When God calls our hearts to grow our families, He never promises that it will be easy.
For October's Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, Paula wanted to share her story of repeated heartaches that ultimately led to a greater trust in God.
Miscarriage was not only an unfamiliar term but a very distant thought in my 30-year-old world. After being married for five years, my husband Chad and I had no trouble getting pregnant with a healthy baby boy who is now seven-years-old. When he turned two, we started trying again and got pregnant right away, blissfully unaware of the emotional, physical, and spiritual roller coaster we were about to ride for the next few years.
Just as quickly as we celebrated the good news, I miscarried. Shocked and confused, we didn’t wait long to try again and was again met with the same heartache not long after that second positive pregnancy test. I remember being at work when it happened and racing home in tears, desperately praying to God to change the fate of this baby. After a couple of months of doctor’s visits and tests, we got pregnant again and were hopeful. I knew the chances of miscarrying a third time were very slim, and my doctor was optimistic. I was optimistic. We took an amazing trip to visit family in Paris and excitedly, but cautiously, announced our pregnancy on Christmas morning. I bought a little “Bonjour” outfit with the promise I would have someone to wear it in seven months.
When we returned from our trip, we celebrated with the rest of our immediate family, but the joy didn’t last long. The next day as I rushed to and from my doctor’s office, we had to call them back with bad news–terrible news. We lost that little one around 11-weeks. I was devastated. I didn’t understand why the Lord was allowing this to happen. I stared at that little French outfit with such grief and disappointment. Out of my pain, I poured all my energy into figuring out why this kept happening, just short of getting a medical degree. Trying to control our situation, I consulted “Dr. Google” for hours and hours, obsessing over what condition I could be tested for or what supplements to take.
My doctors found a couple of little things here or there, but nothing that explained the problem. One doctor even referred to my first two losses as “a fluke.” God isn’t in the business of “flukes,” this I know. But He IS in the business of bringing us closer to Him, one way or another. Through this time, my prayers were frequent and hopeful. I was scared to try again, but Chad and I still felt very strongly that God would allow us to have another child. That next year was honestly a bit of a blur. We got pregnant a fourth time. I was not sure of how this pregnancy would go. I disconnected from the baby, and to be honest, a bit from God, even more than the previous ones. Part of me thought if I didn’t get too “attached” that it wouldn’t hurt so much losing him or her. It still hurt. Deeply. The extra doctor visits, surgery, and recovery were all just insults and reminders of who wouldn't be in my life anymore, but they were also a turning point. The Lord had always been there. He will always be there.
Exhausted from the ups-and-downs of the past couple of years, I wept uncontrollably one Sunday during worship surrounded by family and friends. I can’t even remember the song playing, but as the next song began, I stood to my feet, still weeping, with arms lifted and hands open and proclaimed, “You’re a good, good Father,” surrendering my burdens to the Lord. We got pregnant a fifth time, and I had peace. Not peace that this would be a viable pregnancy, but a peace that the Lord knew my pain and the desires of my heart. A peace that I could trust Him with my fears and our dreams for our family. We lost our fifth baby around Thanksgiving. And yet, I was thankful. Thankful that we’d been able to try again. Thankful for an understanding husband and the support of our family and small group. Thankful for the closeness I now felt to a God who is always good, regardless of my circumstances.
Infertility and miscarriage is such a lonely road. But the fact is that one in eight couples struggle with some form of infertility and one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. I wish I had found a group to connect with that truly understood what I was going through during that time; to empathetically mourn my losses and prayerfully encourage me on my darkest days. By God’s grace, my story has a beautiful ending. With no explanation other than a miracle, we welcomed another boy to our family when our oldest was now turning five. He is truly a gift to us, both of our boys are, but I still have great heartache from losing the five little ones I will never know this side of heaven.
Though I never dreamed that infertility and loss would be part of my family’s story, I’m starting to believe that the most beautiful part is still being written. The Lord has continued to refine my heart and change what I view as “good” to allow me to empathize with others and surrender to His plan.
When I learned that North Metro was launching an Infertility & Loss Support Group, I knew that God was calling me to be a part of it somehow. This group offers a place to be seen, heard, and understood. While I joined this group as a member for personal support, I’ve now been given the opportunity to help lead this group to provide other women a safe place who are hurting and feel alone in their struggle to grow their families. God is opening the door to bless many families through this group, and I’m so honored and excited to be a part of His great work.
Learn more about NMC's Infertility & Loss Support Group by visiting the Care page.