other context.Help me, Lord. Help me to see, understand, and process so that I may return home better able to serve as the wife and mother you would have me to be…
I think back and the tears begin. I hadn’t initially wanted to have another child so soon, but there was joy when I found out I was expecting again – that little plus sign filled me with gladness at the knowledge that a little life had once again taken root within me. I shared the news with John and we snuggled tightly, rejoicing in the wonder of the new life. This joy continued as we shared the news with our family and closest friends. It continued and grew as I went through my days, realizing that I was already caring for not two, but three little ones. Even in the moments of tiredness and the fears and doubts that caused me to wonder how I would cope with a new baby, an 18-month-old, and a 4-year-old, there was joy and a sense that it would all be o.k. We came up with possible names for the new person – Joshua Dwayne if it was a boy and Abigail Grace if it was a girl. We began imagining a house filled with the giggles of three small children. We were already intimately connected to this new little person – our spirits joined in equal force to the body that was so closely connected to my own. Unknowingly, we had also build a number of hopes, dreams, and expectations around this new member of the family.I scheduled the first doctor visit (Aug. 9) at what we estimated to be about 9 ½ weeks. Since there was really nothing to be done at this visit other than confirm I was pregnant, there was no exam. An ultrasound was scheduled for that Friday.
(Aug. 11) The baby was too small for the ultrasound lady to see. She needed to give me a vaginal ultrasound.Fear began to creep in – something wasn’t right.The baby was small – only 5 weeks 6 days, the lady said.It was logical. We could have been off on our estimate.The fear continued but managed to be soothed through a comforting call to a good friend.That night, after church, the bleeding began. It was small at first, but it continued on, growing gradually heavier. By Sunday morning I was worried enough to call the nurse. Her words struck me numb.“…It sounds as though your body might be trying to miscarry… Call tomorrow and schedule an appointment to see a doctor…”I might be in the process of a miscarriage and there was no way to stop it. We went to church that morning and listened to God’s words about offering peace. I was in physical and emotional pain and yet those words cloaked me in the knowledge and comfort of God’s care and presence in the middle of the situation.That afternoon, things grew worse. There were strong, painful, contraction-like cramps. Blood flowed out. The worst was the clots. Each clot I saw made me wonder if I was holding a small body that was once attached so closely and intimately to my own. Since there was no way to know, I flushed each clot down the toilet, wondering each time if I was burying my baby.The pain let up some that evening, but the cramping continued for the next few days and the blood, though considerably less, continued on through that week and into the next.In that first week following what I now know was the miscarriage, we experienced a beautiful display of God’s love through the people in our church.Sara, Matt, Teri, and Holly all came over to be with me, helping with the girls and housework so I could rest. John took a day off work and took time off on other days to be home with me as much as he could. Faith and David brought us dinner one night.In the midst of the pain, exhaustion, and uncertainty, it might be noted that I came down with a severe cold that drained my energy even more.One night stands out to me. In the middle of my pain and exhaustion, I heard God telling me to look at my husband. Somehow, I received the strength to look beyond myself to a degree I have never done before – to see and put another’s needs so fully and completely before my own and receive an unexpected joy in doing so. Somewhere, in the midst of pain and death, God was there, empowering me to bring life.
After a visit with a midwife (Aug. 14) and two days of blood tests, we finally confirmed by ultrasound, on Friday, August 18, that I had lost the baby. The ultrasound revealed only an empty womb with no fetal sack or baby in sight. Hearing the words brought tears, just as the writing of the words is now doing. The life – the spirit we became so attached to without even realizing the extent of our connection, is gone. It left this world and my body and is now resting safe and sound with the God of Life.My baby is safe and resting well in the arms of the One I serve and though it brings joy and relief that this child I will never know is in such a good place, it also brings pain, sadness, and longing, knowing that I will have to wait so much longer to meet them.There is a spiritual connection that was lost – a connection I will never regain in this world, a connection with a small life that I now mourn.My time of giving to and caring for that life has ended. There is nothing more to do there. It is over. Done. My womb is empty of that life and my heart and spirit feel the absence as tangibly as my physical body, and so I grieve.There is a time to grieve. God’s word says so (Eccl. 3). So what is godly grief? It seems throughout scripture that grief/mourning are an expected (and even necessary?) part of life, but they are not a perpetual, permanent part. There is a time for mourning and a time for dancing. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to be born and a time to die.Throughout time, God has shown time and again that He is One who brings life in the midst of death, joy in the midst of sorrow.“Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
I sit here in the last room at Norbertine, looking out the big glass window at the green bushes and trees, the mountains and the sky.I sit and rest and wait and listen. God is a God of life and beauty. He is a God of joy and peace. In the midst of pain and sorrow, He is there, surrounding us, loving us, lending his strength. Even when we mourn, He is there, comforting us.
Thank you for showing me life in the midst of death. Joy in the midst of sorrow. Beauty in the midst of pain.
And so ends my journal entry. May God show himself to you as the God of life.
Questions and Details?Since this was a personal journal entry, there are many details and circumstances that I didn’t explain. After going back and forth on whether or not to include some of those details here, at the end of this writing, I decided to let you, the reader, determine which questions (if any) you have and to give you the opportunity of contacting me directly.