Burying your baby is hard. This was not my plan. This was NOT where I thought I’d be. I was 13 weeks pregnant, which is past the “normal” time to miscarry. By all indications, everything was well and my belly was growing nicely. However, I didn’t realize that God had other plans for me, my baby and our family…
This is a picture of my baby bump just a few days before the miscarriage.
…Lying on a hospital bed, I stared at the ceiling of the stark and sterile exam room. My legs shook violently from the cold as tears streamed down my cheeks. Beside me, stood my husband, Kyle, as the doctor said “We need to get you into surgery right away before you lose too much blood”. My heart was pounding and a million thoughts swirled through my head. Just days before, I had blissfully been expecting our 8th baby, and now all of that was crashing down.
It all began on a Friday afternoon. I began bleeding. That awful feeling in the pit of my stomach came when I first saw the blood. I was immediately alarmed and contacted my husband and my midwife to let them know. I also contacted my family and a few close friends to be praying that the baby would be ok. Since it was late in the day on that Friday when I first spotted the blood, I decided to go straight to bed and wait and see if the bleeding would stop. The morning had been kind of a stressful morning where I was on my feet a lot more than normal, so I thought maybe I had just “over done it” and perhaps resting would make the bleeding stop.
This was not my first rodeo…14 years ago I had started bleeding while I was pregnant with our second child. Our sweet baby didn’t make it. That miscarriage process was fairly quick–I began bleeding that morning and had an ultrasound at the doctor that day. She sent me home to rest and I gave birth to our baby by that night. It was actually one of my hardest labors and I almost passed out afterwards.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, the bleeding had not gone away; it had increased, plus I started cramping. My friend offered to contact the doctor for me and I accepted her offer. The doctor was out of town that weekend, so we decided that if I hadn’t had the baby by Sunday that I would go in on Monday and have an ultrasound done to see what was going on.
Sunday morning came and things took a turn for the worse. I awoke early that morning to go to the bathroom and began passing large blood clots and massive amounts of blood. The color began to drain from my body and I told my husband that I thought we needed to go to the emergency room because I did not feel well at all. All I could do was lie on the bathroom floor moaning and bleeding. We had contacted the midwife during that time and she told us to go straight to the hospital. Kyle immediately woke all the kids up and Grandma took care of them while we were gone. We left for the hospital and I had to ask Kyle twice to pull over on the side of the road so that I could throw up.
Once we arrived at the hospital, it seemed like an eternity before they could see me and get me into a room. In reality, my husband said it was only about 20 minutes. I kept begging for a bed-I just wanted to lie down and have my doctor there so we could do the ultrasound and figure out what to do to stop the hemorrhaging.
Finally, they got me into a room, hooked me up to two IV drips, poked me multiple times trying to find a vein to draw blood for tests (I had lost so much blood that my veins were not co-operating and were very deflated). They had to leave the tourniquet on for so long in order to find a vein to use that my arm started going to sleep. On the other end of me, the ER doctor was examining me and trying unsuccessfully to stop the bleeding.
While all of that was taking place, we got a text saying my midwife was on her way to be with us in the hospital. When she arrived, it was such a relief to have her support. Next, the nurse came in and said that our pastor was there to pray with Kyle. That was another comfort and an unexpected visit, being that it was a Sunday morning near the time he was to be preaching in the pulpit.
Finally, the ultrasound tech came in and did the ultrasound. It was the moment of truth…I asked if there was a heart beat. The answer was “no”. Tears flooded my eyes, as the weight of that news of sunk in. I know that my husband, Kyle was feeling the same pain as he heard the news. We also found out that the baby had passed away at about 8 weeks gestation because that was the size the baby was measuring instead of 13 weeks.
In a way, the ultrasound news brought closure to our wondering and aching hearts, but we were still just so very sad. I had cried more in those three days then I care to remember, but I took solace in the fact that I know that God is good ALL the time.
While we were waiting for my OB/GYN to arrive, two of my sweet girl friends surprised us and showed up to pray with me in the hospital exam room. They were both pastor’s wives, which made them being there all the more meaningful since they have duties as pastor’s wives at their churches. I was so very touched and so was Kyle. In the short time that I had been in the hospital, four friends had come to support us on a busy Sunday morning.
The doctor arrived and reviewed my tests. She then checked me and told me I was already four cm dilated and that the baby was low. She immediately called in a surgical team (the other surgical team was already in another surgery) so that they could take me into surgery right away to stop the hemorrhaging. The doctor and hospital staff were fairly certain that I would need a blood transfusion after surgery, so they kept mentioning that to prepare me. Thankfully, my dad arrived and sat with my husband in the waiting room while I was in surgery so he wasn’t alone.
The next couple of hours were a blur…being prepped for surgery, and saying goodbye to my husband as they wheeled me away on the gurney. I woke up in the post-op room and they wouldn’t let Kyle come in for about an hour, so I just lay there and cried. I was crying because we had lost the baby but I was also crying as I reflected on God’s goodness and mighty hand for saving my life. There were two scripture passages that kept replaying over and over in my mind. The first one was the 23rd Psalm “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” and the second one was the scripture in Job 1:21 “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The nurse drew my blood again to see if I needed the blood transfusion and thankfully, they determined that I didn’t need it after all. Kyle and I were so relieved to hear that news. The doctor told us that hemorrhaging was being caused by the placenta which had kept growing to the 13 week gestation size and was large and full of clots. Had the baby been born at home, like my first miscarried baby, I may not have been able to deliver the placenta right away which could have caused me to bleed to death.
We won’t always understand the things we go through but the Lord has his eye on his children and I don’t need to understand “Why” because God is sovereign and good all the time—even in the dark pit He is there with us. My friend sent me this scripture as a reminder of God’s love and Faithfulness. “I will not forget thee; behold, I have engraved thee upon the palms of my hands.”
As I was in my bathroom bleeding at daybreak the morning of the miscarriage, I began to hear birds chirping outside. I also looked down at a painting a friend had painted for my husband and me for our wedding. It showed a little bird singing a melody. The Lord used that to remind me that the baby and I were like little sparrows to Him and no matter what we were going through I knew that He had his eye on us.
Burying our little baby under our magnolia tree. This tree is called “Little Gem”, so we thought it would be the prefect place to put our “Little Gem” to rest…
Though I will never understand the Lord’s plan because His ways are higher than mine, looking back, I can now see a glimpse the Lord’s plan more clearly. Do I understand why we had to go through the loss and heartache? The answer is, “No, I do not”, but I DO know that the Lord loves me and wants what is best for me even when I don’t understand. If I had not miscarried my second child 14 years ago, I would not have the 6 children after that baby that they Lord has so graciously blessed us with after we lost that baby. The same rings true for this second baby we lost. Had I not miscarried, we would not have conceived our little William who is 4 months old right now (You can see pictures of his birth here if you’d like).
The real reason I feel compelled to write this post is not so people can hear all of the details of my miscarriage, but so that people will stop and think about being there for someone else in their life when they are hurting. Not only has the Lord been with me, but my friends and family have come along side me and touched my life more than I can adequately express. What I hope that you will most remember from this post is to be a “warm hug” for someone today. It feels silly quoting Olaf from Frozen, but it’s true—we can be the hand and feet of Christ and a “warm hug” to those going through difficult times.
One other thing that I want to encourage you in is to let others know that you are hurting or going through a difficult time so that they can be praying for you and love you in tangible ways also. If they don’t know, then you will miss out on the blessing of their kindness.
After my surgery, my doctor put me on bed-rest for the rest of the week. For a mama of seven children that is no small thing. Friends and family demonstrated “warm hugs” to my family and me that entire week and I’d like to show you some of the ways they encouraged us.
I almost titled this post “Don’t Ask Just Do It” because that is how my sweet friends and family were when we were going through that trial. My family and a few close friends that I had asked to pray when I started bleeding continued to pray when I went into the hospital and that was a tremendous blessing. My sister-in-law sent me the sweetest prayers via text from her mother and her. On Saturday night, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law drove down from Houston to be here in case they could help us. They brought us red tulips and a bountiful meal that night. Little did they know how much we were going to need them the next morning to watch our kids as we were rushing to the hospital. While I was in surgery, my sister-in-law took it upon herself to bring my three oldest kids back over to our house and tidy things up so it would be fresh and clean when we arrived home from the hospital. They washed our sheets and re-made our bed, they vacuumed, dusted and cleaned the kitchen and the bathrooms. They also left us the sweetest notes on my bathroom sink. After having gone through such a traumatic and trying few days, coming home to that nice atmosphere was so comforting. No, it didn’t take away the pain from the loss of our baby but it lessened the stress of it all and helped us start to heal.
The red tulips from family and the sweet cards my children left on my sink for me to find when I arrived home.
Friends and family didn’t ask if they could come to the hospital to pray—they just did it. On the night we returned from the hospital, I got a text from a friend that she and her husband would be over shortly with something for us. They brought a bouquet of pink roses and take-and-bake cookies and milk to cheer us up. The next day another friend texted that she was bringing something over and she left a vase of yellow roses on my door step along with a watermelon, cheese sticks and popcorn. My other sister-in-law came into town to help as well and she took my children to their swimming lessons the whole week while I was on bed rest. She also helped to watch the kids so that I can rest. One of my friends came over with the exact foods the doctor told me I needed to eat for my iron levels plus my favorite strawberry cake to cheer me up. She sat on the bed with me and we “dined” together on creamed spinach and visited. Every other night that week, other kind and thoughtful friends brought meals to us. My friend who was in from out of state stopped by and surprised me with a “Remembrance” Willow Tree figurine. Countless friends and family sent us scriptures and encouragement via text, email and Facebook. I was truly overwhelmed at the LOVE of Christ that people showed our family. I could go on and on at the overwhelming blessings our friends and family were to us.
The lovely flowers that kind friends and family brought to us.
The Creamed Spinach and Special Strawberry Cake that my friend made for us.
This is not the first time friends and family have reached out to us in times of need. I vividly remember my friend bringing over a white tulip plant to cheer me up after our first miscarriage. That meant so much to me and we planted the tulips on top of the grave of our little baby that we had lost. Friends also brought us meals back then as well.
People have had miscarriages for centuries and will continue to have miscarriages. I don’t pretend that my experience was special. There are hurting people everywhere. They may not be hurting from a miscarriage; it may be something else entirely. The fact is, they are hurting and need to SEE and FEEL the hands and feet of Christ in a very tangible way.
The lesson that I learned is that I need to DO! James 1:22 says “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only…” My friends and family have been such a testimony to me of the hands and feet of Christ. They came and they DID. They didn’t say “Let me know if I can do anything”. No grieving person wants to ask for help. My advice to people who want to help others, is to just pray and figure out a way that you can bring some sort of joy or comfort to those that are hurting. It doesn’t have to look a certain way—do whatever you are comfortable giving or doing. The Lord will bless that effort and bless the hurting person through you. It doesn’t have to be big—it can be cookies and milk or freshly washed sheets, or taking children to swimming lessons. Whatever it is, JUST DO IT! I am encouraged and challenged by their example and I want to also be there more for others in practical ways. The Lord is working on me and I hope to improve in this area.
Warm hugs are the best, so go out and start giving somebody a “warm hug” today.
Maybe you or a friend would be encouraged to read more of my struggles and God’s faithfulness on this post about my year of brokenness and also receive a free gift of my calligraphy and watercolor scripture print for yourself or a friend here. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5