SOCIAL MEDIA

19 October 2016

The End

I lost our first baby. A baby that we'd waited for and prayed for and wanted long, so long, before it ever existed. I knew about the baby for 25 days before beginning to think that something might be wrong, for 37 days before all hope was declared gone. The end.

In early September, Angel was so surprised when I woke him up at 6:30 in the morning with the good news--so surprised that he thought I was trying to prank him. Because early morning pranks about baby news after reluctantly beginning the process of infertility-related testing are totally plausible?

My family was so happy. His family was so happy.

For 25 days I felt like I was in a constant state of wonder and thanksgiving.

Most people will say, "Oh, that's not long."

I can only say, "It wasn't nearly long enough."

I wanted more days, more months, more years. We were so excited. Yes, I knew the risks, I knew it was early, but little dreams and little names and little plans were already growing in my heart as the baby started to grow. 25 days of such joy.

The first day we knew.

We got to see the baby once. Just one ultrasound, of a tiny speck, and the doctor said, "There's the baby! You're definitely pregnant."

One picture is all we have. We didn't buy anything for the baby. We're not really the type to buy stuff in general, let alone buy stuff for a baby that's a long way off. There's practically nothing to remind us or anyone that the baby existed.

Faith is a key component of my life. Because of that, I don't blame God. I don't ask why? This world is fallen and broken and evil and sometimes things that are really, really wrong happen. Death is wrong. Problem is, 4 years at Calvin College weren't enough to turn an Arminian into a Calvinist, and I don't believe that everything that happens in life is a direct result of God's sovereignty and will. I've already heard, "God's plan is perfect and this is just all part of His perfect plan." Nope. That's not part of my faith, anyway. I can't comfort myself by trying to imagine God wanted this to happen and that in the end, it's a good thing. I don't believe it. It's a bad thing. Death saddens God, too.

Though I'm not tempted to blame God, I am tempted to blame myself. Not on a level of what I consciously did. I was overprotective, probably to the point of being ridiculous, if anything. I didn't even drink a coke, or eat a sandwich with a piece of bacon on it. I didn't paint my nails, I didn't dye my hair, I even stopped exercising until I could get an 'okay' from a doctor. I didn't even complain, not a little, about how I felt during the weeks I knew about my living baby. But on an unconscious level, somehow, my body failed to help this baby grow. I feel terrible.

I always wanted to be a young mom. When you get married at 19, you pretty much think it's a given, right? But here I am--25--still not a mom, at least not to anyone's perspective except maybe inside my own mind, and bereaved of my first child. If it were up to me, that would not be the case. I should have already had a baby, living and on the outside, by now. But it's not up to me.

This is hard. Part of me wants to cry for hours every day. Another part of me wants to eat ice cream and paint my nails and watch silly tv shows to distract myself from the pain. I've tried a little of both. But when I find myself laughing at Uncle Si while watching Duck Dynasty, I feel like a traitor. I want to be the kind of person who handles everything with grace and fortitude, who's strong no matter what and emotionally stable...but I've failed completely at that. I'm so, so grateful for my 25 days of joy without fear, but it wasn't enough. I wanted my little May baby. I loved her. Even after only a month of dreaming of a future with her in it I don't quite know how to accept a future without her. I know I will be okay again, but I'm not okay yet.

51 comments :

  1. Oh, Rachel, I'm so sorry to hear this. You will both be in my prayers. I'm sorry you didn't get more time with your sweet baby.

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  2. Rachel, I'm so sorry for your and Angel's loss. I can't imagine how hard it is to lose a babe.

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  3. I am so so sorry Rachel. Praying for your loss, that is heartbreaking. Sending you love and prayers and hugs from California! xoxo

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  4. I am so sorry for you and Angel, Rachel. But i am also very deeply thankful for you sharing with us. We currently are struggling with inferility, too. It is only been a year and not five, so I can't imagine how this time felt for you but it still sucks.

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  5. I don't know what to say.This just makes me feel sad. I'm 36, married, been trying to have a baby, failed many times and tired. :(

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  6. Sorry about this. I pray that God will give you many children to love and cuddle. Happy days are coming sweetie. Be of good cheer.

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  7. I am so sorry. I will be praying for you and Angel.

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  8. Never posted before, but been reading for a couple of years. My husband and I moved to Germany shortly before you and Angel moved to China - so I really enjoyed reading about your experiences while I was facing different but similar challenges in my own brand new surroundings. I thought something was up when you disappeared for a couple weeks. =(
    I am so sorry for your loss. My husband and I are still waiting for our first child (also had a miscarriage some time ago). It was hard. I was so confused and angry for months afterward. Know that your hormones are probably fluctuating madly right now - that adds to the emotional turmoil. I wasn't sure which idea hurt worse in my mind: the thought of having a second miscarriage, or the thought of waiting months or even years for another positive test. Now, almost two years later I wish I could have told my younger self to take it one day at a time. Healing is a process. You don't have to do a year's worth of growing and healing in a day. Allow yourself to feel everything - the good and the bad. And cling to the Lord. Don't try to mentally prepare yourself for a long wait (it may never come, plenty of people get pregnant again right away!) or a miscarriage (Lord willing it will never happen again - but even if it does, dwelling on the possibility it is like reliving it again unnecessarily). Try to focus your energy on the here and now. We play mind games with ourselves in situations like this because it makes us feeling we are asserting some kind of control - in a situation where we have no control. But God does. Please don't lose heart. Anyways...dunno if your facing the type of emotional struggles that I was...but if you are, hopefully this'll help a teensy bit. =)
    Much love from Germany!

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    1. Thank you! You are spot on about the mental and emotional struggles taking place right now--never before have I realized just how much we cannot control situations like this, much as we might selfishly want to. Thanks for reading and thanks for caring.

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  9. Oh Rachel, if there are words to give in a time of loss, I don't know them. My heart breaks for you guys. Know that you are in my prayers. And if you ever need to talk, I'm here for you.

    Also, I couldn't agree more with you on the whole "God's plan" thing. That's such a heavy part of the culture where I live that I just let it slide when I hear people make comments about "it's all in God's plan." I can't look into the eyes of a child who has been molested and tell her that this was part of God's plan for her life. The same is true with any tragedy. How can I say that God willed someone's child to die? I just don't believe that. But I do believe that God redeems brokenness. That He can use the hard things in our lives to draw us closer to Him or to help us reach out and minister to others. I've seen that happen time after time in my own life. Anyway, I know you may not be in a place for a theological discussion right now, but I just wanted to let you know that I agree with you. I can't promise what the future will hold for you, but I can testify to the fact that God will never leave your side through it all. Isaiah 41:13 has been one of the biggest comforts to me.

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  10. My heart is breaking for you and your family. I am so sorry. I am praying.

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  11. So sorry, Rachel. Praying the Lord will bless and strengthen you. Listening to people tell me how their problems are just part of God's will and plan does get to me sometimes. There's a devil in this world too who gives us pain, and the world itself is cursed by the fall. God is the one who gives us strength to face it all. He's not the one who makes us suffer. Well said by you.

    May the Lord Jesus be with you in this time of sorrow for your little one.

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  12. I'm so sorry, Rachel. I lost a pregnancy almost two years ago now and you put into words so many of the things I felt (and still feel). I didn't begin to understand the pain of miscarriage until the first time I took a pregnancy test. The hopes and dreams you can build in those two minutes, waiting for two lines to appear, are real. Give yourself grace. Eat the ice cream and watch the silly TV shows and cry when you feel like it. You don't have to be okay yet, and you don't ever have to stop missing your baby and all the things that should have been.

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  13. Oh Rachel, I'm so sorry to hear this! You and Angel are both in my thoughts. ♡

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  14. I am so sorry to hear this, Rachel. I was worried that something might be wrong since the blog was quiet. I've never lost a baby, but I have been through a hard time this past year after watching my mother die from cancer. Try to be gentle with yourself and grieve in your own time and way. Every life is important, no matter how long or short. Thinking of you... -Joann

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    1. Thank you, Joann. Thanks for affirming that even really, really short lives still matter.

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  15. I'm so sorry, Rachel. I had a miscarriage in August and it was intense. The rollercoaster of feelings you go through and will go through is something I never expected. Thinking of you!

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  16. Rachel, my heart is so broken while reading this. My heart reaches out to you in the nauseating pain and devastation you feel. You did not fail your baby, you did the best by her to love her with a mother's intensity during those 25 days - and that is beautiful. And now you mourn her with a mother's intensity - and that it also beautiful, because you are a mom, and you love so well.

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  17. You ARE a mother. This is a terrible thing to experience and I am so sorry you had to go through it. It looks like you're aware of both of these things, but this wasn't your fault and God is still good.

    I love what you said "I can't comfort myself by trying to imagine God wanted this to happen and that in the end, it's a good thing. I don't believe it. It's a bad thing. Death saddens God, too." God alone is responsible for both life and death, but He isn't rejoicing in your child's death or in your pain.

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  18. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    Hugs to you and your family at this difficult time.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  19. Oh, Rachel, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. You, Angel, and all of your families are in my prayers. Take as much time as you need to grieve and heal (physically, as well). Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  20. I'm so sorry for your loss, Rachel. I don't know what else to say except you and your family are in my prayers!

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  21. I am so sorry, Rach. I know this is probably so much harder than you can even convey through words, and your words have my heart breaking for you guys. You're in my prayers.

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  22. Rachel I'm so sorry your loss!! <3
    You are absolutely right to say yes God hates death too, the death of your little one. Grief, especially the grief of a child I imagine is a different thing to itself. Thinking and praying for you and Angel in the coming weeks...

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  23. Oh Rachel. My heart hurts for you. I am so so sorry. Thank you for writing this. So many people suffer in silence and it doesn't have to be that way. Thanks for opening up to us. I'm praying for you!

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  24. I will be praying for you, Rachel. I pray God will comfort you and strengthen you.

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  25. Rachel, I am so sorry for your loss...a very real loss regardless of how long your precious baby was with you. I am praying for you and Angel and everyone else who fell in love with your child. I pray that each day brings you more peace and that you are able to honour her memory in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

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  26. As someone who has also mourned, I extend to you my love and my sympathy. I will pray for you to find peace.

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  27. Oh Rachel, my heart is breaking for you. Please don't blame yourself... heaven knows that you would have done anything for that baby. But his mission here on earth was a short one.. and your shoulders are so strong to bear this weight. Stay strong. sending prayers your way xX

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  28. Rachel and Angel, you are in our prayers. Our hearts are breaking for you both. May God grant you the peace that passes understanding. Love from the Gancheros

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    1. Thanks much, Christy! I'm longing for that peace!

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  29. I am so sorry for your loss. I don't know what to say. Just *hugs*

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  30. I am so, so sorry Rachel. Prayers for you and Angel.

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  31. God absolutely did not want this to happen and His heart breaks with yours. People always say that "death is natural" but it absolutely is not. It is not how things were supposed to be, and I think that's exactly why it hurts so very much. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss.

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  32. I'm sorry Rachel. May you feel the Lord's comfort as your grieve your little one.

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  33. Oh, Rachel--I'm sending so much love and keeping you and Angel in my prayers. I can't imagine how heartbroken you must feel. All I know is that it must be beyond hard. I've always personally liked to believe that everything in the universe happens for us, and that God ultimately has beautiful plan, but I've never been able to reconcile this philosophy with all the truly horrible things that happen. It's one thing to say, "oh, I didn't get this job because there's something better out there," but it's so wrong to think that something as heartwrenching as death or famine or natural disaster was meant to happen.

    That's enough philosophy for the day though. I hope that you find comfort and peace in God--regardless of what He throws our way, He ultimately loves us, and you're right--we'll ultimately be okay. It may take time, but everything will be okay.

    imperfect idealist

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  34. I know exactly how you feel. I would call myself and Calvinist and I don't believe God killed my four babies. I believe we live in a fallen and broken world. You know I understand.

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  35. I am so sorry, Rachel. I cannot even imagine what this must feel like. I wish I could run over and hug you and Angel and and bring you a big pot of soup or something, but I know that can't help at all. But please don't blame yourself! You have not failed. You ARE a great mom, and your baby would have thought so, too. So much love and prayers heading your way.

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  36. I am so sorry for your loss Rachel. It's a horrible thing to go through, and you're right there's no reasoning to it, it just happens. You are not responsible, although I understand the mum guilt - it does start from the very beginning. You have not failed and you are not alone in this, God is there to comfort you even though you are seeing your hopes dashed.

    There's nothing really anyone can say in the face of such loss to make it better. Just take your time, do what feels right to you and remember that God is there - in the good times and the bad, to listen to whatever your heart wants to pour out to Him. Be kind to yourself. Remember how much God loves you, His grace for you, and make sure you extend some of that grace to yourself when you need it the most. Try not to be so hard on yourself, although I know that's easier said than done sometimes.

    Again, so sorry for your loss.

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  37. Oh man, I'm really sorry to hear this Rachel. The God I believe in also does not plan for us to be in pain, in fact death was not in his plan at all. Death sucks. We all deal with grief differently but be kind to yourself and take as long as you need. I'm praying for you and your family.

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  38. *hugs* Rachel, I am so so sorry for your loss. Grief is weird. There is no right way to grieve.

    I don't know if you read Sage the Blog, but she has been writing about her own miscarriage and grief. http://www.sagetheblog.com/

    I know that when my mom died, I took comfort in talking to bloggers who had lost a parent.

    Please know I am praying for you and Angel. <3

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  39. Rachel, I've only commented a few times before - Ok, maybe even only once - and I didn't stop to read all the comments because there are lot of people loving on you right now, and that's a good thing. But I just wanted to pass on a few thoughts.

    I don't know how it feels to go through what you have been through. But, I do know how it feels to blame oneself for things not going right (although I'm neither an Arminian nor a Calvinist really). I was single for years (married at 38), and I struggled for quite awhile with the whole "being worthy of marriage" thing, combined with a strong sense of responsibility, expectations, and needing to be in charge. I suffered from religious scrupulosity for some years also. So, I get the whole blaming of self thing and I really encourage you to resist that. There are some things that we cannot understand until we get to heaven, and sometimes they are things that really, really hurt when we're going through them. It's OK to allow yourself to feel the pain but not be overcome by it, as you say you're trying to do. But, do fight the urge to blame yourself and your body for that. It doesn't sound to me like you have any justifiable reason to blame yourself. There are many things in life that are beyond our control, and sometimes they are things that we think we should be able to control. It's OK to just give it to the Lord and let it be what it is.

    Secondly, it is OK to ask God why. My brother gave me this startling revelation when he and I were both going through dark times. He pointed out that Jesus Christ Himself asked God "Why?" when He was on the cross, and since He did no sin it was not wrong. Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice..."My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" If the Son of God could ask His Father "why" without sinning, we don't need to feel guilt about it as long as we do so in a way that isn't anger or resentment at God.

    Lastly, I know one Christian family that had several miscarriages among the siblings' families. They chose names for the babies and birth dates, and every year on those dates the remember that little one that went to heaven before they could meet him or her. That may not be something you would like to do, but maybe it could help you keep the reality of your baby in your life.

    I have two close family members who have suffered from infertility and I know that it's really hard. God bless you as you walk through it that you may do so in a way that brings glory to Him and comfort to the hearts of others as He comforts you. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

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  40. I'm so, so sorry. Miscarriage is just terrible. I always felt sort of similar to you, that I didn't think it was necessarily predestined that MY specific babies would be lost, but that miscarriage happens and it fell to me at certain points in my life. I didn't think asking God "why" would be productive, but I did find value in asking Him what I could learn from this and how I could possibly find a positive way forward. I hope you find out what it is for you. Again, so sorry.

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  41. I am so sorry. I've lost a baby too and it feels like your heart is being ripped out. And the pain is not helped by the insensitive things people say. Jesus tells us that He is holding our hand (Ps. 37:24). I am so so sorry.

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  42. My heart goes out to you and Angel--having a miscarriage is something that you never truly understand until you go through it, and then it is the worst pain possible. After losing our son last year at 17 weeks, I was devastated: I blamed myself for taking a bath (was it too hot?!), for eating that blue cheese dip at a tailgating party, for getting overheated while on vacation. The idea that I could've had something to do with his loss was overwhelming, even after my doctor assured me that I had done nothing wrong.

    I wish I could tell you that I had magic words to make the pain go away, but I don't--so people offered so many sentiments after I miscarried, and most of them didn't help. Honestly, most of them made me angry since nothing anyone could say or do would bring my baby back. Just know that I am thinking of you and sending you hugs from across the world. Be well, my friend; the pain never goes away, but it does get better.

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  43. I am so, so sorry for your loss, and my heart breaks for you and Angel. I'm so sorry you didn't have more time with your sweet little girl. Sending you hugs across the ocean.

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  44. Thank you for being brave enough to share. It helps me to know I'm not alone in my situation. Sometimes we don't realize that just by sharing our own experiences, we help others get through their own. I pray for the best for you, and another chance at giving life.

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  45. Rachel, this is Shaylee Ann. Remember me? We were blog friends forever ago until I fell off the face of the earth? I had a dream about you this morning and woke up wanting to track down your blog. When I saw that you had miscarried, I cried. Dear, sweet friend, I am so sorry for your loss. I don't know what else to say, and I know that I'm commenting on an older post, but I just wanted to say something after I've been so out-of-the-way. I will be praying for you, even now. I don't know what the Lord's plan is for couples like us who desire children but can't have them, but I know that He is in control of our lives. When you do finally have a little one, you will know that His hand was in it all. God bless you & Angel, and your little one in Heaven. ❤

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    1. Thanks so much for your message, Shaylee! I emailed you at one of your old (mother at heart) email addresses I still had for you, but I don't know if you have access to those emails anymore.

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