For as long as I can remember, I have desired to have children. My lifelong dream was to be a wife and mother. My mom was a homemaker herself and every day she would faithfully teach my brother and sister and me the word of God. It was through her example and influence that the conviction of motherhood was confirmed in my heart. This was no longer just a desire. It was, I knew, my calling in life.
When my periods started when I was eleven, I was confused by them. My confusion however, melted into excitement as I began to understand what the purpose behind this madness was. Every month I would see that flow and recognized God’s promise in my life that someday I would have babies and children of my own. I felt this was the Lord’s promise to me.
Skip ahead thirteen years to 2011. I was now twenty-four years old, and the Lord had given me a wonderful husband, Andrew, three years earlier. We had moved to Louisville, Kentucky right after our wedding to attend seminary. Before we were married, Andrew and I had decided that I would take birth control until I was out of seminary and finished with school. We thought we had the perfect plan. In the summer of 2011, we were ready to be parents. I had finished school, as planned, and it was time to start a family, or so we thought.
Pretty much right after I got off birth control, I got pregnant. It was early August when we found out, and we were so excited. We had decided we wouldn’t tell our parents just yet because in September my parents were celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary, and we thought we would surprise them then. I felt good, and I hadn’t even felt sick when I found out. In fact, I felt so blessed that the Lord was answering another prayer in my life. I was going to be the mother that I had always prayed and dreamed about.
My husband and I told a few friends, and Andrew told our church. It was a decision I don’t even now regret. One week went by and I still didn’t feel any discomfort or nausea. I set up my first doctor appointment for a twelve week exam, and my due date was set for April 15, 2012. When I was seven weeks pregnant, the following week, I started having some issues when I went to the bathroom. It wasn’t pain, but whenever I would go, I would feel pressure in my lower extremities. The only way I know how to describe it was there was a feeling of needing to push something out or passing something. When I was done going to the bathroom, the pressure would go away and I would forget about it until I went to the bathroom next.
It was an odd enough occurrence, and never being pregnant before, I went ahead and called the OBGYN’s office. The nurse told me that it sounded like I had developed a urinary tract infection (UTI) and that these were common in pregnant women. She offered to set me up an appointment to come in and get myself tested. Instead of making an appointment, I decided I would treat myself with cranberry juice. I thought I could beat the supposed UTI on my own since I had not had any bleeding or burning and I was probably in the beginning stages.
A couple of days later, it was August 18th, a Thursday, and Andrew had just left for school. Out of the blue the OBGYN’s office called me. The nurse proceeded to tell me that she shared my phone call a couple of days before with my doctor and that my doctor wanted me to come in for a routine ultrasound just to make sure things were all right. She assured me that there wasn’t anything to be worried about and proceeded to give me two options of when I could come in. I initially chose the appointment later in the afternoon because the first one she offered me was just in an hour and I was not at all ready to go out that day. Then, after hanging up the phone, I thought, “Wait a minute, if I pick the one in an hour, then Andrew could go with me and we could see our baby for the first time together.” So, I hurried and called the nurse back and asked her if I could switch my appointment to the earlier time. As I got ready to go, I slipped on my necklace that I have had since high school with one of my favorite verse imprinted on it, Job 42:2, which says, “I know you Lord can do anything and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.”
Andrew met me in the office, and pretty quickly the nurses got me back for an ultrasound. Never having gone through this before, I had no idea what to expect. She got her ultrasound wand ready and began the ultrasound. The nurse didn’t say a word and we didn’t see anything on the screen. I looked at the nurse and said something to the effect of, “Is the baby so small we can’t even see it yet?” She just quietly said, “I don’t see the baby, but I will let the doctor discuss this with you because I’m not an expert. All I see is some stuff floating around in your uterus.” I quickly looked at Andrew and for the second time in our marriage (the first being when I walked down the aisle at our wedding), I saw him with tears in his eyes. Did he know something I didn’t?
When the nurse finished she told me to get dressed and left the room. By this time, Andrew had tears down his cheeks and I don’t think it registered in my mind what had just happened. I remember praying together and Andrew telling me that he thought the nurse was trying to tell us that our baby was gone. We went to our assigned room and just waited for the doctor. It was a long wait since they had squeezed our appointment in last minute. We just sat there, staring at each other, scared.
Finally my doctor came in and showed us the ultrasound pictures. She explained that she didn’t quite know what was going on either. She felt around on my belly to see if there was any pain. I think she was shocked when I said there was none. She sat down and explained that she knew the baby wasn’t there or where it was supposed to be, but she knew that I was pregnant. She didn’t know if what she saw in my uterus was the baby already miscarried and starting to deteriorate, whether it was an ectopic pregnancy where the baby was caught in one of my fallopian tubes, or maybe a molar pregnancy somewhere else in my body. All she knew was she needed to see what was floating in my uterus. She asked that we go home and be back at the office at 4:00 that afternoon for her to perform a D & C in order to biopsy this “debris.”
We agreed and she ushered us to the surgery appointment desk. While we were walking, I had this sensation like I peed my pants, and I told the doctor. I think maybe she thought I was so nervous and saddened that I wet myself. She showed me where the bathroom was and told me where she and Andrew were headed. In the bathroom, to my horror, there was blood all down my legs. It was in that moment that I knew, my baby was gone, and it was with the Lord. I called for help out the door, not caring who saw me when the nurses rushed in to help me clean up and wrap sheets around me. My doctor turned to Andrew and said, “Forget 4:00, we are going to surgery now.”
They wheeled me back through the “secret” halls of the hospital to prep for surgery. It was around 12:30 in the afternoon. When they had me settled, the staff asked me question after question. They even had Andrew in the hallway asking him questions. It was chaos. When the staff left, they had to escort Andrew away too. When I was left alone, I just let it out and really cried for the first time. Here was my dream of being a mother, slipping away all in moments. I cried to the Lord, “Oh Lord, hold my baby for me right now when I can’t.” I knew that my baby was safe in the Lord’s arms, but I just wanted to hold it and tell it that I loved it. My heart swelled with love for this little soul who I had never met, let alone seen. I was trying to cling to the verse around my neck that the Lord knew and that His plans couldn’t be thwarted.
I knew too that my parents were on a cruise in Alaska and there was no way we could get a hold of them to let them know that I was pregnant, but now I was going into emergency surgery to remove my baby and fix my tubes and ask them to pray. It was a very scary time for both Andrew and me. The Lord was gracious to us that day. The doctors were able to get me in surgery by 1:00. I came out of surgery well. My doctor was able to locate the baby in my right fallopian tube, remove the baby, and repair my tube instead of having to remove it, like so often happens with ectopic pregnancies, performing laparoscopy and a D & C. I praise God for the saving of my tube. More than my tube though, I praise God for the sparing of my life. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized and was told the gravity behind ectopic pregnancy and how they can be life threatening for a woman. I praise God for every single breath that He has given me. Andrew and I decided to name our baby John, which means “gracious gift from God.”
After my surgery, I had a hard time registering that I had lost a baby. My husband contracted a strep infection in his hip two days after I was in the hospital. He was unable to walk, and I was his “crutch” for a few days. I didn’t take my pain meds even though I had soreness around my abs. He was then hospitalized for five days and had to have hip surgery himself in order to cut out the infection just one week after my own surgery. This turn of events led me to a place where I wasn’t able to grieve or care for myself because I was constantly looking after him. He was on IV antibiotics (administered by me) and had to be re-taught how to walk for the next five weeks (again, by me). I became his nurse and physical therapist. It was a strange time. When people asked me how I was doing, I would say I was fine because I think I was running on adrenaline just to make sure Andrew was okay.
By the time Andrew was back to work a month and a half later, I wasn’t okay anymore. Everyone who had asked me if I was okay before had forgotten about my grief and stopped asking. No one mentioned the baby I had lost, and still they never do. I had a lot of time to think and it led to my sorrow. There were a lot of questions that dominated my thoughts. Why would God take something away that was so precious and that would fulfill my calling in life? Did I kill my baby since the doctor had to abort my pregnancy in order to save my life? Why did no one care? Who was there to talk to? Why me? There were also unthoughtful comments others made that still sometimes ring in my ears.
I still don’t know the answers to all of these questions, and there are days when I still struggle with the pain of our baby’s death and the questions resurface. Sometimes I cry when I see the scars on my belly from surgery knowing that little John is safe with the Lord. I do know though that the Lord did not forget me in his mercy. When I was told I could get pregnant again in December after my surgery, I found out I was pregnant again in January. The Lord gave Andrew and me the blessing of our son Isaiah, whose egg came from the ovary and fallopian tube my doctor helped repair.
There are times when I still struggle to see the Lord’s purpose. Just this last October, Andrew and I lost our third child (Abel) through miscarriage when I was almost twelve weeks pregnant. All of these events have not altered the Lord’s goodness in my life. He is still God in the midst of the pain and struggle. I pray this story has been a blessing to you as much as it has grown me in writing it. Through all this, I pray every day for strength to be able to say with confidence the words of Psalm 18:30, “But as for God, His way is perfect.” May each of us be able to “Be still and know that I (the Lord) am God” (Psalm 46:10) and say with Job in Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
~Shared by Meagan Record