Well, it happened. We got two pink lines! At the beginning of March, we are expecting a beautiful miracle to come screaming into this world! It has been almost four years since we began trying to conceive a sibling for our daughter. In that four year period, we have conceived. Three times, actually. The first two never lived outside the womb. The third is currently growing beneath my heart.
Beneath my heart, I've nestled four children. One of them keeps me busy all day. I was blessed to be able to hold my second child, Faith, after delivery although she had not survived. I did not even know about my third child, Reese, until I was miscarrying. Then there's this fourth little bean growing steadily along after two ultrasounds.
I'm thrilled. I have dreamed about this child in it's infancy twice already. I've also spent some time feeling terrified. It's much more of an emotional struggle to be pregnant after losing a baby. I had a hard time believing it was real until we went to our first appointment. I was 6 weeks, 1 day along and I woke up early to spend some time with God before I went to the doctor. I needed to find some peace. The following verse struck me as important that morning:
Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
I felt strangely comforted. I didn't feel like God was telling me this child would live or die. But instead what I felt was peace. God's peace had permeated my heart and I knew that no matter what I would be able to persevere. I also knew that no matter what, the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
My perseverance may come from nine months of waiting on a child, counting the milestones...8 weeks...10 weeks...end of the first trimester...past the 16 week mark when Faith died...when the baby would be viable outside the womb...third trimester...counting down all those days, feeling more encouraged after passing each one.
Or my perseverance may come from another loss. I know that. I pray regularly for this baby to be safe. I also know my risk factors (obesity, previous losses) give me just a slightly higher chance of loss again. At this point it's a less than 5% chance. But it's there.
I'm walking through my days, rejoicing in the life that grows inside me and dreaming of what life will be like with this child. I'm pinning baby things, I'm sharing with family and friends, I'm on the pregnancy app on my phone. I've bought bigger bras to accommodate growth, I've quit running* on the advice of my OBGYN. I've already found my playpen/bassinet/babyseat three in one. I enjoy browsing the Target baby section and have thought about my gender reveal party.
I also check my underwear each time I sit on the toilet. I check the toilet paper for evidence of blood. I pray when I feel a cramp in my lower abdomen that it is gas and not the beginning of a miscarriage (man, it is HARD to tell the difference sometimes!). At our second ultrasound, I held my breath as I waited for that little bean to show up and flicker. I teared up with joy when it finally did.
As I walk through both the joy and the struggle of a mother experiencing pregnancy after loss, I know the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. I can feel it pouring out on me daily in the form of prayers from those close to me. I can feel it pouring out on me in the people who rejoiced with me when I shared the news. I can feel it pouring out on me in the compassion and mercy I've been given every day since my water broke in December.
My babies may have died. There is no guarantee this baby will live. The next nine months (well, seven now!) will not be easy. But He has not forsaken me for a single second. He is full of compassion and mercy. That is how I will persevere through my pregnancy after miscarriage.
*I understand that not all women need to quit running after becoming pregnant. Some women have been running for months or years. I had run twice before becoming pregnant. While my doctor was fine with me continuing to walk, as I'd established the habit over the course of six months and it is a low impact exercise, for me and my situation running is not recommended at this time. Please consult your own doctor about running, while pregnant or otherwise.