Today’s writing is from my sister, I admire her bravery and heart to help anyone who has/is experienced something similar, Bravery and Hope shine through..
I have thought about writing this post for about a year, and it finally felt like the right time.
This time last year, after nine months of trying for our second child, my husband and I unknowingly conceived a baby. We had no idea until a few weeks later when my body started struggling and after spending a weekend in and out of hospital it was confirmed that we were experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. I didn’t know that I was pregnant until the pain began, but at the moment we found out, that mini person inside me became real in a second despite the likelihood that it was no longer alive. Our 5 week old baby was stuck in one of my fallopian tubes, it could not be moved, and it absolutely broke me.
As a mother you always believe that you would do anything to save the life of your child – even die, but in ectopic pregnancies the choice between mother or child’s life is not an option you can choose. I literally could do nothing as it would kill us both within weeks if I avoided it. The only choice I had was whether to have a drug injection (methotrexate which is given to cancer patients to stop future cell growth) or to have surgery to remove the pregnancy and most likely a fallopian tube. It was a lose-lose situation and I was the one who had to pick which poison apple to bite. I had the methotrexate injection and after two weeks of going in and out of hospital every 48 hours I found out that I had no pregnancy hormone left in my system and I started to work out for the first time how to grieve.
Ectopic pregnancies are not talked about, despite them occurring in 1 in 100 pregnancies (not just 1 in 100 women). I believe this is because the experience of going through one can make you feel deep guilt and shame over the decision you have to make. Despite knowing the facts and that nothing can be done, it’s hard to ignore the lies that the enemy tries to put in your head about your part in the ‘treatment’ for the ectopic pregnancy. I felt such immense blame and pain over it, feeling that I was in some way accessory to the crime, and it made me feel like a terrible person and mother. It was a great blessing to already have one gorgeous two year old son as it helped me to have hope when everything in my head was telling me that I was guilty of something terrible.
The doctor’s words that stuck with me the most when I was finally discharged from the hospital were: “Ectopic pregnancies are normally 1 in 100, if you’ve had one already the risk goes up to 1 in 10”. I was so frightened that if we got pregnant again that the same thing would happen and I just couldn’t bear to go through that again. Then, once we were home and just processing and praying about it all we received this passage of scripture:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”(Matthew 6:26)
I received in this word an immense sense of peace – a supernatural peace during my time grieving which I could not understand. I knew during that time more than ever that my God was good, and I felt him walk by me so closely through it all. I realised then that even at one point, as I was waiting to find out whether the pregnancy was ‘viable’or not, God showed me a picture of a tiny baby in His colossal palms and showed me that it was OK and that He was looking after it so tenderly and I realised then that the baby was already with Him and that it wasn’t me that ended it’s life.
I don’t pretend to know all the answers about ectopic pregnancies (or miscarriages) – why they happen or what causes them. All I know is that it really sucks, and actually the people who helped the most at that time were those who realised that & just stood with me through all the emotions. I have the most incredible husband, Ben who through the hardest time in our marriage was my rock. He put aside how he felt and solely focused on me and aiding me through and kept my eyes fixed on what God had said. My family and friends were just incredible and we thank God for you all for everything you did and said around this time last year. The feelings from last year are still so raw and I don’t think that’s something that just goes away overnight. I have been following a lot of Kay Warren’s posts after the passing of her son last year, and they’ve really helped me to know that grief is a process and something that isn’t limited by time. However I know well and truly that my God is bigger than death and I look forward to the day when I will meet that little person in my Father’s house!
One day last summer,both Ben and I were discussing how we were doing, and realised that amazingly a name had come individually to each of us (a name we will not yet make public). It was boy’s name and we really felt it was from God. At the time I questioned whether the child we lost was that boy but that is something I don’t feel was the case looking back. I think that the name was a promise to hold onto.
After having a dose of methotrexate, you cannot try to conceive again for six months as the drug can cause malformations in a baby in the womb. So, in December 2013 we started trying again for a child, not knowing how long it would take this time and praying that everything would be as it should be. Incredibly, just one month later, we found out that we were pregnant and went through the process of blood tests and scans to see if this little life was in the right place. After four weeks of uncertainty & anguish, and after much singing of the new Bethel song “You make me Brave”(if you haven’t heard it yet, it’s well worth a listen), it was confirmed that our baby was where it should be and that it was perfectly healthy! We were just elated and have been buzzing ever since!
I went in today for my 20 week scan, and saw on the screen a gorgeous chunky little baby hanging out in my tummy. It was incredible to see how much happens in those few months and I am just so thankful to God for his goodness and faithfulness. He reassured me today that I don’t have to be anxious and that I can trust in Him to provide for all my needs. And guess what…the scan today showed that our baby is a BOY! So we’re claiming the name that God gave us last year for this child, and when he enters the world in September you’ll all know who I’m talking about.
I know not all pregnancies after a loss go this way and my sincerest love and prayers go out to any of you reading this who have been or are going through anything like this. I pray you’ll have unfathomable peace, knowing that God is with you in this storm and that He has every good purpose and plan for your life and for the lives of your family. If you’re experiencing grief after the loss of a child then know that it is normal, it’s OK and it’s right. We’re expected in today’s society to take a week off work and then to just miraculously be fine when back in the day you’d wear black for a good year or so to recognise what you were going through. Grief is not something that goes away overnight, over a year or even longer. There are stages to grief – but I think you can get them at different times, for differing periods and sometimes all at once. Even today I found myself weeping in a combination of joy and mourning but still with an amazing assurance that God was with me and that He has all three of my children in those astronomical hands – He’s just holding one a little closer to His heart.
I have watched my sister singing this song and known that it is a heart cry and has become a anthem of strength. He makes us brave… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hi-VMxT6fc