Sharing our stories with one another is so important. It can bring hope, peace, comfort and help us to realize that we are not alone. Thanks in large part to social media and a shifting culture, before this year I knew of countless women who had experienced miscarriage. And the truth is, so. many. women. go through this, now myself included. Many of us have heard the 1 in 4 statistic*, but my doctor shared that in his experience he is seeing an average of 2 losses per woman during childbearing years. Whether this statistic is accurate or not, it shocked me; but coupled with the experiences of women in my own life, it helped me accept that this is not my fault. Now that I’ve been added to the ranks of so many brave and strong women, I want to share my own story in the hopes that another women might find hope, peace, comfort, and realize that she is not alone.
Today I would have been 17 weeks and 2 days pregnant with a baby, well into my second trimester, and he would have been the size of an onion.
I saw those two pink lines at the end of July and couldn’t wait to surprise my husband when he got home from work. We immediately started dreaming and planning – our toddler would be turning 2 right around my due date. The spacing was absolutely perfect and just what we had planned.
But even then, God was protecting my heart.
I decided that I didn’t want to tell anyone about the pregnancy. I struggled so much during E’s pregnancy that I didn’t want all the attention this time around. I prepared for “the worst” in terms of symptoms and was ready to power through; but the nausea never came. Different pregnancy: different symptoms? Maybe, but I felt nervous.
When it was finally time for our first doctor’s appointment around 8 weeks I told my husband, “if we hear a heartbeat, I will cry tears of joy.” You see, God was continuing to protect and prepare my heart. I’ve learned that a mother’s intuition is a God-given gift. It has served me well so far in my relatively short time as a mother. And sure enough, no heartbeat. Our doctor said he was “cautiously optimistic,” but more on the side of caution. We would wait a week and see if our baby would continue to develop before making any decisions.
No one ever told me about the wait. It was excruciatingly painful. I tried to hold on to some hope, but I feared for the worst. Ultimately I yearned for closure. This is when I connected with two friends who had gone through miscarriages: one had miscarried naturally, and the other had undergone a D&C procedure. The conversations I had with these women were hugely impactful to me. They brought me hope and support.
I personally was convinced that a D&C was the inevitable outcome. I had failed to go into labor on my own with my first child, so of course this would be the next step here. But during that week I started bleeding, then, on August 22 at 8:00 pm it happened. It was such a blessing for me that God spared me from making any more medical decisions (I had agonized over so many for E’s birth and was preparing to do the same now). I called my friend and she prayed with me over the phone as I wept. I felt such a mix of emotions, but my instincts had been right and I could begin the grieving process.
Grieving the loss of a child you’ve never met is complicated. I have no memories of my baby, not even an ultrasound image, only the hope and dreams of what could have been. We decided to name our child River and to refer to “it” as “he.” While I am able to talk about River more now, it was hard for a quite some time. I found that I needed to wait until I was ready to tell people about what had happened. As I did start opening up and sharing, some people said exactly what I needed to hear. But unfortunately, some well-meaning people also said things that really stung. The best thing I could do was to lean on God through the Bible and prayer to begin to heal.
A particular verse that brought me so much peace is:
“For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;”
There are so many ways I can see that God blessed me and was so gentle with me and my husband throughout this process. And He has brought us comfort.
When I think of our theme this year, Find Your Fire, we talk a lot about tending the God-given flame inside of us; but I also think about fire as a strong and challenging element. There have been times in my life when I have had to “walk through fire,” like when I lost baby River. Each time I walk through a fire I am drawn closer to God and I find my own internal flicker is reignited by the surrounding flames, and is able to burn brighter.
❤ Amanda Good
*1 in 4 statistic: Miscarriage affects 1 in 4 pregnancies (commonly referred to in Social Media as “1 in 4 women,” which inaccurately distorts the ratio).