When I first got pregnant in 2008, my husband and I were overjoyed. After years of infertility, it was the first time I had ever seen a positive pregnancy test. I called the doctor and went in for my first blood test. Sure enough, I was pregnant. Then for the second blood test: Praise God, HCG doubled and we were officially on our way to becoming parents. We quickly made a plan for telling the parents. My husband went at the bookstore to pick up a few memory books that grandparents use to write their memories down for their grandchild. It was so exciting, it was finally happening!
We stopped at my husband’s parents’ house first as my parents were out of town. They looked at us curiously as we handed them a wrapped gift. My mother-in-law unwrapped it but wasn’t getting the point. We sat smiling ear to ear as she talked about how she still hadn’t filled out the last book that she was given (a Mother’s memories book to her child). Then my father in law saw it and began grinning ear to ear asking if this meant what he thought it meant. We said yes and after a moment for it to sink in, we were all in one big crying happy hug.
Knowing we should be rational about all of this, we told them to keep it a secret for a few weeks until we had our ultrasound appointments. We’ve been told, after all, that you never know what could happen. I will never forget my mother in law’s response. She looked at me through tears and said “Annie, you have gone through so much already, God would never let anything happen to this child.” I smiled inside as I silently agreed with her thoughtful encouragement.
Almost four weeks later it was time for our 8 week ultrasound. Our six week ultrasound had gone well, although we hadn’t heard the heartbeat. We were told that wasn’t uncommon for being so early, so we were not worried in the least. As we sat in the room, we talked about how excited we were to finally hear that little heart beat. The doctor arrived and started the ultrasound. We quickly realized something was wrong when he turned the screen away and started looking very intently for that beautiful baby. With a pained and compassionate look in his face, he had the incredibly difficult job of informing us that there was no longer a baby growing inside of me. I burst into tears, the words of my mother in law echoing in my mind. God had, indeed, allowed something to happen to this long awaited child and I was devastated.
My God was caring, loved me, took care of me, looked out for my best interests, and protected me. Who was this ‘new’ god? I was in unfamiliar territory as I tried to reconcile how my God with infinite power would allow this to happen to me. From childhood, I had followed and served Him. In young adulthood I had stayed pure as so many of my friends had children out of wedlock. Now, at the peak of my joy, apparently God had a ‘better plan’ than allowing us to experience parenthood. I did not like this new god. There was no reason that I could fathom for Him allowing this to happen. If there even was a reason, I didn’t care because there was no reason that would be ‘good enough’ to justify giving me a child that He had no intention of growing. It was wrong and I felt betrayed.
Beyond the hurt I was experiencing, another feeling overwhelmed me: guilt. I never felt guilty over actually miscarrying, as so many women do, but guilt that after all of my Christian upbringing, that I was completely incapable of having ‘faith’ in what God was bringing us through. People would try to encourage me by telling me that God had a reason or that somehow/someway God had a better plan. There are no words that made me more angry than to hear about how God was in control. In my mind I responded with “I know, why do you think I’m so angry with Him!” Knowing that God had ultimate control over the entire situation made it that much more difficult to understand what I as going through and made me that much more angry. You can read more about this time in my life in the “My Faith” page or some of my other posts.
Fast forward past my second miscarriage and the birth of our daughter…
As of Sunday night last week, we have found ourselves in that same place of hopeful anticipation: after 2 months of labor recovery, 9 months of hoping for our ‘free baby’ and 2 months of fertility treatments, we are once again pregnant. I had a positive pregnancy test Sunday the 11th, blood test confirmed on Monday, and HCG tripled by Wednesday. I am pregnant. We are expecting. We’re going to have a second child. (I’m still trying to make it sink in). After the heartbreak we experienced prior to the birth of our daughter, we waited months to tell friends and family our good news. It was not until the doctor told me it was time to ‘push’ that I really let it sink in that we were going to have a baby. My husband said the look of shock on my face at that time was priceless. At that time in our lives, I don’t think we could have emotionally handled the pregnancy any differently. We had detached ourselves so far from the possibility of being parents to a living child that we never fully embraced the pregnancy until it was over. I have always regretted the fact that we couldn’t just take a pregnancy test, be elated, tell all our friends and family, and just enjoy the next 9 months. After all, isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?
So, what to do with this pregnancy…and where in the world am I going with this post?
After feeling robbed of joy during our last pregnancy, we thought it would be nice to tell everyone right away with this pregnancy. Ok, fine, right away as in ‘after both blood tests’. The moment we made the decision to tell people, I had a bit of a panic attack in my heart. I want so much to be happy and joyful and celebrate with everyone. On the other hand, I know that there is still that possibility (a pretty big possibility based on our history) that the baby would not make it and we’d have to once again go through the process of telling everybody the bad news.
As my husband and I laid in bed after telling our parents and church family this past weekend, I asked him if it was ‘faith’ that we were telling people this early? Is it faith to tell everybody you know that you’re pregnant as soon as you find out because you have ‘faith’ that God will protect that child? Maybe. The other half of it for me, though, is indifference. Not indifference towards the pregnancy, but indifference as in the fact that we’ve already endured the heartache that comes with losing a child during early pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong: I will be devastated if we lose this child. But I have been down that road and I think for the first time in my life, I can say that if God chooses that road for us again, that I know I’ll make it through to the other side….not unscathed, but I will indeed survive. Is that trust? I don’t think either of these scenarios are the best examples of faith and trust, but compared to where I’ve been emotionally/spiritually in the past, I’ll take it.