Peace in Suffering
June 12, 2016
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a mom; I never wanted to be anything else. My husband and I met in high school and knew pretty quickly we were meant to be together. Though there were things we saw differently, we always agreed when it came to our future with children. We wanted multiple children, and he wanted me to be able to stay at home with them. We were married for several years before we started talking about adding to our family, and we had no idea the road we were about to embark on. After a month of trying, we became pregnant. Since it was our first pregnancy, we took no extra precautions, and were awaiting our scheduled eight-week ultrasound. We had told all our family and friends, and I was on cloud nine. At our ultrasound, we were told that we were not measuring as far along as we should be, but to just come back in a week to take another look. Since I was new to the pregnancy thing and did not know what to expect, I did not think anything was wrong. When we went in for the ultrasound a week later, we were told there was no growth and that we had lost our child. I was devastated. I did not understand why. At first, I was just hurt. I would see pregnant women everywhere, and it would make a part of me ache. As months went by, my hurt turned into anger. “How dare God take my baby? Why could other women have children but not me?”
I was still working through all those issues, and God was working on my heart when we became pregnant again. All my anger and hurt went away. Since we had a previous miscarriage, we went in for early blood work and an early ultrasound and everything came back great. My blood levels were normal, and we heard a perfect little heartbeat. I was back on cloud nine. I remained slightly nervous until our ten-week ultrasound where we observed a perfect little baby, and all my worries went away. A few weeks later, I started spotting lightly, but I was told it was perfectly normal and if it got worse, to let them know. I was at work when my light spotting turned much worse. We went to the doctor; the ultrasound showed no heartbeat, and again, we were devastated. We had lost our precious baby. I was scheduled for a D&C for the following day, but I passed everything at home that night. It was the hardest thing that we have ever had to go through. We were able to see our precious little one. We could see the beginning of arms and legs. We could see where the eyes and mouth were beginning to form. It was a combination of amazing and heartbreaking. With our previous miscarriage, I had not run to Christ and His promises. Instead, I chose to rely on Ryan and my family for comfort. Yes, I had prayed and talked to God about it, but I had not truly relied on Him. I knew that I did not want to go through the anger and true hurt that I went through with the first miscarriage, so this time, I did take everything to God. It was truly amazing the peace that I had through those first few weeks. There was still hurt and sadness, but it was nothing compared to the first loss. There was no other way to describe it but supernatural. I should have held on to that peace with everything I had. I should have pursued Christ and relied on Him, but instead, I started to pull away. It was not a conscious decision to turn away; I just slowly stopped asking God for help, peace, or strength. A few months later, I finally realized how bitter I had become. I was driving home from work one day, and God used some music full of truth to bring me back to Him. The grace and peace God had given me returned, and so much more. A weight was lifted, and I felt truly whole again. God is an amazing Father!
A few months later we discovered we were pregnant again. Due to our previous trials, I was more nervous than excited. The early tests looked great, but still I was a nervous wreck throughout the whole first trimester. Going into the second trimester, I began to calm down once I could see and feel our baby move. Being pregnant was as amazing as I always thought it would be, and we were blessed with a 9lb 13oz, beautiful, healthy baby boy. Landon was and is our little miracle. He was a spectacular baby and a joy to care for, and I am currently able to stay at home with him, for which I am so grateful.
A few months before Landon’s first birthday, we found out we were pregnant again, this time, a surprise. We wanted our children to be close in age but were not planning on them being that close. Because of our history, I had bloodwork done, and we had an ultrasound scheduled for six weeks. There were some early fears, but our six-week ultrasound showed a little heartbeat. We started to get excited, making plans to rearrange bedrooms, and looking at decorations. When we went at 9 weeks for the ultrasound, there was no heartbeat. You would think that since we had been in this spot multiple times, it would have been a little easier, but it was not. The only thing that was easier was that I knew how I would react. I knew that I would be strong in the beginning, but as time went by, I would start to withdraw and become bitter once again. I knew how blessed I was to have our son but at the same time, I was so sad that we would never get to hold our three other little ones. It was only by God’s grace and the surrounding of my family, missional community, and church, that I did not become withdrawn and bitter, though I still struggled. Thankfully God pursued me by using what surrounded me, even though I failed to pursue Him.
We started trying again several months later with the help of fertility medicine. We tried for six months, which included multiple doctor visits, ultrasounds, monthly shots, and six different medications. During this time, God began to work truly on my heart. It really is amazing to me how God works. Our church family studies together verse by verse through various books of the Bible. Recently, during the fourth and fifth month of our attempts at pregnancy, the chapters we were going through were on idols. It began to hit me hard that having a second child was my idol. I was obsessed with it. It was the main thing I thought about throughout the day, and when I found out each month that we did not get pregnant, I was devastated. It controlled everything about my life. God revealed to me that I was putting it above Him, as well as my husband and my son. This changed how I saw everything. When we started the regimen the sixth month, for the first time, I was at peace about it. I was truly able to pray we would get pregnant, “but if not”, I would be ok with it. My husband and I decided that if we did not get pregnant that month, then we would take a break from trying. We did not get pregnant, and we kept to our decision and took a break. No more doctor visits, medications, or ultrasounds, and I was able to simply relax and enjoy my family. Of course, the first month we stopped trying to have a baby, God granted us another child, and I was ecstatic. I just knew that God was answering our prayer, since we had stopped trying in our own time and had trusted Him. I went in for blood work, everything looked good, and they put me on a supplement to make sure my levels stayed in the correct range. We went in for the eight-week ultrasound and observed the heartbeat. I asked if I could come back in two weeks to give me peace of mind. At our ten week appointment, we truly believed there would be nothing wrong. We were just going to see our little heartbeat, and I would be more at ease, however, the ultrasound showed no heartbeat. We were blindsided, and I became so angry at God. “Why would He do this to me again? I was at peace with not having another child yet and waiting on His timing. Why would He let us get pregnant, when we were not even trying, only to take it away from us?” I have never been so angry. With the previous miscarriages, there was some anger, but mostly hurt. There was a part of me that knew God was sovereign and had a plan for me that is so much better than one I would choose. I also knew God is holy, and I am a sinner undeserving of anything He has given me. Even though I knew these things, it did not help my anger at God. I did not even want to ask for God to give me peace and strength. I did not want to pray at all. Our family and missional community have surrounded us with support and prayer. I honestly do not know what we would do without our Christian community surrounding us. Even though I did not want to pray or talk to God, God used those around me to remind me of His love and faithfulness and speak gospel truth into me. Slowly, my anger has started to go away. In all honesty, I still struggle with some that I just do not want to let go yet, but God is pursuing me as his daughter and working on my heart. I know that if I completely let it go, quit trying to bear the burden alone, and take it to God, He will surround me with peace and comfort. For some reason, I am not ready for that yet, and I still want to hold on to my stubbornness. The suffering is not over, but in the midst of it, I am so thankful for a God, who does not give up on His children. He continues to pursue us and bring us back to Him even when I would have given up on myself a long time ago. He truly is faithful.
Story written by Hannah Wheeler