Many people do not know that Wes and I experienced a miscarriage recently. This is our story and the testimony Jonah brought us.
The journey I believe started back when we began pursuing foster care. We decided back in March of 2016 we were going to become foster parents. God had laid it on our hearts and we couldn’t deny it any longer. We had already gone through a year of debating with God and one another if it was right. Once we decided we needed to pursue it we had also decided we wanted more children. We had tried for a few months but not very seriously. In April we decided that while yes we feel like we need to pursue foster care, we also wanted to grow our family and really began trying.
Throughout the spring and summer we went to training, began our paperwork for foster care, started cleaning out the bedroom, having home inspections and collecting things we needed for fosters. I began to become frustrated that we hadn’t gotten pregnant yet but Wes encouraged me that maybe we need to fully commit by getting our paperwork done in obedience to following God first before we expect Him to give us blessings at our request.
We finally finished everything we needed and turned the last stack of papers over on August 31st.
On September 26th, I found out I was pregnant. I was so excited and felt like it was an answered prayer. God had granted us what we had wanted in response to us being obedient to His calling in our life. However, I began to become very fearful of losing the pregnancy. There weren’t any signs of this and nothing appeared wrong, it was just a fear I couldn’t shake.
I kept having dreams I would miscarry and I couldn’t seem to shake the anxiety. This made me even more fearful because I truly believe there are times God speaks to me in my dreams. It doesn’t happen often and many times I do not realize it until I look back on them. The first time I really knew it was when I was pregnant with Malachi but didn’t know it. I kept having dreams of having a baby that it caused me to question and take a test that was very positive. It has occurred a few other times but not that specifically. So when I couldn’t shake dreams of miscarriage it ramped my fear up even more. The fear and anxiety was to the point that I was looking up miscarriage statistics and it still seemed I was having a healthy baby. No signs but I was trying to figure out what all I could do to keep it that way.
On October 1st, we went and told my parents. Before we left the house I felt like I should take another test, just to be sure it was still positive. It was, so we headed up to Murfreesboro to go to a pumpkin patch. When we got home, we told my parents by taking a photo with 4 pumpkins, one for each person represented in the photo.
A few days later, I went to the first Wednesday service at church. That night was a sweet night of worship and to be honest I don’t really even remember what was talked about. All I remember is that God broke me that night. I knew that I shouldn’t fear however that night I realized what I had been doing was a sin. I had been so fearful and anxious I was not trusting God. I wasn’t giving this child over to Him to protect. I wasn’t placing my faith in Him that He had everything under control. I realized I needed to hand myself and this baby over to Him fully and truly not fear. I felt that soft whisper that God had this. He had me and this baby and to just trust him. And I did. From that point I had joy and peace about the pregnancy and a calm fell over my heart.
That weekend, Wes’ parents came for a visit. I had beauty school with Young Living and wouldn’t be there for the majority of the visit so we had a friend make up a Big Brother shirt for Malachi. We put it on him the morning I left to tell his parents since Wes was not going to be able to keep it to himself until I got home and we had more time. So we sent Malachi down the hall with his shirt on and shortly after I left. With them coming in, we didn’t want to miss out on telling them in person since we do not get to see them often.
On Monday October 10th, Wes’ parents were leaving and we decided to take Malachi camping to celebrate his 3rd birthday. We had a wonderful time celebrating him. We woke up on his birthday and went for a short hike. We came home for Wes to get to a meeting and that is when I saw the first signs of blood. I became very worried but at the same time I had the calm over my heart. Maybe I just over did it with such a busy weekend. I sent Wes on to his meeting and just took it easy. That afternoon when he came home the blood had increased. My heart sank. I knew at that moment we had lost the baby.
I was so angry. Why did it have to be ON Malachi’s birthday? Why did this dark cloud have to come at that moment? Why did God make me go through being broken by Him if he was just going to let my fear come true anyways? Everyone around me kept saying, I think you just over did it, giving me glimpses of hope but I knew in my heart we had lost the baby. It was my nightmare coming true. The only positive I had in the moment was that I was happy we went camping so I was able to celebrate Malachi without the cloud. I had been able to focus on him with full joy earlier that day.
That night I got in the shower and just grieved. I cried, I mourned, I asked God why. Wes was trying to be strong but I knew he was feeling grief as well. He brought me in a shower fizz with a calming oil to help my emotions. Even through his sadness, he took care of me.
The next day I continued to take it easy. Wes wanted to stay home but there was nothing he could do so I sent him to work. I called the doctor and a friend that had been through this before. She walked me through everything the doctor would/should do and say. She walked me through which essential oils would help deal with the emotions of it all. I am so grateful to her for walking through a very dark time with me.
I had a chiropractor appointment that morning that I had to keep, especially after our camping trip. I went and told him what I felt was happening. He adjusted me to encourage my body to relax and do what comes natural. He said he can’t force my body to do something it won’t but he can speed up what my body is already going to do. So if it is what I thought, I would know in the next 24 hours. He did also tell me that my body was retaining some water which was a good sign for pregnancy. At that moment, I didn’t know what to think. Wes and I met up to eat lunch together and just be out of the house.
The doctor fit me in that afternoon and did everything I was expecting. We did an ultrasound that looked completely normal for a 4.5 week pregnancy. At this point I should have been a few days over 6 weeks. They said since it was so early I could just have my dates off. I didn’t and I knew it. They also did some bloodwork to look at my hormone levels. Throughout the entire appointment I just prayed for God to breath life into the baby. For us to see that I just overdid it. I cried out to God to save my baby.
That night, a sweet friend that watched Malachi while Wes and I were at the doctor, cooked us dinner. We went over to her house and it felt nice to get away a little. I had some hope that evening as I felt a little better. It also felt good to watch Malachi play and just be distracted for a little bit. Towards the end of dinner, I started cramping badly. I had to get home. While Wes was putting Malachi to bed, I went to the bathroom. At that point, we lost the baby. I knew it. There was no other explanation for what I saw. I called Wes in and we even stood and discussed burying. We decided against it as we still weren’t 100% sure what was going on. I think it hit us that night though. Even though we kept saying we weren’t sure and there is still hope, we had in our hearts that the baby was gone. Not burying what I know was Jonah is my only regret in it all.
That night in bed, Wes and I laid there and talked. We talked about how we were feeling, raw and unedited. I grieved that I wanted to hold onto this baby but I felt helpless. I wanted to protect this baby but I couldn’t. I was angry for God giving me false hope that day. Why did I have to keep going through having hope with being broken a week before to having the fear come true just to have another day of hope and then have it all come crashing down on us again that night? Wes felt that for his closure, he needed to say goodbye. He felt the realization hit him. I have never felt the grief I felt laying in bed as Wes said bye to our baby. That night, we held hands and cried ourselves to sleep.
When we first got pregnant, Wes and I had started discussing baby names. Since we do not find out the gender, we go ahead and start thinking of names from the beginning since we need a boy and a girl name. Wes had brought up the name Jonah. I like to look up the meanings of the names because I believe that naming a child is speaking that over their life. I had looked up Jonah and the meaning was ‘dove’. Then I saw that sailors view the name Jonah as bringing bad luck. Laying in bed that night I made a comment about his name being Jonah. Everything about it fit what we felt at the time.
The next morning, the doctor called. My levels had come back and my hCG (pregnancy hormone) was 411. My progesterone however came back very low at 1.29. She said with the ultrasound and my hormone levels, I could just still be very early in pregnancy so I needed to take progesterone. I knew at that point, I was not going to take progesterone. I had already told her that the day before but she wouldn’t listen. I knew my body would do what it was meant to and taking progesterone would just delay the inevitable. I chose to just let whatever was going to happen, happen. At that point, I couldn’t even really pray. I still had some anger. I felt like God was going to do whatever He wanted so what was the point. I felt that through my anger but I still knew prayer needed to happen. So Wes and I called upon some people to stand in the gap for us. Some knew the details and others didn’t but we called others to pray when we just couldn’t.
I went the rest of the day just feeling numb. It was as if I was just existing that day. I couldn’t feel much emotion and just felt like I was going through the motions of life. My bleeding had slowed but the cramping was a lot worse. I laid on the couch and my sweet 3 year old would come kiss me. He would ask if mama was happy and I would just say “No buddy, mama is sad.”
That night Wes looked at me and said something about all of this and mentioned Jonah. It brought a smile to my face that it was just a knowing. We didn’t have to discuss it, we didn’t have to talk, this baby was Jonah. Now we had no idea if this baby was a boy or girl. Honestly, at this point in a pregnancy, gender hadn’t been assigned yet. But we knew.
Friday, I had to go in for more bloodwork. During a normal pregnancy the hCG level should double or triple every 48 hours. They said I would know my results on Monday. I asked if there was anything they could do so I could know before the weekend but there wasn’t. I had to just sit and wait.
That afternoon I had to get my mind on something else or I would go crazy. I went to Hobby Lobby and started collecting things for Malachi’s birthday party. I overdid it and started cramping pretty bad and so I went home and just stayed on the couch the rest of the day.
Emotionally, I was a roller coaster all weekend. I went from being hopeful to being angry for the hope, to guilt for feeling like I had given up on the baby, to sadness and grief that I had lost the baby back to hope just to start the cycle over. This cycle could have repeated itself every minute to every hour. Physically my bleeding would come and go. There were hours that I wouldn’t bleed at all and I would think it was over and then it would come back. I kept myself busy making things for Malachi’s birthday party.
My dreams came back that weekend as well but this time of the baby. I had dreams that the baby had some very serious medical conditions and multiple ones. I began to understand what I knew in my head all along that these happen when things just don’t develop correctly. I even told Wes Sunday night I was now afraid for the news to come back that my numbers are good. I knew if they numbers doubled and the pregnancy stuck, the baby would have very serious health threats.
I began to pray again, but this time for the results to come back clear. I didn’t want the numbers to come back in a gray zone where we still weren’t sure. I mean in our hearts we knew but at the same time, there is something about seeing it in black and white that we hadn’t yet.
Monday morning, October 17th I got the call that it was confirmed. My hCG level that should have been 800-1000+ was down to 55. I felt relief. Not relief that I lost the baby, but relief that the number was clear. The wait was over and I knew. What I had known all along was now in black and white. I had peace. And what really took me by surprise was that I had joy. I had the kind of joy that only comes from Jesus. Joy and hope that I will see and hold Jonah one day.
I then had to talk with Malachi. We had told him that I was pregnant because the hope was to talk to him about it from the beginning to help him understand the difference between this baby and foster babies that would be coming into our home. Not a difference in how we love, but in a way that a foster baby may leave but this baby is ours forever. We had begun discussions with him in hopes of him understanding. Well now that it was official, I had to break the news to him. I cuddled him in my lap and told him that he had a brother. His name was Jonah but he had to go back and see Jesus. We won’t get to see or hold Jonah until heaven. I told him the baby was no longer in mama’s belly and that is why mama had been sad. He lifted my shirt pointed and asked “Baby?” I said “No buddy, the baby had to go back to see Jesus.” At that moment, I didn’t expect anything but for him to keep playing. And he did. However, a few minutes later I caught him starring off into space on the couch. No toys, no tv, nothing, just sitting. I went and asked if he wanted to talk. I didn’t think he fully grasped it, but he did. He hugged my belly and said “No mama, I need him. I want baby.” I said “I know honey.” I told him again that the baby had to go back up to see Jesus and that is when in true 3 year old fashion, he argued with me. He said that baby did not go back up. We went back and forth a few times and finally he relented. I asked him one last time where the baby was to see if he finally understood. Normally he would point to my belly as he had for a couple weeks. However this time he said in his little voice “back up with God.” Malachi had to process it and grieve in his own way. I don’t know that he still completely understands everything but he will grow up knowing that he will see his brother in heaven one day.
So many people go through and have to wonder why. Why did this happen? Why did God make me go through this? I know because I have been there. However, God has poured His grace and mercy on me in helping me see. I truly feel that God was preparing my heart to loose Jonah from the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test. He knows what I needed to get through this and continue to be a mama and a wife. He is good and faithful to help us understand the lessons He teaches us. Sometimes those answers do not come when we want and other times they surprise us. Throughout wondering why this happened I cannot help but think about our first feelings about this pregnancy. We got pregnant out of our obedience to God in pursuing foster care. Continuing that thought, the one part of the foster process Wes and I had trouble with, out of everything, was answering the questions about grief. How do we handle grief and how would you walk a child through grief? We didn’t have an answer, we had never known grief, truly. Not only was God giving us our blessing, but he needed to teach us grief.
We learned throughout this that grief if fickle. You can go from sad to angry to hopeful and peaceful all within seconds. You can experience emotions so deep and cry so hard it feels fake because you have never cried like that before. We truly feel that God had to teach us this and we had to go through this so we can help the kiddos God has in store for us in the future. That the children in foster care that will come into our home will not only see Jesus but that we can help walk through grief because we understand the very fickle and indescribable emotion. We can help them understand that the raw and deep emotions are not too big for God. He is bigger than it all and can handle what we dish out. We can be angry with God and tell Him so. We can cry and yell and it is okay. God not only understands but he created those emotions. Even when you feel like you are alone, God is there and can not only handle what you dish out but can help you walk through it if you let Him. If you allow yourself to break into His hands, you will find yourself stronger than before. He can mend those broken pieces to make something beautiful from them.
I am so grateful to an amazing and understanding husband that walked this out with me. I couldn’t imagine walking through this with anyone else. He was my rock when I could not stand and he is the one that kept pulling me back to God to see his goodness when I was in anger. He let me feel my anger, didn’t judge me in times of darkness but loved me through them. He felt all the emotions with me and we both were able to see God through it. I do not think I would be at a place of peace that I am without him walking with me through this.
I also have an amazing friend that walked this out with me. She understood the need to check in on me but not cover me in positive texts about God’s plan and it all being okay. I knew those things but I didn’t want to hear it. I just wanted to hear that it sucked. What I was experiencing was crappy and just check on me. Those texts made me feel like I wasn’t alone but at the same time didn’t judge when I didn’t want to hear about God in that moment. She prayed with me and for me but let me walk this out the way I needed.
I not only wrote this for healing but for memory. Since from the time I found out I was pregnant for it to all be over was only 3 weeks, I feel like it was a dream already. I know in the years to come it will only continue to feel like a faint memory. I want to not only honor Jonah for what he taught me, but I want this to be a testimony that God can use. He has shown me so much throughout this process that I would not ever have known Him in the way I do now. I thank Jonah for showing me more of God and who He is.
Our society wants me to believe that I didn’t loose a baby, just some tissue and had a late period. However, there was life in me. There is a life that will never be because God used it for His purpose and is now back with Him. God is good through it all. Even when we think He is against us, He loves us. He has poured his grace and mercy on us. Even when we couldn’t bring ourselves to pray, we had some amazing people standing the in the gap for us. We knew that we needed Him when we didn’t have the words. The great I Am is never changing, ever present and full of a love that we can’t understand. I had to walk through each and every step and emotion to be on the other side filled with the peace and joy that only comes from Him. He knew that even when I pushed Him away and cried and yelled in anger at Him. He continued to love me and teach me and guide me. To get the rainbow you must first endure the rain. Any baby God blesses us with now will be our rainbow babies. A sign of God’s promises and redemption. I miss Jonah but knowing He is just getting to be with Jesus before me brings a smile to my heart and just makes heaven sweeter.