Monday, June 13, 2011

the next installment: on love and loss.

i'm trying to remember where it was we left off in the last post (prior to finger fun.) shoot. i can't even remember what i ate for lunch today. :) this should be fun.

let's pick up at the beginning of the year, 2002. my makenna was growing like a weed, we were settled in a new apartment, found us some sweet new friends, and hubby was working his tail off in the months following 9/11. which is probably why it was so surprising when the little test turned up positive! :) you know how the minute you discover you are carrying a brand new life inside of you, you immediately plan out the next 8 months in approximately 10 minutes flat? yep, me too.

i was excited. nervous, apprehensive, of course, but thrilled to death. my hormones had regulated themselves quite nicely over the past year and i really felt ready to add another human to the mix. part of the fun this time was involving makenna in telling daddy our big news :) i bought her the cutest little t-shirt that said "big sister" on the front and when we were all in her room one morning, i asked him to change her clothes. he put the shirt on her and, after straightening it out, read the front and looked at me like "whaaaat?" :) it was priceless. and so the preparations began. i don't remember how we told grandmas and grandpas but we let them know almost immediately. we calculated the due date to be on my brothers' birthday, october 6th. so fun. i went in for my first dr's visit which confirmed it was official. :) after the dr's visit we started telling friends, neighbors, bank tellers, drive thru employees, etc. we started looking at names, bedding themes, getting our brains wrapped around having another peanut in the house.

*WARNING* you are now entering the TMI zone. if you are male (ahem, GEORGE.) and would rather bypass this in-depth analysis of all things "baby", you may want to excuse yourselves now. i will give you a few seconds to decide...

alright then. you have been warned. :)

i was about 8 weeks along when i started spotting. it was a bright red and that set off some internal alarms. i immediately called my OBGYN and she assured me that this was normal and to come in so we could "take a look at that baby". i went in by myself (hubby was working), feeling good that this was nothing to freak out about and eventually found myself on the ultrasound table. it was just me and the ultrasound tech in a small, darkened room - the girl was only a few years younger than me. she started the process and wasn't saying anything. so, of course, i asked. :) "soooo, how's it looking in there?" and she tells me, after a long pause, that she wasn't "allowed" to give me the results of the ultrasound, only my doctor could do that. silly girl. i knew that wasn't right - i'd had an ultrasound tech give me every last detail twice with my firstborn. my stomach twinged and my heart sank a bit. she wrapped up her mission - got all the pictures she needed, i guess - and made a phone call. this one sealed the deal for me. she's all of 6 feet away from me and she says, "hi. i have a patient here who is supposed to be 8 weeks pregnant..." and it went fuzzy after that. "supposed to be". but in actuality, i wasn't? she then instructed me to head directly over to my OBGYN's office where my dr. would discuss the findings with me. big mystery here. i girded up my inner being, took a few deep breaths, and drove to her office.

my OBGYN was sweet, compassionate, a mother herself. she explained to me that the baby just didn't develop and it appeared that my body had just reabsorbed it. there would be no bleeding, no passing of material - just... done. i called my hubby from the lobby to tell him the news and made my way over to my parents' house where i shared the story with them. we cried. it was sad. but we trusted in God's hand, His Omniscience, His goodness. life would go on.

however, the next day i woke up feeling as sick as i had the day before. i felt bloated and gross - you know, PREGNANT. :) i called my OBGYN and her nurse explained that it might take a little while for my hormones to get back to normal levels. so i went about my days for another week or so, feeling worn out, nauseous, FAT. and then i got an urgent voice mail from my OBGYN.

"jenifer. i just got your blood test results and your hormone levels are TWICE what they should be. we may have a viable pregnancy after all. come in immediately for another ultrasound."

ok wait. what?? did i hear that right? i played it back a few times and yes, she did say "viable pregnancy". my hubby was out of town so i gathered up my almost 2 yr old and drove like a mad woman to the hospital where i would have the ultrasound done. i hoisted myself up onto the little padded table, hoping, PRAYING for a promising result. alas, it was not to be. the ultrasound tech explained (what? i thought they weren't allowed to do that! whatever...) that i had, what they called, a "molar pregnancy". i had never heard of it. she showed me on the ultrasound screen how the cells in my uterus were multiplying at twice the normal rate and my body (and my uterus!) thought i was pregnant with twins and twice as far along as i actually was. well no wonder my jeans didn't fit! my body thought i was 18 weeks pregnant! but i wasn't. there was no viable pregnancy. my faint glimmer of hope was officially gone.

since david was out of town at the time we scheduled the D&C for 2 days later. i don't remember the procedure at all but there was some intense cramping to follow. the worst part had to have been when my milk came in a couple days later. that was tough. then i had to go in to my OBGYN's office at least once a week for the next 6-8 weeks to follow up with blood work to ensure my hormone levels were returning to normal. unbeknownst to me, molar pregnancies can, if the abnormally replicating cells have not been completely cleared out, cause uterine cancer. that's not fun stuff. so on a weekly basis i had a consistently bitter reminder that i was definitely NOT pregnant. sitting in the waiting room, surrounded by burgeoning bellies, glowing cheeks, the chatter of impending life-change, was emotionally taxing, to say the least. sure enough, my hormone levels slowly returned to their pre-pregnancy state. my OBGYN suggested we wait a year before trying for another baby. but did we take that advice? c'mon, silly. :)

in the few months that followed, i earnestly sought after God and His purpose and plan. i had to come to grips with the fact that my daughter may be the only biological offspring we would ever produce. was i okay with that? could i trust Him with that? in retrospect, i can absolutely see the purpose through the pain but it's SO HARD when we're in the midst of the trial to ever see a hopeful conclusion. emotions are so thick and all-encompassing that it FEELS like you'll never be free of them. but just as surely as the night descends, the sun also rises. the seasons pass, and winter morphs silently into spring. old becomes new and the flesh gives way to the spirit of Truth. our salvation, our stories are being worked out on a daily basis. the tapestry has not been completed but we are trusting the Artist who SEES, with perfect eternal perspective, the glorious conclusion.

i feel i keep repeating myself. :) but if there's one thing i have learned in my nearly 37 years, it's that a) God is good but b) sometimes things just don't make sense. yet if i BELIEVE that God IS good and He desires the best for me (and for YOU!), can i accept the challenges, as well as the blessings, as all coming from His benevolent hand? that those things which seem to afflict me physically or emotionally, but cause tremendous spiritual growth, be deemed a mistake? no way. i promise you, dear girls, it may be weeks or it may be years, but He will allow you the exquisite blessing of being able to look back to see your circumstances come together with striking clarity to form a most beautiful picture. YOUR picture. the only one like it in the whole entire world. oh, it's gonna be SO GOOD.

"for we know that in ALL things God works for the GOOD of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." romans 8:28 (emphasis mine)

ALL things, baby. ALL. THINGS. in times of painful loss, believe it. cling to it. rest your tear-stained face against it. you are firm in His grip, dear friend. :)

love y'all


  1. Amen! Beautiful words from a beautiful girl (inside and out!!) :)

  2. you're awesome. i love you.

    ps....we are totally going to do our apologia science projects on SKYPE. the kids would LOVE that!!