Tuesday, November 29, 2011

God's plan is perfect, even in the midst of struggles

I wrote this a few weeks ago, but felt it was too fresh to click that 'publish post' button until now. Very few people know this even happened, and it could easily stay that way. Yet, I feel compelled to share my story. I hope it is able to somehow minster to or comfort someone out there who may be reading it. Or, at the very least, cause you to be extra thankful tonight for your blessings and to hold them close, hug them tight, whisper some extra 'I love you's' and thank the Lord for them.

It's been a trying past month, not only in reference to my last blog post regarding Gabe's struggles at school. There's been heartache, and hopes seemingly crushed, and loss. And there's been sadness. Yet, there's also been great joy and thankfulness. And there's been a renewed sense of gratefulness for the four beautiful, healthy children the Lord has so graciously blessed me with that I fear I cannot accurately put into words. But with this post, I will try.

You see, I was recently pregnant. I found out at about 5 weeks that I was indeed pregnant with my fifth child. The Lord had done it to me again. I had thought I was probably done having kids at four, but as He softened my heart, I realized I was not ready to be done. That I yearned for more. More kids to love and to raise up in His leading. More kids to share joys and triumphs with. More kids to have and hold with my husband, who we all know ALWAYS wants more kids.

And so, we tried. And as it has in the past, it happened very quickly. At 8 weeks, I went in for my first appointment with the history nurse, where she updates my charts and the lab does the routine bloodwork. Everything looked well and good.

In the past we had shared the news of our pregnancies fairly early on. I've never had any problems with conceiving and no issues during my pregnancies, so never really felt a need to keep it quiet. Yet this time, for some reason, we chose to wait. Maybe it was partially the fear that others would not share in or understand our joy to be pregnant once again. Although four kids isn't that many, some seem to think us crazy to want more. Other than a friend who asked me point blank if I was pregnant and I didn't want to lie to her, we told no one. A choice that soon makes sense in our minds.

I had been experiencing some morning sickness, but not as severe as with my other pregnancies, so I felt blessed.

And was I ever happy to be pregnant. I can't quite describe the happiness, but I was possibly more happy than ever before to be pregnant. The idea that it wasn't 'over' for me. That that stage in my life was not closed. That I would once again hold my own newborn baby in my arms and smell that sweet newborn smell. I was happy because I have so much more love to give and I was going to have the opportunity to give that love to yet another addition to our family.

At ten weeks, which was this past Wednesday (actually Nov. 2nd), I went in for my first OB appointment. My doctor for the past two pregnancies congratulated Jason and I on our pregnancy. We talked about our four kids at home and how much they've grown. We talked about starting all over with yet another and how excited we were. How excited the kids would be to find out. (We were waiting to tell them until after this appointment.)

And then, came time to hear the heartbeat. The doctor moved the monitor around my stomach, but nothing. My heart sank. I looked at Jason and he tried to give me a reassuring smile that things would be ok. But, I had that sinking feeling that something was wrong. The doctor told us it was probably because it was so early on in the pregnancy, but he wanted to get an ultrasound done just in case. He pulled an old ultrasound into the room on a mobile cart. He found the baby on the screen, but because it was such an old machine, he couldn't zoom in enough to see detail. So, he sent us to ultrasound. There were no ultrasound appointments available at our hospital, so we were sent directly to another hospital a few blocks away. And we waited.

The time we waited in the waiting room seemed like an eternity. I tried to disway the worries racing through my mind. We prayed. But, I couldn't shake that feeling in the pit of my stomach that things were not right. Then, my name was called.

As we were led back to the room and I changed into a gown, my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest.  I didn't want to know. Maybe I could just stay in ignorant bliss a bit longer. But soon, I was on the table. And although the technician couldn't tell us herself, Jason and I both knew as soon as the baby was up on the screen. He or she was not alive. There was no heart beat. I tried to hold in the tears. I didn't look at Jason because I knew once I did, I'd lose it. And once I got back into the bathroom to change my clothes, I did. The tears fell and I mourned.

We were told to go back into the waiting room while the ultrasound technician showed the ultrasound photos to a resident doctor and called back to my doctor's office to get further instruction. Sitting in that waiting room was torture. I just wanted to weep. I wanted to crawl into a dark hole away from this public place and I wanted to cry in silence. And just then, a mother walked by with a little boy in tow. He was following his mommy and as he passed Jason and I, he looked over. He was about Gavin's age, my youngest son. He looked me right in the eyes, surely saw my tears, and looked a bit concerned at first. But as I managed a smile across my face at his sweet little face, he returned one to me. And was that smile ever comforting. Because just then, it hit me. I am SO blessed. Blessed beyond measure, just as my blog header says. I have a wonderful husband who is not only my best friend, but who is a better husband than I could ever ask for. And I have four beautiful children. Children who I had absolutely no problems conveiving or delivering. Children who have had minimal health problems or struggles in their lives. Children who make me want to be a better person than I ever may have strived for without them. And children who give me glimpes of the Lord's grace and mercy everyday I get to spend with them. Blessed indeed. And all of a sudden, I felt a peace and calm come over me. Yes, I was still sad. Tears still fell. I still mourned the loss of a child who we had been excited about and prayed for. But, my blessings outweighed that sadness. And more importantly, the Lord's love and mercy covered my sadness.

When we were asked to return to my doctor's office, we did so in mostly silence. I know we were both in a bit of shock. After four completely normal and uncomplicated pregnancies, no previous miscarriages, and absolutely no signs of an imminent miscarriage, this was the very last thing we were expecting. But, again, the Lord covered the shock. We were grateful. Grateful for all that we do have. And we possessed a renewed sense of appreciation for just how special our kids are. What a miracle life is, and we take it for granted everyday.

My doctor was so kind. He figured we already knew the answer when he walked in the room and immediately put his hand on me and said he was sorry. He consoled us. He gave us our options in the case of a missed misscarriage, which is where the baby dies but for some reason the body does not expel it naturally (on its own.) We talked about how my body is good at holding on to babies too long ;) I decided to first try medication to encourage uterine contractions so that I could expel my baby naturally at home. But after taking the medicine, it didn't work and I had to go back in for D&C surgery today (Nov. 5th) to remove the baby. It was the first time I'd ever had surgery or been put under anesthetic. I don't like to take drugs and had not even had an epidural for any of my previous labors, so I was nervous to say the least. But we prayed and our family and friends prayed, and I know those prayers work because I again had a sense of peace and calm that is completely uncharacteristic for this worrier. I felt the Lord's peace surrounding me. The procedure went as well as can be expected. I was sent home about 5 hours after I arrived. And tonight, I am feeling pretty good with little pain.

But most importantly, I am thankful. I am so very thankful for all the love the Lord has already showered on my life. And I am hopeful for my future and whatever path the Lord leads me on. Because now, more than ever, I feel Him right here beside me. Just as the verse says, "He will never leave us or foresake us."

I am in no way saying that because I already have four children, I grieve less for this fifth child. A child is a child, and not one is less significant than the next. Nor am I saying that we should not grieve. It's natural to grieve such a loss. But I am thankful that I have solace from my grief in the Lord and in the many blessings He has placed in my life to cause me to focus on being thankful.

Yes, there is a space of emptiness in my heart. I wonder if it was a boy or a girl. I wonder who he or she may have grown up to be. But, it is far greater knowing that God knows what He is doing. He has a plan, even when we may not understand it. He has a plan, and I trust in Him. And I have the security of knowing there is a child I have yet to meet waiting for me in heaven. As a friend reminded me, how neat to know there's a small part of me experiencing all the glories of God right now up in heaven.

Since this was originally written a few weeks back, we have shared our story with the kids. It was hard, seeing their faces light up when we told them mom was pregnant, only to see those smiles disappear as we shared that the baby had died and gone to heaven to be with the Lord. Our kids would have loved to have another brother or sister. The boys shared that they would still love to have another sister so that Chloe would have a 'friend' as they said. So sweet. We assured the kids that the Lord knows what He's doing and that if we should have more children, if they should have another brother or sister, then He will provide, whether through a pregnancy or through adoption. And since sharing the news, Cooper in particular has asked a few times if I'm pregnant again yet. The four of them have so much love for each other, that they gladly would welcome another. And that warms my heart.

And so we wait. Wait on the Lord, and see what He has planned for us. For He does have a plan and it is perfect. And in that, I find my peace.


JZ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JZ said...

Oh Angie...my heart hurts for you. I have never lost a biological child, but we did lose an adoption a few years ago and the pain was great. Your words give us a window into your heart and the view is amazing. So much love, so much gratefulness, so much trust in our God. May your grief bring blessings...may you be given the peace that truly passes understanding. Thank you for sharing with us...much love to you and your family. --Jenn Zieser

Tara Anderson said...

Oh Angie...I am so sorry for your loss. I know that the 5th child is just as loved and wanted as the 1st child (in our cases, at least!) and I know the pain this must be bringing you. I'm sending love, prayers, and cyber hugs your way!!!

Janda said...

Oh, Angie, I'm so sorry! My heart breaks for you. It is a terrible club to be in and I'm sorry you had to join. I miscarried my second pregnancy at about 6 weeks along. It was a shock and I was sad and I sometimes still wonder what that little person would have been like.

But you're right, there is a plan. If that pregnancy had lasted, we wouldn't have Luke. I think some little souls are just too precious for this world, so they get a free pass to the next one. I imagine a little angel watching over us and look forward to meeting that angel some day.

Miscarriage can be a lonely time and it can help to feel less alone when people are willing to share their stories, so thank you for that. (((HUGS)))

Valerie and Jeff said...

Angie, my heart still hurts for yours. That is such sadness to bare. I'm so glad that you have found such a blessed place of Thankfulness. I was just reading in my devotional last night about how important it is to approach God with a heart of Thankfulness and through that we see so many glimpses of Heaven and joy. It seems you are there and for that I am thankful!! I pray for continued healing ... and also a blessed NEXT chapter that God is already busy preparing (or of course, HAS prepared ... and we just wait for it to unfold in His perfect timing.) It is amazing to know how God has made us mamas with a heart to nurture children. They are all so precious whether number 1 or number 12. What an honor and blessing indeed to be a mother to children! And what a blessing that your heart was open to God's softening. THAT is such a blessing! Hugs to you and Jason! I know God has many blessings yet in store for you.--Valerie

kristine shultis said...

Hi Angie,

I am so sorry for your loss. This exact thing happened to me with my first pregnancy. I remember the silence in the ultrasound room and waiting to see the doctor in silence and disbelief. This lead to our adoption of Grace - a plan God must have had for us all along and something I would never change! I wish you and your family all the best! - Kristine Shultis

Tina Fisher said...

I am brought to tears both for you & yours in the loss that you are experiencing as well as the beauty in how you live your life. That you see that God is good, all the time. And how even through your loss, you experience such gratitude. You are simply amazing.

May Our Father continue to surround you and bless you.

Your kiddos are pretty awesome too!

Pretty awesome to know part of you & Jason is reigning in His glory. :)

Very sorry for you loss.


Ellie said...

Sweet friend, I am so sorry for the loss of your baby. We miscarried our first and my grief was all encompassing ... I had to trust that God's plan is perfect. I think that is when my heart first was open to adoption :) additionally I have found I can truly empathize with those who suffer such a loss or who have fertility problems.

Sending hugs & prayers!

xo ellie

Anonymous said...

Angie, My heart aches for you. I am so sorry you and Jason are going through this sad time. I know how hard it must have been to open up and post this on your public blog and pray that your words not only touch others but that you are able to hear words of love and encouragement too. How blessed you are to trust in the Lord that his paths are always right! Even through your sadness there is great joy in knowing your little one is with Jesus right now. {{{{HUGS}}}}

Linda Abernathey said...

so sorry for your loss jason and angie.I have 2 grandchildren in heaven. corena had a misscarage a couple years ago and so did kelly and chip.We didn't know about corena's pregnancy un til after she losy it either. It was very hard, like you they were very happy with the prospect. and there will be no more chances for them . kelly and chip went on to have 2 more, but ther will be no more there either now, so i guess my grandchildren will stop at 9 beautiful children. but I will be very glad to meet the other 2 when god calls me home to heaven!blessings- Linda Abernathey

Love Letters To China said...


I'm so sorry for your loss. I, along with so many others, have walked the road you are on right now. It is a very difficult path, but once you are through you will find peace. When I look back at all that my family has endured, I know it was meant to be. I now realize that our son was meant to be united with us via adoption.

Sending you a great big hug....


TanyaLea said...

Oh my sweet friend ~ how sorry I am for your loss. My heart breaks for all that you and Jason have endured this past month. You're right, that baby was just as loved and just as important as your first four, and loss is always hard. But I love the way you have chosen to lean on the Lord and trust Him to bring healing and comfort to sustain you through the storms and struggles this life on earth can behold. I trust your story will resonate deeply with some and bring healing to their grieving hearts and loss, as well.

I haven't shared this with many myself, but it is believed I experienced a miscarriage myself, less than 48 hours after I was involved in a jarring car accident. I passed the baby on my own, and it was confusing and hard to even comprehend what was happening. Before the collision, I was on my way to Target to pick up another home pregnancy test, just to confirm what I already knew in my heart, after being over 3 months without my period. I was less than a block away when the accident happened. It was heart-breaking and confusing. But the hardest part was when the doctor suggested I not carry any more babies on my own, due to the back problems that only worsened after my accident, eventually leading to back surgery less than 1 year later.

But it was that experience that led me back down the road to considering adoption. And we all know where that led!! I praise God for the path He led us down after that loss. I cannot imagine my life without our Khloe. Whether I carried my children in my womb or in my heart ~ I love and adore them all the same. God has blessed me, too, immeasurably more than I could ask or think.

Maybe our babies are playing together up in Heaven, experiencing all of His Glory together!

Love you and I'm SO sorry for your loss.

Big Hugs,

Kelli said...

Oh Angie, I am sorry to hear your sad news. As I have been in that club before we had Zoey. You know that God does have a plan. You don't need me to tell you. I can say you can still have that blessing when it's in the plan. We did...even though we knew that we had two healthy children and it wasn't the end for us. Thinking about you and Jason!

Jboo said...

I am so sorry to learn of your loss.


Jodee said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs and prayers your way.

Julia Kulish said...

Angie, I'm so sorry to hear that you guys have been going through this! I will be praying for you and Jason and the kids

Kim said...

Angie, I am also sorry to learn of your loss. It is never easy no matter how many children you have. I also had a missed miscarriage and it was one of the hardest things to go through but I am positive your strength and faith in the Lord will see you through for He does have a plan. Take care.

Gail said...

Dear Angie,

I'm incredibly sorry for your loss. If I was in the room with you I'd give you a huge hug. I know first hand what this kind of loss is like, with me having 3 miscarriages in my late 30's. To this day I still wonder who those children were, boys or girls, and what they would have been like. The grief is hard and it sometimes comes when you least expect it. Please take care of yourself.

You're in my prayers,



Kim said...

I am so sorry to hear about this Angie, but thank you for sharing. God has been so good to you and will continue to be ever so good.