Pregnancy and infant loss...Grief, in all of its capacity. One thing He continues to show me in times of sorrow is His unfailing, perfect love. I've lost family members, even my mother at a young age, friends, relationships along the way, trust with people I swore would never betray me...and none compare to the grief of when I miscarried. It is an emptiness unlike any other.
The day I miscarried was also the day my pregnancy announcement went viral from a YouTube video my hubby made. It was full of emotion and humor, music in all the right places, and long awaited news that my body was growing our 3rd baby.
I got out of the car for a visit with my mother in law after having a celebratory dinner with our friends. As I climbed the stairs to her apartment I could feel my stomach lighten. As if it literally emptied right there on the stairs. "Noooo way. I'm not miscarrying. That just isn't possible...."
Ten minutes later was sitting on Nana's couch rejoicing over this new life and a new chapter for our family. And I felt it....an intense cramp, like when you're PMSing. Then came an uncomfortable discharge that I've only ever referred to as "getting my period". My heart sank. I knew I was miscarrying. I quietly went to the restroom without telling Sam what I was fearing. There it was. A red spot that determined much of my future in that one little misshapen figure. My heart began to race and my I felt my stomach flop. I went out to the couch where Sam and his mom were still in an uproar of laughter and excitement. One thing most people probably don't think about when they're pregnant is the fact that they're going viral on the internet. That video was sky rocketing before our eyes. The world was celebrating a life that I was losing. And here I was holding onto this secret with a death grip for a whole 15 minutes now. The cramps got stronger and stronger and then I felt a gush (guy friends and family, I'm so sorry if you're reading this and totally grossed out).....I interrupted their conversation and nervously told them that I thought I was miscarrying. Fighting back tears, we all prayed. Sam was certain I was overreacting and just experiencing a little "left over menstruation".....after praying we all began to feel the heaviness of the "what if" and I went to the restroom again where the flow had become much much heavier. We went home pretty quickly after that (Sam still not entirely sure I was miscarrying and really really trying to rationalize what was causing the cramps and blood)...the second we got home and I got out of the car I felt a drop from my lower abdomen. I ran to the restroom and passed my baby into a toilet. A toilet. Where humans poop and pee. My baby that I so dearly longed for and loved was sitting in a toilet. The very toilet where my urine was checked for the pregnancy test in the video that went viral. I was hysterical. My oldest 2 kids were awake and getting into jammies with the help of daddy and I was sitting there literally paralyzed and freaking out at the same time. I couldn't stop crying. I've never cried like that before. It was a deep, nauseating, uncontrollable sob that I couldn't get rid of no matter how many deep breaths I took or prayers I prayed. Symphony was 5 and very curious but I didn't give her any details. I think I told her I was sick and hurting really badly. Sam whisked her away so I could be alone...still on the toilet. I couldn't get up. Getting up meant I had to leave the fetus and begin to move on and I couldn't do that yet. So I stayed there sobbing uncontrollably.
I'm not sure exactly when or how I got up. Sam must have helped me because my next memory is of us standing over the toilet looking at the fetus. The fact that it was sitting in a toilet had me seriously disturbed. Sam gently and lovingly scooped it up (I know....not a good visual, but he's a nurse so it didn't phase him.) I've imagined a hero in many different ways, but never as a husband scooping a fetus out of a toilet. But that's what I felt. I was so relieved not to be pressured into flushing the fetus. We needed time to process this before making any decisions.
Without going into detail, we had our own burial for the baby we lost.
We put the kids to bed and laid in one lump on our bed crying and crying for an hour at least. No words were spoken. I really loved my husband before this, but that night we became closer than ever before and our love deepened in a way I can't even explain. It's like, our whole relationship had been two people walking two separate paths, yet headed in the same direction. Suddenly we were together on one path that was still going in that same direction, but the path itself was far far away from the two that we walked separately.
The next morning we had some family arrive in town (craaaaazy timing, because I didn't want to be alone)...and we recieved a visit from our pastor (Hey Bo!). This was both comforting and mortifying and also a glimpse into our future. Bo had never been to our house before and all I could think about was the fuzz poking out of our old couches that we got for free from an estate sale...I didn't want him to see that...I was also dressed in bed clothes that I would never ever leave the house in and here was our pastor sitting on the ugly couches feet away from me and my hideous pj’s from the 9th grade. This entire experience from the elation of pregnancy- to the viral video - to the miscarriage and grief that sam and I would experience - to Bo being in our home at a time when we were hurting....gah, just so much foreshadowing of what was to come for us. It's crazy when I think of it all.
Anyway, our church community loved us and prayed for us in a way I had never seen church community do before. It was so beautiful and special and really speaks to the latter half of the verse I shared at the beginning of this post. His love and compassion are unfailing and overflowing.
So today, on this day of rejoicing in what we had, remembering what we lost, and praying for those who walk beside us: I want to encourage you to feel the grief. Lean into the dark and heavy pain. Because without that, the compassion and love from our Father would have a numbness. You won't be able to feel them in their fullness and completely heal from that pure Jesus joy.