I got out of bed feeling just as tired as I had been the night before. I wasn’t up more than a few hours before I headed back to bed for a nap.
I complained about my extreme fatigue that day to my friend in an email. She wrote back, “You know what that means. You’re pregnant.” I quickly wrote back that pregnancy wasn’t possible. I had a baby that I was nursing and I hadn’t returned to a normal cycle since I’d had him. Still, she got me thinking. My baby had been nursing less and less. I was so hungry all the time. Hm.
We were getting ready to go on vacation, so I had to make sure I wasn’t pregnant before we left. I bought a pregnancy test and was shocked to discover that it was positive. It was the first time I hadn’t planned a pregnancy.
It was a delightful surprise. Not long before the positive test, my husband had given me a valentine in which he said he’d like to have another baby. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting it so soon. When I gave my husband the news, he exclaimed, “I barely touched you!”
There are no coincidences
When we returned from a lovely family vacation, I had a doctor’s appointment to date the pregnancy as I had no idea how far along I was. When the technician gave me the due date, I was stunned. I cried happy tears all the way home from the clinic, because the date was December 28th, the due date for the baby I had miscarried.
Even though I had wanted to know the gender of our fourth child, I really wanted this baby’s gender to be a surprise–like the rest of the pregnancy. The morning of my 5th month ultrasound, I prayed that the gender would not be revealed to me. I had gotten quite good at reading gender on the screen.
Another answered prayer
The technician scanned and scanned and could not see the baby’s gender. She was extremely frustrated! She knew I had four boys at home and she was dying to know.
But no one knew until the day of her birth and the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!”
When I am tempted to believe that God doesn’t care about me, I remember the circumstances of my daughter’s birth and I know how great is His love for you and me.
Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – Jer. 31:13
I was in my third month of expecting my fourth child when I had a very disturbing dream. I dreamt that I miscarried in very vivid detail. I remember looking in the mirror the morning after, feeling satisfied that all was well. I had seen my doctor several weeks before and he said I was fine.
A short time later, however, that dream came true. How good of God to prepare me for one of the toughest times of my life using a dream. The OB on call reassured me that bleeding could be perfectly normal, but in my heart of hearts, I knew it wasn’t. Not for me. At the hospital, the ultrasound technician confirmed that my baby had stopped growing four weeks previously. There was nothing to do but go home and wait for the loss to be complete. I didn’t feel comfortable doing anything surgically. I had driven myself to the hospital and my husband had met me after we got someone to watch the kids. I felt completely alone when I got behind the wheel and turned on the radio. The lyrics playing on my favorite Christian radio station were, “When you feel like you’ve lost it all, Jesus will still be there.”
I was comforted and really thought that knowing for sure I had lost a baby would be the worst of it. It wasn’t. The next several weeks brought excruciating pain as I miscarried at home alone, a hormonal roller coaster that made PMS seem refreshing, and painful questions about God, relationships, and the future. Even while in the middle of the valley, I knew that I was there for a reason. I called my editor and asked to write a pamphlet for Lutheran Hour Ministries called “Losing a Baby Without Losing Hope.” My experience and the process of writing opened my heart to so many women I knew who had miscarried. I even called a friend who lost a baby years before and apologized for not being as sensitive as I should have been.
One of the recommendations I made in the pamphlet was to find a way to memorialize the baby. I knew I wanted a Christmas ornament, but I hadn’t yet chosen one when I spoke at a church on the subject of grief and loss. (As an aside, that speech happened to be scheduled the day after 9/11.) I was given a gift as a presenter–an angel ornament. I am comforted looking at that ornament every year as I decorate the tree, but I really look forward to seeing my angel in heaven one day.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)