I woke up this morning with an overwhelming feeling that this was the day I needed to begin to write our story. With my laptop and cup of coffee in hand, I made my way to our patio for the quiet time I needed in order to accurately express what I wanted to say. I sat my computer on the patio table and noticed bird droppings all over the surface. Our patio was fully covered… how on earth would bird poop get all over our furniture? I began to make my way inside to get a washcloth when I noticed them. On top of the ceiling fan, almost hidden from my view, was a pile of sticks and twigs. To the left, I could see a round, white object and dead in the center was a bird locking eyes with mine. Mama to mama, her gaze didn’t waver. She was there to provide for her family and had created a beautiful home for them right there in our backyard. My face began to flood with tears.
It was Christmas Eve 2016. I battled with myself for hours debating on whether or not I should do it. Did my boobs hurt enough? Was I late enough to tell? Would I be ready for another disappointing result? I made my way through the madhouse that was the grocery store and I bought a pregnancy test. Anxiety began to build as I tried to calm my fidgety fingers and racing heartbeat. I came inside and headed straight to the bathroom; I just had to know. After completing the test, I closed my eyes, counted to sixty and took a deep breath. There in front of me were the two lines I had been dreaming of since losing our sweet babe six months prior. The joy that I had anticipated feeling was nowhere to be found, as I allowed fear to run rampant through my veins. I was terrified of what would happen this time, and if my heart could bear that pain again. I told nobody, said prayers with Berklee before laying her down to sleep, and then fell to my knees in prayer of my own.
“Lord, please give me strength and walk with me through these next steps. Whatever is to happen God, I put my trust in you and your purpose for my life. I’m not asking for what I want, because I know it is already decided. I’m just asking for a warrior’s heart through it all. I love you so much. Amen.”
On Christmas morning, I told my sweet husband and I watched his eyes dance. He couldn’t stop smiling as we made our way to take communion at our church, and for the first time, I felt happy. I realized whatever would happened in the future was going to happen, I might as well choose joy while it’s still in front of me. So that’s what we did.
We told our family and some friends as we asked for prayer and began the wait of the ever scary first trimester. Because of my previous miscarriage, our doctor was quick to run blood tests to check for rising pregnancy hormones and made us an ultrasound appointment at six weeks. Our blood results came back beautiful, with tripling numbers, but our first ultrasound showed the baby smaller than the doctor would have liked. Because it was still early, he planned a follow up ultrasound for the next week. Three days later I was woken up in the middle of the night to cramping that I can only compare to contractions. With no bleeding, I knew I wasn’t miscarrying, but I did know something was wrong. We headed to the ER early that next morning and after another ultrasound, the doctor found a sub chorionic hemorrhage in my uterus. Which was later translated to me as being a blood clot that was formed in between my gestational sac and uterine wall. And mine was large and in charge. The doctor went on to tell me that this could result in a miscarriage, or my body could absorb the clot and I could go on to have a completely healthy babe. I clung for dear life to the latter option.
I was frustrated. Gosh, was I frustrated. I just wanted this time to be different, I needed it to be. I wanted to continue to feel this joy inside of me and I really, really, really did not want to lose my precious baby. I couldn’t even bear the thought of it. I called my OB and he comforted me in the fact that my hormone levels looked exceptional and that no bleeding was the best sign. I remained hopeful with that knowledge as I counted down the days, hours, and minutes to my next ultrasound.
One week after my ER visit, Austin and I headed in to the doctor’s office once again for a peek at our littlest love. I remember starting to cry as I stepped out of the car and embraced my husband in a way I never had before. I was afraid that if he let me go, the fear of what was going to happen next would paralyze me. I settled into the chair and looked up at the ceiling, afraid of what I might see on that monitor.
“There’s the heartbeat!”
You couldn’t keep the silly grin off our faces in that moment. There was our sweet baby on that screen, measuring perfect in size with a strong heartbeat. It was as if all my fears had vanished. This was the light at the end of our storm, our rainbow.
He printed our photos and I stared at our perfect creation. It was a feeling that I wish I could have bottled up and saved for the days where I couldn’t muster a smile. The only way I can think to describe it, is happiness in its purest form. I finally felt like I could let go of my doubt.
Three days later I was doing dishes as Berklee napped and I felt a gush of fluid. That’s how quick everything changed. One minute I was swaying to country music radio, high on this newfound happiness and the next my world was shattered into millions of little pieces. In one moment, I felt every ounce of the peace I felt for this pregnancy completely drained from me. I felt that gush, and I just knew.
“There is no fetal heartbeat.”
Those are the only words I heard before I had completely transported out of current time. The room got silent, my body froze and even though I saw the doctor’s lips moving, I didn’t hear a word. I sat there speechless, I don’t even know if I was breathing. My head started spinning but I couldn’t cry. It was like I was numb. Then it was as if someone snapped their fingers and the world set back into motion. The doctor asked if I understood what was happening and I nodded. My husband was at work and my sister and sister-in-law were there in the room with me. As soon as the doctor left and they took me in their arms, I lost it.
I grieved for another child I wouldn’t get to meet here on earth. I cried for my husband and the way his face would fall when I broke the news. And I wept for my precious daughter who lost another best friend. The pain was unbearable, suffocating at times actually, and I felt utterly and completely defeated. Having to tell Austin the news was probably one of toughest parts of all. He tried to be strong and the rock for us both, but that night when he crumbled in our bed, I couldn’t help but feel responsible.
“What the heck is wrong with me?”
It’s unbelievable how quick the devil shows his ugly face when he sees the first glimpse of vulnerability and doubt. He manipulates us into thinking we could have done something differently, changed the outcome somehow, and if we couldn’t? Well, then we were just a failure from the beginning. I wasn’t going to let him take hold of my life the same way he did last time. No, that was one thing I did have control over.
“Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s”
– 2 Chronicles 20:15
I wish I could say that I’m okay now or that the loss gets easier. The hole never really gets filled, the memory will always be there and the reminder of what happened will always creep up in normal day activities, like checking out at the grocery store and seeing the very pregnant mama in front of me. I wish I could say that I’ve seen the reason for why this keeps happening and that it all makes undeniable sense to me. But, I’ve learned that’s where faith steps in. I don’t have any answers. I don’t have any explanation. And I have no idea what the future holds for our growing family. But, here is what I do know. I am the daughter of a good and gracious God. My husband, daughter and I are loved immensely by Him and by grace we are saved through His son. I know that it’s not my job to have the answers, it’s my job to trust that his plan for my life is greater than my wildest daydream.
I know that my pain will one day seem purposeful.
I stare at this sweet mama bird out here on my patio, her eyes still locked on mine and it’s though we have a small understanding. She’s telling me she will protect these babies and I am telling her I completely understand. I wipe my tears and I feel a smile slip out. I’m overwhelmed by the feeling that God has put this mama bird and her babies here on my porch for a specific purpose. As if he wanted me to know it was okay to write our story, feel this pain again and share it with the world.
It was so much more than a mama bird in her nest…it was a symbol of hope.