the story of the happy baby [part 1]
doption and infertility are huge part of lives, but they are not the only thing in our lives. This part of the journey does not define us - we are named by our standing in Christ Jesus. I want to tell our story with grace and love and I want to be very, very real about it. I pray that if you're reading this and are at a different place in the adoption or infertility journey, you will be encouraged by the hand of God at work in all things.
When I was twenty-seven and had been married for two-ish years, we decided to become the "not not trying" couple. Yes. I know. In my sweet naivete, I thought I knew that it would take months to get pregnant. That's how it happens, right? You stop preventing and then spend the better part of a year trying to make a baby. Except for us? We got pregnant the very first month. And we were so stunned & called our parents and said something like, "Hey. Blahblahblah nothing important. Oh, and we are gonna have a baby."
One of our parents asked, How did that happen?! and I almost said I have no idea - how DID this happen?! And we sat in the stunned silence. As long as we didn't talk about how exactly it did happen, because no one wants to talk about sex with their parents like that.
Two weeks later, I awoke from a Sunday afternoon nap feeling pretty weak. When I rose, I felt weak, lightheaded and raced to the bathroom - things were happening that I knew did not bode well for me or the baby. We made calls, spoke to an OB and eventually ended up in the ER. Several anxiety-ridden hours later, I was sent home on bedrest.
The scoop? I was pregnant with twins - twin A had no heartbeat and twin B had a strong heartbeat. We stayed stunned. And I stayed in bed. I'd had a harrowing rollercoaster of a month...we're pregnant, we're bleeding, we're having twins, one is dead, the other may not survive, stay in bed & hope for the best.
Really? Hope for the best? My poor heart.
Ten days into bedrest, the bleeding happened again.
Two fearful calls and one doctor's visit later, our fears were confirmed: twin B had no heartbeat. With my husband leaving the country and my body not processing the miscarriages on their own, I had a procedure done two days before he flew overseas. I was empty, I was devastated, my husband was gone and I encountered grief I'd never known in my little world.
Within the month, three acquaintances announced their healthy pregnancies. It was heartbreaking.
I'm big on analogies and I kept telling my family... I felt like I was at a party and we were all dressed up and enjoying our tea and then the host came around offering CUPCAKES to all of us! Each girl got a beautiful, precious, gorgeously decorated cupcake. When the host brought the tray to me, I reached for a cupcake too and instead of getting one of those beautiful treats, I received a slap in the face and derisive laughter. You? YOU have a cupcake?! Yeah, right. I'm not giving YOU this precious thing.
It may seem silly, but that's the best word picture I had in those days. It seemed unbearable. And yet as the Lord is wont to do, He began to work healing in my heart and show me Himself in the loss. I began to pore through the Scriptures, looking for reassurance of His never-giving-up love for me, of His desire to provide for His children, for promises of His care. I entered into a sweet season of rest in His presence and felt that hope was not all lost! And that was good. I began to hear stories from older women who'd experience similar loss and that encouraged me, too - I was not alone!
Having received our results from the physician (no abnormalities & we would have had twin BOYS!) we began prepping for when we could try again. I believed at that point that our miscarriage was basically a fluke. Surely God would not allow it a second time.
It was my first pregnancy, after all, and we were young. There was lots of time. We were hopeful and we were cautiously optimistic.
*A note on loving a grieving friend: I know this may not be true of every woman walking through such a loss, but if I may offer general advice: don't say those things to a woman who is miscarrying. She knows she's young. She knows she has lots of time. She knows all the cliche things and she is probably not abandoning her entire belief system simply because she's grieving. If God does not give you a clear word of encouragement for her heart...don't speak at all! Just show up with popcorn and a movie, or a craft to do, or a new book and nail polish. I had friends who did all of these things - gave me the freedom to ignore it or talk about it. It was such a gift. Don't push, don't prod for answers, just be there. Ask her what would be loving in that time.
I believe this is a great struggle in the body of Christ - grief and loss frighten us. We don't know how to respond to it. We experience everything from empathy to relief that it wasn't us to guilt that it isn't us. But we are a body. We belong to each other to love and encourage, to look to God and listen for His voice on how to speak life and love to those who are experiencing any kind of pain or suffering. Sometimes, we can take our cues from the bereaved, but more often than not, we must be incredibly attuned to God's voice, in order to be used of Him as a comforter. I urge you: if you find yourself as a potential comforter in any story of loss, pray first. Don't become frantic, don't become pushy, don't isolate yourself, avoid extremes. ASK GOD how to be a lover and a giver and a comforter. And if He is silent, then be still. Intercede. This is the most powerful thing you can do for your friend.
[coming up...the story of the happy baby, part two]