Derek and I got married 5 years ago, and we have had so many fun adventures together. A little over 3 years ago we started learning about what it meant to be in pain and to suffer together. We have grown so close to each other, and I think that we make the best team. However, this period of time and this part of our story together is something that I really want others to know. In the church and in our society, often pain gets covered up or patched up too quickly. We want everything to be ok too fast. Derek and I pray that our openness and honesty with our pain and questions through infertility and also our joy and celebration with the triplets will help others find hope and comfort. We also pray that it will help bring understanding to those that have never experienced these things before.
On January 26, 2015, Derek and I lost a baby. We had been trying to get pregnant for several months and were ecstatic when that pink line finally appeared. We immediately started dreaming of what he/she would look like and let our minds run wild with how wonderful it was going to be. We honestly did not know anyone at the time that had suffered through a miscarriage, and it just isn’t very socially acceptable to discuss (I’m hoping that is slowly changing), but at the time the thought of losing the baby had NEVER crossed my mind. Then, weird things started happening. At 8ish weeks, I started bleeding and thought I had miscarried the baby but my numbers were still high so they just monitored my progress. Finally, it was discovered that I had an ectopic pregnancy. This is when the baby starts growing in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. If we hadn’t figured out the problem, in just a few days or hours it could have ruptured and been extremely dangerous for me. I had surgery to take the baby out which was overwhelming in so many ways. I had a miscarriage in a sense, but it was different. They had to physical go in and take the baby out which really messed me up. That’s something that we have been through this whole journey…different. But I know that I am not alone. I want to speak out and tell our story in hopes that other people feeling the same way can find comfort in my openness and honesty. Here is something I wrote 7 months after losing our first baby:
It is almost September 4, 2015. The day our little baby was supposed to be due. After 8 months of trying, Derek and I finally got pregnant and in January found out that it was an ectopic pregnancy. After losing the baby, we were broken but surrounded by so many people that love us. My dreams of names and nurseries and even sleepless nights were crushed. However, we still had hope though that after a couple months, it will all happen as we had dreamed. Surely if God is a good father then He will allow us to have a family and raise a child up in the name of the Lord. That’s all we wanted to do. Now here we are 7 months later, still broken and with hope all but lost. Hope is too hard. Hope means that every month I open myself up for more brokenness. Every month as I sit in pain, I feel as though I have lost yet another child. It never gets easier. For the last couple months I have given up hope. I don’t dream about names any more or due dates. I don’t pray for a baby anymore because I just don’t want to be disappointed again. I’m tired of being in pain. So is forgetting hope the answer? Or is there a way to live in hope that keeps me from getting crushed. Romans 12:12 says to rejoice in hope. How in the world is that possible? If you have hope it means that you have something to hope for which means you don’t have what you hoped for. It means you are empty but waiting for something to happen. What does it look like to rejoice in hope? Should I be happy that my dreams of becoming a mother seem so far out of reach? Should I be joyful in the fact that instead of staying home this year and learning how to raise a child, I am taking fertility treatments and making my mind and body crazy with tests and medicine. I sure don’t feel joyful. I feel tired and angry and sad. There are things in my life that bring me joy – my amazing husband, our supportive families and friends, our jobs and ministry…so I can be joyful, but I don’t want to be joyful IN hope. I want to be joyful despite my hope. The message translation says to be “Cheerfully expectant.” That sounds like an oxymoron to me. All I really want to do is stop caring, stop dreaming, and stop hurting. Maybe the problem isn’t whether or not I hope, but what I hope for. I have always laughed when my students read Psalm 37:4 to mean that God will give them whatever they ask for, but that’s kind of what Im doing. I’ve lost hope because my life doesn’t look like what I think it should. I also laugh at all of the parents of my students that want to plow all of the problems our of their child’s way. As a teacher, it makes me cringe when parents fight the battles for their children and the student never learns anything. If God is a good father then I know that He shouldn’t take all of my problems away but shouldn’t He give me the strength to not feel broken or the peace that passes understanding. Why don’t I feel that? How am I supposed to act like everything is normal and happy only to be crushed every month again and again? How am I supposed to go to school on September 4th and pretend like nothing happened? The answer: ????
noun: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
Verb: to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to feel that something desired may happen.
This way of thinking is not possible if the thing that I want is to have a baby. Because right now, in all reality, that may not happen, well at least for a long time. We have already decided that we will happily adopt and I am so glad that God gave us that calling through all of this but it will be 3 years before we will have a child through adoption. So, if the thing that I want or look forward to is to be a mom then I will be setting myself up for more heartache. There has to be another option. I have to transfer my hope from things turning out the way they should in my own personal world and focus on the goal of Gods Kingdom being known. If I put my hope in the fact that God is shaping me and molding me and forming me to be a better disciple and better leader for His Kingdom, then no matter what happens at the end of this month, I am not left alone and shattered. It gives my hope and my pain purpose. I have HOPE that God will redeem this crap. I have HOPE that God will transform my broken pieces into something that can be used to bring hope to others. My HOPE is NOT that one day I will be a mom, even though that’s true. I know that one day – maybe far in the future –one day I will be a mom. But that’s still not what I HOPE in. I need to put my HOPE in something that wont let me down.
So here I stand, or have fallen, with nothing to offer but the broken pieces of me, begging to be transformed into something more beautiful, something more like Jesus. I have HOPE that one day I will be whole again.
(back to Sept 2017) Now looking back, its crazy that it did in fact take 3 years for us to have our baby(ies). I never would have pictured it turning out the way it did. People tell me all the time that it was all part of God’s plan, and maybe it is, but really I believe that God took a terrible thing and redeemed it and turned it into something beautiful. That’s what He is best at doing. I serve a God that doesn’t create the ugly, the broken, the pain, but takes those things and makes them new. Our journey in meeting our triplets was a long and hard one, but God sure did shape my heart in the process. He made me a new person. Even though we have our beautiful babies, I still struggle sometimes. That pain of infertility did not just disappear. I still sometimes ache when I think about that baby we lost or the failed round of IVF or the months and months of negative pregnancy tests. It was and still is painful. I still often feel angry that God allowed it to happen. I also see many friends that are still waiting and still don’t have a baby in their arms. I don’t have my babies because I prayed harder or because God loves me more or even because I deserved them. God redeems in all sorts of different ways. So if you are still in the middle of infertility or mourning a miscarriage or lost child, this is not where your story ends. I don’t know how it will be used, but have hope that your pain will be transformed into something beautiful.
Over the next few weeks I will post a new part of our story and slowly build up to the present. Along the way I will reflect on how God was working or the questions and frustrations that I had and am having at God. I believe that God is a God of beautiful redemption and that my story is just beginning. I would love for you to follow along with me in this journey. Let me know if you have questions or comments too. I would love to hear from you.