An Unplanned Pregnancy
My husband and I were not trying to get pregnant. For reasons specific to my personal health, I stopped taking the hormonal birth control that I previously used, and one thing led to another. We had plans to pay off all our student debt before starting a family. However, after the initial shock of pregnancy, we were excited and thankful for the life that was growing inside of me.
We considered keeping this life-changing news to ourselves but decided that we wanted to spill the beans. We wanted our family and friends to be along for the entire ride. We wanted to trust God with whatever happened. I knew that miscarriage and other instances of death were possible, but I remember thinking, “Sure, but I’m generally healthy so miscarriage shouldn’t happen to me.”
We told everyone around 6 or 7 weeks – only two weeks after we found out. Our parents, siblings, best friends and occasionally an acquaintance or two. We were happy about having a baby, and our loved ones shared in our excitement. A co-worker, who was getting ready to begin maternity leave herself, even gifted me the sweetest plush toy that was a combination of a small blanket and a stuffed elephant. I set the gift bag just inside the door where my new baby’s nursery would soon be.
At ten weeks, my husband and I took a few hours off from work to go to a doctor’s appointment. We were told it was possible that we would be able to hear the heartbeat for the first time. It was only the second time that I had met with this doctor, but she had an air of calm about her.
My new, reassuring and pleasant doctor performed the ultrasound herself. My husband and I were quiet, listening for the heartbeat but not knowing exactly what to listen for since we were first-time parents. After a few short minutes of looking, my doctor turned to us and prefaced what she was about to say by telling us that she wanted to get another opinion.
“I cannot find the heartbeat,” she said.
We were still.
“Normally, I would invite the ultrasound technician in for a second opinion, but she’s gone home for the day,” she told us.
“Okay, well – what do we do next?” we asked.
After advising us to head to the hospital instead of waiting until Monday, she said, “I’ve never seen a couple more at peace with this news than you two.”
The truth is that we weren’t sure what was going to happen, but we wanted conclusive evidence either way. That was the only thing we could act on.
After a few hours of waiting, the ultrasound technician in the emergency room still found no heartbeat. A midwife came into the room to give us the news in a comforting way, but she couldn’t offer the comfort we needed.
As we walked out of the hospital, it became very real. And even though the baby was still inside me, it felt like we were leaving our child there.
I cried in the hospital room, but the real tears came in the car; the guttural sobs came in our bedroom when we returned home. They continued as we called our families and closest friends. I felt a responsibility to tell those who celebrated life with me and to not lead them on any longer. And with my husband by my side, I drifted to sleep with tears still in my eyes. I didn’t know what else to do. I felt frozen in time.
Through no choice or fault of mine, my baby was gone. I don’t have any proof, but in my mind, the baby I lost was a little girl. She lived only 9 weeks old inside of me, but I managed to get one photo of her.
It’s the very ultrasound photo the hospital took while looking for a heartbeat they would never find.
I woke around 3 a.m. and woke my husband, too. We went up to our half-finished attic that I’ve nicknamed “The Mountain.” It’s the perfect, out-of-the-way room to spend time with God. That night, The Mountain was where we went to tell God — and remind ourselves — that He is and always will be good. During those early morning hours, God brought these verses to the forefront of my mind:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)
I knew that in this world I would have trials and sorrows (John 16:33), but God reminded me that it’s through my trials and the testing of my faith that endurance and character are produced (James 1:2-4). Because He gave me peace, my journal entry from that day contains these notes:
My God is good!
He knew and loved my first child.
He gives me peace and joy never-ending.
Whatever my lot in life, He has taught me to say that it is well with my soul.
I cannot imagine what my miscarriage story would be if I didn’t have a relationship with my Creator. Likely, I would have been more angry than peaceful, more distressed than saddened.
Over a year later, I sat down to write my story. He reminded me of 2 Corinthians 1:4, which says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
He is encouraging me even now. And as you’re reading this, I hope you find comfort, peace and encouragement, too.
How To Find Help
If you have a story of miscarriage, loss or pain similar to mine, then I want you to know that we are here for you. Experiencing a miscarriage is hard, but you don’t have to walk through this overwhelming season of life alone.
We want to help you establish a healthy support network, and we do this through our Titus 2 mentorship program. If you are not already connected to a local church, this program is for you. Through this program, we’re able to provide emotional support, biblical direction and discipleship before, during and after your pregnancy.
To learn more about our mentorship program, call 336.274.4881.
We also invite you to listen to our podcast, The Empowered Advocate. Our latest episode features Sarah Philpott, author of Loved Baby: 31 Devotions to Help You Grieve and Cherish Your Child after Pregnancy Loss. In this episode, she shares her story along with wonderful insight about healthy grief, steps to self-care, and how to support loved ones who have experienced pregnancy loss.
We hope these resources will provide a measure of support for you in the midst of your loss and as you move forward in your journey toward healing.