Note: I tried very hard to not make this post too graphic, but realize it is still a story about miscarriage. I spared details that weren't needed to convey my message. But at the same time, this is my way of remembering the day my child was born way too early. As sad as the details are, I don't want to forget them.
On November 15, 2015 my husband and I were at church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was somewhere between seven to nine weeks pregnant and really not feeling well. I had a strange feeling that it wasn't just morning sickness but I was trying to remain positive; putting my faith in the Lord that He could turn the situation around if it was His will. Not too long into the church service I felt like I should go to the bathroom to monitor the situation. I walked back into the service trying to remain calm and told Michael before I was even back in the pew that we needed to leave. I hugged my best friend, Julie, goodbye and gathered my things. Before I could walk all the way out of the church, the tears began to stream down my face. We were in Cincinnati for a church meeting and were about four hours away from home. Before we left, I hugged my mother-in-law and then my best friend, Melissa (who lost her daughter in February 2014), out in the church foyer.
Things got much worse not too far into the car ride. Since it was Sunday I decided to call the after hours line at my doctor's office and I spoke to a doctor. She confirmed my worst fears that it sounded like I was miscarrying. However she told me at this point she was more concerned about me and the amount of blood I was losing. She told me if my condition didn't remain the same or get better that I would need to find a hospital pretty quickly. Thankfully, the conditions she was concerned about didn't really worsen. At this point we were getting pretty close to Columbus which is still two hours away from home and I did not want to stop at a hospital that far away from home. The situation we were in was already terrible enough; I didn't want to be stuck at a hospital so far away from home. So I told Michael to keep going.
I can't remember exactly when because I had been cramping all day long. However at a certain point the cramps became pretty excruciating. I was still holding onto a small ounce of hope that maybe I wasn't miscarrying and something else was happening, so I was trying to act like they weren't as bad as they were. I felt like if I gave into the pain I was giving into what seemed to be happening to me. Michael could tell I was in pain, but I was trying to hide from him how terrible it actually was. I didn't want him to worry over something he could do nothing about.
Unfortunately we had just passed through Columbus when my cramping began to worsen, so there weren't too many hospitals around and I was really starting to regret not stopping somewhere in Columbus. I've always found the idea of a natural unmedicated childbirth very intriguing, however in the car at that moment I was thinking, "I'm only a couple weeks pregnant, if contractions are this bad now, I don't even want to know what they're like at forty weeks... just schedule me for a c-section. Oh man I wish I was at a hospital right now. I would demand an epidural." But we were still at least forty minutes away from the hospital in Mansfield. At this point Michael was driving pretty fast to get me to the ER because he could tell I was in pain.
When we were about twenty minutes away from the hospital in Mansfield the pain abruptly stopped. It had been coming in waves, and even though I'd find some relief for several minutes in between, I could still tell it wasn't over. But finally it was. I could tell the pain wasn't coming back; my body felt oddly peaceful. I should've known then, but I was still trying to remain hopeful, however I think it was right around the time the pain stopped that I had officially miscarried my unborn child. I told Michael that I felt way better and we could probably make it home. But he had just seen me writhing in pain only moments earlier and he was taking me to the closest hospital no matter what, which in the end turned out to be a huge blessing.
We got to the hospital and I was still feeling better, thankfully no more pain. I signed in and was taken back almost immediately. The triage nurse was so kind and made me feel better. It took me several minutes to figure out why she had such a calming effect on me and then it hit me: Her voice and the way she spoke and pronounced her words reminded me of Michael's Aunt Doreen (a woman I really admire) and it just made me feel safe. That was the second blessing, the first being that we barely had to wait.
I was taken back to a room after they had taken my vitals and my nurse came in who was very close in age to me. As I was telling her the very brief version of how we ended up in the hospital I mentioned that we were in church and had to leave early. I had a plain black cotton maxi skirt on from Target and a black and white striped cotton long sleeve shirt. Earlier I also had on a cute floral scarf and an olive green jacket, but I had taken the accessories off throughout the day. And much to my surprise, my sweet nurse asked me if I wanted to remain modest and not change into a hospital gown. BLESS HER. If a nurse tells me to change into a gown, I will. I'm not going to be super happy about it, but I will. But for some reason she asked me if I wanted to remain modest, which of course I said yes. And then she told me she'd request that only female staff work with me to make me feel more comfortable. In the midst of such a terrible and traumatic situation I could clearly see God was still with us. Not to mention it was freezing in that hospital and I would've been miserable if I had changed into a gown.
So my nurse was the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh blessing:
3rd - she listened to my story
4th - she paid attention and realized I may want to remain as modest as possible and didn't make me change into a gown
5th - by not making me change into a gown she kept me from freezing
6th - she requested that only female staff work with me to make me feel more comfortable
7th - she was just so nice
It really is the little things sometimes.
I had a decent amount of time (over two hours) to get all of my tears out before we got to the hospital, and by the time we got there I think I was experiencing a mixture of denial and shock. I was pretty sure I knew what had happened but I was holding onto hope; hoping for a miracle. By the time I had an ultrasound and was told they saw nothing, I was just numb. I wasn't a crazy emotional wreck, it was like there were way too many emotions for my brain to handle and so it just stopped analyzing them and shut off. It felt like a bad dream; I couldn't grasp what was actually happening to me and I didn't have enough strength emotionally or physically to think about it.
So the eighth blessing is the rest of the hospital staff. Literally every single person I had to talk to-- the lady who took my blood, the lady who did my paperwork, the ultrasound tech, the physician assistant. They were all SO nice. They were unexpectedly really kind in a cold ER in a town I'm not too familiar with. I never would have expected to have such amazing staff. But Melissa told me several days after that when we left church that Sunday afternoon she prayed for gentle, caring staff. That prayer was answered so beyond perfectly. I will never forget it.
And I saved the best blessing for last: My amazing husband, Michael. He stayed so calm the entire time. He prayed for me. He repeatedly made sure I was okay. He walked with me into gas stations and rest stops on the way from Cincinnati to Mansfield when I could barely walk due to pain. He held my hand the whole time. In the hospital he gave me endless hugs, like really really good hugs that I could just fall into and feel his strength supporting me. He kept telling me how much he loved me and reassured me this wasn't my fault and that it was something we were going through together. He reminded me the Lord knew exactly where we were and that we'd be okay. He made sure I never felt alone.
And since that terrible day Michael has continued to do those things for me and more. He has cried with me. He has held me while I cried. He holds my hand any chance we get. He listens to me and the thousands of thoughts that are constantly churning through my mind. He continues to give me amazing hugs on demand. He lets me vent a little but then tries to bring me back to reality. He surprised me with two new Pandora beads to remember the little one we lost. I really just can't imagine going through this without Michael. He has been exactly what I needed in a husband. This trial has given me so much confidence in our marriage, not that I didn't have confidence in it before. But seeing him lead me through such a dark time, and growing closer each day because of it, is such a blessing. I love him SO much.
The Lord has been so close to us through this sad time. There have been many times I've caught myself saying, "This is just dumb," before I even realize what's coming out of my mouth. And at times it does make me mad. The unfairness of it all sometimes hits me anew and I hate it. But I can't deny that the Lord hasn't been holding me in the palm of His hand each step of the way. I recently heard the last few lines of a poem that go like this,
"I learned he never gives a thorn without this added grace,
he takes the thorn to pin aside the veil that hides his face."
And I have found that to be so true. The Lord has revealed Himself to us in ways I've never experienced before. He is very near to the brokenhearted and I am so thankful for that. Without Him I would feel like I was just falling into a black hole with absolutely no hope. He has made Himself so real to me; it's the most bittersweet thing.
And if this is how I have to know Him, it's so worth it.
To read more about how the Lord has so gracefully carried me through this trial, read my post Comforted By The Comforter.