On February 17, we found out that we were pregnant with Rodgers baby #2. After the initial mental adjustment of Now I Have to Be Pregnant in a New Place, the rush of excited feelings descended. Harriet would have a sibling close to her age - hooray! But not too close - hooray again! As I braced myself for the morning sickness fiasco, I looked forward to the fun of making maternity clothes, signing up for week-by-week emails, choosing a name, and most importantly, having a new little person to adore.
The morning sickness never came. Aside from an overly sensitive nose and extreme exhaustion, I didn't feel badly at all. This is great, I thought. Maybe this baby will be a chill little creature and balance the dear HarriEd out a bit. After several weeks of trying to schedule an appointment with a midwife here in IL (to no avail, I might add), I decided to make an appointment with my doctor back in Nebraska during the week that I would be home. After everything checked out at that visit, I would announce our happy news to the world.
But sadly, that wasn't to be. The day after my arrival in Nebraska, I started spotting. This was the dreaded nightmare of my pregnancy with H, and now it was actually happening. Trying not to panic, I made an appointment for the next morning and then tried to reassure myself that some pregnancies with early bleeding turn out perfectly fine. I stayed up practically all night praying that this would be the case for our baby, but deep down I knew that it wasn't so. (In a way I felt as though I were ten-year-old-chubby-Amelia again praying for her kitten to be found...and knowing all the while that he was probably frozen out in the December snow.)
The ultrasound and my physical condition the next day revealed that a miscarriage had occurred. At first I felt very sad and disappointed. The baby had died. All of the hopes and plans were being destroyed. To make matters worse, Steve was still in Illinois and wouldn't be able to come for another week. While I was very glad to have the support of my family (and the help with Harriet) it was depressing to be going through a rather traumatic life experience without my husband.
Like I said earlier, I have argued with myself whether or not to share this rather personal experience. It feels weird to type it up like it's just some normal day in the life of Amelia, instead of the weird, surreal and saddening experience that it really was and continues to be. But there are some reasons for sharing that outweigh the weirdness:
- The miscarriage exemplifies God's provision and loving kindness. It happened in Nebraska where I had access to my doctor who know my medical history. It reduced the stress by a million percent to not have to figure out where to go or what to do back in IL. I had the tremendous support and comfort of not only my immediate family but my extended family as well. I had siblings and parents who were willing and eager to help with Harriet on the yuckier days. Those same siblings and parents provided a healthy distraction and external focus so that the clouds of depression didn't stay for long. Our substantial tax return came several weeks early so Steve was able to come to Nebraska just a day after the miscarriage. And I didn't have any prolonged physical difficulties. So in the midst of it all God is very good.
- I want to be real to the people around me - and that includes the relationships that this blog supplies. Being real means sharing the hard stuff as well as the jolly stuff. It's a stripping away of all of the Fake Amelia which so often dominates my relating to others. And honestly, I don't think I could be all hunky-dory on here without mentioning the miscarriage...because it effects how I feel and how I experience life.
- Our society deals with loss through miscarriage so poorly. I wanted to share because I believe that no matter how many weeks a baby lives, it is still a person with a soul who was once alive. Because of our culture's view of the sanctity of life, pregnancy (and miscarriage) becomes such a sterile and purely physical event. Our baby wasn't just a blighted ovum that failed to bury into the uterine wall. It was a baby...a person. Even though we never knew that baby in a real sense, we can still experience the loss of a life that was close to us. And while the grieving process may be different, it can still exist.
- I want to help others. Even though I hope that none of you will ever experience a miscarriage, I want you to know that if you do, I'm available. If you don't know what I've experienced, then you'll never know that I can be a listening and (hopefully) understanding ear.
I still do feel sad and disappointed at times, but we're really doing okay. Having the drama of a sick Harriet helps with that. :-) All of this has led me to really think about what it means to let God control your family size. He really does give children and take away children. Just because a couple chooses not to prevent pregnancy through birth control or NFP doesn't mean that they will have a baby every year. Some couples are blessed with many children close in age. Others struggle to conceive or deal with miscarriages or just with long spaces between each munchkin. God is truly the one in control.
I find it ironic that our miscarriage happened on the day of the earthquake in Japan. It was hard to think about an entire country getting crushed when my small little world was being shaken up. But a post from the Desiring God blog in response to the earthquake and tsunami also served as a personal encouragement to me. At the end of Piper's prayer was this statement: