Hope After Miscarriage ...

hope after miscarriage - grace and serendipity

Reading those three words alone in the title instantly make my heart beat a little faster, make my breath a little shorter, and make me know that there are tears in my eyes that will come shortly.  This post is one of the most personal ones I will have ever written, but my hope is that if it can make a difference for just one person going through or who has been through a miscarriage, it will be something that gives them hope.  This will be probably the longest post I will ever write, but I pray that you read the entire thing, as it not only shares our story of our angel baby that we lost to miscarriage in October of 2013, but also shares a story on my strengthening and unwavering faith in The Lord.

The photo above was taken by my sweet friend Melissa from Branches of Life Photography.  It was taken at the Pursuit 31 Conference last year, and was intended to be shared on social media a few weeks later to be used as a baby announcement.  I was lucky enough to return to the conference this year, and there is no doubt in my mind that God has finally given me the strength to write about one of the hardest things in my life that I have ever had to go through.

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My husband and I always talked about having more kids after our sweet Adelynne was born in 2012, and after many talks and she was just a few months old, we decided to let God be in charge of when our family would get to grow.  So, while we went through life and raised our first child together, in the back of my mind, I was hoping every month that I would be late, and we would discover that we had another blessing on the way.

In September of 2013, we moved into a new house - one that gave us another bedroom, and although we joked that it would be the guest room, in our hearts we always knew it would be the nursery.  The weekend after we moved in, we discovered that we were expecting, and I could hardly believe it.  I realized on that Sunday afternoon that I was late - I had no idea how long it had been since my last period as we had lived life quite unusually for the last 8 weeks, so we joked that perhaps I was even already past the first trimester, since my clothes hadn't fit well for weeks.

I called the doctor's office and made an appointment for a few weeks later - since I didn't know when my last period had been, they made it for four weeks after I called - on Monday, October 8th, at 8:00 am.  We would have a blood test done that morning, in addition to an ultrasound to see how far along I was.  Even though it was four weeks later, I didn't care - I had all of the symptoms, and my waistband was getting tighter daily.  I found myself in maternity jeans almost immediately.  I had such a feeling of giddy happiness that I could wait for the next four weeks to see our little bean.  I called my parents, texted the below picture to my mom, and excitedly told them they were going to be Grandparents again.  My family lives in Wisconsin, so with me in Florida, this was the most creative way I thought to do it.

grace and serendipity - hope after miscarriage

The week before our appointment, I had a feeling that I should change my appointment to a week later.  The day of my original appointment, I was supposed to then leave and drive to Rome, Georgia for the Pursuit 31 conference, and I didn't want the doctors office to be running late and so have me arrive at the conference late.  So, I called the Friday before and changed my appointment to the following week, on October 15th.

The week of the conference, my world was rocked.  My faith in the Lord grew in more ways than I could ever imagine would happen in a week alone, and I felt certain that I was on the right path - I started a new business venture (which is actually this business, Grace & Serendipity), and on the way home I thought of many, many things I was going to do in the weeks to come to create what I thought would go perfectly for our growing family.  I looked down at my growing belly numerous times throughout the week and was so excited I would have something to share with our new family member as well, that would keep me at home and working rather than always dashing off to meetings and weddings.

On the morning of October 15th, I put Adelynne in the car and excitedly drove to the hospital for our appointment.  We met my husband there, who also had this super excited glow in his eyes.  We waited in the waiting room for what seemed like hours even though it wasn't long at all, and when they finally called us back for the ultrasound, I joked with the ultrasound technician about how far along I was.

 "So how far along do you think you are?"

Me:  I'm not sure!  I've been in maternity clothes for about 5 weeks, and my belly is growing like crazy, so I am sure that it's at least 12 weeks by now.  I can't wait to see him or her and find out just how soon this little bean will be here!"

" Yes, I can tell how excited you all are.  Let's get started so you can meet him or her."

I laid down on the table, Jeremy picked up Adelynne, and he pointed at the screen where our baby would soon be.  He excitedly said to her, even though she was only a little over a year old, "Adelynne, look up there!  That's where your new baby brother or sister is going to be!"

As she put the warm gel on my belly, I couldn't help but giggle with excitement.  We had told my and Jeremy's families the news the week before, and they all knew we had an appointment that morning.  Text messages started coming in on our phones as we started the ultrasound. "Any news?" "Is it twins?" "I can't wait to hear from you!"

As the black and white screen started to resemble my belly, all of a sudden our baby came into view. Jeremy pointed and said "Look Adelynne!  There's your baby brother or sister!" I looked at the screen as well, but immediately felt a rush of panic.  Our baby wasn't moving, and I didn't see the flickering heartbeat that we had seen with Adelynne.  I glanced over at the ultrasound tech, whose face I noticed had changed completely, and I quickly asked her, "what's wrong?  Is everything okay?" To which she responded, let me try another position.  She tried that, and then said, "let me go and get the doctor, and see what she can see."

She left the room, and the silence was deafening.  I looked up at Jeremy, and tears started flying out of my eyes.  "Honey.  We lost the baby.  I just know it."  He responded very calmly and told me not to worry, that maybe our baby was just sleeping, and not to be concerned until our doctor was here.  I know now that he was trying to be strong for me, but in his heart, he knew the same thing.

Our doctor came in very shortly after, and after looking at the monitor and trying again, she looked at me, sat down next to me, took my hand, and said, "I don't even need to tell you anything, do I.  I can see it on your face. ...... I am so sorry, but these things happen.  There is nothing that you did wrong.  There is nothing that could have prevented this.  Unfortunately, this happens to 1 in 4 women for pregnancies, and there is nothing that we can do."

I laid there.  In shock. Unable to move.  What did she mean these things happen???  My belly was growing!  I had been nauseous every day!  I was wearing maternity clothes, and I never had ANY symptoms that the baby wasn't okay.  I never had bleeding, never had cramping, what does she mean that our baby isn't okay??????"

The doctor asked if we would like it to pass naturally, or have a DNC the next day.  I had a wedding scheduled for that weekend, so I opted to have the surgery on Tuesday, so that I could still "work" on Friday and Saturday.  I say "work" because I knew that I had to have the strength for my bride to do my job, but also knew that I would now definitely be relying heavily on my assistant that weekend.

We walked down a back hall to the nurse who scheduled these surgeries, and as she was handed my file and we stood in her office, she called down to the scheduler and said "I need to schedule an emergency suction DNC."

An emergency suction DNC.

Now from learning only a few minutes earlier that our baby had been given to Heaven, hearing that I now had to have that procedure, standing in her office with her, that phrase made me crumble.  I almost collapsed onto the ground, with Jeremy having to hold me up so that I could keep my feet under me.  Tears were streaming down my face, and I just kept saying, "suction?  Suction???" Still to this day, I can picture exactly where we were, what we were wearing, the tone of her voice, and the look on my husbands face.

We walked out of the hospital, I was crying hysterically, my husband was supporting my walking, but I didn't care. We went up to the 2nd floor of the parking garage, and when we got to my car, he held me tighter than he ever has.

"It's going to be okay honey.  We will be okay.  It just wasn't meant to be this time."

He had driven separately as he had come from work that morning.  He asked me if I wanted him to take the day off, but I told him no since he would need to take the next two days off.  I could make it through the day today.  So then, he helped me into my car, put Adelynne in the backseat, gave me a kiss, and then walked to his car.  It is the quietest I have ever seen him.

I sat in the parking lot in utter disbelief.  However, I kept hearing the word "hope".  Over, and over, and over again, I heard that word.  In the midst of all of my tears and other thoughts I had running rampant through my head, Hope. Hope. Hope.

I first called my parents, and then called my brother.  The hardest thing about this day for me was that it's my Dad's birthday.  I still remember our conversation like it was yesterday.

Hi Mom and Dad.

Hi honey!  How was the appointment?  When are you due?  How is the baby?  Is it twins?  Triplets?

When they were met with silence and tears coming from me, they suddenly got quiet.

No.  I am so sorry to tell you this, but we lost the baby.

More Silence.

We talked briefly and I asked them to tell my grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.  I couldn't say it over and over again any more.  I then called my brother, who I had a similar conversation as with my parents.  I then left the parking lot and drove home, trying my hardest to keep it together knowing that I had Adelynne in the car with me so I needed to be safe for her.  And as I was driving home, I still kept hearing that one word, hope.

When I got home, when Adelynne was sleeping, I knew that I had to call my bride, whose wedding was that weekend, and told her that I had lost the baby.  She knew I was expecting as it had become obvious in our last meetings, but she had promised me she wouldn't tell anyone.  I told her I was having surgery the next day but would be fine by Friday.  Somehow, I kept it together for that entire conversation.  I have no doubt in my mind that God was with me for that entire phone call.  The last thing I wanted was for her to be concerned I wouldn't be able to do my job on her wedding day, and so I made it through that phone call with the only strength I had left. We talked about final details for her wedding on Saturday, I told her whatto expect at rehearsal, and told her that everything would be fine and not to worry about me.  We hung up and I thanked God for giving me the strength for our conversation, as I know to this day it definitely didn't come from me.

The rest of the day was a blur.  I remember sleeping when Adelynne napped, feeding her but not eating anything myself, and just letting her watch Sesame street episodes all day long.  I think she knew I needed her to just be there for me that day, as she snuggled up to me all day long.  She never fussed, never cried, and smiled at me more times than normal.  She nuzzled in next to me for the day, and was content the entire day.  When Jeremy got home, I burst into tears again, and he hugged me for the longest time.  I don't remember anything else from that day - I know that he told me he had taken the next day off, that we would leave to go to the hospital in the morning, that everything was going to be okay, and he told me to go and rest.

I woke up the next morning and we left for the hospital.  I didn't say anything the whole way. We brought Adelynne to a friend's house for her to watch her, and then we went on to the hospital.  I think one of the worst things about having to have a surgery is that you have to tell every person that comes in to check on you what you're having over and over again.  We waited and waited, and I cried and cried, and definitely felt the sympathy from the nurses and staff.  I could tell that this was a part of their job that they didn't like either.

When it was time for the surgery, I remember tears streaming down my face as they laid me down on the table, and I didn't want to go through with it.  I remember asking them if they were certain, or if we could check again, or if there was anything that we could do, and they all said no.  I am grateful that it was all women nurses that day.  I laid back on the table, opened my arms, closed my eyes with tears still squeezing out, and said "I'm sorry". To which I heard those same words again.  "Hope.  Hope.  Hope."

When I woke up, the first thing I said to Jeremy was "our baby is in Heaven.  I'm so sorry honey." to which he responded with hugs, told me that it was okay, and that we would be alright.  I got dressed, I slightly remember them giving me a prescription for some medicine, and we went home. The rest of that day, I didn't leave our bedroom.  Jeremy took care of Adelynne, and was an amazing, amazing help.  The next day I thought I could handle taking care of her, and so he went to work.  That didn't last long - I think I called him by 10AM and asked him to come home to watch Adelynne again.

Throughout the week, I had moments where I was completely overcome with tears.  I could barely stand, I would hug Adelynne every moment that I could, and worked as little as I had to.  On Friday, I prayed on the way to the wedding rehearsal, asked God to help me make it through and make it look like I wasn't broken inside, and gathered my strength to run the wedding rehearsal.  Ttowards the end of it, as everything was leaving, I was standing outside of the reception venue holding the door for a couple of the groomsmen, and the Father of the Bride came up to me.

You are doing amazing today.

Thank you sir!  I am very excited for your daughter's wedding tomorrow.  It is going to be a beautiful day!

No.  My daughter told me what happened to you this week.  I am sorry.  You are amazing.

As I started to fight back the tears, all of a sudden I heard a familiar song coming from behind me, that I had just learned the week before at the Pursuit 31 Conference.

You call me out upon the waters The great unknown where feet may fail And there I find You in the mystery In oceans deep My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name And keep my eyes above the waves When oceans rise My soul will rest in Your embrace For I am Yours and You are mine

See, the amazing thing about this song in particular, is that it was coming from a venue that I know for only playing rock music.  Punk rock music.  Heavy metal music.  NEVER did I expect to hear that song.  Being played by a live band on the street at that same time as I needed God the most that day.  And again, I heard the word "hope". I felt His presence, felt strong again, and felt the tears go away.  Never once did one drop in front of that Father of the Bride. Never once did the bride see me upset, and there is no doubt in my mind that God held me extra close that day.

The months that followed, I remember going through the motions on a daily basis, and every day got a little bit easier.  I was a hermit for weeks.  I didn't return phone calls from friends as no one knew we had gone through this, I did my work but avoided networking meetings, and just survived.  There were times that it was incredibly hard for me to hold it together.  I still remember the first day that I allowed myself to go on Facebook, that the first thing that popped up on my screen was an ultrasound of a friend, saying "Due in June!  Our little bean!"

Our little bean's due date was June 15, 2014.  The months following the miscarriage, I tried to keep it together.  I had good days and bad days.  However, I was never angry at God.  I never once thought that it was his fault.  I blamed myself many times - maybe I didn't drink enough water, or eat the right things, or let myself get too stressed with work.  But every time, I also knew that it wasn't.

On a visit to my parents in Wisconsin in April, I read the book "Heaven is For Real" - one that my mom had saved for me to read, and it helped me in more ways than I could have imagined.  I normally can't sit down and read a book in one sitting, but that day, I did.  If you have gone through something like this, I highly suggest you read it.

In the spring of 2014, we talked about planting a tulip tree in honor of our Angel Baby in our front yard.  If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, you may have noticed this cover photo that I changed my page to, and left it there for months.  This was the reason. Although I didn't have the strength to share our story then, I do now.  Our angel baby is a part of our life, our home, and this beautiful tree will symbolize that for the rest of our lives.  Although our baby is in heaven, I look forward to the day that comes, when either Jeremy or I get to meet him or her for the first time when it's our time to go.  For now, I look forward to the day that we have this little piece of Heaven planted in or yard in honor of him or her.

grace and serendipity - hope after miscarriage

On June 21st, just a week after our angel baby's due date, we learned that we were expecting again.  The morning that I took the pregnancy test, I remember collapsing onto the floor of our bathroom, praising God for giving us the opportunity again to get to have another child, and instantly being worried at the same time.  There is  absolutely no doubt in my mind that God "waited" for us to get past our angel baby's due date before presenting us with this gift.

The amazing thing about it is the day that we found out, my parents were scheduled to come into town for a visit.  Meaning that they were here and able to come to the initial ultrasound with us for our new baby.  The day we saw our new baby's heartbeat, I remember hearing "you can let go".  That morning, on the screen, everything was perfect. The heart was beating and we could see it on the screen, the baby was moving, and the doctor used the word "perfect" and "wonderful" and "healthy".   I am now almost halfway through this pregnancy, and every time we go, our doctor tells us that this baby is perfect.  Not to worry. That everything will be okay.  And now, finding the strength to post our angel baby's story and give it a place in our history, I feel like I can finally let him or her go.  I will never forget him or her, this baby will always be a part of me, but I know that our baby is in Heaven, safe, and ready to meet us when that day comes.

I returned to Pursuit 31 this year, and wrote this the day that I returned.  While I was there, I took pictures in the same place as I did last year, with a different scenery around me, as a way to honor our angel baby.  I went one morning and touched the ground where I had taken my photos included here in this post, and simply said, "I'm sorry". A sense of peace washed over me, and I finally heard the words "you can let go now".  One night in worship, the song Oceans came on, and I couldn't keep it together.  The whole year prior and all of the memories associated with our angel came flooding back.  I was held up by two friends during that song, and remember shaking, clinging to the pew, and saying "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry" over and over again in my head.  I was sorry for our angel not getting to experience life on earth with us here.  I was sorry there wasn't something that could have happened differently.  But more than that, I was sorry I was letting him or her go. About halfway through the song, I again heard "you can let go now".  About 2/3 of the way through the song, I was not only able to finish the song and sing it strongly, I felt like I had finally let our baby go.  I finally felt like I could be excited about the new baby we now have coming, and felt like God is not only going to watch over our angel baby, but now also watch over the baby He has blessed us with now.

The amazing thing, is that on that day at Pursuit 31, one of my dear friends, one out of two that I had told we were expecting, was there right beside me during worship.  She told me later that night that God told her that I would need her during that song on Tuesday.  It is just another example of the amazing being that God is.  She was right there when I needed her.  And God spoke to her to tell her I would.

This photo below is my favorite one that we took that day over a year ago, to share with our family and friends.  I now am so grateful that we decided to take these, and fully believe that God spoke to my friends at the conference last year, as it was a last minute decision that day to take photos.  We never had planned for it, I didn't even change clothes into something special for it, but these photos are something that I treasure greatly now, even more.

grace and serendipity - hope after miscarriage

In the months that followed our angel baby going to Heaven, prayer became my strength.  I felt comfort in knowing that God had a plan, and that He would take care of us.  Some of the strongest moments I felt Him with me are written below.

He was the one who told me to move my initial appointment to the week after the Conference, knowing that I would need to strenghten my relationship with him first.

He was there when he told my photographer friends to capture this moment in my life, no matter how short it was.

He was with me in the operating room the day that our baby went to Heaven.

He was there helping me to get through the days that followed and take care of Adelynne.

He was there that night at Rehearsal, when Oceans was playing on the street.

He was there for all of the dark days and nights that followed, telling me to just simply hope.

He was there the day that I found out we were expecting again, and timed it perfectly being the week after our angel baby's due date, knowing that I needed that time to heal.

He was there the day that I called the doctors office, knowing how much of a gift it would be to able to go to the appointment with my parents (the only one we would be able to have with them here) and schedule my appointment for when they were here.

He was there the day we heard that our new baby was perfect.

He was the one who told my friend who joined me at Pursuit 31 this year, who didn't know I had taken photos last year, to take photos there to honor our angel baby.

He was there at Pursuit 31 this year, when I touched the ground and said "I'm sorry", responding simply with "you can let go now".

He was there when that song came on, having my friend know to be at my side, knowing I would need her support.

He is the one who has given me the strength to share our story in a completely open and public blog post.

He was always there.  And He will always be there.  He will never leave any of us, even in our darkest times, when the last thing we feel like we can do is hope.

grace and serendipity - hope after miscarriage

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I thank God every day for giving us this baby we have on the way now, but also thank Him for being there for me throughout this time.  It made my relationship with Him stronger.  It made me realize that He will never leave me, that in the toughest days and hardest times, that He will be there to pick us up.  That He has a plan for us, one that is mighty, one that is amazing, and one that we need to trust.  There are days still that I wish I had gotten to meet our child here on this Earth, but also know that our child is in Heaven, in God's arms.

If you have gone through or are going through a miscarriage, and need someone to talk to, know that you are not alone.  It is something that 1 in 4 women go through, something that isn't talked about often, but something that may be one of the hardest times in your life.  Know that if you need someone to talk to, you can reach out to me.  I can be that person for you.  Please email me if you need someone to talk to, and know that through it all, you are not alone.

It is not your fault. There is nothing different that you could have done.  In time, you will heal, but it is okay to grieve.  It is okay to have good days and bad days.  It is okay to have days that you don't want to talk to anyone, that you wonder what may have happened, or where your baby would be now.  It is okay.  You are not alone.  Let yourself heal, and let it take as long as you need.  If you have a friend you can confide in, do that.  If you have a husband or a significant other, go through it together.  Pray together. Grow together.  You will get through this.

If you have made it to the end of my story, thank you so much for walking through this with me.  If you feel compelled to do so, I would love for you to please share this story, as you may never know who the person is that may be hurting close to you in your life, someone who needs some encouragement today.  I truly believe that we can be healed through reading other's stories, and grow strong together knowing that there is an amazing God who is always going to be there for us.