The next morning I awoke to beautiful sunshine streaming in through my window. I continued to cramp and bleed, reminding me of the nightmare I was still living. But somehow, I felt a strange strength and peace. I would be okay. I had to be.
I had a husband and three precious children to live for and care for. I would do that for them, and for me. I would choose joy and carry on.
I remember thinking how strange it was to be living (and surviving) a reality that I had always feared so intensely, assuming that the pain would be too much for me to bear.
And the pain was overwhelming. But still, I trusted. Trusted that the one who loved me best would know how to mend my shattered heart.
Throughout that first day people flooded my phone and email with messages, some wishing me well, others offering prayers and condolences, but many sharing their own stories of similar heartbreak and loss.
And though it broke my heart, as it always has, to know that so many women have experienced such awful tragedy, I was also deeply comforted by what they shared with me. I took strength from knowing that each of these precious women had survived before me. I knew that I could do it to.
That first day I was hopeful. Optimistic even. But then the second day came. And the third day. And as the days came and went and my heart, mind and body struggled to adjust back to “normal” I began to feel empty.
I hated it. Hated what had happened. I hated being alone in my body. My soul ached for the little life that had been so closely intertwined with mine just days before.
All I wanted was for my baby to be back in there again, cozy and warm and growing and soaking up my love.
I told my husband what I wanted. And although he understood and his heart was broken for me and for us, he thought it was a better idea to wait awhile before trying again.
Hearing him utter those words was a blow almost as crushing as the initial loss. I realized then that I’d been hanging my hope on the thin thread that we could just try to get pregnant again and start over.
I never once considered that this may not be an option.
How could my husband say such a thing? How could he allow me to continue hurting so savagely when I knew that a new baby would make it all better.
But deep down, I knew he wasn’t saying this to hurt me at all, and I knew that he was hurting too. I understood. He was trying to be wise in the midst of our pain, which made it all the more devastating because I knew he was right.
The physical and emotional pain I experienced that week is indescribable. I alternated between feeling angry, confused, exhausted, hopeful and often numb. I just keep pressing on, pleading with God to get me through it all.
After that first week, once things did begin to return to normal, I tried to start focusing on moving forward. On living my life with intention and purpose, the way I knew God was leading me to.
I praised and thanked Him for the abundance of everything I still had and and frequently reminded myself that my baby was with Him now.
I took care of my family, took care of myself and allowed myself to rest in the arms of my Heavenly Father. I set about preparing for my oldest daughter’s 4th birthday celebration and hosting my family for the Easter holiday.
I had reclaimed my joy, and with the spring came a renewed sense of peace and hope for me. I looked forward to what the future held and the pain eased a bit more with every passing day. I was enjoying waking up every morning with a deepened appreciation and gratitude for the life I got to live and the people I was privileged to share it with.
I was moving on.
Exactly one month following the loss of our sweet fourth babe, I found myself sitting in the bathroom, waiting. Again. Waiting to see if my life would change. Again. How was this possible? This doesn’t happen, does it?
I thought to myself, “There’s no way I could be pregnant again, so soon!” But as I sat there engaging in this inner dialogue with myself, I saw it. Two pink lines appeared on the pee stick. And I couldn’t believe it.
I was pregnant. I was pregnant?! I was pregnant!
I cannot even begin to adequately express the range of emotions I felt in those moments that followed. Shock. Jubilation. Trepidation. Disbelief. Joy. Confusion. And then, peace. And deep, deep, profound gratitude.
This time was different. This time I wasn’t that girl who pees on the stick and then blabs it all over Facebook because I just couldn’t contain myself. This time, I kept the secret for myself.
Interestingly (and truthfully) it wasn’t out of fear. By some miracle I had very little fear of history repeating itself, which is kind of weird honestly.
But I felt like I’d been given this incredible gift and I wanted to enjoy it privately for just a short time. So, I did! I went about my days and my weeks not telling a soul, but continuing to live in grace and joy and thanksgiving, cherishing and pursuing what mattered most.
Eventually I shared the news with my husband and then we waited to share with the rest of the world until I was just over three months along.
And of course, everyone celebrated and rejoiced right along with us!
After walking through our life’s journey, full of so many ups and downs, I know now more than ever that God does and will work all things for our good and give us immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, according to HIS power at work within us.
Things don’t always work out the way they did for us. But regardless of what the specific circumstances are, He will be faithful to complete the good works He started in each of us. And that gives me the kind of real, lasting, gritty hope that everything will be okay.
Ultimately, the loss of our fourth baby is something that impacted and changed me forever. I will never be the same. But I know now that I don’t want to be.
Life is short and so infinitely precious. I understand this truth even more deeply now. I learned so much about myself, my husband, my children, and my God going through what I did.
And it is my fervent hope that sharing my story will touch and minister to your heart, giving you a hope for your future and a sense of wonder and gratitude for the incredible life you get to live.