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“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”Lamentations 3:32-33 (NIV)
Sometimes despite all the prayers, God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we would hope. In the moment it’s normal to feel hurt and confused, maybe even angry. Why would God not grant you something that is seemingly good? The answer is often that God is either protecting us from something bad or preparing us for something even better. In the middle of our grief though it can be hard to remember these things.
Today I went in for a follow-up ultrasound to confirm my pregnancy. According to my calculations I should have been a little over 7 weeks pregnant. At our first appointment, the doctor couldn’t see anything that seemed like an embryo. So today (Friday, 11/19/21) I was hopeful that I would see something but all we saw was a tiny mass that maybe flickered and faded, no heartbeat or blood flow of any kind. I had bloodwork done and my HCG levels are 52,000 (they were 15,000 the week before – normal for the weeks of pregnant I should be), which would explain all my queasiness and aversions today.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant on October 23rd after returning from our trip to Florida the devil started attacking my mind. I was so anxious about the pregnancy even though I very much want another baby but we hadn’t expected to get pregnant in October because we intentionally tried to avoid pregnancy (like one time supposedly outside the fertile window for the whole month AVOIDED). I knew that if I conceived in October I’d be due sometime around late June/early July which would coincide with our move to Pittsburgh. But when I saw the positive pregnancy test I thought “well God has better plans than I do.”
Almost immediately though I started having intrusive thoughts about something being wrong. I also came down with a really bad cold that Isaac had picked up while in Florida (he got tested 4 times, it wasn’t Covid). I started praying about my feelings and for the health of me and baby but I kept telling myself that my prayers weren’t powerful enough, that God wasn’t going to hear me the way he used to hear my mother. I missed my mother terribly. Even though, I had made an appointment with a VBAC friendly ob/gyn my appointment wasn’t for another month and my anxiety was through the roof. At my therapist suggestion I called up my old ob/gyn and scheduled an appointment with them and was seen at 6 weeks and so began the “hmmm, we’ll wait and see but it doesn’t look good.”
As the days wore on I grew closer to God. I shared with family my news and asked them to pray for me. I read scripture, mostly to cast away my anxiety. I asked God to work a miracle in my womb, to let me see my baby. And then I felt convicted to share with everyone the news. I know this is still taboo to do but why should women have to hide things from a place of fear? What’s the fear anyway? That we’ll be embarrassed, that people will wonder if we’re defective, that we’ll receive unnecessary reminders of the baby that didn’t stick?
I didn’t share the situation with Sprout until it was over and I regretted that decision because I’d felt so alone. At the time I didn’t know the statistics; didn’t know just what a miracle each new life is. So many things have to go right for a person to be born. Despite all our medical advances we still don’t fully understand all the processes that take place or the complex mechanism that goes into the female body preparing for and carrying a baby. Doctors have become too reliant on ultrasounds and hormone test levels and think they know the precise timetable for each developmental milestone but sometimes tough little embryos don’t stick to the schedule or hide out. I was hoping that Jelly Bean was just hiding but alas that wasn’t the case this time.
Due to my age and my prior c-section I requested to take Cytotec to expel the tissue instead of having a D&C. I previously used this medication with the loss of Sprout and it was very effective. While the risk of uterine perforation or infection is small I don’t want to take that risk unless I absolutely have to and at this time I’m just not ready to do that. I’ve completed the course of medication and it appears that it was a very productive cycle of the medication. So I am planning on waiting for my two-week follow-up. I’ll of course seek medical attention sooner if I have any issues like fever, continuing pregnancy symptoms, or increased bleeding. As of right now, my morning sickness is gone.
Remember, you are ultimately in charge of your health, don’t let a doctor pressure you into something you don’t feel comfortable doing. If you’re protective of your fertility there is very little harm in waiting a little longer to see how natural processes or medication play out before more invasive measures.
I am sad. I have a little onesie set that I bought right away when I found out I was pregnant but I know that God works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). So I am comforted by the knowledge that for some reason this needed to happen, maybe to settle some scar tissue or maybe to remove something that was in the way. Or maybe just to bring me closer to Him.
I will admit that since my Mother died I’ve had a harder time feeling close to God. I’m not angry with him, I just didn’t want to think about it because somehow I’d be reminded of studying the Bible with my Mother, of our prayer sessions, of growing up going to church with her. And I guess I just wanted to limit those feelings of missing her. This experience though has taught me that knowing God was a gift she gave me and I have to continue forward, even if that means letting her go. I’ve been back in the word for three weeks now and I’ve felt the Holy Spirit. At my appointment I was able to be calm and decisive and that wouldn’t have been the case if I hadn’t been enveloped in the Word and trusting in the Lord’s faithfulness.
So once my cycle has returned we’ll try again. You can’t let the fear the devil tries to instill keep you from doing things and that’s his greatest weapon. He tries to fill you with fear and doubt, make you believe crazy things. He’ll tell you you’re old, you’re not healthy enough, that should feel lucky to have one child at all but the truth is God wants us to be fruitful and to be prosperous. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) So if you are reading this because you find yourself in the same place do not be discouraged, do not be fearful, work on the things that you can work on. Be kind to the temple that is your body, nourish it, move it, say kind things to it and then cast all your anxiety on God and trust that the perfect babe is on the way.
Sending you all baby dust,