I wrote this piece a couple hours after I got home from my 12 week appointment over a month ago, and since writing it, I have seen multiple women share their stories of miscarriage. It is happening all the time, I have seen it and heard it too many times to count, yet I have such a greater awareness of the hurt since experiencing pregnancy myself. People I don’t even know other than through squares on Instagram, yet I have felt their pain in a way I haven’t ever been able to. I have wept with them and for them. If you have experienced loss, I cannot say I feel what you’re going through by experience, but I am aching with you. You aren’t alone and you are so loved.
It was just about time for our 12 week appointment, and I was so excited for it…. all until about 3 days before.
I legitimately think hearing my baby’s heartbeat is a top favorite thing I have ever experienced in my life. There’s nothing like it… like, you cannot explain it nor can you understand it until you are, in fact, carrying a baby inside of you. It’s surreal, it makes you gasp, and it gives an overwhelming sense of responsibility when you hear it- especially that first time. A rush of emotions come over you. The theory of a baby inside of you according to a couple dinky home tests and some nausea is all at once confirmed. All of a sudden.. it’s SO REAL, and you are responsible for keeping it safe, healthy, and helping it grow strong and big. It’s a lot to soak in all in the matter of about 2 seconds, but it’s also the most amazing sensation. It’s like I grew ten feet taller in an instant, because I had to. I was (officially) no longer responsible for just my body. The proof was on the screen like a jelly bean. I was a walking sacrifice for my child who is, for now, living inside of me because they have to. They rely solely on me.
So like I said, I was so excited for my 12 week appointment, because I knew I would get to hear the heartbeat again. It’s agonizing those first few months where you have nothing to show for your growing baby inside of you, well nothing but a bloated tummy and nausea, and you’re left only trusting all is still well in between each appointment.
And that’s when it hit me: What if we get there Thursday and the heartbeat isn’t there anymore?
My excitement turned into gut wrenching, throat tightening, crippling fear. My excited anxiousness to be back in the doctor’s office turned into dread. I realized that, though this baby is inside of me now, I am not promised the next day and nor is my child. (whoa, it’s so weird to write “my child”- still trying to grasp the whole concept of motherhood applying to me now!) The fragility of life became real to me. I have this growing baby inside of my belly that’s the size of a plum… vital organs developed, all fingers and toes present… yet, I could lose them at any moment. This was the first moment in this whole process of becoming a mom that the weight of wanting to protect my baby at all costs but feeling helpless to do so was felt. There are going to be plenty of other moments in the next, God willing, 60, 70, maybe even 80 or more years I am on this earth that I am going to want what’s best for this baby but have no control over the outcome. I can only nurture them to the best of my ability, teach them and talk to them as openly as I possibly can, and pray hard for them. That’s literally all I can do. The rest is in God’s hands… and I cannot in any capacity fill that role. Knowing that and believing that starts now, in the womb.
Tiny and fragile is what I felt, but I wanted to feel strong, bold, and confident in my body’s abilities. What a juxtaposition of emotions, and in the moment I felt anything but strong. As fear took over me, I felt inadequate. I don’t trust my body and, worse, I don’t know if I trust God to keep this baby alive. I don’t want to go to this appointment anymore, because what if they tell me the worst news I could possibly imagine? What if they get out the doppler, and there is no heartbeat? They’ll awkwardly smirk and try to brush off their fear for the sake of my anxiety, call in another doctor, look for a new machine that might better detect the heartbeat all while trying to keep me calm… I had the whole situation playing out in my head like a horrible scene from a movie, and I was already devastated.
Week 12… it was a doozy. It was my first week I felt 100% like myself again since the whole nausea phase, yet emotionally I was crumbling. The morning of our appointment was the morning after we announced to all of our students that we are having a baby, and we were announcing to the world that night. What if this was all too good to be true? What if we will have to sit down and grieve with tons of students, talking them through life and loss all while trying to grasp why and how this happened to us.
But then there’s truth,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:6-8
This scripture reminds me in the midst of anxiety, Satan always wants us to keep quiet in our fears. That is how he snags us and keeps us under his thick fog. He wants the imaginary hand to stay over our lips and keep us from speaking, but God says speak. God says speak your requests, ask of me what you will, and lay your fears on me. Think about all the good I have done for you before, and how faithful I was and how faithful I will be. Always. End of story.
So there we are in the doctor’s office, I lay on my back with a racing heart and squeezed fists praying for a heart beat. My midwife applied the cold jelly between my hip bones, and turned on the doppler. And, before I could even breath out “Please Jesus”, I heard the melodic symphony of my baby’s heartbeat. The low rumble of perfect beats in sync, one after the other. And once again I found myself in tears praising Jesus for another day with my child. I might not know what tomorrow brings, but I know that He has been faithful.
The fear of miscarriage was, and still is, crippling. It can swallow my thoughts. But, by prayer and petition, I daily cast my anxieties on the Lord and find overwhelming peace. I lay my hands on my belly and rock side to side, praying to God and singing worship over this child inside of me. Thank you Jesus that your love is greater than my mind and that it brings peace that surpasses all understanding. Miscarriage is real and so is the fear of one. If your experience in pregnancy has been miscarriage- like so many of my dearest friends- I weep with you. For the first time in my life, I can say I truly feel I would know a little bit of what that pain would be like to lose a baby. And even still, it’s unknown, but I know the love you have for that baby you carried inside of you for however long God gave you with that child. I also can say, even in the confusion of the hurt, if the Lord took this baby from me, I would praise him for the 12 weeks (**now almost 17) I had with them to learn what selfless love was in a way I have truly never had to give. A sacrificial love that, at all costs, is willing to do whatever it takes to nurture and provide, and do what is best.
I would praise him for showing me just a glimpse into what his love is for me.
I love you all so much, and I am so thankful to walk through the fears, celebrations, and hardships of pregnancy with you. Whether you relate to pregnancy in your current stage of life or this is completely irrelevant to your circumstances, I hope you read this and see just a sliver of what a woman in your life has likely been through. We probably all know somebody pregnant right now or someone who has lost a child. Let’s talk about it. Let’s be real and open about this crazy thing of carrying life inside of us- it brings a lot with it. Good, bad, scary, excited… it all accompanies this season.
Love people well, be kind, and be gracious.
Dress: C/O Fillyboo
Eyebrow Tinting and Shaping: Southern Chic Wax
Photos by Cottonwood Road Photography