Today is my baby's due date.
Wait, you say. I'm confused! Didn't you just announce this month? Aren't you due in the spring sometime?
Yes, and yes. But I've had two due dates this year already. And this is part of my story...
It was a year ago November that I got pregnant. We discovered the first week of December, danced excitedly around our little trailer, and eagerly counted down the days until we could announce. After a flawless prenatal visit at 8 1/2 wks, we announced to our families at Christmas.
12 wks arrived and I was still happily pregnant. My pants were getting snug and I had the usual symptoms. We were on the road, traveling to college missions weeks and daydreaming about how we would announce the news on facebook. :)
It would be nice if we could hear the heartbeat before we announce, we thought. But we were 1,000 miles away from our doctor and not due back in KS for another three weeks. A few phone calls later netted a Crisis Pregnancy Center near our host home that was willing to do a quick ultrasound (u/s) for us. YAY!
When the tech started the u/s, a small, fuzzy dot appeared on the screen. I was puzzled -- That's not what the baby should look like! The tech asked how far along we were.
"12 weeks," I replied.
"No, I'm seeing a 6wk baby. Your dates are probably off."
The tech thought she could see a heartbeat, but we couldn't see it. We left the office, shattered and confused. What was really happening? If we were really off on our dates, that would mean I wasn't pregnant yet at our first prenatal apt and we knew that wasn't true.
The next morning, my pregnancy symptoms were abruptly gone. The day after that, I started bleeding. We traveled on to our next destination (another college missions week). Two days into the stay at our new host home, I miscarried. That evening, I had the opportunity to share with a group of college students about God's faithfulness even when our dreams come crashing down around us. I blogged that night, although no one would have known from the blog post that a very personal dream had just crashed down around me.
Our doctor called it a "missed miscarriage." The baby had stopped growing, but the body hadn't gotten the message and continued to give me pregnancy symptoms for weeks. We buried the tissue in my parents' garden, near where my mother's miscarried boy had been buried 20+ years ago.
Weeks passed. We finished our road trip, packed up our KS home, and moved to Colorado in March. A week after our move, we found out I was pregnant again.
This time, we held our silence - not even telling our families. The weeks crept by as we waited to see what would happen. I was scared to bond with this unborn child. Afraid even to pray for her after I had prayed with such fervency and faith for the last one. Angry with God for having taken the last baby. Anxious in the waiting. (Yes, the baby was the "project" referred to in the post.) Gradually, my heart opened to love this little life and we began to get excited.
10 wks arrived. We met with a midwife who offered to check for the baby's heartbeat for us. But before we could do that, I discovered I was bleeding. The u/s showed a familiar sight--a 6wk old fetus. Not 10wks. 6wks. No heartbeat and the miscarriage was starting.
I miscarried on Mother's Day and wrote this post.
A co-worker thoughtfully assembled a cross for us. We buried the tissue in a mountainous area and set aside a weekend to grieve our two little buds that would never fully bloom.
The journey continued. We wondered if we would ever have a little one to hold in our arms. My finger traced the pregnant stomach of the Willow Tree "Cherish" figurine in gift stores and my heart ached, despairing that it would ever be me. We researched and waited, hoping (and fearing) each month that I would be pregnant again.
Sure enough, a couple months later, we had yet a third positive pregnancy test. I cried. I wasn't sure I could walk this path again. We immediately told our families so they could be praying. This time, I was determined to love the baby from the beginning. After all, I didn't know how many days I was going to have with the baby. Our local midwife and KS doctor worked together to get me extra progesterone during the early weeks of pregnancy in case that was the problem. But still, I worried. I struggled with issues of WHY, faith, belief, answers to prayer, and God's love for me.
At 8 1/2 weeks, we stopped by the midwife's office for a quick u/s. With bated breath, we watched as the picture began to show up on the screen. There was a baby. But it was bigger than the previous two u/s pictures. And it moved. And it had a heartbeat. And I cried for joy.
We knew we weren't out of the woods. But a 10wk visit with the midwife brought the sweet sound of a baby's healthy heartbeat. We traveled off to Seattle for a month and stopped by the midwife's office again as soon as we were back.
14wks. And there was the healthy heartbeat - still there!
Now we're 21wks and the baby is busy kicking. How I cherish that feeling, that reassurance that my baby is still alive. My tummy is growing and I'm wearing maternity clothes. And I'm still in awe that (Lord willing) we may really get to keep this baby.
But I am learning much from this journey. I'm learning about the pain that couples go through as they suffer miscarriage, late-term loss, or early infant loss. I'm learning about the roller coaster of hope and devastation that couples struggling with infertility experience. I'm learning that it's okay to grieve, even when the grieving is for someone that you've never met. I'm learning about faith, strength, hope, and belief.
I'm learning that God is good. It's not my circumstances or prayers-that-work-out-the-way-I-want-them-to that makes God good. It is God's character. God makes God good. And nothing I do or experience or question will change that.
So yes, Baby #2 was due today. And I miss her. Just like I miss Baby #1.
But this is not a mourning post. Perhaps in a sense, but it's more the telling of a story. The story of our journey. A story to open your eyes to other people's journeys. A story to encourage others who are going through a miscarriage. A story to reach out to those "happy young couples" who are silently struggling with infertility. A story to say, "I know a small piece of your pain." A story to remind you, my reader, to cherish the moments you have with your family, your friends, your little ones. Whether our loved ones are born or unborn, tomorrow is not promised.
But finally, this is a post to say: I know that my Redeemer lives. I wrote this post in the middle of miscarrying Baby #2 and how true it is. Despite the pain, the times I don't understand, and the times I don't know how or what to believe, I know that my God reigns. I know He works all things for His glory. I know He brings life to all situations. And how thankful I am for that promise of life.