This past October as the air was starting to turn crisp, the leaves were changing colors, and the promise of fall was in full sway we found out the happy news that we were expecting our 7th baby. We were thrilled. There was a healthy dose of nervousness with a whole lot of joy. I remember driving down the leaf strewn streets dropping off my son to kindergarten and just relishing that feeling of hope and sweet anticipation. It was precious news that we hadn't shared with more than a handful of people, and it felt kind of like Christmas morning. Unfortunately that happy news was short lived, when we ended up miscarrying on our 4th sons birthday almost a week later. We spent the day wrapped up in celebration for our son's 6th birthday and soaking in all this beautiful time with our little family. My husband and I held our boys a little tighter, our smiles a little braver and each other a little longer. With our 6 previous healthy pregnancies, this was the first time we'd ever experienced something like this, and it hurt. But with the pain there also came a deep sense of peace and I knew that God loved me and my little family. And that He was in control. It turned out to be a heavenly gift to have life and joy to throw ourselves into on that difficult day.
Things went smoothly and I spent the next few weeks adjusting to the drastic swing of hormones shifting, as well as the heartbreaking news that one of my most favorite people just lost her pregnancy a week after my own miscarriage. It was my first and her 3rd. It ripped my heart wide open again and I hurt for her in a way I could'n't fully understand until I'd experienced my own loss. She and I lifted each other and continued to move forward with hope.
November brought with it beautiful family time, with a much anticipated and desperately needed family vacation followed by a beautiful Thanksgiving. And then the very first day of December we received the most precious gift when we found out that we were expecting again. Expecting a new little life, a sweet new child, a new sibling for our boys, and a new chance at hope. I felt some fear and anxiety after our earlier loss, but it was tamed incredibly because my whole heart was filled with peace, a deep penetrating, living peace. I knew that everything would be okay. I knew it in a way that I could never adequately explain. We settled into the beauty and blessings that encompass the Christmas season, and felt immersed in peace. I expereinced some intermittent spotting in the first few weeks and yet the feelings of peace and hope and faith continued to buoy my sometimes frightened heart. Just days before Christmas we sat in a warmly lit ultrasound room and saw our beautiful tiny growing baby with a steady beating heart. We wrapped up that ultrasound picture and gave it to our very excited little boys Christmas morning. It felt good and right to finally share with them the happy news of this precious baby. A few days after Christmas I experienced more spotting and after talking to the doctor we decided to just take things easy for the next little while. Christmas break was spent enjoying each other’s company, watching lots of movies gathered on mom and dad’s bed, eating delicious food, and playing with a plethora of games and Christmas toys. After more days of continued spotting we decided to go do a follow-up ultrasound to just see what was going on. I felt at peace, so much so that we made the appointment while Seth was at work. He told me he’d pray for me, and I told him I felt total peace. As I walked down the long hallway to the ultrasound room I felt a quiet yet powerful impression, “you are not alone.” It was such a warm kind thought yet I didn’t feel worried so I took note of it and then tucked it away inside my completely calm heart.
A few moments later I was lying on the bed looking at a black and white screen with a picture of a beautiful bigger baby. My baby. Our baby. With the beginnings of little arms and legs. But this time there was no flickering heart. As the ultrasound tech confirmed my fear with these 5 difficult words, “I’m not seeing a heartbeat,” a piece of my own heart tore right down the middle. And everything just kind of stopped. The joy, the excitement, the assurance, was in an instant replaced with confusion, and questions, and worry, and a deep ache. I was so sure that Heaven’s constant messages of peace and hope and faith that had flooded my heart and soul in the previous weeks, and even the previous minutes, had meant that our sweet baby was absolutely okay. I never really let it enter into my heart that anything would happen to this sweet soul that we had grown to love from the minute we found out about him or her. We’d spent almost 9 weeks dreaming about this baby, and loving this little baby, and cherishing the blessing of this little baby. And in a heartbeat, or the absence of one, everything came to a painful halt. As I waited in that little room for the ultrasound tech to come back, my heart and mind were both reeling from the reality of what was happening. And in that moment I felt very alone. All I desperately wanted was a hug. As I sat there the previous impression I had received as I was walking down the hallway toward the ultrasound room came back with gentle yet powerful force to my hurting heart,
And this time instead of tucking it away, I held onto that precious truth and clung to the knowledge that although I felt physically alone, there were angels close by, to lift, to encourage, to sustain, and to comfort. I spent the next few moments listening to options for how to proceed as fast uncontrolled tears ran down my face. I prayed for help to hold things together, and looking back I know that heavenly hands were holding me together, long enough to make it to the safety of my van, where I could privately fall apart while I called my husband. The one person in all the world that I wanted to talk to in that moment.
In the next week we did a lot of praying, a lot of pushing the world away and gathering our little family close. Amidst all the pain, and heartache, and fear I continued to feel that peace and love that had sustained me through the past few months. It stayed with me and carried me through the days ahead as I prayed to know how to proceed, and ultimately as I birthed that sweet little baby. As much as my good doctor had tried to prepare me for what could happen, and had gone through all the options, no one can really prepare you for what it feels like to actually go into labor, real labor, even with such a tiny baby. I couldn’t fully be prepared for the experience of adjusting to post partum hormones and emotions without the joy of a baby, and instead the added weight of grief and emotional pain. I couldn’t really fully prepare for that, but I was never left a lone for any of it. I came to know that the vibrant tangible peace that I had felt since the moment I first saw those two pink lines the beginning of December, was a clear message from a loving Father in Heaven. A Father who knew fully what was about to happen in my life, and was preparing my heart and blanketing me with continual messages of hope and peace and trust, to help me make it through some of the very difficult days that He knew were ahead.
I was pregnant for almost 10 weeks, but it changed my life forever.
This entire experience has been more heartbreaking than I could have expected, but also more sacred than I could have known. It's been a holy kind of hard. And absolutely refining. The lessons from the past 5 months, have been engraven deeply in my heart. And I now know in a new way things I've known my whole life.
I know that God lives.
That He is real.
That He cares.
That we are never alone.
I know that I am literally His daughter, and that means He knows me. He knows my heart. He knows what I need. He knows how to talk to me. And because He is literally my Father, He hurts when I hurt. When I seek out comfort or guidance or relief He is ever able to give it.
And I know that the Savior nids our wounded hearts and brings healing to our souls.
And because I know that's true for my own life, I know it's true for you. For all of us, and each of us. For the last couple of weeks it's been on my heart to share this. I'm not sure if it's just to help in my own continued healing. But my hope is that it can be of some peace and help to someone else. Wether you are going through something similar, or something very different, we all go through difficult things. We all face very personal trials, and we all process them in unique ways. And we all have times when we just need to know that things are going to get better. And I testify that they do. That healing comes. That hope is real. That faith is powerful. That no matter how our challenges differ, our God is the same. He has the same power to bless and lift and help and heal ALL of our hearts. No matter what we go through. No matter how long it takes. If we look to Him, and believe in Him. He can do wonders in our lives. And even more beautiful is that He will.
"Be faithful. God is in charge. He knows your name and He knows your need. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—that is the first principle of the gospel. We must go forward. God expects you to have enough faith, determination, and trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. He expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it, rejoice in it, and delight in your opportunities. God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, July 2007
So like the picture to this post reads, miscarriage matters. Because our pain matters. What we go through in this life matters. Because if we let it, if we turn our lives over to the One who loves us most, everything we experience holds the power to shape us, to mold us, to refine us, to make us more whole, more holy, more compassionate, more kind, more complete, and eventually more like Him.