I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
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.
Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
It was the day before Thanksgiving 1996 but it seems like yesterday. After two years of fertility treatments, we finally conceived. When the doctor’s office called and moved up my first appointment after my initial lab, I knew something was wrong. I put it out of my mind and headed off to the doctor’s office by myself. (My husband had a previously scheduled meeting that he could not reschedule.) As I got closer to her office, I started having a sick feeling in my stomach.
My doctor came in and asked some questions. She said that she wanted to go ahead and do an ultrasound because I had had so many problems conceiving. I kept telling myself that everything was fine. The ultrasound technician asked more questions as she did the ultrasound and then asked if the doctor wanted to see me again. She went to get my doctor. They came back in and my doctor took my hand and told me that there was no heartbeat. I was 11 weeks along. I had waited for this baby for two years and now my baby was dead. She was wrong, I told her, and we needed to wait and see.
She sent me home to decide on when to do the D&C. My husband and I were devastated and cancelled our Thanksgiving plans. He notified our family. Later that evening, my sister-in-law called and told me about her previous miscarriage. This helped more than anything. Talking with someone that has experienced the same thing helps so much.
Going Through the Week in a Blur
The next morning, Thanksgiving Day, I woke up having cramps (contractions). I knew that was not a good sign. I tried to fix dinner for the two of us and that is when I miscarried. We followed the doctor’s instructions. I do not remember the rest of the day; the rest of the week was a blur. I tried to do normal things like work and church but that made it worse. Everyone had good intentions, but if you have never experienced this type of loss, sometimes it is better for others to say nothing.
So many people told me, “Oh, you’ll have another one.” But I had waited for two years. I did not want another one, I wanted that one. We had tried for two years, and now this. Or, “It happens more than you think.” Just because it happens to others did not change my pain. I knew other people go through this, but I was the one going through this now. My favorite was, “Well you have another child.” I did not! She had me confused with my sister! Like that would make a difference anyway. One child is not a substitute for one that has been lost. I know they meant well but these are NOT things to say to someone who just lost their baby.
Empathy Through Tragedy
I learned so much from this tragedy in my life. It gave me an empathy that I had not had before. Now, when I find out someone has miscarried, I say, “I’m sorry. I know what you are going through. I’ve been through it. If you need to talk, I’m here,” then I give her a hug.
Remember the husband; he is grieving, too. Give him a hug. It is just as difficult for him as it is for his wife. Too often, the men get overlooked. They not only just lost a baby but they feel like they must be strong for their wives. My husband tried so hard to protect me. He hated seeing me so upset.
If the woman miscarried at home (not through D&C), she has physically gone through labor. Many people do not realize this. I had contractions and went through the entire birthing process. It was not as intense as a full-term pregnancy, but it was the entire process, nonetheless. This is still what haunts me.
Some people do not realize that a baby has been lost.
Even some people who are pro-life look at miscarriages as an illness and not a loss. Miscarriages are not looked at as a death by most. It is! Just because we do not get to physically hold our babies does not make them any less real. There is no funeral to help say goodbye and have closure. We have experienced a loss. We must grieve. I tried to ignore what had happened. That just led to more problems later. I encourage you to join a support group or seek grief counseling if you have been through this. I waited over ten years before dealing with it. This only compounded my other issues of grief. It was only through grief counseling after the loss of my grandfather, that I realized I had not dealt with the grief of my miscarriage.
My miscarriage still affects me. I wonder about the child that might have been. Was it a boy or girl? Would he be in college? What would she look like? And, so many other questions. What I do know is that I will someday see my precious baby in Heaven. I also know that God has since given me three wonderful children. I love them more than I ever thought I could.
We all deal with loss in different ways.
Some want to commemorate the loss and appreciate when a friend remembers with them. For some, it is a private matter that they want to remember alone and move on. For others still, it is a combination of things. If you know someone that has had a miscarriage, just ask them if you can do something. They will let you know where the boundaries are. I do not mind talking about it, but be prepared for me to cry. Do not let the tears make you uncomfortable. Sometimes all we need is a hug and the knowledge that you are there.
If you have experienced a loss, please share your thoughts, experience or how others helped you?
You may also commemorate and honor your child here.
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