Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Heavenly Baby

On Thursday, June 21st, I took a home pregnancy test and it came back positive. In all honesty, my heart sunk. I could not believe that this was happening... I had a 7 month old and I was pregnant again! My baby was not even sleeping through the night yet! I wondered, 'Will I ever sleep again?' I was mad  because this was not according to my plan. I was sad that my one on one time with Ava was going to be cut short. I had fears about having two babies almost 15 months apart in age. I didn't know how I could manage that.

The second obstacle occurred a few days later when I noticed that Ava was acting as if she wanted to wean. Ava and I have always struggled with nursing. She would go through times where she would act as if she did not want to nurse anymore. But we were always able to get through these times and she would continue to nurse well. I noticed Ava had begun this once again. I thought that she was just going through her normal rebellion. But then Ava began waking up multiple times at night and she was fussy frequently throughout the day (which is unlike her). This lasted for almost a week until I decided to call the lactation consultants. The lactation consultant informed me that with pregnancy you body begins to prioritize the new baby and your milk supply can diminish. I was very disappointed and sad about this. I had wanted to nurse Ava for a year, but I knew that she needed the extra milk. So that night I began supplementing her with formula. And I continued to give Ava both for two and a half weeks until I realized that my milk had totally dried up.

I was in a constant struggle with myself. I felt ridden with guilt that I was not excited about this baby that was growing in my belly. It took a lot within me but I worked through my own fears about what the future would look like and sadness over the loss of what I imagined life would be. And I began to get excited about the baby. I was especially looking forward to how close Ava and this baby would be since they were going to be so close in age. I was looking forward to seeing the baby when we went to the doctor. We had an appointment scheduled and I thought that this would make everything much easier when I saw my baby's little face and heartbeat.

On Friday, July 13th, we were going to the doctors office to see our baby for the first time and I was excited to see our little one. The appointment was going as expected until we went in for the ultrasound. Dr Fong had the probe in place, I saw my uterus and there was a sack present but for some reason I was unable to see our baby. In my ignorance I was thinking to myself that Dr Fong just needed to move the probe into the right angle for us to see the baby. He was measuring all the anatomy and I was just waiting for him to show us our baby. But this never happened. Dr Fong got to the uterus and informed us that there was no baby present. I was definitely pregnant and there was a yolk sac present but there was no baby attached to the yolk sac. He went on to explain how big our baby should be at 7 1/2 weeks and that he was sure that there was not going to be a baby. He told us our options which was to have a D&C or to wait and see if I miscarry on my own. He went on to explain that there was nothing that we could have done differently to have gotten a different result. That the baby more than likely had chromosomal abnormalities that caused this to occur. Neither of us cried as all this was happening. I was in a state of shock and disbelief and more than anything else guilt began to settle in...

The following Sunday David left for church camp and my mom came to stay with us. David and I were both very sad to be apart during this trying time and it felt as if it were just one more injustice that we had to endure. I have never been through a harder time in my life. I had so many emotions going on along with the fact that I was still pregnant and have never felt such extreme exhaustion. Even the simple task of getting lunch together for Ava felt as if it were a daunting task. I was so thankful that my mom was with me to help care for Ava. She also provided emotional support and distraction from the reality of what was happening. I hoped that I would not miscarry while David was at camp and thankfully this did not happen.

David and I decided to schedule the D&C the Monday after he returned from camp. We went to the doctor that morning and had another ultrasound. There was still no baby. So we headed to the hospital and a few hours later the procedure was completed and we were heading home. I slept most of that day due to the medications they had given me during surgery. The next day I felt like a whole new person (physically that is). I had more energy than any day of the previous month but all the emotions hit me worse than before. The week prior to the D&C I was too tired to deal with what was going on. Now that I had my energy back, I was ready to deal with what had happened.

The emotion that I felt more than anything else was guilt. When I was pregnant with Ava and I saw that positive line on the pregnancy test I was so overcome with happiness and I felt connected to her from the start. This was a stark contrast to the way I felt about my second baby. I felt so guilty that I had never truly bonded with this baby and that I had to work so hard to get to a place of even acceptance of his/her life within me. The next emotion was just anger. I was angry that God would have allowed it to happen. Finally, there was sadness. I was sad about all the loss that had occurred.

I felt betrayed by God. I felt a division between my heart and God's. In my life I have never doubted that God's purposes are good and that He is looking out for me. Even when my dad left our family when I was younger, I felt God's presence so near and I never doubted Him. But this was different. David and I were not even trying to get pregnant, so I did not understand why God allowed this pregnancy to happen if it was only going to end with a miscarriage. I had put so much time, energy and tears into getting to a place of being open to the fact that things were not going to go as I had planned and I was finally starting to get excited about the baby. So I did not know how God could have allowed me to have gotten pregnant if the baby (that I had tried so hard to love) was only going to be taken away.

Hayley and Bobby (my sister and brother) helped me in a significant way during this journey. Hayley would come over to my house and we would talk about the pregnancy and miscarriage. I was very confused about what to think or feel for what seemed like an eternity. But talking with her helped me to navigate this new path. Her presence and understanding ear is just what I needed during this time.

I was also blessed by the counsel of my brother. Bobby would call and I would tell him how I was doing. When I told him that I felt betrayed by God who had allowed the pregnancy and miscarriage to happen, he identified with my pain. He understood where I was coming from (which was refreshing) and he said to tell God how I was feeling. He reminded me that in Psalms, that each chapter usually begins with David telling God how he was angry with Him for something and in his raw honesty with God they would work it out. That was just what I needed to hear.

I felt so distant from God and did not want to talk to Him. I decided I could, however, start telling Him how I felt hurt and betrayed and we would go from there. My next step was to ask God how He felt about the pregnancy and miscarriage. It was here that I felt His pain and sadness. Hayley told me to ask Him why He was sad over the miscarriage. So I did. And God said that He was sad because what it did to our relationship. That meant so much to me! I knew that God would grieve over the loss of the baby but it didn't occur to me that He would grieve as much or more over the rift that had created in our relationship. This is where healing began for me.

As I pursued healing for my broken heart I still did not understand why God would allow this to happen and my spirit was restless. I read a daily devotional called Jesus Calling the author writes in the first person narrative as Jesus. One of the entries earlier this month said this, "Understanding will never bring you Peace. That's why I have instructed you to trust in Me, not in your understanding... My Peace is not an elusive goal, hidden at the center of some complicated maze. Actually you are always enveloped in Peace which is inherent in My Presence. As you look to Me, you gain awareness of this precious Peace." These words were for me. They spoke directly to my struggle. So I embraced it. I now wanted to spend time with Him because it is in Him where I find rest and peace.

The final piece of the puzzle in my journey for healing happened while reading Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace." I then waited on the Lord. He said, "You have been in a time of grieving but you will soon be in a time of dancing". Ever since God spoke those words to me I have been free from the pain. 

There are a few reasons I wanted to share this story. The first is that this blog is almost a chronicle of our lives and it would be wrong not to include the life of our little baby. His or her life matters. The second is to further heal my heart. Finally, I wanted to show how great of a God we serve. He meets us in our raw pain and teaches us to keep our eyes focused on Him. Only then will we find peace and rest and not only be restored to our former selves, but strengthened. I am so thankful for our heavenly baby. He or she is now in heaven worshiping God! David and I cannot wait to meet and join him or her when we get there.


  1. Ashley~
    I am so sorry for your loss! No matter when you lose your baby, it is so hard! I can definitely relate to everything you said in a BIG way! I too had all of those feelings toward God and more and you did such a great job of writing about it. I feel like sometimes I can't put into words how I felt and still feel at times toward God, but reading your blog made so much sense. I love the reading from Jesus Calling! I have that book, but just haven't had the chance to start it. Thankfully, like you I had the support of my husband and family to help get me through. I still struggle at times, but I know that God has always been there and has grieved with me. He has been the constant in my life and we have so much to be thankful for...even Blair and the storm we went through. I try to have the perspective that he had to bring us through the storm to show us a rainbow in the end. To show us that even through the hard times, His promises are true. He loves us! A song that really touched Clint and I during all of this is How He Loves by David Crowder Band. It has been a source of healing for us as well!
    Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Ashley! It is through your sharing that others know how to pray and that healing really's been that way for me for sure! Please know that you and David (and sweet Ava) are in our prayers! I'd love to talk anytime!
    Love and miss you lots! :-)

    1. Brooke,
      The way in which you so honestly told your own story about Blair is what inspired me to write my story about our baby. I don't know if I would have been brave enough to do it if I hadn't read what you had written about your own experience. I have always loved that song! Thanks for being so transparent and sharing your heart during your process of healing. Love and miss you!

  2. Good Morning Ashley,
    When I learned you were pregnant I began praying for your heart and your emotions. I too had experienced the mix of emotions that comes with an unplanned pregnancy. But that is where our stories began to split.
    When the news came that there was something wrong with the baby I began praying in a new direction. As the hours before David left for camp God prompted me to pray specifically that David would be with you when the time came to say goodbye. God woke me up throughout the night - during my reading lessons - swimming in the pool - grocery shopping -just about anywhere and anytime. My prayer was the same, "God please keep this baby safely within Ashley until David returns."
    I wanted to tell you this - not so you can know I was praying, which is nice, but more importantly, that GOD was prompting people you weren't even aware of to be praying for you and David!
    I have walked this journey with other friends and it is painful and full of confusing emotions. Thank you for sharing your story and journey so honestly and offering hope to others who will need it! xo

    1. Thank you Wendy for praying for us during our struggles. It means a lot, especially knowing that He prompted you to do so! I love Jules she is such a sweet friend to me. I am so thankful for her friendship, sweet spirit and willingness to follow God wherever He calls her! It's an inspiration. You have a wonderful daughter!