When you ask God to hold you (My miscarriage story)
Posted on 11 December 2014
I shared my story of miscarriage three years ago in front of our Church. I felt compelled to share it here as well as it gives some insight into who I am and the importance of scripture in my own life. Aside from this year losing my sister, this had been the worst tragedy I had experienced, and proves what an anchor God's word is in our lives.
Four years ago Dave and I were returning from a year in Africa ready for a new chapter of life. While we left that country, we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were changed forever and that one day, some how we would be back to this country working amongst the poor and these people we had grown to love. Africa has never left our hearts or been far from our minds since; we talk about it often.
We left Africa when I was about 7wks pregnant - an answer to a year-long prayer. After this time away, as we left pregnant, I felt like God had blessed us hugely in the timing of everything. It has all fallen into place.We had Levi at the end of that year we definitely got a new chapter of life! Life was good. It was full, but it was fun.
Africa never left us, and about 18mths ago Dave had planned to travel back and do some work with a project one of our friends was running. It was a trip to see how we could possibly be involved there long term. I’d just found out I was pregnant for the second time, I envisioned fun scenarios of life in Africa with a little family running some kind of programs to help men, widows, children, young women…the opportunities were exciting!
The night before Dave left on this long-planned trip, I had a call from my Dr to discuss the pregnancy ultrasound I’d had that day. She confirmed what I had already read in the report. A sack, but no baby - just a black hole where it had been. A miscarriage. Dead. Not really a baby – my body had tricked itself for 8wks, so she said.
There are no words for life sometimes. No glossy grief cliché’s to fix the swirl of thoughts and feelings that began to consume me. The pain that gets in and taints everything. I found myself torn. Dave was doing his final packing - One of our dreams was coming true, but another was shattering.
I was raw. I went through the process of having a D&C. I’d never been to hospital as a patient before. It scared the heck out of me. There were dr’s appointments and scans. Not knowing where I was meant to be and juggling who was able to care for Levi while Dave was away. Feeling like I should still be giving to others but just not having the eyes for anything other than the sadness that clouded everything. I was sad - plain and simple.
Life moved on, and I kind of chalked the miscarriage up as an inauguration into motherhood. My thoughts bounced around covering every scenario or reasoning of why this would have happened. My angry side argued that we had served God and made sacrifices to live in Africa of all places, why would he do this to us? Wasn’t our year there an insurance policy against anything bad ever happening to us? Shouldn’t he give us every blessing in life? These thoughts then turned to my own rationalising and Christian upbringing side, which reasoned that ‘Everyone has a miscarriage right? Levi and the baby would have been so close in age. It definitely worked out for the best. I can see Gods’ best. He works things for good. I know that. I have seen that in my journey of life. Nothing gets wasted. He uses all things. This was the attitude I aspired to amongst the grief I felt at times.
A positive pregnancy text 8mths later brought joy but also tears of sadness. I was scared. I wanted to be excited like Dave, but I was nervous. Internal questions and wonderings if this time things would be ok this time round. Knowing God heard my prayers for another baby and answered them, but at the same time wondering if there would be a due date. There wasn’t. Another miscarriage. Empty. Disappointed.
Life moved fairly fast from this point It became intense and busy. Work. Deadlines. Life. Financially, things began to crack, as we hadn’t yet sold an investment house we had renovated. The ongoing pressure of paying these two mortgages caused a lot of angst and stress for both of us. We set aside a night a week to pray, which drew us closer, but God had not answered our prayers for a speedy sale.
I remember my prayer and positive talk at the time was “God is bigger than this financial climate”. I knew that in my head, but I didn’t see that. We wanted to be freed up to set up some work in Africa, but this just wasn’t happening how we thought. I thought God would open the floodgates; we would sell quickly for a fantastic price. Six months later, it was still on the market, our asking price dropping by the month.
In the midst of all this, in September last year, a pregnancy test showed positive. Hesitantly excited. Finally there was an answer to prayer. A little glimmer of hope. Of a God who has shown favour on us. We shared with family and close friends to rally around and pray that this time things would be better. Just about at the 12wk “safety” mark, an early ultrasound showed again that the baby had died leaving an empty hole on the monitor where the baby should be. No heartbeat. Nothing. Not again. Not now when life is already in a hard season.
Gutted. Grief overwhelming. I entered a dark place. My body was betraying me. I felt like God had really pulled a dirty trick on me. To give me something and then take it away. It was meant to be “third time lucky” – but no. It wasn’t to be.
Another round of hospital visits, another D&C. All over. Finished. Empty again.
Complications from this miscarriage went on for almost two months. Crying in worry and sadness on the phone to triple zero on two occasions. The loss and sadness was huge. It was a blur as two months just flew by in and out of hospital, waiting to know what was wrong. Deeply hurt that I had been dealt an unjust blow while we were already down.
I will always remember the night I came home from hospital after all the surgeries were over. I had a picture pop into my mind of a fork in the road, there were two clear options; a dark pit to my right that I knew was a pit of depression and self pity. The other road was God. I was being pulled into a place that I have never been to before. Darkness.
I lay in my bedroom and listened to a song my Mercy Me called “Keep Singing”.
Another rainy day
I can't recall having sunshine on my face
All I feel is pain
All I wanna do is walk out of this place
But when I am stuck and I can't move
When I don't know what I should do
When I wonder if I'll ever make it through
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
You're the one who's keeping my heart beating
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
That's the only way that I'll find healing
Can I climb up in Your lap?
I don't wanna leave
Jesus, sing over me
I gotta keep singing
Then and there I chose to keep singing, and step away from the pit. To turn to God, not even knowing if that would mean everything would be ok.
Finally things were back to normal physiologically. But there were still these circumstances. This loss to deal with. I chose God but he didn’t transform my life instantaneously. The strain of having this amount of time off work when we were already struggling financially, caused our need to sell one of properties to go from urgent to sheer desperate. We got down to literally $2 in our bank account. These were dark days.
Praying together I would cry out to God for a let up. The looping thought in my head was always: I don’t have a baby, and we haven’t sold our house. God hasn’t answered any of my prayers. I was pleading with God. Please, God, please…
I couldn’t even pray without a sob in my throat. My faith was so low. I knew for the first time in my life-long faith how people could walk away. I tried to keep singing, but I was loosing the fight. But, still I held on, I’m sure only riding on the faith of Dave and on God’s grace to me. God reminded me one day at home, at probably the lowest point, that “He makes all things beautiful in his time”. It was the sliver of hope I needed. So I kept singing.
The most frustrating thing during this period of just doing the next thing was not even having the time to cry over the most recent miscarriage. It’s hard to keep singing when there is a sob in your throat every time I thought of Jesus. Crying for the loss. The emptiness. The desire to make something grow, but knowing the due date will never come. The picture of our family that seemed to be left dangling and no longer a reality.
The miscarriages are something I will never be cured from, and in fact are a scar that I will most probably carry throughout my life. That if left untouched are ok, but when I think about them, or rub them, they hurt all over again, never fully healing.
There is no bow at the end of this story. Although in December last year we eventually did sell our houses both within a week of each other. And there are things on the horizon for possibly heading back to Africa ‘one day’.
But, there is no pregnancy. No due date I can share. But I know that in that darkest moment, at that literal fork in the road. I chose God. I chose to climb into his lap. To ask him to hold me. To tell Him I wanted to check out of the pain. But also to promise I would keep singing to keep praising him regardless of all the loose ends. My story isn’t that it was bad and now it’s all better. I know that one day that may well be true. But right now it’s that it was dark, and it still is sometimes - But each day I choose Jesus. I know he is writing a story in me. I want to always look at the hope in all this. I know that “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out” (Isaiah 42:3).
I could have walked away from believing. It was fear of life without God and falling into that pit that held me there. That still holds me. God still holds me.
So I keep singing, even when it’s a whisper.
Images:: Ocean | Forest