It still hurt. That little word on the lab slip. It was the second time I’d seen it. The first had felt like a punch to the gut. Miscarriage.
On Thursday, July 4th, after returning home from the parade, I took a pregnancy test. KJ gave me the biggest hug; Kris was speechless. We spent the day telling our families. Friday was hectic. We were moving from our little apartment to our first house. My legs were aching. I had periods of lightheadedness.
Saturday, the cramps began just before lunch, and the bleeding increased. Following my instincts, I called a good friend who offered to accompany me to the emergency room. Hours later, the doctor shook his head at me. “I’m sorry, young lady. It’s too early to tell what exactly is happening. All I can tell is that you’re pregnant.”
Erring on the side of caution, the doctor ordered bed rest. Later that night, I discovered several clots. My heart sank as the vague apprehension I’d experienced all day crashed with reality. In my heart, I knew: there was something terribly wrong. I dropped to my knees and recited the only thing that came to mind. “I will praise You in this storm.” I chanted the chorus like a litany until I felt strong enough to stand.
Monday morning arrived. With Kris holding my hand, my doctor performed another ultrasound. After some time, she shut down the machine. “I’m not seeing a fetus. I’m ready to diagnose a miscarriage.” It was the one word I didn’t want to hear. She sat with me and patiently, kindly, explained that it wasn’t my fault, and being so early in the pregnancy, there was nothing I could’ve done to prevent it. She left us alone. Kris prayed, but the only sound I could hear was my heart throbbing in my ears. We went home to break the news to my mom, who held me tight as I fell apart. No words.
Later that afternoon, my doctor called. We were waiting for lab results to confirm a miscarriage. Instead, the hormones had increased, but not to the levels desired for a healthy pregnancy. Not a miscarriage. An ectopic pregnancy. One of my absolute worst fears. Once again I was ordered to rest until my next appointment, when I would receive another ultrasound.
My baby brother had been mistaken for an ectopic pregnancy. Two separate exams couldn’t locate him. The second doctor advised my mother to terminate the pregnancy. My parents declined. Two weeks later, another doctor examined her. Finally, my brother was right where he was supposed to be. If my case was the same as my mom’s, my baby might just be taking its time. If it was a genuine ectopic pregnancy, the longer I waited, the more I would be in danger. Either choice could end in heartbreak.
The day of the ultrasound, a week to the day I took the test, I sat in the uncomfortable chair and gripped Kris’s hand. Something flashed on the screen and my throat tightened. What I saw was not a baby. The technician finished. She returned, with the doctor, who greeted me and sat down. “Ma’am, what we’re looking at is not an ectopic pregnancy, it’s a molar pregnancy.”
“It’s essentially a tumor. Something went wrong during conception. It’s not a baby. It will never become one. It doesn’t have the programming to do so. I recommend surgery. You may also need chemotherapy in the future.” Chemotherapy? I thought I was pregnant. We were instructed to return upstairs to my obstetrician to discuss options. She recommended surgery as well. A D&C. Different from a D&E, but similar enough at first glance that it might have a stigma attached, especially for someone that mostly associated with Christians.
Monday came and after hours of prayer and more tears than I thought I could cry, I went in for the surgery. I spent the better half of the day lying in a hospital bed answering a million questions and watching tv with Kris, distracting myself.
Finally, I arrived in the O.R. My doctor came and stood beside me. She quietly held my hand as I was being prepped. It meant the world to me. I heard the anesthesiologist
Home at last, I curled up on the sofa, snuggling the beloved bear, not completely understanding why it brought me so much comfort. Days later, my doctor called with the report from the lab. The tumor was a complete molar pregnancy; no fetal matter was found. Technically I’d not lost a baby. I thought perhaps that would make it hurt less. It did. And it didn’t. And I’m not sure why. Some nights, I still cuddle the bear.
If you know someone who has recently suffered a loss, of any kind, especially a miscarriage, I implore you, reach out to them. You don’t need to be Billy Graham, or be a licensed counselor or have mind blowing words of wisdom ready in your pocket. Sometimes, there are no words. And that’s ok. Hold a hand, bake a cake, meet up for coffee. Hug. Listen. Be the friend you would want in the hardest of times. Be who Jesus is to you.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15 NIV
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Reading this today, it still hurts. But I believe that God is good and has a plan for this painful day to help so many people understand that that especially in times like this, we need to trust in God. Just as Jobe lost everything, he still praised God through all his pain and suffering and God was pleased with that and blessed him for it. We must praise him at all times good and bad.