the story of the happy baby [part 2]
Note: You can read the story of the happy baby, part one HERE. And here’s my “small print” – 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 not find this painful or frustrating to read, but that you will be encouraged by the hand of God at work in all things, through our story.
I harbored a dream to have a fun and exciting pregnancy announcement - so when we got clearance and were able to conceive again, we kept it quiet. We needed time to choose a fun announcement, right? We figured it would be so fun to tell our folks "We're pregnant again! And this time it stuck!" But the reality was that our silence made the coming sadness almost harder to bear. When this baby died, instead of a happy announcement, we had to call and tell our families "We're pregnant - but this baby has no heartbeat and we are miscarrying again."
It was almost within the same time frame that I began bleeding again. Our OB confirmed that this baby had no heartbeat. I was brokenhearted again and with this new loss, began to experience a fresh, raw anger at the Lord. I knew He "owed" me nothing, He hadn't promised me the baby...but I felt He'd betrayed me.
My body took three weeks to process the miscarriage naturally - it was long and painful. After testing, we learned there were no abnormalities (read: unexplained loss)...and this baby was a girl! (We chose to name her, which may seem unorthodox...but it was part of our healing process. One day I may choose to share her name and that story.) Our physician recommended beginning some bloodwork for infertility, so we could begin examining the cause of the miscarriages. But I was not ready for that. I was still reeling from these losses, aching as I watched women's bellies around me swell with healthy babies, and wrestling with an anger at God I didn't know how to process.
I would have a few good days, tossing around the idea of being hopeful. And then I would whirl into despair again, crying in parking lots and not getting out of bed. My body was empty, my arms were empty, my womb was failing me. I couldn't do the one thing a woman is supposed to do and I felt unlovely, unfeminine, greedy and slovenly. I wrestled with hundreds of lies, vying for my time and attention. Lies that told me I'd never have a baby, I would be a terrible parent, I couldn't handle raising children. Lies that suggested God loved other women more than me, to give them such a gift. That other women were more deserving. That they knew something or possessed something I did not.
I began to believe I was less, because I could not carry a baby. Or three babies, as it were.
This lead to a season of vast emptiness. I remember telling my husband that I wasn't praying. I reached for my word pictures again. "It's not that I hate God," I told him, "We're sitting on the loveseat together. I am not turning from Him. But I am NOT talking to Him right now." I didn't want to be mad at God. I loved God. I knew I couldn't be mad at myself or my husband, nor the doctors, nor anyone else around me. But what was I to do with all this anger, if no one "deserved" it?
Women around me began having their babies - I struggled to rejoice. With every pregnancy or birth announcement, I felt a fresh rush of anger and sadness. It seemed as though every one was a personal assault on my heart. Well-intentioned comments and remarks were painful. Though I knew these emotional responses were not accurate indicators of reality, I did not know how to rise above them. One of the practical difficulties of miscarriage is that your body is processing a physical, painful loss - your hormones are constantly on the rise - or fall. My emotions continued to be subject to some of those hormonal changes for many months after the miscarriage "ended".
One afternoon, my wise brother commented to me that "God has the best chest both to lean on and to beat on. He can take it. You need to give this to Him." My "little" brother, then unmarried, not acquainted with this sort of loss, had the guts to tell me I couldn't stay where I was and needed to move along. I was stunned....and relieved. So I let God have it. Over a period of weeks, I shouted at the heavens You did this to me! You---GOD! I shook my fist, I rocked on my knees, I flung my arms out, I cried, I screamed. I laid prostrate on the floor and begged. I listed all the insults and injuries that I perceived from others, even those that were intentioned well. I wrote down all the specific pains & physical hurts from the actual miscarriage. I wrote down the lies I'd wrestled with. I symbolically sealed those up and eventually burned them (symbolic pyromania!), to indicate that not only did those things not have a hold on me any longer, but because of the indwelling life of Christ, I could begin receiving His healing life and administering forgiveness.
And I believe that's when God said to me, "Okay. Now this I can work with." Would it be the end of loss? No, there was more to come. But it was the end of the agony, because I'd been broken and grieved enough to finally stand at the foot of the throne and agree with God that He is enough.
[next...the story of the happy baby, part 3]