Monday, April 27, 2015

When your faith is tested.

Dear friends,

My heart is heavy tonight, as I prepare to share with you the journey we have been walking through over the last month.

After months of hoping to turn our little family of three into a family of four, we were delighted when we found out that we were expecting last month.  The timing of our little bundle of joy seemed perfect.  The waiting and the difficulties we had faced in the prior months suddenly made sense.  The fog of months of trying to get pregnant was suddenly lifted when we saw those two little pink lines.

Unfortunately, it was a short lived happiness.

Two weeks later, we awoke to an ordinary morning, and by that evening, we were sure we were having a miscarriage.  I hate to even use that word.  To mis-carry makes it sound like you dropped something.  We lost a child that day.  Our hearts grieved for the loss of our second child, but after several days of mourning, we shared our news with our friends and family and prepared our hearts to move forward.

The next few days were anything but typical.  I continued to take pregnancy tests, expecting that one day the two lines would fade to one...but it never happened.  In fact, that second line just kept getting darker.  And darker.  And darker again.

So I made an appointment.  My heart dared to hope, but my mind told me it was impossible.

My PA did a thorough exam, and informed me that everything was consistent with a complete miscarriage.  No surprises there, right?  Until a few days later when she called me with the results of my bloodwork.  To our surprise, my hormone levels had doubled in 48 hours.  (To you non medical folk, or those not familiar, this is pretty typical for a healthy pregnancy, certainly not for a miscarriage.)

My PA was baffled, so she asked me to get an official ultrasound at the hospital.  Much to our surprise, the ultrasound revealed a tiny gestational sac...that wasn't there the week before.

Now my heart was soaring.  Was it possible?  Just one week after a miscarriage, I was pregnant again?  It's hardly possible.  In fact, the exact words from my ob-gyn were "medicine can't explain this."

We believed this was our miracle baby.  That God had seen our pain and sadness and had mercifully granted us a miraculous pregnancy.  We praised our gracious Father for what seemed like an extraordinary gift.

So we waited and watched.  And watched and waited.  I began having some light bleeding, but my hormone levels continued to go up, so we got another ultrasound.  While the gestational sac hadn't grown as much as we had hoped, it had grown.

Today marked the end of our journey of hope.  I had my third ultrasound this morning, which revealed little to no growth, and no signs of life.  While we had been mentally preparing for this, I still felt a palpable weight in my stomach as I looked at the ultrasound screen, desperately willing it to show me what I was looking for.

So now, for the second time in 5 short weeks, we again mourn the loss of a child.  While I know they are in a better place, and hopefully keeping each other company, selfishly I crave those moments that I can only dream of now...the first embrace, the first smile, first steps.  The hopes and dreams I had for each of them will remain just that.  Their lives will never be fully realized on this earth, but I take solace in knowing that I will know them someday.

My heart hurts.  My brain is spinning.  My soul, you may ask?  That's the toughest of all.

As a Christian raised in church my whole life, I could spout off several verses off the top of my head that I would quote to a person in my shoes.  But I feel like I am at a proverbial fork in the road.  Will I ask those impossible questions, and when I don't get the answers I want, will I turn my back on my Creator?  On the Creator of those precious babies?  Or will I embrace my grief, embrace my doubt, and choose to walk forward?

Today my faith is a choice.

Today I choose to say that although I cannot see the goodness in this situation, I know that my Father is Good.  Because even though today feels like the farthest reaches from good imaginable, today is just a ripple in a sea of God's provision for me.  Today I choose not to focus on my pain, but to focus on the abundance of goodness God has shown me personally, and has written for us in the Greatest Story Ever Told.

I've always thought of faith as a feeling.  A small, quiet voice in my heart, the Spirit ministering to me in my time of need.  Not today.  Today it is a choice.  A choice to take a step forward, even though I can't see the road ahead.  The book of Hebrews tells us that faith is the assurance of things not seen.  And while I feel I am drowning in an ocean of sadness, I know that in spite of my blindness, I can trust in Someone who is All Seeing.  Someone who has not only seen my future, but has ordained my steps to get there.

Most of my favorites passages of Scripture can be found in Isaiah, and the following is no exception:

Isaiah 43:1a-2
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name and you are Mine.  I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.  You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you."

For those that have been journeying with us, you know that this year has been tough.  The toughest year I can remember emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  JP and I feel like we have a giant target on our backs, just waiting for the next thing to come.

We have been through the waters, then through the rivers, and right now, we feel the desolate heat of the fire...but we are not scorched...and we are not burned.

I have several hopes in writing to you, friends, and I sincerely hope that my meager words will speak to at least one of you.

If you are also a Mommy to a baby in heaven, I hope you find solace in my silent solidarity, and know that you are not alone.

If you are walking through the middle of your own personal fire, I hope you find the courage to choose to believe and continue walking.

And if you don't know the One That Provides All Comfort, I hope you will reach out to myself or another and ask us about the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15.)

Thanks for reading, friends.  I cherish you all.