Monday, April 11, 2011

Will I ever have JOY after so many miscarriages?

Q. After having lost so many children through miscarriage, can I ever have a joyful pregnancy again? I feel like I would just fret and worry and feel guilt all over again if I do get pregnant... what did I do wrong? Did I not drink enough water? Did I allow too much stress? What if it happens again?

You can see how much fear I hold. I know that God is not the author of fear. God doesn't want us to worry. Still moving beyond my human self, it's hard. Sometimes I think that maybe God is punishing me because I'm already not the greatest mom. He's telling me I can't handle more kids :( My heart tells me I'm silly but my head still is screaming. Do you have any advice as someone who has been there?? ~ E.O.

A. I soooooo know where you are coming from after losing many babies...the lack of joy, lack of excited anticipation of the birth, the many questions after the loss, the blaming, etc. Then, there’s the [self-imposed] guilt! It really is tough to regain that joy and excitement after many losses. With each new pregnancy, regardless of the number of losses, I can honestly say that when I would see those two lines on the test, I always became OVERJOYED! It was not until the next day that I started to entertain the “what-if” thoughts.

My first 4 miscarriages were chalked up to low progesterone, but only after I finally found a doctor who thought to test me for low progesterone after my 4th miscarriage. With that diagnosis in hand, I started supplementing with each pregnancy. It worked! I had two full term babies! I thought the answer had been found. However, I soon learned that this answer was only part of the puzzle that I needed medical professionals to piece together for me.

Less than a year after having Judah, I ended up losing a baby at 9 weeks. A few months later I conceived and then lost Levi Samuel at 16 weeks (his hand on the right). Levi’s dramatic loss prompted a doctor to test me further. My regular OB’s never saw the need to test me extensively. After all, I had so many children already and was taking the popularly-prescribed-progesterone when pregnant. The doctor who decided to run the barrage of much-needed tests was the on-call OB who saw me in the emergency room. He was the one who witnessed my hemorrhaging, gave me my blood transfusions and did my emergency D&C. Six weeks later I was diagnosed with a clotting/autoimmune disorder. The whole diagnosis made sense to multiple medical issues I had experienced. I was so relieved to find an answer, as well as a solution for subsequent pregnancies....daily aspirin therapy when not pregnant and heparin injections twice daily once I conceived!

Even though I had an apparent “solution”, I was told that there was still a high chance with my disorder of having preeclampsia (especially due to my chronic hypertension), fetal growth restriction, placental abruptions or even stillbirths. Heparin would help, but it was no “sure-thing”. I was told that I would always run a high risk of losing babies either through miscarriage or stillbirth but that the heparin would lower those risks. Despite the possible losses I (and Mark, of course) still choose to give God control of my womb!

After each of my losses, I remember trying to make myself live out what I believed in my heart and knew in my head. I have always known that the precious souls that had been called to Glory had a purpose for their life that they had lived out, according to God’s Will. After grieving for each loss, I would find that indescribable peace in what I knew to be true. It was experiencing that familiar peace that followed a loss that prompted me to make the conscious decision to find and experience JOY with each blessing God chose to send us, whether I was able to raise them here on earth or not. I knew that it truly was and would be a JOY to know that any baby I carried in the future was to be with me for a predetermined amount of time, whether it would be 18 years or 18 days. God had already set in place their plan, purpose and lifespan since before time began! My heart and mind would try their best to see my future children - miscarried, stillborn or full-term – as unique individuals who were living out the amount of time God gave them, and I would be BLESSED to have them with me for whatever amount of time He chose!

A few months after my diagnosis, we conceived Eva. I felt that usual joy when seeing those two lines, but the next day’s feelings of doubt, wonder and worry were not there! I felt true joy! I was at peace, knowing that I would take each day and treasure each moment with my baby. I did not place any of my trust on medication, though the medication was needed. I placed my trust in God. I would deal with whatever He sent my way, and until then I would be a JOYFUL MOTHER to this child being knit together inside of me.

When I was pregnant with Eva the Maternal and Fetal Medicine OB’s conducted ultrasounds every month and then every 2 weeks near the end of my pregnancy, since my disorder oftentimes affects the placenta from functioning correctly and can cause Fetal Growth Restriction to occur, especially from 34 weeks on. However, Eva had measured 1 – 2 weeks larger than she should have the entire pregnancy. I was told I would have a big girl! At 36 weeks Eva was not measuring 1-2 weeks ahead, but instead 1 week behind. She was not being nourished well by my placenta. They said that they would need to keep an eye on her even more closely. This Maternal/Fetal Medicine OB was worried about her lack of growth and my high blood pressure. The following week, I was off the charts with preeclampsia and I needed to be induced for both our sakes.

Long story short, Eva came sunny-side-up, with the extra long umbilical cord wrapped twice around her neck, after 21 hours of labor! She was beautiful! She was perfect! She was born! You know, God has a funny way of getting around to reminding us every now and again that HE is the one in charge. This happened to us when the placenta was examined and the midwife told us that her extra long cord had saved Eva’s life. The cord was not attached well to my placenta and I should have experienced another placental abruption (like with Levi)! Eva should have been stillborn! God spared her life in more ways than we had known. There I had been, thinking that I could breathe a sigh of relief when I reached that 20 week gestation mark, but here God was at her birth reminding me that HE had been in charge from the beginning of pregnancy to the end! He had brought her to term...not me or anything I did to sustain the pregnancy!

Isaiah 49:15-16 ~ This is at the cemetery, just feet from our buried babies that we lost. So comforting!

Through this whole journey of births and losses and babies who were born that should have died, God has taught me to TREASURE the time I have with EACH of my children. We – our children and ourselves - are vapors here on this earth. We are to live out today and not think or worry about what tomorrow may or may not bring. Tomorrow is not promised to babies within the womb; nor is tomorrow promised to the moms who carry them.

Our spiritual walk is a walk of faith...or at least it should be. We should rely on our Creator’s wisdom and treasure the blessings He sends us. We should be caretakers of those blessings for as long as He sees fit. Our walk should be about simple trust in God’s Providential wisdom. There truly can be JOY found in discovering that you are pregnant after many losses, because we KNOW what awaits our children should they be called Home. We know that God will see us through and give us the strength that’s needed for each morning. We must rely on that strength, because we truly CAN do “all things through CHRIST who strengthens me”!

Have joy that’s inexpressible!
”In this [salvation] you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9

Take every thought captive!
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the)obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Treasure your children for the time that they’ve been entrusted to your care!
”Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

Rely on God’s strength!
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Keep the faith! Trust in God!
"I will fulfill my vows to You, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for Your help. For you have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in Your presence, O God, in Your life-giving light." Psalm 56:12-13

Praying for you! Oh, and just in case you’re wondering...all of us moms are horribly imperfect! That’s why we NEED JESUS! He does not punish someone else (our babies) by taking their lives to punish us. You have done nothing for your children to have deserved death. ((HUGS))

UPDATE: Since this was originally posted in April 2011, we have had the privilege of being blessed with another on earth (Emmaleigh Joy...7/13/12) and two more in heaven and now one in my womb. Praise Him! His works are wonderful! We can't wait to meet our 10 in heaven someday!

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Candice said...

Thank you for this. I have now been told twice that God is miscarrying me babies so I don't have anymore. So hard to hear from hateful people. I've lost four babies altogether. The last one was a baby boy, Caleb at 20 weeks and 1 day. Why do people say those things?

Alisha said...

I couldn't agree more with everything you say in this post. That was beautiful! Trusting in the Lord is such a better choice than leaning on our own understanding. Thank you.

Firmness of Mind Mom said...

Oops! That was actully me and not my daugter Alisha. I didn't realize she hadn't signed out of gmail. :)

Jen said...

Amazing story. Thank you for sharing.


I could not find the right post, they all inspire me in one way or another. Your blog, your life, your stories have touch my life in different ways. Like you and your husband we have chosen to let God have control over my womb and our family. Others are not so quick to understand this, but we have been praying for more, after suffering my 3rd miscarriage I read your post about letting God be in control. It hurt my heart and felt like nothing I have ever felt before, I didn't understand why God had taken my twins, but I also knew that He has reasons we can not understand nor see at the time. I gave myself the time to grieve but am now praying that God will bless us with our 5th miracle. We have considered adoption but know that it is not for us now, because my husband is going through INS issues himself, but have been encouraged by your stories so we continue to pray God's will in issues of our family.
BY the way for your never ending encouragement through stories like these, those on everyday life, too homeschooling encouragement I am passing the One Lovely Blog Award on to you. check it out at