As another February draws to a close, a little sigh escapes my heart.
It was this month three years that I had my only miscarriage.
I cannot tell you what I had for dinner 3 days ago; I struggle to remember people’s names. Occasionally, I get lost on old backroads and have to pull out Siri on my iPhone and get directions to get back to my home.
But I remember every single detail of those days leading up to my miscarriage.
The joy and excitement of the positive pregnancy test. I was bouncing off the walls with joy that day. It was wonderful to see that 2nd pink line. BFP (big fat positive).
I was pushed even higher after the bloodwork revealed, Yes! Indeed I was pregnant.
3 days later…the phone call came in. It was a Wednesday night, right before church. The second blood test only showed a slight increase of the HCG (the hormone that mirrors how the baby is growing). It was supposed to double. It had only increased by 40%.
Surely, it was wrong. My body knows how to carry babies. Good grief, I had just fed my family dinner and was rushing around trying to get them out the door so we wouldn’t be late. “It will be ok, don’t worry,” I told myself.
But I knew. I just knew deep down that this time it wasn’t going to be “ok”.
The next blood test showed little improvement. I begged and begged for just a few more days. I didn’t want to give up hope.
Isn’t that how it happens in the books and movies? People get really bad news, and they don’t give up. They just keep fighting. Miracles occur. Happily ever afters happen.
I clung to hope, but after a week one last blood test showed that it truly was gone.
Sometime, somewhere, somehow…the life inside of me was now gone
A few days later it all came out. And that was it. No goodbyes. No tears.
I remember at one point thinking, I should say something. I should do something. People say the Lord’s prayer at funerals, so I’ll think of that, “Our Father, which art in Heaven, thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I didn’t know how to mourn him. He was alive to me, but there was no goodbye.
3 days after the loss of Little George, I had an event that was in charge of at church, and needed to be there and coordinate. I remember I went over to a good friend of mine who just had a baby a few months prior. Under the pretense of helping her (yes, her hands were full and she could have used the help anyway to serve herself some food through the potluck line) I picked up her 3-month-old.
Around the gym I carried her. Talking to her like all women talk to 3-month-old children. But silently, I was wishing that this child in my arms would somehow heal the grief of my womb. Somehow I wanted this little girl’s presence to help me. To be a balm to my aching soul. To put a stop to the pain.
And for a moment…it did. For a few precious minutes, I felt healing.
My recovery was short-lived as another woman came up to me, and cheerfully proclaimed, “Oh! you look so good having a baby in your arms. When are you going to have another one?”
How I kept it together?!?!?! was completely based on the grace of God. I wanted to cry. Yell. Scream. “I’m having a miscarriage!!!!!” but I didn’t. It was a very public event and I didn’t want to be unkind to that older lady. So I just smiled sweetly and quickly left that conversation.
It wasn’t anybody’s fault.
That’s what people say. Kind people. Smart people…like my doctor (who I really liked). He kept looking at my earlier tests and ultrasounds. Everything was just perfect.
But I felt like that my body had failed me. My uterus has one job. It’s there to hold the baby safe till they’re big enough to be born. She failed. I failed. I had a miscarriage.
The night that it all ended, I vividly remember, I was sitting on the couch sipping hot chocolate feeling the awful cramping…like clockwork. It was pouring the snow outside. Every 2 minutes. Supper had to be fixed. Wave after Wave of crippling pain down there. Potato Soup.
My husband hugged me. He knew I was suffering. But what should he say; what should he do? Nothing could be said or done. I just felt his presence and found a way to survive.
Ice-cold blocks. That is all you need. Take your heart. Take your grief and seal it all off with a hard block of ice.
Yeah, that’s what I did. Sure it worked to numb the pain. Ice is good for numbing pain. Even mental ice. Works the same way.
Sadly, real ice or mental ice just blocks all sensations. Not just pain, but pleasure. It numbs grief as well as happiness. It weighs almost 3 tons. Burdening you down wherever you turn.
For months I carried this load around with me. I knew how to fake it till I make it. I smiled when I needed to. I let everyone know I was ‘just fine’. But deep down, I knew the burden I carried. I just didn’t know what to do with it. How do you release something that is frozen in time?
You can’t just “Let it Go” as famously sung in Frozen by Elsa. She let her magical powers fly and frozen icicles magically appear, but she couldn’t let go of the pain surrounding her heart until the end of the movie where her love for Anna (her sister) finally helps her to break free.
Where was my ending? I couldn’t find the ending!
They say that time heals all wounds.
I sort-of disagree. Time does help. But even though healing can occur, it will scar nonetheless. Don’t confuse healing with returning to what was That is impossible. There is no returning back. There is no cure that means you are now un-miscarried.
One day I was visiting my massage therapist. One that I had visited a few times before. We had a good relationship and there was a good deal of trust between us.
Well that day, it was as if my soul was touched. I just started talking. More and more talking about my miscarriage.
Things I had never shared before with anyone started to come out. The ice around my heart finally began to melt and tears starting welling up.
I was never told, “there, there, it’ll be ok, you don’t need to cry.” But I was told, “Let it go, Johanna. Cry! Just let it out.” The more I allowed the tears to really come up, so did the anger, rage, resentment, sense of failure, and loss begin to arise. Deep awful ugly crying and emotions.
I took my fist and slammed into the bed and just sobbed it all out. It wasn’t a 5-second sniffle and misting. It was several minutes and some of the worst crying of my life. Loud and low guttural cries that let all of those feelings finally be given a voice and expressed.
I literally felt free at that moment. Peace and calmness filled my spirit where once there was a frozen solid block of grief.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
I finally was able to say goodbye to Little George….and I let him go.
My Newfound Hope
2 Samuel 12:22-23 states “And (David) said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
I firmly believe I will see little George again one day in heaven. I choose to find comfort in this. His memory is now one of sweetness to me, and I treasure those few short days that he was inside of me. 3 years later, I still look back on his memory with quiet and calm reflection.
Scientists say that every child you carry, their DNA remains in your blood for a long while. There have been studies shown that mothers carrying male DNA in their blood tests, presumed left over from a previous miscarriage. http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask375. Whether or not this plays a future role in the health of the woman, I chose to let this comfort my heart. That even though, he was physically gone…in a tiny way, he is still with me.
Lastly, George’s memory allows me to minister to other mothers who are silently going through miscarriages of their own. I have walked down that road. I have felt the pain, have seen the bloody mess, and somehow found the happiness again in my heart.
Little George’s death has taught me to love others more and more. And though his death was not my choice or in my control, I realize that life is exactly like that. Not much is in my control. And that is a good thing.
You see, I’m a sinner. Yes, I have been saved by the grace of God. I called upon the name of the Lord to save me and cleanse my heart, and He did exactly that. But I’m not perfect. I still make mistakes. I think I know what is best, but I really and truly don’t.
I need someone who doesn’t mess up, who doesn’t blow it. Who can see my past, present, and future AND make the best decisions for me?
I choose a sovereign God, Jehovah Shammah. The God who IS THERE.
You see, I wasn’t alone when I got the joyous news of being pregnant. Neither was I alone during the bad phone calls either. And I definitely wasn’t alone when I silently prayed the Lord’s Prayer that awful evening when the miscarriage started. God was right there with me. He didn’t skip out, he stayed with me. Even though I couldn’t see it, He was protecting me.
From what? I have no idea. Oh sure, I could sit here and write of 5000 things that could have gone wrong with that pregnancy. But I’m not going to do that. I choose to step back and trust my God with my life and the lives that my womb carries.
Is it easy? Umm…No.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Your goal is not to know every detail of the future. Your goal is to HOLD THE HAND of the ONE who does and never, ever let go! Max Lucado, Anxious for Nothing
Jehovah Shammah – The God who IS THERE. He can be there for you, as He was there for me. If you know Christ in your heart, ask Him to help you. He is ever willing and present to be that aid to you in time of need, He is your refuge and strength. Psalms 46:1.
Don’t look to the mountains and hills. You’ll be asking where is your help. Find it in God. Find your sufficiency. Your strength. Let Him be your reason to get up tomorrow morning AND LIVE!!!
But if you do not know Him…If you’re still reading this and wondering what is Johanna talking about. Message me here. Ask me. And I will share with you what Christ has done for me.
There is hope. There is healing. There is grace. Just ask for it.