Tag Archives: turmoil

Seeing Red

Some dates are etched in your memory forever.

Birthdays. Anniversaries. Days our loved ones pass away. Major life events. We all can list at least a few dates that automatically stick out in our minds, whether for welcomed reasons or not.

December 4, 2013 will always be one of those days for me. That was my estimated due date for the child I miscarried on April 1st at 5 weeks gestation. That was the day our child, as microscopic as he/she was, went to be with the Lord. That was the day part of me went to be with Him, too.

To say I was heartbroken after we miscarried is a gross understatement. If you recall, there was a lot already going on in our lives in early Spring. It was so much that the most grounded people would feel like they were losing their grip on their sanity prior to what transpired on April 1st. As we all know, the roller coaster wasn’t over, though.

Once the bleeding stopped, I was emotionally as empty as my formally impregnated uterus; in a matter of a few hours, the life had been sucked out of me, literally and figuratively. Like millions of women each year, I was left to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and move on.

For me, though, “moving on” was going to be a long, long journey.
It was going to be a much longer, harder, more private pilgrimage through grief than with what I (and, in some ways, others) was comfortable.
It was my journey, though, nonetheless.

The first few weeks, I would come home from work some days and just sit on the floor in our empty nursery. I would begin to replay over in my mind the trauma that had been the few weeks leading up to me unexpectedly getting pregnant, as well as the subsequent drama which led to finally having a confirmation that I had indeed miscarried and wasn’t losing my mind...or was I? 

When I was alone, the previous few months played out like a dramatic Nicholas Sparks’ movie in my head. Scene after scene, I saw the characters, i.e. me and my husband, develop and the plot thicken and thicken some more. The plot became so thick, I felt as if I were traveling through a dense fog in my head, a fog which would last for months. Some days the fog was so thick, I couldn’t tell if I was indeed the protagonist or the antagonist of my own story; some days I felt like both, sometimes simultaneously. As I dealt with post-miscarriage health complications for months on end on top of my grief, there seemed to be no climax of events (let alone a resolution) in sight, in my real life or in my imagination.  I wanted out of the madness. Honestly, some days I wanted to just go to sleep and never wake up. I wanted peace and rest, and those things seemed hard to come by at the time.

After all, it was hard to feel at peace when you feel you have failed as a woman, and more importantly, as a wife. For a myriad of reasons, that’s the way I felt for a long, long time. Thankfully, though, after months of spending time with the Lord, countless hours of conversation with my husband and a few close friends, and being forced to deal with the root of my feelings, I (for the most part) don’t feel that way anymore.

Thank God, I don’t usually feel that way anymore.
One day, I hope to say I don’t ever feel that way anymore.
One step at a time, though.

I don’t really feel it necessary (at least now) to take you through the play-by-play of the highs and lows of my journey of grief. I guess after the realization I came to during my mid-life crisis, I don’t feel anymore like I “owe” you, the reader, an “all-access” pass into the most personal caveats of my life. I guess I’m still learning to have boundaries in my relationships, online and off. I have to say, after a year of a lot of hurt and heartache, it feels good to not (usually) feel guilty for protecting myself emotionally.

Just know that the last 8 months of my life have been filled with extremely personal, heart-wrenching moments. It hasn’t always been pretty. In fact, many times it’s been rather ugly, but it’s always been one thing – real and raw. After all, love it or hate it, I know no other way to be. If there’s one thing I’ve re-learned during the craziness that has been my 2013, it’s that I can’t control a lot in my life. God, in His sovereignty and goodness, numbers my steps, oftentimes much differently than I would. On the flip side, though, I’m learning there are some things I can control, namely having healthy boundaries with people and owning and being proud of, instead of shaming, my own journey.

And oh the journey it has been.

I’m thankful, though, I’m finally far enough down the path that I can say I’m thankful for the past 8 months. I may not ever understand why John and I had to lose a child, or why it had to affect me so deeply, but I do know good has come of it.

do know that what Satan meant for evil, my gracious Lord meant for good. Yes, He meant it for my good and, more importantly, His glory. Those nights I lay crumbled up on the floor in my empty nursery, when I wasn’t sure if I was the protagonist or antagonist of my own story, I had forgotten to ask the Author and Finisher of my story who I am. Instead of trusting Him, I listened to my doubt. Instead of believing I am who He says I am (beloved and loved, far from a failure), I believe the father of lies who is always out to steal my (and your) joy and vision. Thankfully, I don’t forget anymore.

In the Old Testament, when God’s people had an unforgettable encounter with the LORD, they often built a memorial out of stone in commemoration of the event. They (and sometimes the LORD Himself) wanted a tangible reminder of what the LORD had done. I, too, wanted a tangible reminder of how the Lord had restored and healed my heart, so I completely changed my appearance (at least for now).

For almost 28 years, I was a blonde. Now, I’m a red head. 🙂

2013-12-05_16-12-01_263When I look in the mirror, I am constantly reminded of the fact I not only look like a completely different person, I am a completely different person because of God’s gracious work in my life! I’m pretty sure I will eventually go back to my roots (or closer to them than I am now 😉 ), but for now, I needed an external expression of a very powerful, inward change. The dye is temporary, but the branding on my heart is forever.


I finally see He is bringing much beauty from the ashes of my once shattered heart.
He is mending and strengthening. He is healing and restoring.
He is being what He always is – good. So, so good.

I’ll leave you with a song that has meant so very much to me over the past several months.

 

Father, thank you for loving me so.

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Filed under Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Redeeming Loss, Sanctification

Cosmic Shift

Drafts. A post. Lots more drafts.
That’s been the extent of my blogging the past several months.

Tears. Refining. More Tears. Did I mention tears?
That’s been my life the past several months.
Much of that just hasn’t been put into words, here or even in-person.

Why?
Well, because…

Sometimes the most powerful, gut-wrenching yet healing moments in life leave us simply so undone we (even I) am unable to utter a sound, let alone wax poetically about the cosmic shift occurring within. We are unable to ascertain just exactly what our Creator is doing in the miry depths of our disheveled soul, which can leave us feeling vulnerable to the core and, at times, scared of what is next. All I know is that, if we surrender to the beautiful chaos, when He’s done chipping away and putting back together, we will never be the same. I will never be the same.

Thank you, Father, I will never be the same.

More to come. 🙂

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Filed under grace, Life, Sanctification, Simplicity

Why We Halted Our Adoption: The Wait 2.0 – Part 19

If you would have told me during the miscarriage what was ahead of me when it was over, I couldn’t have handled it. The grief over losing our child, after everything else that had already occurred in a short amount of time, seemed like more than enough for one person to bear. I’m not one to feel sorry for myself, but at that point, even I was crying “uncle.” Little did I know when I wrote Part 13 of this series what the next few months would entail.

Let us review: Why did we halt our adoption?

The simplest answer is because we cannot afford to pursue adoption and surrogacy at once.
*For more on why we before 3 weeks ago we never dreamed surrogacy would be an option,  and how we were both finally at peace with moving forward with our adoption plans, please see Part 1.
*For more on the Facebook message I received 3 weeks ago from practically a perfect stranger that would rock anyone’s world, please see Part 2.
*For more on our surprisingly spirited 1st reaction to that message, please see Part 3.
*For more on the questions we both had, and the emotional struggle I went through, once the surrogacy option was presented to us, please see Part 4.
*For more on the initial, God-filled meeting I had with the woman who strongly felt God may very well be calling her to be our surrogate, please see Part 5.
*For more on the extremely disheartening news we received the day after I met with the woman who appeared to be an angel sent by God to carry our biological child, please see Part 6.
*For more on the strange, but strong, intuition I was feeling just a little over a week after our dream of surrogacy seemed to be slipping from our hands, please see Part 7.
*For more on all the signs that just weren’t going away and ultimately pointing to my intuition being most likely true, please see Part 8.
*For more on the dramatic turn of events that took place one early morning, please see Part 9.
*For more on the painful drive, and then wait at the hospital, I endured while waiting to hear if my intuition was true, please see Part 10.
*For more on the internal conflict I felt when I found out my intuition was wrong, please see Part 11.
*For more on the decision I made to go seek a second doctor’s opinion on what had (or hadn’t) happened, please see Part 12.
*For more on how we found out we had actually miscarried our baby, please see Part 13.
*For more of how the miscarriage affected me emotionally,  and why I chose to share my grief, please see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of my “Redeeming Miscarriage” series.

*For more on the messiness of life, in particular my life, please see Part 14.
*For more on what I never told you had happened after the miscarriage, please see Part 15.
*For more on the possible reasons why I was suddenly not in the best of health, please see Part 16.
*For more on my two days of testing to try to figure out the problem, please see Part 17.
*For more on the uncertainty that came with the initial results, please see Part 18.

___________
Waiting. That is pretty much all I got done health-wise for well over 2 months. To say it was a test on my faith and my patience, as well as John’s, is an understatement. There was nothing else we could do, though. It was our cross to bear . Just when we thought answers were just around the corner, we waited, and then we waited some more.

In the meantime, we tried to operate as if life were normal. Thankfully, the whole time I felt absolutely fine, so trying to go about life really wasn’t that difficult. We weren’t fooling ourselves very well, though. No matter what you say, life isn’t normal when you’re sitting around waiting to hear if you have to undergo major treatment. Due to the indecision, we couldn’t move forward with our family plans while we waited. I couldn’t guarantee my employer I wouldn’t be taking significant time off soon. I couldn’t promise my sweet friend that I wouldn’t be a sickly-looking bridesmaid.

I think of one of the hardest things, though, is I couldn’t even fully process all the emotions from the miscarriage, since my health had seemingly been suddenly hijacked since our loss and therefore demanded my time and attention. If you followed it, in my “Redeeming Miscarriage” series, I did do my best to be honest with myself (and you) about my grief. Now that you know what was really going on at that time, though, could you understand how emotionally spent and conflicted I truly was? I loved the Lord, and I believed strongly in His sovereignty and goodness, even amidst my suffering, but I was still human and very much feeling the effects of  living on this fallen earth. 

I had to be on constant guard for the enemy’s attacks. I was weak, and he knew it. If I wasn’t careful, I was either coveting my friends’ families, or wallowing in self-pity for my lot in life. I was either partly upset I ever even conceived a child, or extremely upset thinking about John getting to marry and have a family with another woman after I die due to us unexpectedly conceiving our biological child, who also died. Yes, I realize that last example is slightly dramatic, but when you live my life, you know that dying before your spouse, and him re-marrying, most likely is your reality; my current situation just brought to surface the emotions that surround that probable fate, emotions to which most could never relate.

There were also those nagging questions that plagued me late at night. “When is enough, enough?” “Lord, is it wrong to want to glorify You through “normal” life, instead of through trial after trial?” “Am I really going to end up dead after all of this?” “Will John resent me, if I do?”

For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was going to break under the pressure of life. I longed to go back to January 1, 2013 and re-start the year. I longed to go back to when were just going to adopt and be done with it. I couldn’t turn back the hands of time, though. I had to live in my present reality, and that reality was filled to the brim with uncertainty.

Answers were finally promised toward the end of June.

The miscarriage had happened the first week of April. I was first approached about there being a problem the end of that week. Over two-and-a-half months later, I was ready to know the direction in which my life was going. I was ready to know if motherhood was in my immediate future, or if I was once again going to have to put my desire for a family on the back burner and deal with more pertinent, life-threatening issues. I didn’t know what was ahead of me that day I once again drove down to Columbus, but I knew that I was coming home with answers; after weeks and weeks of waiting, that was enough for me. 

Going into another day of testing that Monday, I did thankfully already have one good piece of news. I would not need the dreaded Nissen surgery! Praise God! Neither my doctor nor the GI doctor were convinced that the decline in pulmonary function was being caused by any acid issues. All of my 51 “episodes” of “silent” reflux had occurred very low in my esophagus, which meant that it wasn’t a danger to my lungs. As excited as I was about keeping my ability to throw up (you would be, too!), I also knew that meant there had to be another reason why my lung function had decreased; namely, most likely that was because of the antibodies. We had waited several weeks to re-test them to give them time to either stabilize out or show that they were going to continue to rise. If they continued to rise, and my lung function continued to go down, I knew treatment was inevitable. 

I also had another problem and another secret. I was afraid there was a chance I was pregnant – again.

I hadn’t missed my period (yet), but my body certainly wasn’t acting “normal.” I was having a few of the same pregnancy-like symptoms I had before the miscarriage. I wasn’t having nearly as many as when I actually was pregnant, but I wasn’t far enough along in my cycle at that point for the majority of them to start making their appearance. I had purchased a few pregnancy tests that weekend, took them a few mornings, and thankfully found them all to be “negative.” I just didn’t feel right, though. I knew the chances of having a false negative before your missed period were extremely high, though, so I didn’t have much confidence in my $3 pee sticks. I also knew that your hormones can cause bodily changes after miscarriage, so I took that possibility into account, too. I didn’t understand why those wouldn’t have occurred right away, but “blaming” my new-found weird cycle on hormones made me feel better. In all my life, though, I had never had such strange things occurring other than the time I was pregnant, and it was only after the fact last time that I put two-and-two together. Last time, I hadn’t even began to think I was pregnant at that point, so trying to decipher if I was again or just being paranoid was difficult at best. What was occurring wasn’t the exact same as just 3 months prior, but it certainly wasn’t my “normal,” either. I was also very aware of my hyper-sensitivity to things of this nature after the miscarriage. I knew my mind could actually be playing tricks on me this time, instead of warning me like last time. After all, like I said, I wasn’t exhibiting nearly all the symptoms I had before, but then again, I hadn’t given myself the time to be showing them, either.

I wasn’t feeling like the Lord was telling me I was pregnant like last time, but I wasn’t feeling like He was telling me I wasn’t, either. I felt He was silent on the issue, which didn’t help me feel any better. John was skeptical. One minute he didn’t believe I could possibly once again be with child, and the next he was wondering if lightening had indeed struck us twice. I felt conflicted, too.  One minute I felt calm about things, and the next I felt overwhelmed and scared. That morning, though, I was completely at peace, which even shocked me. The Lord must have known my emotional limits. I couldn’t sit around like last time and wait to find out what was going to happen, though. I had to know, and I had to know now. Waiting wasn’t an option.

Just like last time, during my commute down, I picked up the phone and let my transplant team know that morning I would need yet another blood draw for a HCG level. I’d know soon if my antibodies and lung function were still out of control. I would also know if I was most likely soon going to be experiencing déjà vu and consequently making my health situation even more complicated. I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to hear all of those answers.

Part 20 to come!

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Filed under Adoption, cystic fibrosis, Health, Life, Miscarriage, Transplant

Why We Halted Our Adoption: The Possibilities – Part 16

So in Part 15, life just got more complicated.
I won’t lie. In the midst of it, I found myself many, many times mumbling, “Is it over yet?”

You ready for more?

Let us review: Why did we halt our adoption?

The simplest answer is because we cannot afford to pursue adoption and surrogacy at once.
*For more on why we before 3 weeks ago we never dreamed surrogacy would be an option,  and how we were both finally at peace with moving forward with our adoption plans, please see Part 1.
*For more on the Facebook message I received 3 weeks ago from practically a perfect stranger that would rock anyone’s world, please see Part 2.
*For more on our surprisingly spirited 1st reaction to that message, please see Part 3.
*For more on the questions we both had, and the emotional struggle I went through, once the surrogacy option was presented to us, please see Part 4.
*For more on the initial, God-filled meeting I had with the woman who strongly felt God may very well be calling her to be our surrogate, please see Part 5.
*For more on the extremely disheartening news we received the day after I met with the woman who appeared to be an angel sent by God to carry our biological child, please see Part 6.
*For more on the strange, but strong, intuition I was feeling just a little over a week after our dream of surrogacy seemed to be slipping from our hands, please see Part 7.
*For more on all the signs that just weren’t going away and ultimately pointing to my intuition being most likely true, please see Part 8.
*For more on the dramatic turn of events that took place one early morning, please see Part 9.
*For more on the painful drive, and then wait at the hospital, I endured while waiting to hear if my intuition was true, please see Part 10.
*For more on the internal conflict I felt when I found out my intuition was wrong, please see Part 11.
*For more on the decision I made to go seek a second doctor’s opinion on what had (or hadn’t) happened, please see Part 12.
*For more on how we found out we had actually miscarried our baby, please see Part 13.
*For more of how the miscarriage affected me emotionally,  and why I chose to share my grief, please see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of my “Redeeming Miscarriage” series.

*For more on the messiness of life, in particular my life, please see Part 14.
*For more on what I never told you had happened after the miscarriage, please see Part 15.
___________________________________________________

“Your antibody count was up to 17% on Monday.” 
“My what?”

If you’ll recall from Part 15, my transplant nurse and friend, Ashley, explained to me the ends-and-outs of the transplant science surrounding antibodies, a science which is not clearly understood and fairly new. I wish there was an easy way for me to explain it all to you, but just remember that antibodies aren’t something you want, and they can lead to antibody-mediated rejection. If you want, you can read this article about different types of rejection, which talks a bit about this type of rejection. Be forewarned, it’s heady! I’ll abbreviate it for you by saying this:

In transplant-speak, “antibody-mediated rejection” is a fancy name for “bad news.”

So far the only research-proven ways one can definitely contract antibodies after transplant (i.e. not from your donor) are through blood transfusions and pregnancy.They may not be the only ways (like my virus, which is the only thing that makes sense at that time), but they are certainly the reasons supported by the most evidence.  

I hadn’t had any blood transfusions. I had, though, been pregnant and was now losing our baby. While standing there learning about yet another life complication, I was exhausted, a bit short of breath and definitely not feeling myself – not good. We had to wait 6 weeks or so, though, to re-test, due to my body needing to regain some stability after my unexpected miscarriage. 

So, that was that. The waiting game was about to begin, a waiting game that would last much longer than expected.

I hung up the phone and aimlessly roamed the aisles in Meijer.
I was overcome with confusion and not in the mood to drive.
I physically trembled as I tried to take it all in.
Now what? What is happening to me, to my life? Seriously, Lord? 

I prayed (OK, begged) God for protection and peace, mustered up enough energy to drive myself home. Once again, I picked up my phone. This time I called my husband, John. I did my best in my diatribe to him to play it off like nothing was wrong and I wasn’t worried, so he shouldn’t worry, either. Only a small part of me believed the positivity coming out of my mouth. I wasn’t my usual “glass half full” kind of self at that point. The extreme hormonal shift occurring inside of me because of the miscarriage, as well as the grief that came with our loss, had me feeling extremely emotionally unstable and prone to crying. I didn’t want to cry about this to John, though. I had already been uncharacteristically inconsolable several times the previous few days; he’d been through enough of my emotional instability.

There was nothing we could do at that point but pray and wait.
For 6 weeks.

During that time, I thankfully began feeling much more like myself, emotionally and physically speaking. It didn’t happen overnight, but the symptoms I had been physically feeling (including the shortness of breath, which was the most concerning) the day I first learned the word “antibody,” all subsided and were a somewhat distant memory.

Our baby was far from a distant memory, but the horrible physical aftermath from the miscarriage was thankfully over….oh, wait. I forgot. It wasn’t, far from it.

After weeks of waiting, the day (a Monday) finally came that I could go get my “all clear” from the transplant team. It was my hope that in a matter of just a few hours, I would no longer  have to worry about there being any medical reason why we couldn’t proceed with starting our family in a way that didn’t involve me attempting to conceive (not that we were “trying” before) any more children; doing so would only put my health, and the baby, in jeopardy. I certainly wasn’t emotionally ready at that point to go back to thinking about welcoming another child into our home. I wanted the delay in moving forward with our plans, though, to be our decision, not that of my medical team. I wanted to be able to re-start the adoption process, or go back to surrogacy if that was the way we felt led, at any point. I didn’t want someone else giving me a timeline of when I could, or couldn’t, pursue a family – the family I so desperately wanted.

The truth is, after feeling the deepest emotional pain I had ever had in my entire life (including the time I almost died), I honestly just wanted to feel in control of my seemingly ever-changing, never-predictable, always-hard life.When my pulmonary function test came back that day even lower than the time before, though, God reminded me that He was still in charge – not me.

92%?! That just couldn’t be…but it was.
A perfectionist and self-competitor when it comes to these things, I literally took the test 15 times – on two different machines. Though I gave it a valiant effort, try as I might, I simply couldn’t get the # to rise.

Though that number is considered extremely high for post-double lung transplant recipients, it was very, very low for me. After looking at a graph of all my pulmonary function tests since my transplant in September 2005, my worst fear was realized:

My lung function (FEV1 — max. amount of air blown out in 1 second) hadn’t been that low in over 6 years. In fact, it had only been that low 2 times since the day 7 1/2 years ago I traded in my 14% lung capacity lungs for some “new” ones.

Besides my test 29 days post-transplant (88%), that low of number had only happened once since late 2005 and not after a test which already showed declining lung function (like my last one). I couldn’t even recall what was going on during that time when I saw the date on the screen. Who knows. It could have even been a fluke. It didn’t matter, though. The numbers had gone all the way back up the next time and the dozens of times since then; many times I had even been over 100%.  Now, though, it was down and in a considerable fashion. I though the 95% I blew out 6 weeks prior was bad. I wasn’t prepared for my “new” number. I didn’t care if it was better than most lung transplant recipients best results. I wanted my numbers, the ones to which I was accustomed. My team wanted them, too.

Something was definitely up, and it wasn’t looking good.

My doctor (love him) and I sat there and had a long chat. Any change in lung function (especially two tests in-a-row with decreases) is always a point of concern. Coming off a miscarriage, I was a very special case. I was the first post-lung transplant patient who had become pregnant with whom my small center had dealt. Their lack of experience with those of my kind wasn’t uncommon. Even the biggest, most notorious centers don’t see hardly any people in my situation; pregnancy after transplant isn’t really recommended, after all.

I wasn’t just going through the normal, hard recovery from miscarriage. I was also having a decrease in lung function, and possibly a rise in antibodies; neither were good. If that wasn’t enough (it felt like more than enough, let me tell you), there was also another possible explanation for my decreased lung function.  Once again, the dreaded words “Laryngopharyngeal Reflux,” i.e. “silent” reflux, and “Nissen Fundoplication” were said.

Nothing sparks uneasiness into the heart of a transplant patient’s heart (at least this one’s) like those four strange words. It is an understatement to say they were the last words I ever wanted to hear at that point.

I think upon hearing them, I even said out loud Shoot me now.”
I just couldn’t help myself.

I didn’t want to be a part of the majority of transplant patients who had been diagnosed with “silent” reflux post-transplant and had to go on to have the horrible (in my mind) Nissen procedure. I didn’t care if there was the possibility that I was unknowingly (hence “silent” reflux) aspirating stomach acid into my lungs, causing corrosion and consequently my lowered lung function. I had absolutely no desire to deal with the effects of the surgery, in particular the fact that if I endured the procedure, I’d never, ever be able to throw up again! 😦

After some discussion, my doctor and I came to a consensus – we had to do something and had to do it now. We didn’t even have my antibody count back yet, since my blood had to be shipped to OSU for them to process the complicated test, but that didn’t matter. Before things went more South, something had to be done. We couldn’t sit back and just watch everything play out. My health could be in serious jeopardy if we did.

A bronchoscopy to get biopsies of my lungs was ordered for later that week, as well as a 24 hour impedance study (think tube in your nose and holster on your side for 24 hrs.) to check for the “silent” reflux issue.  John and I both were to suddenly take off work to go down for 2 days of testing. Things were getting serious – and fast.

The possibilities of what was wrong were before us, but were the answers close behind?

Part 17 to come!

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Filed under Baby, cystic fibrosis, Health, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Transplant

Why We Halted Our Adoption: The Confirmation – Part 13

It’d be so much easier to just stop now, to allow the end of Part 12 to speak for itself. After unsuccessfully trying to get this post done for the past two days, it’d be so much easier to quit writing, yet so wrong at the same time. The truth is, I’ve been dreading this day for quite some time. We’re here, though, and I must tell you the rest of the story. In doing so, I know I’ll have to go back to that painful day myself. I know I will not only have to recount the hardest day of my life thus far but, as I’ve done this whole series, also feel the emotions that come with this part, too. As I keep telling myself, though, I’ve already done that a million times in the past 13 days, so what’s one more?

Let us review: Why did we halt our adoption?

The simplest answer is because we cannot afford to pursue adoption and surrogacy at once.
*For more on why we before 3 weeks ago we never dreamed surrogacy would be an option,  and how we were both finally at peace with moving forward with our adoption plans, please see Part 1.
*For more on the Facebook message I received 3 weeks ago from practically a perfect stranger that would rock anyone’s world, please see Part 2.
*For more on our surprisingly spirited 1st reaction to that message, please see Part 3.
*For more on the questions we both had, and the emotional struggle I went through, once the surrogacy option was presented to us, please see Part 4.
*For more on the initial, God-filled meeting I had with the woman who strongly felt God may very well be calling her to be our surrogate, please see Part 5.
*For more on the extremely disheartening news we received the day after I met with the woman who appeared to be an angel sent by God to carry our biological child, please see Part 6.
*For more on the strange, but strong, intuition I was feeling just a little over a week after our dream of surrogacy seemed to be slipping from our hands, please see Part 7.
*For more on all the signs that just weren’t going away and ultimately pointing to my intuition being most likely true, please see Part 8.
*For more on the dramatic turn of events that took place one early morning, please see Part 9.
*For more on the painful drive, and then wait at the hospital, I endured while waiting to hear if my intuition was true, please see Part 10.
*For more on the internal conflict I felt when I found out my intuition was wrong, please see Part 11.
*For more on the decision I made to go seek a second doctor’s opinion on what had (or hadn’t) happened, please see Part 12.
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Time stood still.
I saw her mouth moving, but I couldn’t hear her words.
All I could hear was the sound of my heart shattering.
All I could taste was the hot tears running down my face.

I was screaming on the inside for air, yet I couldn’t make a sound.

Only three seconds prior, the words,“Based on all your symptoms, and my experience, I’m pretty confident you actually did have a miscarriage,”  had come out of Dr. Sharp’s mouth and left me in utter shock. What was said immediately after that, while I struggled to keep my composure, is still a mystery to me.

“Amber, I’m so sorry. I’d like to do a pelvic exam to confirm what I’m thinking,” was the first sentence I heard after what seemed like an eternity. Completely numb at that point, and unable to speak, I proceeded to place my feet in the stirrups and allow myself to be examined.

There really was no need, though.
I knew what was coming next.
I wasn’t questioning my gut anymore.

“I’m sorry. Based on everything we’ve discussed, and the fact your uterus is boggy, I’m pretty sure it was a miscarriage. I need you to go to the hospital to get an ultrasound, though, to make sure. It’s like that for one of two reasons: You were either pregnant, and your body was preparing for it, or you have an infection and we need to take care of it right away. The ultrasound will confirm either way, but I’m pretty sure you were indeed pregnant. I’m so sorry…”

She trailed off. I didn’t need to hear any more.
I knew it, and she did, too.

I can’t express to you how I have never in my life – and will never again – want so badly to not be right. I can’t express to you how much overwhelming peace, yet tremendous sorrow, I felt in that moment. Never. 

After a few seconds, Dr. Sharp continued talking, and though I said nothing to her, a conversation with myself began.

“Women have miscarriages all the time and go on to have healthy children.”
But, you see we weren’t trying to have kids in the first place. “Trying” again isn’t the answer here. It’s not a wise idea, which is why we were adopting. Then, only because we were approached, we were looking the past month or so into surrogacy. Once we heard we couldn’t afford that, I was just stressed out and had myself convinced I was pregnant, but I’m not. I’m just crazy, remember? This isn’t what was supposed to happen. You were supposed to tell me what they told me yesterday. I was supposed to leave here forgetting about all of this. Didn’t you get the game plan?”

The fetus most likely implanted for a few days, which is why your symptoms started, and then somehow dislodged. That’s why your HCG numbers were the way they were. The hormone rapidly leaves the body once implantation is disrupted, but your body (esp. one like yours which reacts very quickly to change) takes a while to catch up and accept the fact you are no longer pregnant. You probably would have only had a positive pregnancy test up until when you were supposed to start your period, possibly even only a week to a few days prior to that. These types of miscarriages happen all the time (oftentimes unbeknownst to them) to perfectly healthy women. “Even if there isn’t another reason why you miscarried, your anti-rejection medicine just wasn’t going to allow you to sustain a pregnancy. There’s absolutely nothing you could have done differently. You didn’t know, Amber. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Your transplant team wasn’t equipped to know to dig deeper. You did, though. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You did all you could, more than anyone could have asked you to do.”
But I do have plenty to feel guilty about. I knew, at least a very large part of me knew, I was pregnant over a week ago. The other part of me refused, even though I had every pregnancy symptom known to man, to let myself take a test for several days, for fear l was losing my mind. By the time I did, it was too late. I took that medicine not one but – two – times a day. I could have stopped taking it as soon as I felt I was pregnant, taken a pregnancy test and sought help right then, instead of waiting for a missed period. Then the baby would have been OK. I could have just believed what God was trying to tell me, instead of wrestling every hour with myself about my sanity, and then taken precautionary steps. I can’t say the baby would have lived, but I could have done plenty more. I didn’t do “all” I could. Don’t you understand?”

“Let’s find out for sure and get you to the hospital for that ultrasound, OK? I’ll leave you alone so you can get dressed and call John. Someone will be back in a few minutes to let you know what we’re going to do next.”
“Yes, let’s do that. She could still be wrong, which means I could be, too. I need to know, and I need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt. There’s still a plausible explanation for all of this besides a miscarriage or me losing my mind. Hopefully, I just have a tumor or a cyst on my ovaries or my uterus. I’ll have surgery, and it’ll be gone. No harm, no foul. It’s not a miscarriage. It’s a tumor.”

I didn’t buy it, even though every single part of me wanted to believe it. In that moment, though, cold and alone in an exam gown, afraid and scattered on the inside,
I was grasping at straws.

Then there was John, my loving husband. Oh, how I missed him in that moment. I tried calling and couldn’t reach him at work. I tried messaging him on Gchat and didn’t get an immediate response. He was clearly away from his desk, most likely working on a case in Judge’s office or helping his new co-worker figure out something. Though I knew he wasn’t ignoring me, and didn’t even know (for whatever reason) I was trying to reach him, I was growing impatient. All I wanted in that moment was his arms around me, the ability to bury my head in his chest and block out the rest of the world. No part of me wanted to relay this information by phone or chat, but I wasn’t going to go to the hospital for some evasive ultrasound to most likely confirm I’d lost our baby without letting him know.

When my efforts to reach him failed at first, and I felt like I was going to be swallowed whole by the emotions which were flooding my soul, I quickly messaged a few close friends letting them know what was going on and asking for prayer. I needed confirmation this wasn’t dream, that I was actually awake and experiencing all of this in real life. While I waited for my husband to call me back,  and the nurse to come back in with my instructions, I sat in the pew (yes, a pew) in the exam room and began to cry – again.

Once I got my marching orders, and collected myself enough to feel comfortable driving, I turned on my car and got on the road. My first stop, however, wasn’t to the hospital but instead to my workplace, just right down the street. In that moment, I needed physical contact with people who cared about me, with people I could touch and find comfort in. I needed someone to hold me and tell me it was going to be OK. The closest place to receive such comfort was at work, so that’s where I went. I walked in, not to start my day a little late as I had previously planned, but instead to let them know what was going on and ask for, of all things, a hug. I just needed a hug.

I got my hug and got back in my car to the sound of my phone ringing. John was calling me back. Since I’d sent him a message that said “Dr. Sharp thinks I had a miscarriage. I have to go get an ultrasound,” I knew he already knew what was happening, which just made answering the phone even harder. The conversation was somber and spoken in low, soft tones; words didn’t come easy from either of us. He asked me if I wanted him to go with me to the hospital. He was willing to leave work and meet me there, but there was one problem: His co-workers had already planned a surprise office birthday party for him, which was starting in just a few minutes. Tomorrow, April 3rd, was his birthday.

In just a matter of an hour or so, I was most likely going to find out I had lost our baby, the baby we never planned on conceiving but whose “loss” had been grieved for by John (and therefore by me) for years. If that wasn’t heartwrenching enough, I was going to find out our baby was gone the day before my husband’s 31st birthday. Right in the middle of his birthday party, as his life was being celebrated less than a mile away, I would be finding out that the life inside of me – the life I had tried so hard the past few weeks to convince myself didn’t exist, the life that my husband so desperately wished would have come so easily for us – was gone.

Due to the party, and all the efforts of his co-workers, we (well, I) decided it’d be best if he stay at work for now. He would go to some of the party and leave toward the end, so he didn’t have to make a scene. He’d meet me at the hospital just as soon as he could. He tried to comfort me by telling me we didn’t know for sure, that maybe there was another reason my uterus felt the way it did. I didn’t buy it, though, and I don’t think he did, either. When he asked me for the third time if I wanted him to join me, and I declined, we said “I love you” and hung up. There was nothing left to say at that point. It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to be there. Of course I did. No woman wants to sit in stirrups alone in that situation, or maybe just this woman didn’t want to do so. I guess you could say, though, as much as I wanted John to be there, the part of me that vows (right or wrong) to emotionally protect the ones I love was more important to me than his presence in that moment.

Finding out from medical professionals that life will never be the same was the life to which I was accustomed, not him. I had been in this position several times before during pivotal moments in my life, he hadn’t. Right or wrong, I felt I had to do this alone. Though no part of me would want to tell him, once everything was confirmed, I wanted him to hear it from me, not a well-meaning doctor who would deliver the news as delicately as possible but had absolutely no emotional connection whatsoever to the meaning behind their words – their words, which if they were what I was expecting, would shatter my husband’s soul.

I parked my car, walked up to the hospital’s entrance, and found my way to Main Radiology. I checked in and was called back after several minutes. As I, still cramping and in pain, was being led right and left through a long series of hallways, to the left of me a man was being wheeled the opposite way by two women. Unlike all of the other transported patients I had seen on my way, this man’s face pierced my soul. Why? Well, this man appeared to be….dead. Now, maybe he wasn’t, but the fact that those who were transporting him appeared on a very distinct mission and weren’t making eye contact with anyone, the fact he had absolutely no IVs (or evidence of IVs) or other medical equipment to speak of with him, and also the fact that he looked stiff as a board and placed very strangely in the bed, make me believe he very much so was. I will never forget that man’s face as long as I live or how I felt next.

As I dutifully walked behind the lady who was leading me to my next stop, I couldn’t help but fight the tears which were forming in my eyes. The walk we were taking now felt like “The Green Mile,” the walk that one takes when they’re walking to their death. No, death wasn’t waiting for me at the end of our walk. As I unconsciously found my hands on my stomach, though, I knew that death had already come for the life inside of me, that consequently I was about to experience an emotional death for which I wasn’t prepared. As much as I still wanted to deny it wasn’t true, I felt the inevitable in the marrow of my bones; it was a feeling I never want to experience ever, ever again.

I was led to a room to wait – again. Someone would come get me “soon” for my ultrasound. There was a bathroom just down the hall, if I needed it. Only one other person, a gentleman, was in the room with me. An old, fuzzy, tube television broadcasting March Madness highlights on Sportscenter sat high in the corner. The only time the man and I spoke is when I asked him to let them know I was in the restroom if they called my name. I’m sure he had a story, too, but I didn’t have the emotional energy to care. When I returned, I stared blankly at my phone, mindlessly checking Facebook and occasionally messaging my husband, who was waiting to go to his birthday party. I felt numb – on the inside and out. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t breathe.

Finally, someone called me back and led me, once again, to another room. I was thankful to be paired with an extremely sweet lady, who inevitably knew what was going on. She had my orders, after all. I’m sure I was just one of hundreds of people in my position with whom she’s dealt before, but for the time we were together, only I mattered. As was protocol, she reminded me that at no point during either ultrasound could she tell me any conclusions. She was simply there to administer to the test. The doctor would look at the scans and write out the report. Dr. Sharp would be called, and then she would call me back. I wasn’t to leave the hospital until Dr. Sharp got a hold of me. She suspected the process would take about an hour to an hour and a half in its entirety.

We began the first ultrasound and did our best to make small talk. As she used the ultrasound probe on my stomach, we talked about all the things I always say I hate talking about, all the “shallow” things, like the weather, that people hide behind when they don’t know what to say. She asked about my marriage, what I like to do in my free time, my job, etc. I obliged and asked her the same. I don’t know if she purposefully did it, or maybe it was just by God’s grace, but the monitor was pointed away from me the whole time.

After I changed out of my clothes and into a hospital gown, we then moved on to the next ultrasound, which was much more evasive and uncomfortable. Again, like a good professional, the ultrasound technician did her best to make the circumstances the least awkward she could.

Because I didn’t know what else to do while I lied there in the stirrups completely exposed and vulnerable, I decided to bare my soul, too. I told her about how I was born with cystic fibrosis and had a double lung transplant at 19, how we had always had plans to adopt, until just about a month ago we were approached about surrogacy but then found out we couldn’t afford it, how I then started strangely feeling pregnant right after that, had fought with myself for over a week about it but been told just yesterday I was never pregnant, and then today that I most likely had been, which is why she was now examining me. As I took her through step-by-step through my life, especially the past several weeks, it began to hit me – My life thus far read like a fiction book which was “too good to be true.” Remarkably, though, none of this was fiction. No, amazingly all of it was the truth, the almost unbelievable, even for me at that point. 

She completed the second ultrasound and told me I could get dressed. It was over. When I returned to the room, the technician was still finishing up and asked if I wanted to see some of the images she had just taken. I was admittedly curious, so I accepted her invitation.

For the first time ever, I saw my uterus. Though I’m not trained in reading ultrasounds, and my friendly technician wasn’t giving me any helpful hints (though I may have tried to get it out of her), I didn’t see any sign of life. I didn’t see any tumors or cysts, either.

No one was going to have to confirm to me what was going on. I already knew, just as deep down I already had known for days. In that moment, looking at that screen, all I saw was an empty, empty grave. In that moment, looking at that screen, part of me died, too.

I was left for several minutes alone with my thoughts until she returned to tell me that my doctor would be giving me a call soon. The technician said her warm goodbyes and indicated it was time to leave. I was reminded not to leave the hospital and shown the way out through the tunnels I’d walked through just an hour or so before. Before I left the Main Radiology department, though, I made a strange request.  I asked for a copy of the images. Though in that moment I didn’t have official confirmation, I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt my womb was a grave. Despite that, I still asked for the CD. I asked for the proof.  Though obviously perplexed by my request, the receptionist made sure I got what I wanted and said her goodbyes.

Still waiting to hear from my doctor, I had just walked into the hospital’s Starbucks, where I planned on drowning my sorrows in a $5 coffee, when John called me. He was on his way. He’d be there in matter of five minutes or so to comfort me and wait with me. I wouldn’t have to be alone much longer. I hung up from my call with him and, not two minutes later while perusing the menu, my phone rang again. It was a restricted number, but I had no doubt who it was – it was my doctor. It was time to learn the truth.

I answered the phone, took my purse and my CD and walked out of Starbucks to a small, secluded seating area. The walk to the seating area was a mere 30 feet, but my feet could barely get me there. My body felt numb and unresponsive. My heart was beating out of my chest. I managed to get to a chair and sit down. They always say it’s best to be seated in times like this.

I sat, and I heard:
“I have good news and bad news. The good news is that your ultrasound showed absolutely no abnormalities. There were no cysts, growths, or tumors. Things looked great. Unfortunately, though, that means you’ve definitely had a miscarriage. There is no other answer to everything. I’m so sorry, Amber.”

I responded, several times, like this:
“Are you sure? Couldn’t it have been something else? What about the HCG numbers yesterday? There has to be another explanation. Maybe I’ve blown all of this out of proportion.”

Each time, Dr. Sharp responded back:
“I’m sorry, Amber. No, there’s no other explanation. You’ve had a miscarriage.”

As we finished our conversation, and I looked out the window with tears in my eyes, I saw a familiar sight. John. He was walking up to the same entrance I had used just over an hour earlier. He was walking up to hear the truth, and like I wanted, he was going to hear it from me. Unlike I wanted, however, I was going to have to tell him our baby, the life we had created together, was gone.

I was in the process of hanging up the phone just as John was coming through the automatic doors. As I said goodbye to Dr. Sharp, I rounded the corner, forgetting my CD on the chair, and John’s tear-stained eyes met mine. I didn’t have to say anything at that point. He knew. I forced myself, though, to say it, to say words I never could have imagined I would ever have to say to my husband, words that I could barely get out of my mouth, words that still haunt me to this day. 

“I’ve had a miscarriage. I’m so sorry, Baby.”

My thoughts on our miscarriage, and my intense desire for the Lord to use it, are coming soon.

*Please note: The next series may not start for several days. Thank you to all of those who are praying for us, as well as to those who have reached out, even if I haven’t had the time, or emotional energy, to respond. Even if I haven’t responded, I am praying for you, too. We love you all and covet your prayers and support during this difficult time.  “The LORD gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD,” (Job 1:21).

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Filed under Adoption, Baby, cystic fibrosis, Life, Marriage, Ministry, Miscarriage, Purpose, Sanctification, Surrogacy

Why We Halted Our Adoption: The Truth – Part 12

It’s amazing how much life can change in a matter of a few years.
…..in a matter of a few months.
…..in a matter of a few weeks.
…..in a matter of a few days.
…..in a matter of a few hours.
…..in a matter of a few minutes.
…..or even in a matter of a few short seconds.

Let us review: Why did we halt our adoption?

The simplest answer is because we cannot afford to pursue adoption and surrogacy at once.
*For more on why we before 3 weeks ago we never dreamed surrogacy would be an option,  and how we were both finally at peace with moving forward with our adoption plans, please see Part 1.
*For more on the Facebook message I received 3 weeks ago from practically a perfect stranger that would rock anyone’s world, please see Part 2.
*For more on our surprisingly spirited 1st reaction to that message, please see Part 3.
*For more on the questions we both had, and the emotional struggle I went through, once the surrogacy option was presented to us, please see Part 4.
*For more on the initial, God-filled meeting I had with the woman who strongly felt God may very well be calling her to be our surrogate, please see Part 5.
*For more on the extremely disheartening news we received the day after I met with the woman who appeared to be an angel sent by God to carry our biological child, please see Part 6.
*For more on the strange, but strong, intuition I was feeling just a little over a week after our dream of surrogacy seemed to be slipping from our hands, please see Part 7.
*For more on all the signs that just weren’t going away and ultimately pointing to my intuition being most likely true, please see Part 8.
*For more on the dramatic turn of events that took place one early morning, please see Part 9.
*For more on the painful drive, and then wait at the hospital, I endured while waiting to hear if my intuition was true, please see Part 10.
*For more on the internal conflict I felt when I found out my intuition was wrong, please see Part 11.
________________________________________________________________________________________________
It was almost time.
It was almost time to move far, far away from the past week or so of my life. It was almost time to stop the madness and ignore every part of me that “swore” I was pregnant and now miscarrying. It was almost time to forsake every part that couldn’t accept the truth and was now seeking a 2nd opinion because “God” told me to get it. It was almost time to make a pact with myself to never, ever let myself get this way again. It was almost time for my torment to end, one way or the other. It was thankfully almost time.

I walked into the doctor’s office with a game plan. As I said before, I told myself that no matter what she said, I had to walk out of the office believing it. If she said I was never pregnant, as the rational part of me suspected she would, I had to move on. I had to move on for my good, the good of our marriage, and the good of our future children, however they were going to come into the world. I had to let it go. After all the stress of the past month, I desperately needed – and wanted – to get emotionally healthy again.

I desperately needed to get back to a place where I was myself again. In that moment, though, driving to my second doctor’s appointment in 24 hours, that place of serenity seemed so far, far away – almost like a mirage in a very, very dry desert.

After the longest month (in particular day) of my life, I knew if I didn’t find the sanity for which my soul longed – and soon – I was going to be in a heap of trouble. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever recover, to be honest. As one who finds great comfort in the ability to not only be in touch with my emotions, but also being able to articulate extremely well to myself – and to others – exactly how I am feeling, I wanted nothing to do with the conflicted soul I had become. I wanted nothing to do with the person who was so afraid she was insane, and consequently didn’t want others to whom she was close coming to the same conclusion, that she was telling them that it was now my transplant team’s idea that I may have indeed had a miscarriage, when it was my conviction – and solely mine – all along. It was my decision – and solely mine to seek out a second opinion, because after all, part of me felt God had made it very clear that was what I needed to do.

It was the same dreaded cycle over and over again, hour after hour: one minute I felt like “God” was speaking to me, and the next I felt I needed serious mental help for ever thinking that way. “Tortured” doesn’t begin to describe my emotional state during the previous 24 hours. If the past month wasn’t traumatic enough for me, the past day had driven me dangerously close to the edge of an emotional and mental breakdown…or maybe I was already deep in the bottomless pit of despair and further gone than I thought.

I wasn’t in a good place, but I knew the end was just minutes away.
I had arrived and checked-in.
The wait to be called back seemed like a lifetime…and then some.
Finally, my name was called.
It was time – again.

I followed the nurse who had called my name, giving myself a pep talk the whole way back.
“OK, Amber. Once you get in there, you’re going to go through everything in detail. She’s going to listen, tell you what you already know, and then you can leave. This time, though, you’re going to leave actually accepting what you’ve been told. You’re going to go work and forget all of this. Got it? Good. Let’s go.”

The friendly nurse took my vitals in one room, and then proceeded to lead me to an exam room in the back.
I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

Without any hesitation in her voice, the nurse calmly said, “OK, here’s your cup and your gown. Go to the bathroom; you know what to do with the cup. When you’re done, leave it on the toilet, and then put your gown on and go back to your room. I talked to Dr. Sharp, and she is going to want to do a pelvic exam.”

Wait. A pelvic exam? I’m just here to talk,” I said to myself.
I was startled, to say the least.
There was no time to argue, though.
An empty cup and a drafty gown were waiting for me.

I followed the nurse’s instructions, returned to my room, and waited for the only one on earth who could save me from myself, my doctor. My socked feet hanging off the exam table weren’t the only thing dangling at that point. As minutes passed, I felt my grip on my sanity loosening, too. Thankfully, Dr. Sharp didn’t take too long to come in to get our pow-wow started. As she took her place, I found peace in the fact that I was just a few more minutes away from the past week-and-a-half of my life, and the emotional torture with which it came, to be forgotten. Forever.

“OK, let’s start at the beginning,” she comfortingly said.

It took only five minutes or so to walk her back through the past week-and-a-half of my life. I candidly spoke with her about the intuition I’d had for days that I just couldn’t shake, the signs (all of them, in order) that only made me more strongly believe I had indeed been pregnant, the pain I had experienced just yesterday morning that led me to believe I was either miscarrying or the baby was in trouble, the first doctor’s appointment I had which , after having a HCG blood test, ended with me being told I had never been pregnant after all, and the strong, internal conflict I had been feeling since. As I re-told the story, I left no stone unturned. I had to get it all out, to force myself to hear myself say it all again, to force myself to hear someone else tell me – once again – what I was already told before.  It was time to accept the inevitable. It was time to move on, once and for all.

As I waited for her to process all I had just told her, and consequently formulate a comforting-yet-firm rebuttal to my argument (much like what I had been given the day before), I prepared myself for what life looked like when I walked out, for how I was going to get passed all of this, for how I was going to forgive myself in time for letting myself go this far.

During those seconds of waiting, I swore to myself that once I (once again) heard the truth, and the door to that office closed behind me, the door to all of this would be closed – for good – too. I reminded myself I had to go back to focusing on the real options (adoption and surrogacy) before us on our difficult, ever-changing journey toward parenthood. We were already going through a hard enough season in our lives without me adding to it. No, no matter how “sure” I felt “God” was telling me otherwise, it was over. There was simply no time, or emotional energy, left to focus on a child who was merely a figment of my imagination.

Once a few seconds had passed, and I was done with my second internal pep talk since I had arrived, I focused my attention back to Dr. Sharp. As she hesitated to speak, her earth-shattering, yet much-needed answer was written as clear as day all over her face.

Before she even uttered a word, I knew.
“Based on all your symptoms, and my experience, I’m pretty confident you actually did have a miscarriage…”

She kept talking, but I couldn’t hear a word. Part 13 to come.

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Filed under Adoption, Baby, cystic fibrosis, grace, Life, Marriage, Surrogacy

Why We Halted Our Adoption: The Conflict – Part 11

“Is it over yet?”
You aren’t the only one thinking this story is almost unbelievable. This God-ordained story, though, is far from over. God had more to reveal to us, and now for me to continue to reveal to you. There is a method behind my madness, one I will reveal in time. No part of me has meant to deceive you along the way; please know that. I am simply sharing the story, in its absolute entirety in chronological order, as I lived it and felt it in real time. The decision to do so is sincerely based upon a strong conviction that this is to what I’m called for the Kingdom’s sake for such a time as this. 

Let us review: Why did we halt our adoption?

The simplest answer is because we cannot afford to pursue adoption and surrogacy at once.
*For more on why we before 3 weeks ago we never dreamed surrogacy would be an option,  and how we were both finally at peace with moving forward with our adoption plans, please see Part 1.
*For more on the Facebook message I received 3 weeks ago from practically a perfect stranger that would rock anyone’s world, please see Part 2.
*For more on our surprisingly spirited 1st reaction to that message, please see Part 3.
*For more on the questions we both had, and the emotional struggle I went through, once the surrogacy option was presented to us, please see Part 4.
*For more on the initial, God-filled meeting I had with the woman who strongly felt God may very well be calling her to be our surrogate, please see Part 5.
*For more on the extremely disheartening news we received the day after I met with the woman who appeared to be an angel sent by God to carry our biological child, please see Part 6.
*For more on the strange, but strong, intuition I was feeling just a little over a week after our dream of surrogacy seemed to be slipping from our hands, please see Part 7.
*For more on all the signs that just weren’t going away and ultimately pointing to my intuition being most likely true, please see Part 8.
*For more on the dramatic turn of events that took place one early morning, please see Part 9.
**For more on the painful drive, and then wait at the hospital, I endured while waiting to hear if my intuition was true, please see Part 10.
________________________________________________________________________________________________
Crazy.
That’s what I was almost convinced I was when I woke up on Tuesday, April 2nd.
Almost.

After all the stress of the previous weeks, then being startled awake the day before in a fashion I never had before, then having to drive myself almost 2 hours away to endure the long wait to hear if I was indeed pregnant, miscarrying or just plain insane, and then having to come home (still in pain) to the news I wasn’t one of the first two, I was emotionally spent. No, I wasn’t just spent. I was done.  So done.

I woke up to the sight of more blood and a feeling I couldn’t shake. Once again the questions that start with “why” filled my mind.

“Why do I still feel somewhat pregnant, if I never was?”
“Why do I have this sinking feeling that I’m miscarrying?”
“Why am I losing my mind?”

“Why can’t You just leave me alone, Lord?!”

I had to be at work at 1:00pm, so thankfully I had the morning to try to pull myself together – physically and emotionally. As I sat on the couch with my computer on my lap, like I do every morning, once again I turned to a familiar friend the past several days…

Google.

It had started unbeknownst to anyone (including John) days prior to our trip over Easter. Every little new symptom that popped up caused me to race to my phone and type in the Google search bar, “_____ early pregnancy symptom” or ” _____ + implantation” or “____ + first trimester.” Over and over again. I had no shame. I was curious and knew the World Wide Web would provide me concrete answers a wide variety of speculations. While we were gone on our trip, John asked me to have my phone on just when we needed directions. He, and rightfully so, didn’t want to compete with texts/Google chat messages/Facebook for my attention on a trip that was supposed to be all about us. For the most part, I upheld his request. I tried really, really hard to honor it, anyway. My unknown Google obsession had been fed so much leading up to the trip, though, that it was hard to tame my hunger for more data on why I was not insane but instead with child.

In a span of a week to a week-and-a-half, I’d probably made no less than 25 searches…a day. 😉
I clearly needed Googleholics Annonymous.
And I was just getting started.

The night before, like I had so many other nights, I once again had turned to my “all-knowing” friend, the Google search bar. Unlike the supposed “all-knowing” pregnancy test I had taken on Easter morning, I knew Google wouldn’t let me down. I knew my emotional “salvation” was out there amongst its trillions and trillions of pages. I just had to find it by honing in my searches, by helping my friend help me. I couldn’t expect Google to do all the work. I needed to get savvy with my searches – and fast. My phone was inundated with search after search for hours on end before I went to bed that night, and now that I was awake, the search for my answers was on again.

“___  + HCG levels + miscarriage”
“____ + signs of early miscarriage”
“___+ early miscarriage”
“____ + 4 weeks pregnant  + miscarrying”
“____ + 5 weeks pregnant + miscarrying”
“____ + non-detectible miscarriage”
“____ + false HCG blood test”

You name it, I Googled it.

Now obviously I’m not saying that one should turn to Google before the Lord for their answers. I’m just being real about what went on in my mind and my heart during that very confusing, painful (emotionally and physically) time.  Of course I turned to the Lord first when I wasn’t sure what “up” was from “down.” I knew, even if I found the answers I was looking for on the Internet (which most likely I wouldn’t), Google would never provide an adequate answer which could take away the ache in my heart that begged the answer to the question, “Why?”

“Why couldn’t I just accept what medical professionals told me?”
“Why was my sanity unraveling and I, if I wasn’t already there, on the brink of an emotional breakdown?”

I spent much of that morning in prayer, begging the Father to allow me to accept the news I was given the day before. I begged Him to show me His will. I begged Him to let life return to the way it was a month ago. I begged him to let us go back to when we were going to adopt, when our quest to parenthood had only one logical answer. Most of all, I begged Him to give me the peace that passes all understanding –  no matter our circumstances – that He promises His children in His Word (Phil 4.7).

Sitting on the couch that morning, I got, at least for a few moments, the peace for which my soul was longing. I didn’t, though, like with what it came – a strange prompting.“They’re wrong. Call Dr. Sharp. Go see her.”

The idea of seeing Dr. Sharp (our PCP) had already been brought up earlier that morning by the same friend who had known since the week before I thought there was a good chance I could be pregnant. In her mind, getting a 2nd opinion by Dr. Sharp, a doctor who has OB experience, would help me better accept the news I was given yesterday, since I obviously wasn’t at peace with what I was told.  I understood her point but wasn’t planning on acting on it, to be honest. I didn’t want to sit in front of another doctor,  bear my soul and be kindly told, “No, you actually aren’t – and never have been – pregnant. You’ve just been through a lot, and your body is naturally reacting to the stress. Go home and rest. You’ll feel better soon.”

No, thank you. I was good. I’d felt dumb enough the day before. I had no desire to repeat history. No matter how hard I tried, though, I couldn’t shake the way I felt in that moment, for the past 24 hours. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was having a miscarriage, specifically a “chemical” miscarriage. I couldn’t shake the feeling we not only had conceived life, but that the baby was no longer with me. I couldn’t shake the conviction I was feeling to dig deeper into things.

So, I called up her office and made an appointment.
I told myself that no matter what she said, I had to walk out of the office believing it. If she said I was never pregnant, as the rational part of me suspected she would, I had to move on. I had to move on for my good, the good of our marriage, and the good of our future children, however they were going to come into the world. I had to let it go. After all the stress of the past month, I desperately needed – and wanted – to get emotionally healthy again.

I let work know that I was going to be a little late, got ready and once again headed off to hear the truth, probably again.

Though I was hoping it would, life wasn’t about to get any easier.

Part 12 – and a definite answer – to come.

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