It was February. I was about seven weeks pregnant for the second time. As I prepared to leave for the Bible class I was teaching, I knew something was wrong. I ran to the bathroom and I was bleeding. I took several deep breaths, said many prayers, and rushed off to the church.
The next day I went to the doctor. They confirmed there was a problem, told me to rest, and take testosterone for a few week. I did. At the next checkup, they told us the heartbeat was gone.
I was devastated. The doctor instructed me to go home and wait to miscarry. After it happened, I was to call and let them know.
Seven weeks passed and my belly continued to get bigger. So did my hope.
I decided there was some medical mistake. They were wrong. Clearly, my baby was growing. About this time, I started to get sick. I had never had morning sickness this strong and I figured this was just a part of it.
My doctor called to follow up since I never called. She asked me to come in. They looked and said I had a missed miscarriage. The baby was gone but my body wouldn’t let it go. I had to come back the next day to surgically end it.
When the surgery was over, I woke up deeply saddened by the loss of our child, but physically feeling great. Two weeks later I had follow-up tests. Within days, my doctor called my house. I remember thinking how nice she was to call me. She said,
“I took the liberty of running some extra tests after your surgery to try and figure out what happened, and again at the follow-up. Now that all the results are back, I need you to go tomorrow to meet with this doctor. He is a specialist. He can help you, and they will explain it.”
“If you were my sister I would ask you to see my friend at OU Medical Center. I have taken the liberty of making you an appointment.”
After agreeing to the appointment I hung up the phone, rolled into a ball on the bed, and cried. I was hurting for the lost dreams. Secretly, I had named the baby Noah. It hurt to think of all the things he would never experience or become. Even though I only knew he existed for fifteen weeks, he was mine and I loved him.
I called my dad and just sat on the phone with him and cried. My own strong attachment to the baby I lost puzzled me. Grief is a funny thing, but somehow just knowing my dad was listening on the other end comforted me.
Not many people knew I was pregnant because the pregnancy was troubled so early. So I tried to handle my emotions in secret.
Now, there was something about losing him that required me to go to a specialist because my doctor didn’t feel she could explain it? How much more could I take? I called my husband and he made plans to go with me to the appointment.
It didn’t take long to figure out what was coming once we got to the specialist’s office at OU Medical Center. He was in the department of oncology. They asked me to fill out a thirteen page registration form. Most of it had to do with cancer. I just lost a baby. So why were they asking me so many questions that did not apply to my situation?
They called us in, and we met with a team of doctors who explained that I had a rare form of cancer. It prevented the proper development of the pregnancy. In our case it was really rare because I had both tumors and a pregnancy. I would begin chemo the following day.
We were in shock. I had to slam the brakes and shift gears. Though they assured me the cancer was very curable and that I would only need chemo for about three weeks, I was scared.
My thoughts turned to getting through this and focusing on maintaining my life and surviving for the sake of my two year old. Also we were planing to move onto the mission field so I needed to keep it all together.
I suppose now, as I am crying while sharing my story, I probably never fully mourned the loss. It happened as a mixture of the fear of the unknown loomed over me. The reality that no matter what happened next I would never go back to a life that didn’t include cancer.
The next day I gathered up all of my courage. As we walked out of the elevator at the hospital, I said goodbye to all that could have been. I needed all of my energy to focus on hope and move forward to create a new definition of what could be.
As it turned out, three weeks turned into eight months. Countless doctors, four different kinds of treatments, a clinical trial, several scares, constant bleeding, tumor growing, and countless nights stretched out on the floor crying out to the Lord.
While my situation took twists and turns like a roller coaster, God remained at my side and gave me strength. Many things in my life fell apart during that time. I changed, and lost parts of myself that have still not returned.
God is faithful, and he gave me a peace I still can’t understand to this day. Even if I was asked to, I couldn’t explain it.
In some ways I still hurt, and I don’t expect that to change. I still think about what could have been. What would that baby would have been like? They told us chemo was the only way we might be able to preserve my ability to have more kids. But they could not make any promises.
God knew my heart’s desires, and four years later, shortly after moving onto the mission field of Vienna (not Poland as originally planned), I became pregnant with a baby boy. He was born strong and healthy here in Vienna. When he was about eighteen months old, I discovered I was nine weeks pregnant with another baby. My youngest was born here in Vienna as well.
God is faithful. He heard my prayers and answered in his own timing.
I know that he is near to the brokenhearted because he was near to me. I carried most of my pain in secret during that time for various reasons.
During this time, I learned to lean on God alone. I learned what it meant to be in the arms of faithful God as my world fell apart again and again.
If you have gone through the loss of a child, and all that goes along with it I am sure you can relate. If you have survived cancer, I know you know his providence. I pray you experienced his peace as well.
If you are in either of those places now, I am here. Feel free to message me or comment below. I will gladly pray and stand alongside you. Never forget God is faithful, able, and good. He wants that for us. He longs to give us hope and abundant life. Snuggle into his arms and let him pour the peace that is beyond human explanation into your soul. Know you are his treasured creation and he will not abandon you.
Be encouraged by these posts as well!