It started on a mid-December, Sunday morning. I had no idea what was happening, but I knew it wasn't a good sign. The size of this "matter" that was expelled from my body, fit in the palm of my trembling hand, and all I could do is cry. In the embrace of my husband, he prayed over me and our 10 week old baby growing in my womb. We were planning to share this blessed announcement with our family for Christmas, but the fear that "it" was happening to me began to plague my every thought. The bleeding slowed over the next 12 hours, and I was able to get an emergency appointment with my OB/GYN the next day. Since virtual school was in full effect, I had to find an escort to accompany me to doctor, as Sean was home with the kids. My mom, my best girl next to my Sister, had to receive the news of my pregnancy and my potential loss in the same moment, but she remained strong and gladly became my plus 1.
As I prepared for the absolute worst, my doctor performed an ultrasound and to my surprise, there was our baby, so much bigger than the first scan, heart pumping ever so strong and wiggling around! I was overjoyed to know that the mass of tissue that I held in my hands, was just that, and not the baby. But this joy came more concern. My doctor informed me that she also observed a sub-chorionic hematoma (SCH) between the placenta and my uterine wall, a common first trimester condition that occurs in about 1% of all pregnancies. Since learning of this, I've had no less than 10 women share their SCH diagnosis and read countless stories on the Baby Center app of this potentially resolvable issue. With a video of the ultrasound on my iPhone, the good news of our thriving little human ready to fly off my lips, I received instructions for pelvic rest and low activity. I returned home with HOPE.
A few days had gone by and I thought I would be feeling much better, but increasing cramps began to shoot through my uterus; debilitating cramps that sent me to tears off and on throughout the day and prevented me from sleeping. On the fourth day of this, I could no longer take it and we headed back to the doctor. In another ultrasound, we saw our sweet baby doing better than Mama, and I was still holding on to hope. With no bleeding, there wasn't a huge cause for concern so we were sent home. I took a shower, listened to Refiner by Maverick City Music on repeat, and wrote a reminder in the mist on the bathroom mirror that read, "God is in control."
By that Saturday, things took a turn beyond what I was expecting. I had no idea the amount of refining that God was about to prepare me for. I went to the restroom after a mid-morning nap and felt a familiar gush leave my body. In the trauma of what I had already experienced this week, I had to discover what fell into the porcelain beneath me. This time, it extended from my fingertips to my wrist and sorrow overcame me again. The bleeding became so aggressive that all I could do was lie on the floor of the shower and pray, while my disquieted husband determined the safest next step after taking the kids to be cared for by our surrogate family friends. In the midst of prayer, and in a pool of my own blood, I began to lose consciousness. God whispered to me, "Don't pass out." and I mustered enough strength to lethargically make a 911 call. As the paramedics entered our home, so did my husband. He dressed me and off we went to the emergency room.
"You're 4 centimeters dilated. The baby is no longer in your womb. We can pull out the sac or you can let the miscarriage continue naturally at home.", is what I was told while I lay in the hospital bed alone, due to COVID hospital restrictions. I could not subject myself to anymore unknowns of what could happen next, so I allowed them to remove the baby. I was able to hold my angel baby, offer it back to God, and reunite with my mom and husband to start my healing journey...or at least I thought. Two days post ER visit, I was in increasing pain. During another grueling visit with my OB/GYN, she shared that she felt uncomfortable sending me home and felt it best to I head to the ER AGAIN, for what she suspected to receive, a D & C . Gratefully, we were granted an exception for an ER visitor, so Sean was able to wait the 7 agonizing hours it took for us to get a bed amidst the barrage of COVID patients, to finally begin to heal.
In the initial weeks of my grieving, it was a daily battle to not be upset with God. Up to this point, everything was seemingly going without a hitch. I was blessed to have escaped being laid off from my job through the pandemic. We were able to get me out of debt. We were newlywed for 5 months and on track to buy a home...life was good. It was hard to fathom this would be the thing that would be the refining moment for me and my family. At some point, I knew my faith would bring me to peace and understanding that this loss would serve a purpose, but it didn't come easy. What carried me over was reading through the book of Isaiah, which is largely written about the suffering servant AND the promises of God. One verse that kept me grounded when the pain was almost too much to bear was from Isaiah 29.
"Soon - and it will not be very long - the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops."
There's no blueprint to overcoming the loss of a loved one, let alone one you've yet to meet, growing inside your womb. Even as I write and reread this, tears have welled in my eyes. There are many untold stories of miscarriages that women bury because miscarriage is deemed as "normal" or because of the mere shame or sadness that can be unbearable. I pray for every woman that has angel babies that they long for in the midst of their thriving businesses, relationships, and the simple pushing through of life. I stand with you in the quiet moments of on-going grief for the life that you didn't get to experience on Earth. May you remember those joyful moments of seeing a positive pregnancy test, sharing the news with your man, and the beautiful prayers you prayed over your unborn child. May you also remember God's promises as you pray over your future whether it be to finally launch that business idea, for your marriage, for healing, prosperity, or maybe even for a child. I have been enlightened by this...
"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the Earth."
Right now, I'm somewhere over the rainbow...blessed to have conceived so quickly and progressing through my pregnancy with grace. This time around has not been easy either (the greatest things in life rarely are). The baby growing in my womb will be a blessing to my family and to this Earth. I know because it's apart of my prayers daily. Walking in faith over fear has taken ALL valor NO vanity and I've easily accepted the beauty for ashes. If you have ever lost something, someone or felt the shame of failure, God wants you to know that there is no force that you may perceive has been sent to destroy your spirit that is greater than his plan to redeem it. Keep praying and rejoicing in the promises to come. Your rainbow is coming.
Yours in Valor + Vanity,