April 29, 2011

Pressing On Part 3

Today we have part 3 of Julie's story. If you missed the first two parts you can find part 1 here and part 2 here.


Six more months passed.

Because no medical reasons had been found for the last two miscarriages, we stepped out in faith again, after much prayer and waiting, to have another baby. Again, the Lord opened my womb and I was pregnant in April.  We made our announcement on our parents’ anniversaries-which both happened to be on June 6. They were excited, but with some hesitation due to the recent loss. It was understandable, as Josh and I had been through the same emotions.  But we really thought everything was going to be fine this time.  What were the chances that we would have another miscarriage? 

Everything was going well throughout the summer. Two of our friends were also expecting around the same time and we were looking forward to having our babies grow up together.  In July, we heard a good strong heartbeat at the doctor’s office.  But that would be the last time.  Within 3 days of that appointment, another life quietly slipped away, unbeknownst to any of us.  It wouldn’t be for another 3 ½ weeks until I went in for another appointment that we would learn this information. After having some cramping, I went in a few days early to see my doctor.  I figured she would tell me to drink a little more water and try to stay off my feet for awhile.  As she began looking for the heartbeat, I heard the same words from 10 months earlier, “Where are you hiding baby?”  I thought, “This is surreal. I feel like I’ve already done this before-Dr. R’s saying the same things, but this can’t be real. It just can’t be happening again.”  Sure enough, within a few more minutes, I was looking at our baby on a large screen, but seeing no movement or heartbeat. I was supposed to be 17 weeks pregnant. 

At that moment, I went into “auto-pilot.”  I had done this before, so I knew what to expect.  This time though, my emotions seemed to be hiding from me.  The tears and sadness were different, more for how others were going to react, rather than for myself.  I tried to praise the Lord, but all I really wanted to do was be alone.  I didn’t understand why we were losing another child, but I was trusting in the Lord for the reason.   We couldn’t even call our parents that day.   We felt numb.  In shock. Depleted.  And I hadn’t even delivered the baby yet.

But God was so good to us during the loss.  On August 10, the day of our 8th anniversary, I was going to the hospital to have another baby that I wouldn’t get to bring home.  I was so thankful that my doctor was on call, and that the nurses I had come to know were tending to my needs.  Two of our pastors, including Chris Fritz, spent some time with us at the hospital.  The baby came quickly, after about 4 hours of labor.  My doctor stayed past her shift to be there with us.  I had a hunch with this pregnancy that this baby was a boy, and I was right.  We named him Matthew Levi.  He was smaller than Haddie had been and his color was grey.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  I cried for the loss of this baby and the dreams we had for him.  Another baby of ours was now safe in the arms of God.  To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

I continued to pray, “Lord, what are we supposed to learn from this?  What did we miss the last time around?  Please don’t let us miss the lesson you are trying to teach us.” 

The placenta was delivered 15 hours later, early the next morning. I was so weak from losing a lot of blood.  Somehow, by the grace of God, I was able to make it home that afternoon.  But by the evening, I received a call that told me the ordeal was not over yet. Not all of the placenta had been removed, and I was at risk for continued blood loss or infection. I would still have to have a D & C to remove the rest of the placenta.  At this point, I really began to think that I could not survive a surgery because I was so weak. After a lot of tears, I finally accepted the thought that I might die before the week ended.  And yet, there was a peace in my spirit about that.  I knew that I would be in the presence of the Lord, should He decide it was my time to go.  I knew that my faith was in Christ and His finished work on the cross that took my sins away.  I knew that it was He who gives me eternal life, and I found myself longing to be with my babies who never knew sin. I was ready to go. 

I meditated on the Psalms a lot that week. The Lord helped me to remember that He is my Rock, my Redeemer, my Good Shepherd, my Strong Tower, my Refuge, my very present Help in time of need.  He again provided truth for us to meditate on when things seemed so unclear.

I awoke from surgery and immediately realized I was not in Heaven. God still had a purpose for my life here on Earth.  I would still know the joy of being a wife to Josh and a mother to Lydia and Isaac.   

God was gracious to answer our question, “What are we supposed to learn from this experience?”  In due time, we learned about a genetic blood clotting disorder that I have, called Factor V (five) Leiden.  This was most likely what caused the babies to die-a blood clot that stopped the flow of blood to the baby. In God’s sovereignty, He showed us something that we otherwise would never have known.  He didn’t have to, but we are so thankful that He did. We have closure on the past, and information for the future.  We also realized that our two healthy children were an even bigger miracle, considering that this condition existed through my pregnancies with each of them. 

Looking back, we have seen how God prepared us with our first miscarriage, so early into the pregnancy, to be ready for the second and third miscarriages. We have seen how His hand was moving and guiding us each time to be surrounded by the people who would show us His love and compassion.  We experienced a peace that passes all understanding and strength that comes through Christ to face some of our most difficult challenges as a married couple. We have been blessed with two healthy children that we are striving to raise for the glory of God. We have counted it all joy when we have fallen into these various trials, knowing that our faith has been tested.  We have gotten a new glimpse into the character of God.  And we have been blessed.  

1 comment:

  1. It has been hard to hear Julie and Josh relive the three pregnancies and then ultimate loss. I too thank God for the miracle of birth of my niece Lydia and nephew Isaac. Love and Prayers always...Nita