(Trigger warning, this may be difficult for you to read if you’ve experienced the loss of a child or baby).
When you think of Summer you think of warm weather and sunshine, being carefree, camping, S’mores, catching fireflies in mason jars, BBQ’s, picnics and fishing at the lake. Summer is a joyful season filled with holidays that bring people together, fireworks and baseball, concerts in the park down the street on a warm evening. That’s what Summer should be.
Those things are exactly what I was hoping Summer 2014 was going to be filled with, and it was, but there was something else about this Summer that spun my little world around.
Summer 2014 was the hardest season of my life, and while nearly everyone around me just wanted Summer to just go on and on, I couldn’t wait for it to end.
As many of you know, Jake and I have been trying to have a baby for almost 2 years now. Struggling with the reality of infertility and not being able to get pregnant, along with the toll it was beginning to take on our marriage, we decided in April that it was time to take a break from all the “trying” to have a baby. So we stopped trying, and while everyone around us was telling us about how we should “just relax and it will happen,” we had done this very thing more than just this time, and it didn’t happen, it really was a very trying time for both of us, it made us into people we didn’t like and we needed to just “be” and find a part of that couple that we were before we began this journey.
May 19th was just like any other day, and then, the 2 lines showed up on the pregnancy test. I felt like I was in a dream. It all seemed so surreal and strange. Every month for the last 18 months I had done the same routine and taken a pregnancy test because I was sure “this month would be the month,” and it never was, but now it was happening. I didn’t really know how to feel, to say I was excited would be an understatement. There were happy tears and lots of “Thank-you God for this miracle” prayers that went up, and the realization that I was going to finally be a mom, Jake was finally going to be a dad, and this is what we, and everyone around us had been praying for. The realization that God does answer prayers, that He does hear us, and that His timing is so much greater than anything we could ever imagine.
Before any of this had happened, I had bought a set of onesies from Target as a hopeful reminder that someday it would happen, we would have that baby we had wanted and prayed for, for so long and had hung them in the back of my closet. So I set the onesies out, laid the (clean and dry) pregnancy test on them and called Jake. It just so happened he was working in town that day, which I did not know, and I called him and asked him if he could stop home when he had a chance, and he said he’d stop by around 1:00pm. I was so excited and nervous to tell him we were going be parents! I heard him come in the front door and walk up the stairs to our place and he came in the door, looked over to the onesies and the test laying on the couch and just said “you’re pregnant?!” I shook my head and said “yes” and we hugged and cried together for a bit, he’d step back and then look at me and then we hugged again and again. He kept saying “I have to go back to work” and then he’d give me another hug and it went this way for a few minutes. It was lovely and beautiful and something I’ll never forget. I just told him “I couldn’t go all day without you knowing!” He left and went back to work and unbeknownst to me at the time told everyone he talked to on the phone that day about our great news.
I floated around with my head in the clouds for the rest of the day. It was the greatest, most happy day of my life.
The next week was great. I started talking to the baby, even though I knew that it couldn’t hear me, but it felt right. Jake would rub my belly when he’d walk by me and we’d smile and talk about names, everything was such a dream. We just couldn’t believe that after so long we were going to finally be parents, and we were so very excited and so much in love with this little person already.
Everything changed 2 weeks later. I won’t go into great detail, but I started spotting and I just knew something was wrong. I went to go and have an ultrasound done and they told me they really didn’t even want to do one because of the spotting, but I insisted.
Being able to see our baby on the screen was such a lovely, surreal and relieving thing, and I am so grateful for that. But there was something wrong. Baby was measuring 1 and ½ weeks behind. They reassured me and told me that there are so many factors that are involved in a pregnancy that it was common for that to be the case at the first ultrasound. The ultrasound tech told me “unless you know exactly when you ovulated, you’d have no idea exactly how far along you were.” But I did know, and I knew all the other details about my cycle, in my heart I knew there was something wrong. I was hopeful, I knew God was in control of it all, but so worried and scared at the same time.
They scheduled another appointment for me to come back in the following week.
The next week dragged by.
The spotting continued and I was really starting to worry, even though everyone I talked to about it said it was completely normal and that it happens to so many women in the beginning of pregnancy and everything would turn out all right, but I felt like I already knew it wouldn’t be. This time in my life when I should have been so excited and joyful and getting ready for a baby to arrive was spent crying and praying and there were way too many sleepless nights of crying out to God and just thinking about everything going on.
A couple days before the next ultrasound all of my pregnancy symptoms that I had been having just disappeared. The nausea that had been there in full force was gone, I no longer felt sick to my stomach all day, and everything just felt different. I can’t explain it other than to say that I think women really do just know when things are wrong, it was my body and it just felt off.
I went into the ultrasound on the 18th of June. I was hopeful, but had already prepared myself for any news they had to give. Jake wasn’t able to get off of work that morning because they were swamped, and so I went alone. I great friend had offered to come in his place but I felt like somehow everything would be fine and I wanted to be by myself, no matter what the news was. This time they did 2 ultrasounds. I waited and held my breath while the ultrasound tech clicked on all the little measurements and made her notes, and from the look on her face I could tell something was wrong. She finished the ultrasound and told me she’d be back and to have a seat on the couch in the ultrasound room.
That’s never good.
She came back in, told me the sac had not grown and there was no fetal pole, and no heartbeat from what she could see and with as far along as I thought I was ( I knew I was) there should be a heartbeat and we should be able to see all of those things by now. I didn’t know what to say. I had no words. I knew it was a possibility, but I thought she must have been wrong, obviously she didn’t know what she was talking about. Then she offered to pray for me and asked if that would be okay? I told her yes and so she did. It was lovely and kind and I felt a brief moment of peace. She then scheduled me to go and have my blood drawn to check my Hcg levels because the ultrasound “can’t show everything”, and so off I went, feeling numb, and I had to drive myself, not a good combination. I don’t know how I made it all the way across town.
I got to the Women’s Clinic and walked into a waiting room filled with pregnant women. It was like a slap in the face. I had to sit in that waiting room and try not to cry. I was thinking that should be me, I should be just like that, and be just as happy, but I wasn’t anymore. I had some kind friends, part of a group of women that I’ve become so close to who are/were all on the same journey I was of trying to have a baby; that texted me as I was waiting, they were anticipating news and I’d hoped to have good news, and I told them it wasn’t, but I was getting blood drawn and they kept me calm. It was like they were right there holding my hand. I love these women so much, and we’ve never even met. It’s amazing the people God puts in your life for these very moments.
I got called back to the lab area and I walked in the lady looked at my chart and said “January baby, huh?!” I just nodded and smiled and said “Yup.” It was everything I could do to not cry. She took a few vials of blood and told me the doctor would call me the next day. More waiting. Great.
After I got home I had to text Jake and let him know what was going on, I couldn’t say the words out loud so I didn’t call him. I didn’t want to since he had to be at work for the rest of the day, but I felt like he had to know. Then I went in my bedroom, laid on my bed, and cried. Crying turned into sobbing, and screaming and yelling. Yelling at God for His broken promises, about why He would give us this baby only to take it away from us so soon, and how I didn’t know what He was trying to teach me through all of this but it was a really shitty way to do it. Yes I said it, and other things that I will not repeat here. I was pissed. I felt lost. I felt alone. I’ve felt far away from God before, but this time, it felt like it was even farther. I just didn’t understand how a God who says he loves me and wants to give me the desires of my heart would take away the very thing that so many people have prayed for, for so long. Why would He take away a baby that was so wanted, and so, so loved already?
I never knew I could love someone so deeply who I had never even met. It was the greatest heartache I’ve ever experienced.
Jake came home that night and in the quiet of our bedroom he walked in and I was bent over on the bed on my hands and knees sobbing. He just hugged me and held me and told me that everything would be okay, that he loved me, and he was pissed off about all of it too, but that whatever happened we would be okay. Then we just laid next to each other on the bed and I snuggled up next to him and just cried, and we talked, and cried for almost 2 hours until I felt like I couldn’t cry anymore and then we ate supper.
The doctor called the next day with my blood test results. My Hcg levels were 7500. He said that was good, that it didn’t necessarily mean anything since we didn’t have any previous numbers to go by, but the numbers were good, but that I’d have to come in on Friday to get my blood drawn again to see if there was a change. I was hopeful, I called Jake and told him. I told my friends and family. Everyone was still praying and trusting for a miracle that somehow God would take this and make everything perfect.
That miracle never came. That night I started bleeding, and I just knew that was it. The baby was gone. I didn’t tell anyone, not even Jake.
Friday morning, June 20th Jake left for work. I woke up in severe pain and went to the bathroom, still bleeding. I went back to bed hoping to get some rest. It was then in my tossing and turning that I felt the worst physical pain I’d ever felt, it lasted for what seemed like an eternity. I got up to go to the bathroom hoping I was wrong, but I wasn’t. It really was over. At least the physical pain was over.
I didn’t know what to do. I called a friend. I had to go and get my blood drawn which almost seemed comical at this point, but I went anyway. I had a bruise on my arm from the time before so the lab tech took it out of the other arm. She said the doctor would call me that day. He didn’t, he wouldn’t call until Monday morning to tell me what I already knew, but it didn’t matter.
I was mad. I was angry. I wanted to cry, but had cried so much the past 2 days that I couldn’t even do it. The heartache was there, but I just felt lost. I put it out there on Facebook, and so many women, so many, reached out to me with their stories of loss and it helped me to not feel so alone anymore. It still hurt, that pain was still there, but I knew I was not alone. I was part of a group of women, part of a club that I’d never wanted to be in, and my heart ached for me and Jake and for the baby we would never get to meet, and for all the couples and women that go through this every day. My heart just hurt so much.
My heart ached for the hopes and dreams that died that day, the plans we had already been making in preparing to have a baby, the love we had for the baby, also for the future that wasn’t going to be, and for the realization that everything I’d wanted was gone in a breath.
I don’t know why but I felt like it was a girl. So we named her “Grace.”
Sometimes in my dreams I think I see her face, and she is so perfect and whole and beautiful. I feel like this is God’s way of telling me she is alright.
We are still waiting expectantly and believing that God is who He said, and that He does keep His promises, and that He has something so much greater planned for us then we could ever have imagined. He is Faithful. He is Love. He is Truth. He has everything in His hands. His timing, not ours.
I don’t know why we’ve been chosen to walk this road. Does it still hurt? All the time. Sometimes it hurts to breathe. Some days the best thing I can do for myself is just to get out of bed for the day and that is good enough. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t wreck me when I think about what was lost. The tears do come and the pain is overwhelming. I would be lying if said that when my due date comes and goes in January that it won’t bring tears and that my heart won’t hurt, because it will. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to see women who are pregnant and announcements on Facebook, and wishing it was me, and that it was us making that announcement too, because I do.
I will always wonder who this baby would have been.
I don’t understand it, and I know it’s not for me or anyone to understand, but we are still trusting God and it is our prayer that He will take the ashes of our brokenness and make them beautiful. And even though we won’t get to hold our baby here on earth, and the pain of that is so great, I do know that I can’t wait to get to Heaven someday and meet our baby face to face.
So yes, this has been the hardest Summer of my life, and I am ready for what’s next.
Ready for new seasons.