Our Little Life: Experiencing Miscarriage (Post 1)

Recently in another post of (over?)sharing  I admitted that Daniel and I had been walking in the world of God’s timing for starting a family since we had lost our luggage, and our only form of birth control, on our way to the Grecian finale of our Euro tour back in May.  So you can imagine my shock when a single cycle into our family planning journey, a second faint line began appearing on one (of the twenty-pack!) of the cheapo pregnancy tests I had bought on Amazon.

Have I said I love Amazon Prime?!

I might also mention that in order to take said test, I had snuck into our second bathroom before six AM and before I had any reason, or viable symptom, to suspect pregnancy. Per usual, I was trying to not explain my crazy to my husband.  Well, mission failed…

So with hands shaking, I immediately woke Dan up from a dead sleep and showed him the evidence that our lives were about to change.  Talk about a wake-up call! Convinced that the test’s price tag was responsible for its overzealous representation of a positive test, I ran downstairs to the Walgreens on the corner and was able to confirm the news with a top-shelf First Response that we were officially “expecting”.

It’s hard to explain what happens in these first few moments of life-changing news like that.  I wish I could say that we were both instantly thrilled, but I think the better descriptors would have been disbelieving and overwhelmed.  When you’re without any physical evidence that a new member of your family is on its way, it’s hard to feel like anything has changed; other than my ability to eat cold cuts and snarf down wine!  And given my penchant for always accepting a glass of my favorite Sauvignon blanc, I knew that we would never make it through the upcoming holiday weekend with our families without blowing our secret; especially since Dave Bray and his rolling cooler were coming to town!

So sticking with my theme of rocking people’s worlds that morning, I called my parents in tears before 7AM in Colorado and sufficiently freaked them out.  After I was able to explain that I was indeed alive and okay, I gave them our little life update and my Mom’s reaction probably woke up the rest of the neighborhood.  To say she was excited was an understatement.  My Dad, while touting that he was definitely too young to be a grandfather (let it be known that he is 57 and the only thing keeping him from complete baldness is a cul-de-sac of thinning white hair), was completely thrilled for us as well.  He just kept laughing which I’m interpreting as utter joy. Another fun phone call to my very excited in-laws rounded out the momentous start to our Wednesday morning.  Shortly after, we had to put ourselves back together and get our butts to work!  With my anxious mind on overdrive, I was already worried about being the fitness instructor that was starting to look a bit chubby. Mental note: I needed to see if Lululemon sold blouses…

Since Dan and I have never been shy to let our people into our lives, we made the decision that while our news was literally brand new and still in the scary zone, we would choose to share it with those closest to us and ask for their prayer. There wasn’t one person in our inner circle that wasn’t totally supportive and joyful and loving and prayerful.  And we found that as the outward momentum took off around us, our excitement began to match its stride.  Every night before bed, we would lay there and say, “Can you believe we are going to be parents?!” and after a couple weeks, we had really started to believe it.

So when we were still a couple weeks out from the OBGYN appointment where you get to hear your baby’s heartbeat (around 8 weeks into pregnancy) and I had some light spotting, we called my doctor and they had us come in to make sure everything was okay.  They started with an ultrasound and a blood test to check my HCG levels (a.k.a. the pregnancy proof hormone) and assured us that since we were only about six weeks in, the test results and my light spotting were totally normal.  The plan was for me to come in a couple more times that week for monitoring and to make sure that things continued to develop properly.

But you know that gut feeling you have when something is just not right?  Well that’s exactly how I felt as we left to go fetch our car after running into thrice-expectant parents, Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari in the waiting room. Yes; I see a doctor to the celebrities.  Don’t worry Dad, I didn’t shame you by saying hello. #gopackgo

I held it together until I climbed into the passenger seat, but once I had slammed the door, I started full-on sobbing.  If things went well, I didn’t know how Dan was going to make it through eight more months of my pregnancy-induced emotional instability…I’ve told you I’ve married a saint, right?

But later that afternoon, while napping my emotions away, I awoke to severe cramping and knew that our worst fears had happened.  The next two days, my body physically experienced the pain of our hearts breaking.  Every time I went to the bathroom, I was forced to face our new reality all over again and every time I looked at my husband, I couldn’t help but cry.  By God’s grace, Dan was my rock during this experience and all of our loved ones were there in the way we needed them.

sunset-summer-beauty-golden-hour

People will tell you that at six weeks, there isn’t a real baby yet. And since we didn’t have evidence of a developed fetal pole yet, it was just my body’s way of ridding itself of an embryo that most likely had severe chromosomal abnormalities.  But even if the evidence of the baby is just a few cells the size of an orange seed, when your body is losing its ability to keep that orange seed safe, you feel every bit of that loss.  The only way I can describe it is that when it’s over, there is an emptiness that feels like something that should be there is now missing.

This is my only experience with pregnancy so far.  And it’s my only experience of personal loss in this way.  But I would say it feels like there was a death, albeit a small death, in our little family.  So instead of rushing to get over this loss, we are letting ourselves grieve.

And I don’t care if people tell you that this was so early that it doesn’t count. Based on my personal experience, it felt like I was losing a part of my soul that week; and that’s probably because I had another one sharing my body with me for a while…

So in our grief, we honor that little life that was with us for a short time.  And we turn to God who is always Light over our Darkness.  And we decide to choose hope each morning. And we praise Him that someday, we will get to meet that little soul that left us too early and is having the perfect time right now with Jesus. She shouldn’t be too hard to find once we get there; I’ll bet she’s at the front of the praise line just like her Mama or in the *library just like her Dad.

So in our grief, we honor that little life that was with us for a short time. Click To Tweet

Our sincerest prayer is that we will be blessed with a healthy pregnancy soon.  But until then, there is extra coffee in the morning and Sauvignon blanc with my people at night.  And if it’s up to Dan, there will be a whole lot of seafood.

Miscarriage can be a quiet, unspoken, and lonely loss that families experience.  I have chosen to share our story because I  know we are not alone and I would love to be praying for those who have felt this loss in a personal way.  So please share our story in hopes of reaching those who need it today.

*Dan has always hoped that when he gets to Heaven, there will be an eternal “library” of sorts where he can learn everything there is to know about the whole world and how God made it for all of eternity. Meanwhile, I’m obviously praying for unlimited Chipotle. To each their own.

 

12 thoughts on “Our Little Life: Experiencing Miscarriage (Post 1)

  1. Daisy @ Simplicity Relished says:

    Wow… it took a lot of courage and humility to share this, thank you Alyssa. I can’t imagine what a rollercoaster it must be to walk through miscarriage– I’m so glad that you and Dan can support and love each other through events as hard as this was. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m encouraged by your faith!

    • Stephanie Wild says:

      Hi Alyssa. I used to work with Dan at Rocks in Champaign. I came across your blog and wanted to share my story as I am experiencing something similar. It is my third pregnancy and it was not planned but we were excited just the same. I’ve been sick and have had every symptom of pregnancy so I just knew I had a healthy pregnancy. I went to the doctor around 7-8 weeks and had my first prenatal. The NP decided to do an ultrasound because of my advanced maternal age(36). The moment the tech started measuring the gestational sac I knew there was no baby. The technician didn’t say anything, but having been through several ultrasounds I knew what I was looking for. Sure enough, the NP confirmed my suspicions. She said there was still a chance that I could have a viable pregnancy and that it could just be too early to see anything. I had lab work three days later and my beta only went up by 3000. While I did have that small hope that my numbers would double and I would prove her wrong, sadly they did not. I’m still technically pregnant, but the NP assures me it is not viable. If I do not miscarry before, I will go in for another sonogram on Monday then discuss my options. It’s really hard right now because I still feel so pregnant. It almost makes me angry every time my boobs hurt or I feel nauseated because I feel like my body is lying to me! Lol! Anyway, I just wanted to share my story and tell you that I understand your pain and I pray that you will soon get to enjoy a healthy pregnancy resulting in a very healthy baby! God bless!

      • Alyssa says:

        Hi Stephanie! Thank you for sharing your story and reaching out. I am so sorry to hear of your situation, but am praying alongside you that you have a viable pregnancy! Blessings to you!

  2. Abby Freeman Shoenfelt says:

    ALYSSA! We had a miscarriage too, it was crazy and sad and I didnt want to talk about it for the longest time. My husbands friend sent him this link:

    http://www.lifeasworship.blogspot.com/2013/07/loss-of-baby.html

    And this document from Piper — I dont even know where it was from but it really helped me give my pain over to the Lord.

    The following points are truths delivered by John Piper on October 23, 2003 during the funeral of Owen Shramek-Owen live on earth for 10 minutes. He speaks with the authority of the scripture and with clarity.
    1. Baby Kelly was and IS your child.
    Some day when you have sons and daughters, perhaps four, people will ask you, “How many children do you have?” And you will say, “We have six children. Two are in heaven and four are still with us.” They are and will always be your child.
    2. I believe that Baby Kelly is safe and uncondemned in the presence of Jesus Christ.I want you to be sure that your baby is safe and uncondemned, but there is something that is more important to be sure of than that, namely, that God is sovereign and wise and good and trustworthy.
    “The Judge of all the earth will do right” (Genesis 18:25 ).
    “Good and upright is the Lord” (Psalm 25:8)
    “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever” (Psalm 107:1).
    “Praise the Lord, for he is good; sing to his name for he is gracious” (Psalm 135:3). 
    This is your rock, first, and all other comforts are secondary. But I will give you Biblical reasons for why I believe your baby is safe and uncondemned.

    It is not because they weren’t sinful by nature. Psalm 51:5, “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me. Eph. 2:3 We were all by nature children of wrath.
    What we are by nature—not experience—Paul says, is hostile to God (Romans 8:7-8). A child does not learn it. A child expresses it. Our confidence that your baby is safe and uncondemned is not that they were innocent, but that they were forgiven and they were counted righteous because of Jesus Christ. The Bible is very plain that we are saved from our sin and from God’s punishment by grace through faith in Jesus Christ who died in our place and rose again from the dead.
    But what about tiny children who do not yet have the physical ability to even know the basic facts of the gospel or even of any of God’s revelation in nature? Does the Bible teach that God will judge them in the same way that he will judge an adult who consciously rejects the truth of God that he knows? No, there are clues that God does not condemn those who are physically unable to know the truth that God has revealed in nature or in the gospel. I’ll mention two clues. One comes from Deuteronomy chapter one. God is angry because the people would not trust him to help them take the promised land. They rebelled against him. So he says, “Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers [except Caleb and Joshua, who had trusted him].” Then he adds a word about the children: “And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil , they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it” (vv. 35, 39).Not having the “knowledge of good and evil” takes away the judgment. They were not yet physically able to know what they needed to know, and so God does not sweep them away with the adults who wouldn’t trust God.
    The second clue confirms this principle from the New Testament. It’s found in Romans 1:18-21. The text is not about children, but the same principles of justice apply. Listen to the relationship between having available knowledge and having accountability. “What  can be known about God is plain to [men], because God has shown it to them. For ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. Therefore they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.”The point is this: to be held accountable at the judgment you need two things:1) available knowledge of the glory of God whom you should have adored and thanked; 2) the physical ability to know it, to perceive it. If this knowledge were really not available, then, Paul implies, there really would be an “excuse” at the judgment. No adult, except perhaps profoundly retarded or mentally ill ones, have this excuse. That’s Paul’s point. We adults are without excuse. But children are in another category. They do have this excuse. They don’t have the physical ability to know what God has revealed. Therefore we believe that God will apply to them the blood and righteousness of Christ in a way we do not know. We adults can have this pardon and righteousness only through faith. That is the clear teaching of Scripture (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:28 ). How are infants united to Christ? We don’t know. And speculation would not help us here.We leave it at this: Your child will glorify Christ all their everlasting days for salvation by grace on the basis of the death and righteousness of Christ. There is no other name under heaven by which they could be saved. Jesus Christ will get all the honor for Baby Kelly’s salvation.
    3. Baby Kelly was created to glorify God. Isaiah 43:7 Bring my sons from afar . . . Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.Galatians 1:15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace . . .
    God’s design for your child was decided before they were born. He/she would exist for the glory of God. Who knows what has been set in motion on earth by the death and life of Baby Kelly. It would be wild and unwarranted folly to think that he has not changed the world.Their concious life—Their obedience to their Maker—was appointed to be lived out in heaven. That is a good place to live for the glory of God. Woe to us if we think that the only place to glorify God is on this tiny planet! God glorifies his grace in many people by the pardon and power he exerts to make them in some measure Christ-like here. But he glorifies his grace in many others—perhaps more—by the pardon and power to perfect them instantly and put them to work in the realm of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:23).Your precious baby was created to glorify God. They did and they are.

    4. The length of Baby Kelly’s life on earth was virtually indistinguishable from the length of ours.O for eyes to see things from the standpoint of eternity!James 4:14 You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.2 Corinthians 4:17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.The longest life of any person on earth is like a vapor’s breath on a cold winter morning. We will all be gone very soon.

    5. Your precious baby is happier today than the happiest person on earth has ever been.That they missed earth’s pleasures of marriage and children and food and friends do not cause them the slightest regret. They took a much shorter route to the One in whose presence is fullness of joy and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore. By comparison the pleasures that Baby Graham enjoys today make all of ours boring in the extreme.Philippians 1:23, My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

    6. Baby Kelly is a precious giftWhen Job lost his children he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”The Lord gave. Baby Kelly is a gift. Yes, he/she has been taken away. But that does not change the fact that they were and are a gift. You have them, and you have them still—not in your arms but in your memory; not in home but in your heart; not on earth but in heaven.

    Im so sorry to hear of your loss, and I want you to know that you are in the company of many! One out of every four women experience a miscarriage, but no one talks about it!? I havent talked to you in YEARS but I am hear with you in spirit as your sister in christ 🙂 Love you.

    • Alyssa says:

      Abby, THANK you! I am so sorry to hear of your story, but know that I will be praying for you, too. Thanks for the amazing encouragement. Love you!!

  3. Ali says:

    So sorry for your loss Alyssa. It’s so hard. The pure excitement and then deveststion. It happened to us too. I between Anna and Kate. It’s something you will never forget and it’s something that will take your pregnancy innocence but it will make everything stronger more appreciative. Know that there are soo many people who have been there that can help you get through or share in your feelings. Xo

    • Alyssa says:

      Hi Ali! I appreciate you sharing your story, too. I’m sorry to hear you understand this pain, but appreciate the kind words. Love to you and your family 🙂

  4. Frankie says:

    As I was reading this I found myself getting really emotional as I remembered when Janelle and I went through the same thing last year.

    I also found myself chuckling as I remembered those feelings when Janelle found out she was pregnant with Jubilee. That first time was definitely a mix bag of emotions as you think of all the things you can’t do anymore and how much it’ll all cost and how scary it all was.

    Thank you for writing this, though it reminded me of some of the hurt and pain we’ve experienced as parents it also reminded me of the joys of the journey. Jesus has been wth us and that makes all of these experience meaningful. After our miscarriage we decided that we would name baby #3 so we’d know what to call him (we were convinced it was a boy). We’re excited to see James one day, the girls wanted to name him Buzz (ha!). Really grateful for your transparency. Love you guys and praying for you both.

    BTW, I’m positive there will be a Library with a Chipotle in the food court.

    • Alyssa says:

      Thanks, Frankie, for the encouragement and obviously, prayers! We love you guys a lot and I plan on hanging out with you guys at that library/food court one day 🙂 I bet James is already there! But since he’s your son, he’s more likely teaching the rest of the little children 🙂

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