I used to be an fairly shy and private person. It’s just how I’ve naturally been from day one. I guess it was in my DNA. Until one day, when I started esthetics school. I slowly realized that if I’m in a client-service related field, I have to start relating to people and talking to them. Surprisingly, I adapted to this well and started to fall in love with meeting new people and hearing stories about their lives. I enjoyed hearing great advice that can only come from someone experiencing something you haven’t.
This month has been an entire period of reflection for myself. I have had many revelations thanks to God opening my eyes for several reasons. One of which has to do with sharing personal experiences and reaching out to others in painful situations. People generally fall into two categories, ones that share personal experiences, and ones that don’t. I strongly believe that we are put on this Earth to help one another, to love one another, and to cry with one another. I have a really hard time believing that God wants or expects us to live our daily lives, good and bad, all to go home and shut the door on our feelings and emotions to the outside world. I just don’t believe we’re wired that way. And while some people are only comfortable sharing information with close friends and family (I was one of them only a year ago), I have come to the realization that our stories and struggles are one of the few things that can really connect us and strengthen our lives as humans. We all bleed the same way and for the life of me I cannot bear to sit in silence anymore as one more social blogger posts a picture of a hydrangea in a glass vase and says “Happy Friday!”
Life is real and it is hard. As a makeup artist I sit one-on-one with people day in and day out. I hear stories about people all day long that draw me closer to them as both a client and a friend. So I feel it’s important that we get real with each other. It is both cleansing for us and it can be helpful to give comfort to someone who is going through something that was once in your past. I want to start with this status I posted on my personal Facebook this week. Only a handful of people really knew what it was about even though several people “liked” it as I’m sure they applied it to their own life.
“Every morning I look out our kitchen sink window, and rarely ever do I notice this rose bush that sits a few feet in front of it. It never blooms…until a few days ago, it sprouted the most beautiful pink and purple colored rose. It was the most vibrant color I had ever seen (my favorite at that) with the luminous warm sun shining down on it. The next day, it was completely gone, totally withered away. I can’t help but think that’s exactly how life is. If we are not constantly paying attention to the small details in life, we can miss the most beautiful moments.”
My husband and I got married in May of this year and as soon as we said “I Do!” we were ready to start trying for children. I have wanted to be a Mama my entire life and the day could not come soon enough as my husband is one of the biggest “family guys” that I know. We were thrilled to begin trying and were shocked to see a positive result pregnancy test in mid-July. My husband has had Crohn’s disease since childhood and we were worried about conceiving on our own as his medicine had been known to cause infertility. You can imagine our excitement as our doctor confirmed the great news a few weeks later at our first doctor’s appt. I was about 6 weeks along with a due date of 4/10/15, a few weeks before my Sweet Daddy in Heaven’s birthday. It was a sign from God, I felt.
“You have seen pain long enough…I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.” –Isaiah 66:9
I was beyond ecstatic, the joy of knowing you’re pregnant gives you a high that is out of this world. I remember thinking, “I have never felt happier in my entire life.”
We told only a select number of people about the pregnancy as most couples do. We wanted to be “safe” like everyone else and wait until 12 weeks to announce the good news. The next week we had our first sonogram scheduled and it was set for Friday at 2:30. I had been experiencing light spotting throughout that week and frustratingly, I started to bleed more and more. Instinctively, I was bleeding more than what I knew was normal. It started to get bad enough that I called my doctor and he wanted me to come in for an even earlier sonogram, the first available at 1:00. My husband left work and we were at the doctor office within an hour of talking on the phone.
We went in for the sono and I was on pause the entire time as I knew the sonographer couldn’t really “tell” us any news as the doctor always has to give the report, good or bad. “Hmmm ,” she said, “there is a little gestational sac…it looks like it’s measuring at 5 and a half weeks….” “Oh great,” I thought, “thank you God, my baby is safe, we’re just a little off on our dates and times of conception.”
We followed into another room to talk to our doctor about the results. He told us he was confident that it wasn’t an eptopic pregnancy but that maybe we just weren’t far as along as we thought we had been. Or that alternatively, it could be “one of those pregnancies were the embryo and the egg don’t meet and attach like they should.” Which in that case, the body knows its an abnormal chromosome development and begins to abort the sac itself. I as a mother have no choice, the body makes a decision without ever notifying me. Surprisingly, my doctor remained hopeful that it could just be one of those cases where some women bleed more than others and go on to have a perfectly normal + healthy delivery. “I’ve seen stranger things happen,” he told us. He had me give another urine sample and take more blood. He told us he would call us that night and give us a better answer after lab results.
As we got back home and settled in, my heart was aching. I was so emotional. I never even considered the idea that a miscarriage could happen to us. I had borrowed my sister’s pregnancy books and literally skipped over every miscarriage section of each book with the “out of sight, out of mind” mindset. Sadly hours later, our doctor called to tell us that my HCG level was just too low to indicate a healthy, normal developing pregnancy.
“So you’re telling me that because my HCG is too low you think that I’m miscarrying, right?”
“Yes that’s right, Lindsey. The levels are just not where they should be.”
And just like that, I wasn’t pregnant anymore. The 7 weeks of extreme dizziness, exhaustion and shortness of breath had come to a hault. I hung up the phone and burst into tears. This wasn’t part of my plan. I am the most impatient person I know and the fact that the miscarriage “had set us back” was more than overwhelming. My heart was broken. It was a pain that was all too similar to the one I had when my Dad passed away several years ago. The hope of what once was, was now gone. And I had no choice but to move on. No choice. The world keeps spinning whether I want it to or not.
My doctor asked me to come in a week later for a follow up sonogram to confirm everything. He told me to take it easy and keep my feet up that weekend. I told him I couldn’t, I had wedding makeup to do the next morning where ironically, the gorgeous Matron of Honor (and a good friend) was 2 weeks away from her own due date.
“How can I do this God? How can I wake up tomorrow with the knowledge that I’m no longer pregnant and go work on an entire bridal party with someone who is in their home stretch? This is so unfair God. I will crumble to pieces. I will cry and I will have to leave, embarrassed.” I prayed and prayed that night for God’s strength, to wake up with a smile on my face and be happy for someone else’s beautiful day.
With God’s beautiful grace, I made it through the day, it was such a great wedding party and the makeup and pretty dresses actually cheered me up (shocking right, makeup and dresses making me happy?!)
I followed up with my sonogram a week later, it felt like it had been an entire month. I had seen more pregnant women than I ever had in my life. Instead of crying and crumbling the first few times I saw those women, I made it a point to stop and pray for them. I prayed for healthy and happy pregnancies. God was testing me and He wanted to see how my character and faith stood with Him. Joyce Meyer always says “there’s nothing worse than a sad Christian” and I was determined not to be that. My worst day with Him is still better than my best day without Him. I had to stay patient and remain hopeful that my prayers would one day be answered. I prayed that I would stay patient with whatever news awaited me for the time being. My husband and I both have such crazy hectic schedules that he wasn’t able to get off work for the appt. He could’ve left work but I told him to stay. I come from a long line of strong women and with a lot of prayer I knew I could handle the news alone of what I had dreaded the entire week.
At the sonogram they asked me how many weeks I was. “They must not have read my chart…” I guessed. I answered “8 weeks” avoiding any awkward miscarriage talk. I told my sonographer what my situation was and she acknowledged that she knew what my history was. The screen popped up only to confirm what I had dreaded. The past week had been full of graphic moments, ones no one ever wants to share. No one ever really talks about miscarriages and this is why. (Disclaimer, if you ever think you are in fact having a miscarriage, don’t EVER Google it. People post pictures of all stages of development and it will leave you with absolute nightmares.) I thought I was doing myself a favor by educating myself on what it should look like but instead I literally went running, crying to my husband. Luckily at the sonogram, everything had passed like it should have and she was happy that my reproductive system was looking clean again. *It’s never my intention to be TMI but I hardly knew ANYONE that had had a miscarriage much less talked about it with anyone else that had been through one. I feel women tend to hide it because it’s painful, and it’s not pretty. It’s sad, it’s hard, and it’s beyond disappointing.
My sonographer tells me “you know miscarriage is actually really common, it happens to about 25% of pregnancies.”
Everywhere else I’ve read that it’s 20%. I’m not a numbers girl, but it aggravates me beyond belief that I am one of 20 MEASLY percent.
I walked into the next room with my nurse, immediately I got the feel that she too, hadn’t read my chart.
“So you got your pictuuuures.” I smiled quickly and said yes. Poor girl, she has no clue. Take me to my room and leave me please. “Ok hop up here and I’ll take your blood pressure. What’s your necklace for?” I wear an initial necklace everyday with my dad’s initial on it. “My dad.” I quickly told her with no follow-up. Normally I would be able to explain it, but at that point and time I couldn’t bear to go there at that second, I was not in the best state of mind.
She plops the cuff on my arm…”soo are you excited????”
“No, I’m having a miscarriage.” I was almost sorry to tell her and break the bad news to her. I think at that second she swallowed an elephant. “What???” I told her I was pretty sure that I wasn’t wrong, the same thing I often tell my husband. “You must not have read my chart” I told her.
“No I didn’t….” She rushes over to my information as if she’s the one that’s pregnant. She frantically flips through it looking for a doctor’s note. Finally, she figures out what I’ve known for a week.
“I’m so sorry….” she’s clearly at a loss for words…”I had one my first pregnancy too.” Somehow, I had a hard time believing her. “Oh you did?” What am I supposed to say, “great?!”
She leaves quickly, eager to get out the door. “The doctor will be in shortly…everything works out in the end, I promise!” Oh good I was worried, I’m glad you told me how it ends….
She closes the door and it’s the first time I’ve cried at the doctor since we had been to our first appointment. “Please, please, please God stop my tears. This is so embarrassing and I was doing so well, please make it stop. “ I thought of as many funny things as I possibly could at that second. Nothing relieved. I began to pray and I imagined God holding me. If He knows every hair on my head, He knows how to heal me at this second when I need it. I had to have that faith that He would comfort me when I asked Him because I was so desperate in that moment for stillness in my heart. The Bible talks about God protecting his people with a rod and at that moment I imagined me standing with Him with his rod in front of us protecting the horrible thoughts trying to creep into my mind. (I know this might sound extreme but at that moment I was doing any thing I possibly could to not look like Sally Fields in the funeral scene from Steel Magnolias when my doctor walked in.)
I talk to my doctor alone after that and he tells me to wait for a couple months before we should start trying again. This is even worse than hearing about the miscarriage. A few months feels like eternity in my impatient mind. He sends me over to the lab to draw more blood and double check everything. I walk in to see the same two ladies I have seen at least 4 times before.
“How many times are we gonna see you?” One of them asks. They didn’t read the chart either. It’s near comical that God puts us in these situations. Shouldn’t they know? I just nod and smile like always. They’ll read the chart later when I’m gone.
I get back to my car and I pray to God. I thank Him for the fact that even though I had a miscarriage, it went away as healthy as it could have and that I didn’t need to have surgery or anything worse. This post is not meant to depress you. These past few weeks have been hard for me and I want others who are in my situation to know that there is more than the upsetting emotions that miscarriage brings. I am expectant and faithful in my hope in God. I know that one day, when the timing is right, I will get pregnant with a healthy baby. I know I was made to be a Mama and no circumstance can ever take that joy away. I sit and I wait and I talk to my God. He knows more than I ever will and He does not owe me an answer like I originally thought. I had cried out to him before in pain asking why. Then I think back to that flower outside my kitchen windowsill. Not everything is here for eternity, pain or pleasure. Use every moment for your good and trust Him. If I know what the Ruler of the Universe is doing every second of my life then He is nothing but a mere mortal, not the awesome God that I know and need. I sit, I wait, I thank, and I trust. This is my life as a Christian and I will praise Him all the days of my life. Thank you God.
Update: Since writing this post and opening up to a few more friends and family members I have felt immense relief and peace with our situation. After our sonogram on Friday I immediately came home to write my story. I never had the intention of posting it, I just began typing without stopping for an hour and a half. I finally came to the realization that if I could help a single person with this post then I have done my job. My pain is lessened knowing I share it with others. I wish people knew how much easier a problem gets when you share it with trusted people who care about you. Please feel free to share any experience in the comment box below, I would love to hear your story.
I always try to be a glass half full girl, even if it kills me, so I’d like to share my positives from this experience. The same Mama-to-Be that I did makeup for at her sister’s wedding is also one of the most fit and athletic moms that I know, doing Tabata and God knows what else her first months of pregnancy to stay healthy while fading into long walks at the end of her final trimester. I too, am using these next few months as a waiting period to get in the best possible shape I can before I get pregnant again. I have slight scoliosis of the spine and I need all the strength training I can get to prep my body for pregnancy.
The Saturday after I found out I was no longer pregnant, I had my first coffee in 3 MONTHS! That’s a long time for someone who has withdrawal every single day of her life. I could be on A&E’s intervention for my “love” of coffee. I poured myself a glass with some yummy almond milk and then texted my best friend how grateful I was for that and for my first good workout that day since becoming pregnant. (I was extremely dizzy with the pregnancy from day one and there’s nothing worse than a hormonal female that can’t workout.)
I am so thankful and grateful for these very little things. They are so little that they become big to me. These little things keep us going as humans. These little things add up, and soon, they become the bandaid that makes everything better. Just like the flower outside my window, they are only here for so long. Notice them, smell them, use them.
They are undoubtedly God’s way helping us get through…