We were half way through quarantine when I lost an appetite for coffee and meat and really all foods that weren’t cold or white (cold AND white? Even better!). I didn’t know it at the time, but my body was changing, which I’d find out the day before Danny’s birthday. My period was several days late, so I decided to pee on a stick, and did that nervous back-and-forth-pace in the bathroom until two minutes passed and the vibrant plus sign was undeniable– we were pregnant.
I have peed on many sticks over the last two years, but none have been pregnancy tests until April. Every month I pulled out an ovulation test to confirm that, yes, my cycle was “regular” and, yes, I was ovulating. But I never needed to take the other test– the one we all want to take unless we don’t — because my period always came… right on time. And then it didn’t.
We kept our secret for a few weeks until the first appointment with the OB when we heard a healthy heartbeat and it started to feel real. We slowly told family and close friends for the next several weeks. Sure, it was “early,” (I think it’s your news to share whenever you want) but these people are our people and know the journey we’ve been on and we couldn’t wait to share this news. Those weeks in our first trimester — finding out we were pregnant to finding out our baby would come right at the new year to sharing the news — felt like a celebration two years in the making. Like that feeling you get when you finally take a bite of the chocolate cake you’ve been mixing and baking and icing all afternoon.
Except this cake was the kind that no one wants a slice of. This cake was the kind that you bite into and find out it’s not made of chocolate at all. It’s another brown ingredient that is much, much worse and really shouldn’t even be considered an ingredient because bodily fluids don’t belong in food, you know?
For twelve weeks, my body was pregnant and miraculous and then suddenly it was neither.
My body did the thing that women get to brag about: give birth. Except, in the realest way, I didn’t give birth at all, I birthed death. My body contracted and labored and passed an incredibly tiny baby that wasn’t alive but was ours. We walked into a hospital like you see in the movies, and walked out with red eyes and a bag of mesh underwear and maxi pads. You don’t see that in the movies. Hollywood doesn’t highlight heartbreak.
When God speaks a curse over Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, he declares that there will be pain in childbirth. My pain– physically and emotionally– makes me wonder if this statement means more than what I’ve always assumed. Whenever I heard this before trying to grow our family, I knew that giving birth came with pain so fierce that a lot of women choose to numb it, and a lot of other women consider it their burden to bear. But what if it’s more? What if everything that leads to childbirth has power to cause pain? The months of peeing on ovulation sticks, doing, ahem, the work, and then having no need for the pregnancy test. What if that causes pain, too? Or the incredibly deep heartache that comes after pregnancy loss (no matter how far along) and giving birth to a baby that never breathed?
And really the only thing that feels comforting right now is that God didn’t end things with that curse. Instead, He kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden– a land of eternal life– which meant they weren’t bound to the curses forever. And then came Jesus who won our way back to the Garden when our time outside of it ends. It’s a hope-filled promise that means I’ll meet that sushi-roll-sized baby someday.
I’m going to keep sharing pieces of our story and our loss because it felt so lonely, and if I can help even one other woman or couple going through pregnancy loss feel less alone, I’ll do whatever I can. I wrote a lot of this when I was in the thick of suffering and then pieced it together with a more hopeful outlook after I had time (months!) to process. Not when I was on the other side of it, because I’m not sure I’ll ever be “on the other side of it.” But, I’m ready to share it now.
This is my Selah. A purposeful pause and reflection on what God was doing to make himself mighty in me.