My husband and I recently went through a pretty tough loss. We had been trying to get pregnant for a while and it just wasn’t happening. So we had many discussions, talked to many people, did some research and decided we were definitely ready to have another child. Timing seemed right. So I went to the doctor and they prescribed me some meds to assist in the “getting pregnant” process. Worked the very first time! I found out in November that I was pregnant! We were super excited and told family and friends within the week. Almost immediately, I started feeling horrible. I hated feeling that way but took it as a good sign. You feel the worst when the baby is healthy and growing, they say! Anyways, we were psyched to go in for our first OB appointment to hear the heartbeat at 9 weeks (Dec 17th). We even picked up Lex from the sitter and brought her along to meet the baby. Doctor comes in and starts to look around and immediately I know something isn’t right. I’m not seeing much, not hearing anything… nothing at all like the first appointment when we were pregnant with Alexis. Doctor quickly says measurements looks a little off, lets do some blood work and rushed out the door. So we are left wondering for days as they run tests. Thursday the 20th they sent me to the hospital for a more conclusive ultrasound to find that the baby stopped growing at 6 weeks and 1 day. There is no heartbeat, and, as they say it, “the pregnancy is not viable.”
Crushed, devastated, shocked and not knowing what to feel all at the same time. That was the immediate reaction. Anger was quick to follow. In the next week I went through Christmas and appointments and then a procedure at the hospital. It was a whirlwind. No time to think, no time to feel, no time to see reality really. Then it all stopped. It was over. Pregnancy symptoms were gone and holiday celebrations were over and it was time to move on to everyday life. Only now there was this hole, this pressure pushing down making me unable to function, these after birth symptoms but no baby to hold… this feeling of hopelessness.
I walked into my office on Wednesday, January 2nd. It was filled with Christmas decorations needing to be put away, papers needing to be organized, Christmas presents to take home… and then I look at the corner. There I see my plant. The plant that I strive to keep alive because I have the furthest thing from a green thumb. I watched that thing daily and asked my co-worker for help when the poor thing looked sick. Well, I walk in and the leaves are laying on the ground… most brown and crunchy… maybe 10 or so still have the smallest bit of life. Immediately that plant becomes the symbol of me.... of my life…. Of my feelings… of my hope in this situation I’m facing. Sad, dejected, lonely. I wanted to pick the plant up at that very moment, drive it around to the dumpster and throw it in with all the power I have in me. The stupid thing died. Time to give up and trash it. It’s hopeless. But something in me wouldn’t let me do that. For a few days I did nothing. I came in to the office, I worked, and I left that plant alone. The next week I couldn’t get it off my mind. Stupid thing was bothering me so much I just decided to give it some water to see if it might have a miraculous recovery. Next day it looked just as dead as the day before. Stupid plant. I continued to give it water here and there but nothing consistent. I really had no hope for the thing coming back to life.
I started thinking about this today and was struck with the thought that I’m doing the same thing to myself. Watering myself a little here and there but not having any real hope that I’m going to make it through. Go to church… read a verse… pretend it’s better so everyone will leave you alone. But on the inside I’m still mostly “dead” just like the plant. I don’t really have hope that I’m getting through this sadness.
Well, no more! Today I came in to work and I looked at that plant. How is it ever going to become green and full of life if I leave the dead leaves hanging everywhere and water it so inconsistently and without hope. Poor thing would never have a chance! I immediately went for the scissors and chopped off every dead leaf in sight. I went and got some water (probably too much) and spread it all around so every inch of the soil was wet. I even prayed for the darn thing! I am determined that plant will live!
Same in my life. There is no way I can move forward… no way I can deal with the hurt if I don’t look at every dead crunchy leaf and yank it out. There’s no way I can continue to live to the fullest if I don’t consistently “water” myself. It’s time to look at every emotion and every hurt I feel from this loss and feed myself truth in the place of the lies. It’s time to pluck out those nasty lies and throw them in the garbage. It’s time to allow people to help with the process too! God knows I am not good with plants. It’s time to call in the backup to see what else I can do for this poor plant. Same with me. There is no way I can rely on myself in all of this. I have to let in the support that God has so lovingly given me. My husband, my mom, my dad, my friends… I am so blessed to have so many people in my life who care about me and want to be there for me.
I’ve come to realize that though I completely dislike the situation I have been through… there are reasons for it. I’ve already come into contact with 2 people who have lost babies recently. And oh how my heart aches for them… even others who are just going through a hard time not related to miscarriage. From my loss I have been made more aware of others who are hurting. My heart has been taught to ache for them, to reach out to them the way I would want people to reach out to me, to pray for them constantly. That in itself is a gift. I still can’t say I’ve come to terms with the loss of sweet Addison. I’d love to have him/her and have learned these lessons all at the same time. But this is a process… just like it is for my plant. And at least I can say that the process has started… and there is HOPE.
2 Corinthians 1:3 says: “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
I cannot find peace by avoiding life.
Isaiah 41:10 is another scripture that I love: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”