Almost exactly three years ago, I got pregnant. I wasn’t expecting to have any more children, because I thought I was too old. I was newly remarried, and though I love children, it wasn’t in my plan to have another child at that time. I had a demanding career and was in the midst of blending a family. I remember looking at the two pink lines on the test in absolute disbelief. This was the only time I had ever not been thrilled to see a positive reaction on a pregnancy test.
My husband, however, was ecstatic. And it didn’t take long for me to catch his enthusiasm. We started discussing names and making plans. On Mother’s Day, we shared the news. A couple weeks later, though, I started bleeding. I called the doctor’s office and they reassured me that this could be perfectly normal, and they advised me to wait till my first appointment, which was still a couple weeks away. I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right, so they set up an appointment for me to come in that day.
I’ll never forget seeing the ultrasound. The tech was looking around, saying she didn’t see anything in my uterus. But I saw something, something I knew was a baby, and I asked her about it.
“Where is that?” I asked, expectantly.
“In you right tube,” she responded.
I had an ectopic pregnancy. A precious little one, nestled in my womb, just in the wrong location. I was advised that I would have to terminate the pregnancy, because this was a life-threatening situation. They planned to give me a substance that would expel the fertilized egg from my body.
I had worked for several years in the pro-life movement and this did not sit well with me. My husband and I, along with family, friends, and church members, prayed that God would move the baby to the uterus. Our miracle did not take place. The day was approaching for the procedure, and I knew I couldn’t do it. I prayed I wouldn’t have to.
On May 20, 2015, two days after I got the dreadful news, I started having terrible cramping. We went to the ER and found out that I was in danger of having the tube rupture, and that it was too late for the planned procedure because my baby had a heartbeat. I would have to have surgery. As the hours progressed, I began to have worse symptoms and was rushed into surgery to potentially save my life, while at the same time ending the life of my unborn child.
The grief that followed was more powerful than any I have experienced before or since. It impacted every area of my life. To escape, I poured myself into my work, which distanced me from my family and friends. Grief can be consuming, destructive, and relentless, especially if you keep God and your support system at a distance.
What pulled me out of my grief? About a year later, I took another pregnancy test and saw a second faint line. I’ll never forget the euphoria and thankfulness I felt, and the assurance that God was granting me a second chance. I knew deep down that this baby would be healthy.
Finding out I was pregnant and experiencing the joys of each new milestone did not completely alleviate the grief. And there was some sadness attached to this pregnancy, as during the pregnancy, I miscarried Emma’s twin.
Our little rainbow baby could not replace her older sibling whom we had lost, but she sure has brought us so much joy! Having lost a child before having her has made us appreciate her even more than we would have otherwise. Every once in awhile, I still have the twinges of grief, as Emma could have had a sibling a year older and a twin. But it has greatly diminished, just as the ugly physical scar that used to greet me regularly in the mirror, has also faded.
If you’re grieving, please give yourself permission to be real, and please draw close to the Lord, instead of holding Him at a distance or pushing Him away. And remember that the scars of grief never go away, because you have lost someone or something of great value. However, one day you may just wake up and realize that the pain has diminished and that the scars have faded, serving as a gentle memorial to something precious.