JULY 21, 2018 | Today has been difficult, exhausting and beautiful. I’ve prayed for nine months for this day to be more than an emotional dung heap. I’ve prayed that God would somehow distract me on a day I knew would hurt ferociously. To bring me peace and joy in the momentary eruption of emotions that would flow from the awful and sometimes uncanny way I remember dates. A date that was meaningless before and now forever etched in my mind.
In November 2017, we found out we were pregnant in a very painful way. On November 7th I stayed home from work because I was in the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life. I’d just come back from a beautiful emotional spiritual weekend with some great ladies where I had cried out to God about fervently wanting a baby. Insistent I was as ready as I could ever be. We had inconsistently tried for a while and yet failed. And I took that personally. I wrote that weekend “too afraid to admit we’re trying for fear of having to admit I’ve failed”. One dear lady I respect and love dearly prayed over me and my womb that weekend that God’s timing and will would be upon us.
Then I came home. I was in such severe abdominal pain that I couldn’t stand up straight. Luckily Matt had the day off and was able to drive me to the doctor. She wanted me to pee in a cup and it took me half an hour because I was in such pain. When she came back in the room with results, I didn’t know how to feel. She told me “you’re pregnant, but you need to go the ER.” as I waited for her to handle some paperwork and such I texted Matt in the waiting room. Not exactly the way I had planned to tell him we were pregnant.
We spent the majority of the rest of that day in the ER having blood drawn and ultrasounds trying to determine if something worse was wrong. Ectopic pregnancy. Possible appendicitis. Tubes bursting. Emergency surgery. Losing fertility. Those were all possibilities in the ER that afternoon and Matt and I were terrified. We had asked for prayer from some family and friends but had only told our lifegroup what was going on. I was worried about losing the baby while Matt was worried about losing me. It never got that drastic, but hospitals are scary and can make you feel the end of the world coming. We wondered for those 4 hours what being parents would be like. And then we were told to go home.
The next few days were a blur of doctor appointments and blood draws. My arms looked like I had been shooting up, they were so bruised. On November 11th, we were officially told I had miscarried and was no longer pregnant. I cried all night. Even though miscarriage was the best case scenario, I was devastated. I was alive. I was still fertile. I didn’t have any recovery, no major or minor surgery. But my heart was broken..
I had a hard time grieving and most of the time it didn’t seem like a big deal. I felt stupid for feeling so sad about a baby I didn’t even know I was pregnant with until I had lost it. So many women I knew had had it worse. Had been pregnant longer. Had told family and friends. Had already shared their joy. Had even held their baby in their arms before they lost them. I felt I had no right to grieve. The best advice I got at this time was to allow myself to grieve in whatever way that looked like for me.
So I focused on the positives. The fact that miscarriage was the best case scenario in this situation. That things could have been much worse. That God strengthened my relationship with my husband through this. That he strengthened my relationships with friends and family. That I could see the support system I had. That I had questions answered that had been giving me anxiety. That new questions were brought up that have helped me prepare to be a better parent when the time comes.
The past nine months have been good. Devastating circumstances launched discussions about life that led me deeper into relationships and also deeper into looking at who I am and who I want to be.
Because of this I knew that I need to continue to fight for my goals and be the woman I want to be, that I think God is calling me to be so that my future kids have a strong woman to look up to, to know they can pursue their dreams too and not be paralyzed by the fear of the unknown like I too often am. And so I applied for grad school. I decided to pursue my Master of Library and Information Science degree. I found the one college I wanted to go to, applied and just waited until the acceptance letter came. Except it didn’t. I was rejected. And it was easy to want to give up and be angry. One more part of my life I thought could move me forward, and then I slammed into a brick wall.
My very loving husband let me have my pity party that night, even bought me ice cream for it. And then he told me to research what other schools I could still get into for the Fall. What other schools would have the degree I wanted. So I did. And they all required me to take the GRE and I needed those scores pretty much yesterday. So I signed up for the GRE, spent one week studying for a test most spend months studying for, and by the grace of God passed! Then I applied for three different schools (to keep my options open this time) and within days I was accepted to my number one choice, Florida State University. And I’m excited to say, I start next month! Joy has filled my heart with the anticipation of going back to school. One more distraction from today.
As the months drew on, I knew today would come. My due date. And I knew there would be no baby to hold. I knew that there would be friends around me having babies and I wouldn’t. I prayed that God would give us a child before today so that I could rejoice in what’s to come, but I also know that my God knows me deeply and knows that would never have masked the disappointment today brings. So I had prayed for distractions, joy, peace, anything other than this emotional roller coaster I’ve been on for months.
And He did. Today we moved. Out on our own for the first time in 5 years. Sleeping in our own apartment. We spent the day moving and are physically exhausted. Which is a great distraction from emotions. But also creates its own emotions. I have joy in being on our own again. I have joy in knowing I have friends to celebrate with. I have joy in knowing I start grad school in a month. I have peace in God’s timing for a baby in our lives. I have peace in answered questions and deepened relationships.
But through all of this, the one thing I have learned the most is the meaning of bittersweet. The dictionary defines it as “arousing pleasure tinged with sadness or pain.” The rejoicing over a friend’s baby tinged with the longing for your own. The celebration of a baby shower tinged with the depressing desire to stay home. The sweet freedom of no extra responsibilities tinged with the longing to hold a child in your arms and care for them. The joy of planning for future family endeavors tinged with the sadness of the unknown.
Today was filled with as much bittersweet as the rest of the past nine months, but God’s peace is all encompassing. And He is faithful to answer our prayers. So we thank God for bringing distraction, joy, and peace today. And teaching me that life can be both bitter and sweet.
And I’m ok.