*Warning* This is gonna be long. You may have already read parts of it. It's personal...a kind-of pregnancy testimony of sorts...and it's not for the feint of heart. If you are pregnant, just don't read it. It's also late and I'm tired, so it may have some typos or whatever. Yeah. Just ignore all the imperfections in my posting!
This year I feel such a torn spirit around Easter. I still have my child-like sadness that Jesus had to die for us. Yes, I am happy and thankful that he loved us so much. But God's only Son..His child, His creation..put to death for us. I look at Ethan...Trevor...Oliver....my sons, my babies, my loves. Oh, it makes you want to scream at the injustice of it all.
But Jesus is the only one who passed the test. He lived a perfect life before his Father and people. He offered his perfect life as a sacrifice for all of us imperfect people. And then He ROSE. Yes, he ROSE and defeated death. Now, the resurrected Jesus offers his righteousness and life to all who trust him as their savior. I try to teach this to my kids every year. Easter is about JESUS!! Sure, we still do the egg thing, but we talk about how the eggs represent new life...our new life from Jesus.
Which brings me to another point. Life. New life. I've always heard that loss is the hardest around holidays. It is for me this year, for several reasons. Oliver was born right around Easter last year. And I had one beautiful precious baby boy...but I should have had two in my arms.
I've written this out, in length, at one other time, but I'm going to recap here.
We've had a lot of loss. This is our 11th year of marriage. We've grown up a lot, and really become strong as a couple. In psychology classes, I learned so much. I really took them to better understand myself and my past, not so much because I had any intention of ever pursuing the field. At any rate, tragedy usually either brings a couple closer or it tears them completely apart. There isn't a lot of middle ground. It may seem grayish for awhile, but eventually it will head down one of these paths. So you have to be determined in the beginning that every trial will result in you clinging tighter to your spouse.
We lost our first baby in 1997. I was devastated and blamed myself. Nobody knew, but Fred, and that made it so much harder. I was young, people wouldn't care, or so I thought.
Within 6 months I was pregnant again. At 9 weeks I started spotting. We lost another baby. This time people knew. We had JUST told everyone. That was hard, because we were already being questioned for having a baby soon. I felt like people were relieved that it would be awhile. Relieved over the death of my child? And maybe I was just consumed by my own shame and hurt. I still felt like this must be a result of my own actions somehow. I had brought this pain and punishment on myself.
In 1998 I got pregnant a third time. I was terrified. I ate all of the right things, exercised diligently (but not too strenuously,) I gave up caffeine and most medications except for Tylenol. I was determined to "be good" and make everything right. I pleaded with God to give me the baby, and I assured him that my punishment was already great enough. I did not know God as I do now. I did not know that He was in pain with me, comforting me, holding me up through it all.
God gave me a wonderful doctor (I thank God for your husband regularly, Trish.)
Isabelle was born in 1999-- a beautiful and completely healthy baby. The child never seemed to sleep and demanded my every moment, but I was totally content with that. My life revolved around her.
In the summer of 2000, after Isabelle had just turned 1-year old, I began having VERY sharp pains one day. I called Fred at work and asked him to come home. The pains got worse and worse. I went to my local doctor and, after some tests, he came in and said that I was having a miscarriage, and I should go home and rest. I was SHOCKED. I had no idea I was even pregnant. I had to call my husband from the office and tell him, and have him pick me up. Well, the pains got worse and worse. Fred carried me to the car that night and took me to the ER. After an ultrasound, they said the same thing and sent me home. I was right back within an hour. Finally, after more ER visits, a doctor had the sense to do an exam....(Hix, if you know him. He may have saved my life.) My cervix was closed. I was NOT having a miscarriage. But I went into shock and had to have immediate surgery. My right fallopian tube was bursting from an ectopic pregnancy. I'll make an already long story shorter, and just tell you that the right tube was removed and the left cleared itself-- yes, I had TWIN ectopics. That is unheard of. I had NO risk factors.
Needless to say, I was devastated. I hadn't even known about the babies, and now they were both gone. And what should have been outpatient surgery lasted for several days b/c I was over-sensitive to the pain meds and I was unconscious for 30 hours after surgery! I woke up to a pregnant nurse. Oh, the pain.
After all of the problems, my doc gave me a 50% chance of having more kids. I had one fallopian tube left, and it was damaged...
It's getting late (and LONG), but I'm going to finish the story. Maybe it will be therapeutic.
That was 2000...I'd been married for nearly three years and I had one baby girl, and had lost 4 babies already.
That winter I found out I was expecting again. On Christmas Day I started bleeding. We rushed to the ER and they did an ultrasound. We were losing one baby--yes, twins again! When you lose one, the chances of miscarrying the other are higher. We prayed, we hoped... I was so scared through that pregnancy... but God heard me cry out to Him... and my precious Ethan was born the following August, in 2001.
So 2001-- I'd been married for 4 years, I had 2 children, and I had lost 5.
In 2003 we lost another baby. It was early. I had just found out. I was going to school full-time and I had two toddlers. I sometimes wonder if it was the stress. After that I decided to get a 5-year IUD. That was a horrible mistake. I bled NONSTOP for 3 months after having it put in. I became anemic and sick. They removed it in January, and I was going to start the pill with the first cycle. The cycle never came...because I had gotten pregnant within days of having the IUD removed. I was still in school full-time, and scared beyond reason that I could lose the baby. At this point, I was obviously a high-risk pregnancy, so my specialist had me come in every three days for ultrasounds. Talk about stress! I relaxed a bit at the 3-month mark. It was a great pregnancy. I was due on Halloween and Trevor was born on November 6th, 2004. At this point my doctor was advising that Fred not even look at me, lest I become pregnant immediately again.
2004-- I had been married for 7 years then, had three beautiful children, and had lost 6.
In 2006 I found out I was expecting again. I waited several days and took three tests before I told Fred. October was the first person to find out. In fact, she bought the second ...and third pregnancy tests for me.
I knew Fred would be happy and excited...but I also knew that we were both scared, we had no money, and I had already postponed finishing school. We were homeschooling and living on a shoestring (still are.) Of course, Fred WAS excited. And scared. We started our every-3-day trips to the OB. Things looked good. Of course, we were very happy and surprised (and scared beyond reason) to be expecting twins again!! They must run in my family somewhere.
This time we got photos of the twins. We started contemplating names. I liked Grant, Adele Lillian, Simon, maybe Oliver and Olivia if they were boy/ girl. It was too early to tell yet. At nearly 3 months, we lost one. An ultrasound showed a problem. We prayed and asked friends, family, our church to pray. But then I bled, raced in, and it was too late. To say that it was upsetting and tragic to us is an understatement. I went on and smiled. I pretended everything was okay. After all, it looked like one baby would be okay, right? But I began to get depressed and couldn't seem to shake the mournful, but hopeful, unnerving, jittery feelings creeping over me. I wanted to be excited about being pregnant again, because I WAS, but I was also so sad for our loss and so scared. Yet I need to be strong for the kids. They shouldn't feel my sadness and my burden. School must continue. Mommy must still "be there" for them.
I prayed constantly for our baby that was left. And he was okay, thank You, God. Oliver was born last April.
This year-- we will celebrate 11 years of marriage. We have four beautiful children, and we have lost 7.
Fred had a vasectomy after Oliver was born. We just couldn't handle losing any more, and Fred said he couldn't handle losing me, if I were to have another ectopic... they are so much more likely after you've had one.
Before I end this, let me just say, when someone loses a baby, just hug them and say how sorry and sad you are. Do NOT say "at least you still have one." Do NOT say "it must have been for a reason" or "something must have been wrong with that baby." Just simply pray for them and tell them that you are praying.
And I will delete any unkind comments to this. I did try birth control, and I don't blame that on my miscarriages. I did want all of my children, and I would have happily had more if I was financially able. I miss my children. I look at Oliver and Ethan, knowing that they were both twins. Will they "feel" that some day? Should I tell them? And when? I kept all of my ultrasounds. I have a tape of beating hearts. And sometimes I just ache for closure, and don't know how to get it. The children I have are just miracles to me. They are absolute miracles, gifts from God.
I do love Easter. I love that God defeated death for us. I know my children are with their heavenly Father. Jesus died to give us all life. I've accepted that gift, with a desperation and urgency...sometimes I just forget how badly I want to see Him and be with Him, and how much I appreciate all He has done for me. And then I remember and it all floods back over me. I want to keep this passion all the time, not just when I am flooded with emotion.
Frankly, sometimes a picture really does say a thousand words. I saw some lovely pictures earlier of beautiful twins boys. So here is my baby boy, when he was about a month old and we were at a homeschool field trip. He was in the baby Bjorn, and Isabelle leaned in to look at him, right as I snapped the picture. Awww...
This God of ours, who gives life and gives it abundantly..wow, isn't He awesome? And then to defeat death! He rose, and conquered all sin and evil in the world, simply because He-- the maker of the universe-- loves US that much. Takes your breath away, doesn't it?