After weeks of anticipation, I was excited about August 17, 2016 because it was the day of our scheduled ultrasound to see our third little baby! I was so excited that I wanted my husband and our two older children, to be there to witness the spectacular moment of seeing the baby on the screen and hearing the heartbeat. At ten weeks along, having experience from my first two children, I knew what to expect when looking at the ultrasound. I was excited! But my excitement soon turned to fear and uneasiness. As the ultrasound started, I looked at the screen–no baby. I immediately knew something was wrong. The ultrasound technician in a sweet, but matter-of-factly voice, stated that I might be really early along, but she advised me that I needed to wait to hear back from the doctor for an official report.
After more testing at the doctor's office, I finally got the call confirming that I had a "non-viable pregnancy." I let those words wash over me–non-viable pregnancy.In other words, I looked pregnant, felt pregnant, tested positive as pregnant, and even had all the emotions attached to being pregnant, but I was not pregnant. No baby. No precious little baby. And to top it all off, I now had to wait for my body to go through a miscarriage.
My first raw emotion was that of heartache. After getting the call, I literally went to my room, broke down and cried. I just kept replaying everything over and over again in my head–then I heard my daughter, Ann-Marie, asking me what was for lunch, and I realized that life still had to go on. Yes, despite what I was feeling, life still had to go on.
For the first two weeks, after I found out the awful news of my non-viable pregnancy, I really struggled with sadness. I worried about when the miscarriage would take place. I had read so many articles online, and I knew that the miscarriage process could be very painful. I was sad and very worried. All of these emotions led me to not eating very well and my sleep pattern was just plain horrible. On top of that, nothing could put a smile on my face. That was probably the worst feeling–I wanted to be happy, but I just couldn't be.
As much as I wanted my husband to understand what I was truly going through, I just couldn't find the words to truly express what I was feeling. So I tried to keep busy as much as possible in hopes that I wouldn't have to think about what was going on, but every time I looked down and saw that tiny baby bump, feelings of sadness and hatred towards myself surfaced.
After the turmoil of dealing with all of my emotions, more doctor visits, blood draws, and then a D&C procedure to complete the miscarriage, I was forced to make a decision: Trust myself and begin the journey of anger and bitterness, or learn to trust my God and His plan for my life. I was so conflicted. The thoughts that kept running through my head were so many: I was so healthy. I had been eating well and been consistent with my workouts. So why now? Why the non-viable pregnancy?
My husband eventually reminded me that God allows things in our lives, such as heartache and trials, so that we can grow in our faith and bring glory to Him. Taking my husband's words to heart, I realized that God knows the bigger picture, and He knows exactly what each and every one of us needs to learn at the exact moment we need to learn it. Although I didn't understand, I knew that I needed to trust God. I then discovered Psalm 18:30, "...His way is perfect..." I let those words wash over me. "His way...is perfect." You know, trust looks different for everyone, but the following lyrics from the song "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle were exactly what I needed to hear and do:
Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what you see
I try to win this war I confess, my hands are weary, I need your rest
Mighty warrior, king of the fight
No matter what I face you're by my side
When you don't move the mountains
I'm needing you to move
When you don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don't give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you
Part of me learning to trust God was taking the dreams I had of having another child and laying them at the feet of my Savior and trusting that His plans were far better than my plans.
Another part of me learning to trust the Lord was in the area of my body. In other words, I had to stop the self-hatred of the body I now had. This was hard. Thoughts of self-hatred would arise every time I looked down and saw the tiny bump that held no baby. Thoughts of self-hatred would also arise every time I got ready to leave the house because I hated the fact that I had to disguise something that I once held so dear. However, throughout those different times that those thoughts would arise, I had to remind myself of Genesis 1:27, which states, "So God created man in his own image..." I had to stop hating the body that God gave me and learn to care for the body that was made in His very image.
I also began to cling to the beautiful, hope-filled words of Scripture and not rely on my rollercoaster of emotions. I started the devotional book "He is More Than Enough," a study on the book of Hebrews, and learned so many valuable lessons throughout the entire study. I learned that no one on earth can comfort you like the Savior. One of the corresponding verses in this study was found in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "But He
But even after learning to cling to the precious promises of Scripture and trusting His plan, I am still in the process of learning how to truly be content. Content that this is what God has for me; content with the fact that my body is still recovering from miscarriage; content with the life I have now. You know, throughout the years, God has used my life verse of Hebrews 13:5 to teach me different things in different situations. The verse states, "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" The phrase "be content with what you have" was like a knife that cut into the dream of having another child and made me realize that I needed to be content with my two little blessings– Ann-Marie and Little David. I absolutely love my two children, and I would love to have more, but if this is all God has for me, I need to be content–truly content. And I'm still learning what this exactly looks like. I wish I could say that I have a great plan for how to combat discontentment, but all I have to say is that I keep reminding myself of the truths from Scripture. I also try to cherish the little moments of hugs and kisses from my children and thank God for what I do have, while always reminding myself that I am truly blessed.
The tears began to fall while writing this blog post. I have learned so much through this pain. In my grief, I learned that complete comfort can only come through Christ. He is the God of all comfort as stated in 2 Corinthians 1:3. I have learned to cast all of my doubts and sadness at the feet of my God who alone provides comfort. I have learned to humbly ask for His help in trusting His plan, knowing that "His way is perfect." I have chosen to daily give up my dreams and ambitions by laying them at the feet of my Savior. Through every situation, I know that I must cling tight to His promises, trusting that He knows what is best for me.
By Heather Cotner
Originally Published in Be Still Magazine, Issue 06.