This is the most personal post I have ever written. For awhile, I didn't want to say anything. I have had it heavy on my heart to share with you my experience and testimony of God's goodness. I am nervous to do so but if my small voice can bring comfort to just one person, it will be worth it. I want to speak up because no one really did before all of this happened to me and oh how I wish someone would have told me.
One week ago, I had a miscarriage.
For many, a miscarriage is a "spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20the week of pregnancy."
But in one week, this one word took on an entirely different meaning to us.
It started 2 1/2 months ago. Cars and I felt strongly a little angel needed to join our family. I went to my annual doctor's appointment when during a usual ultrasound, my OB, looked up from the screen and said, "Rachel, I think you might be pregnant." Every part of me screamed on the inside. This was the BEST news I could have ever received--it was too good to be true. I let out a little shriek and had to immediately calm my heart because it was too early to even detect. I waited, for what seemed like the LONGEST days of my life...and then I woke up early one morning before work to take a pregnancy test. Cars and I kneeled in the bathroom....AND...one line.....THEN A SECOND!!!! I could not believe it. (I went and bought 2-3 more to take over the next few days just to be sure!!) We screamed and cried. Then we had to go to work.
I ate healthier. I slept more. The vitamins, the exercise, you name it, I did it. One of the most pertinent pregnancy symptoms for me was exhaustion--despite crazy hours teaching/coaching, I was even MORE tired....but I had this light and excitement inside of me that really kept me going. I felt a connection with this little baby. I felt closer to heaven. With this little baby growing inside of me, everything changed. I changed. Despite my busy schedule of teaching + coaching, I tried my best to do what was best for this baby. We kept this a HUGE secret. We were going to wait until after the 10 week appointment to tell our families but we felt impressed to tell our families at the end of our 8 weeks---Memorial Day Weekend.
We created this hilarious dance with the exciting announcement towards the end. (I would put it in here but I can't seem to even open the file without crying)...so just imagine us shaking our booties to "Ice, Ice, Baby" in unison with matching outfits. Our families' reactions=priceless. (We filmed their reactions without them knowing---oh it was epic.) Sometime I will build up the courage to open it.
Then Saturday. After a day spent wedding shopping for my sisters, I started bleeding. Immediately I called Cars, I was scared. With a shaky voice, I told him. I cried the whole way home. I drove to Garretts' house, where Carson's mom and sister came downstairs and comforted me with their wisdom and love. Due to the nature of the weekend, all doctors were out of the office. I turned to the computer and was convinced it was spotting--a typical symptom of pregnancy in the first trimester. (which I did NOT know.) I felt at ease. I read that many women spot... Carson + Danny gave me a blessing where I was further convinced that our sweet baby would make it.
Sunday came and went. Monday..it started to get worse. I showed my Mom and together we called the doctor. Miraculously, Dr. Knowles answered and told me I either need to go to the hospital or come to her office first thing Tuesday morning.
I sat in the waiting room with Carson and my mom. Bouncing my legs, I was so nervous. I looked around to see mothers cooing their newborn babies and 8-9 month-pregnant women coming and going and it started to hurt--my heart. I just wanted to be there. Then they called me back. Again we waited. I felt a calmness. I had faith that this baby would be protected and this would be just fine.
Dr. Knowles came in. (I am so grateful it was her..I have come to love this doctor)
After a few questions, we got straight to the ultrasound. Cars and I had excitedly followed the baby's progression each week, by now, the baby had started developing its organs, eyes, ears, and should have a heart beat already. She excitedly told us about what we were about to see and hear.
Then....silence. She started to point to where my ovaries were on the screen. I thought in my head "I don't care where my freakin' ovaries are...where is our baby?" She then turned to look at me and explained what she saw...the only word I heard was miscarriage. Missed miscarriage, the bleeding....and then I stopped listening. With glazed eyes, I repeated her words in my head a few times...then tears started welling up in my eyes...no, this can't be...our baby....is dead....and I just sobbed into my hands. Cars stood up and came around to hold me up while she continued to explain. I then looked up at my mom, tears were streaming down her face as she looked at me. She continued to listen to Dr. Knowles.
NO, this is NOT how it is supposed to happen. It can't be....our baby...
Dr. Knowles continued to explain all of the possibilities and suggested I get testing done to verify it is not some auto-immune blood disease or something (my mom + Cars had to re-explain it to me). We followed her down the hall... tears still free flowing...I tried so hard to mask the silent sobs, while passing other mothers...excitedly hearing their own babies heartbeats, seeing their own babies progression, holding their own healthy babies. After waiting, the pricks and pokes, we got out as fast as we could. As we walked out, my mom showed me the place where she laid after having her first miscarriage. For a brief moment, I found comfort. And then it hurt. we skipped the counter, where I was supposed to register for another appointment ...and left.
My (angel) mother embraced us both before going to work. Without saying any words, Carson and I sat in our car and cried. For what seemed like an eternity, I felt safe to cry. We had gotten work off to go to his cousin's funeral. So we started driving over the location of the viewing/funeral. The Garretts were waiting in the parking lot, anxious to hear the news...without saying a word, Carson's Mom immediately rushed over to give me a hug. The Garrett family followed suit. We sat in the parking lot for a few minutes before walking in. (Oh how grateful I am for supportive families.) I went to the restroom to clean up...and came out to see a beautiful arrangement of pictures of Carson's cousin and her family hovering over the casket of their daughter...I lost it. We lasted about 15 minutes and then Cars drove me back to his house. I laid curled up to him in his childhood bed and cried for hours. I felt empty. Completely hollow. I dozed off for a what seemed to be a few minutes and every time I woke up, I had to re-realize the pain of our reality. Our baby was gone.
After a comforting blessing from my father, we drove home. And then it hit me. The worst contraction-like cramps I had EVER experienced. And blood. Tons of blood. I sat, white-faced, and tense the entire ride home. I nearly broke Carson's hand, I was holding it so tightly. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY BODY? We then pulled into the Walmart parking lot. Cars ran in and grabbed pads and a few other things. I silently cried again. We rushed home. I lost what seemed like EVERYTHING inside of me. My body was cleaning itself out.
I still remember one moment, however. Through passing everything, I saw it. I saw what looked like our little baby. I held it in a small tissue. I convulsed into more sobs as I showed Cars. What do I do with it? Do I just flush it down the toilet?Our sweet little baby. To me, It is not just balls of cells. It was our baby. This was life-our future! This was our sweet baby that we would never have and it symbolized everything I had waited and prayed for, my whole life...and now it was gone.
The week was quiet and long. The pain was real. After everyone went back to their every day lives, I didn't. My heart still hurt. I remember on Thursday, Carson came home from work and said, Today was really hard but I feel better now that we are together. Our home became a safe place where we could grieve together. AND I NEEDED to let me body grieve and heal. The emotional pain nearly outweighs the physical. Towards the end of the week, I was just TIRED of hurting. I needed to go on a run--to escape it. Cars ran with me. I felt strength.
He was there to share our joy when we discovered the good news.
He was there to sustain me as I worked long hours during the first trimester.
He was there to hold me when the intense pain began and picked me up when I felt I could not lift my head.
He was there to whisper peace to my soul as I worried that I would never be a mother.
In a real sense, I can see how people get bitter and angry. It hurts. But it is through God's divine love and power that we can be healed. He has changed my heart and allowed me to see on a deeper level-- His power. He has a plan for me and for our little family. He knows my heart and feels my pain. There is hope in the future. I have faith in Him and His goodness. The timing of everything--when we told our families, the funerals, the situations of friends, etc. is further testament that God is very aware of us.
It was through this darkness that I found light.
"Heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind." We have angels around us--our sweet family members and a few friends/cousins who through flowers, dinner, prayers, and reminders of love have carried us. Really, I will remember it all my life. We are surrounded by angels on Earth.
My heart goes out to all who have experienced this pain on any level. And there are millions. Friends, there is hope after miscarriage. There is hope after death. There is hope in sickness. There is hope in divorce. There is hope in infertility. There is hope in heartache. There is hope in sorrow. I know it because I feel it.
"There is no greater peace than the assurance that [our baby] is held safely in the arms of Jesus… the same arms that hold me today."