Like most people, I didn’t know a lot about miscarriage until my best friend had one when we were 27. Then, over the next few years, I knew too much. That same friend had another one, her sister had two of her own, and then my own sister lost three babies in less than a year. As a result, having my own miscarriage became one of my worst fears. I watched these sisters of mine handle each one with the utmost grace, yet I didn’t know if I would be able to handle a loss in the same way.
When my husband Michael and I decided it was time to expand our family, I started the journey with these fears. On the flip side, I also knew my own parents had struggled with infertility for the first seven years of their marriage, so I didn’t know what we’d be facing. However, I was blessed to get pregnant rather quickly after we started trying. Daniel’s birth was fairly uneventful, and we soon adjusted to being new parents.
Knowing that we weren’t getting any younger (we were both in our mid-to-late 30’s), we decided to try having our kids close together, and I got pregnant again when Daniel was just eight months old. We rejoiced at the news, but in the back of my mind, I was terrified again that the worst would happen.
Then, on the day before Thanksgiving, my husband and I went to the doctor for a sonogram, and we were given that worst news. The baby didn’t have a heartbeat. On December 5, when I was approximately 9 weeks pregnant, we lost our baby.
It was devastating. I cried a lot. I can honestly say, however, that I have never felt the Lord closer to my side. In the midst of the loss, I felt a peace greater than I might have ever felt it. I realize this might not be the experience everyone has—I can understand if others felt God was very far away during a miscarriage—but I am thankful to have felt this peace.
For me, losing a baby was one of my worst fears, yet after it happened, I realized that the Lord sustained, taught, and guided me so I learned again that I can trust Him with ALL of my fears.
In the midst of it all, I was surrounded by people who had walked this road before me. My sister. My two best friends. My mother, who had lived for years not being able to get pregnant. Random people who would find out and offer their own stories as proof that I was not alone. (Not everyone I encountered was sensitive, though, and many said the wrong things.)
I learned that this road is a too-often-walked road, and I was comforted by those who knew exactly the loss, emptiness, and confusion I was feeling. The Lord used His people to help me begin healing and processing the loss of our baby and what could have been.
I think that’s one of the hardest parts of going through a miscarriage—the loss of what could have been. As soon as the word “pregnant” shows up on the stick, your mind just starts planning. There are names to pick out, jobs to juggle, things to buy, houses to rearrange, lives to be totally changed. So when the news is delivered that it isn’t to be, all of that planning comes to a grinding halt.
It’s hard to know what to do with all of those previous thoughts and expectations. And when or if you have another child after the loss, how do you process the fact that you might not have the baby in your arms if you had not lost the other one? These are things that I don’t understand and have asked the Lord for wisdom as I process my own experience and that of those close to me.
After healing from the miscarriage, my husband and I decided to try again to have another baby. In April, we found out we were pregnant again and due in December. December. A month in which I was never going to have a baby.
Did I mention that I have a December birthday myself? I don’t think anyone plans on having a baby close to Christmas time, and I certainly didn’t. Yet, after everything, I laughed as Sarah did (Genesis 21:6) at our joy and the Lord’s irony.
Of course, He would bring my miracle baby in December—like He did for my mama—since that would have never been in my plans. Time and time again, He is patient and continues to show me that He sees me, He has not forgotten me, and He knows the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11).
I’ve typed most of this story with one hand, as I’ve held my 3-week-old son in the other arm. I look at him now with tears in my eyes, so thankful that he is here. Yet, I know my journey is unlike so many others. There is not always another baby, not always a happy ending.
What I do know is that we have a big God. One who has not forgotten you, who has not forgotten me, and who has not forgotten the sweet babies we mourn—either for their physical loss or for the loss of what might be. I know the Lord is for you and your hopes and dreams. There are no easy answers when it comes to this subject. I can only say, give it all to Him. He is big enough for our unknowns.