At the church my husband and I attend, there is a common belief that because God is a good God, He only gives good gifts to His children. Sometimes, though, God’s version of “good” is more in line with our eventual benefit rather than our present happiness. Chase and I are learning this hard truth right now.
On April 11, 2015, Chase and I found out I was pregnant. Five (ha) pregnancy tests confirmed it! At that moment, I felt like I became a mom. I started dreaming about creating a nursery, and all of the mom-type things I was looking forward to. We told a few friends and immediate family and allowed them to be excited with us. I began having super crazy dreams (hormones), drank way less coffee, and began resting more purposely. As soon as I knew of the baby, my body was no longer mine and I did everything I knew and read to do to provide a safe home for our baby.
Even though I had our baby inside me, Chase quickly became the emotional and physical support for our little threesome. He took a second job to provide extra income while I did my best to rest and be healthy. I had nothing to offer except the excitement and expectant hope of a safe place for our baby to grow.
Our baby did grow.
And then it didn’t.
Several weeks later, we found out we weren’t going to see our child in this life.
We had a miscarriage. Our baby died.
It took two weeks before we knew for sure. Those two weeks were filled with doctor’s appointments, painful ultrasounds, bleeding and giving of blood, and so much waiting.
After the miscarriage, I didn’t know where I fit anymore. I felt like a wall had been built on either side of me. Mothers with living children were on one side and newly married brides without the scar of child loss were on the other side. I was stuck, in the middle, unsure of what category I belonged in. I had no physical proof that I was a mother. The question of what am I? nestled deep in my heart, surrounded by the scars of not being able to hold my child in my arms.
Sometimes, I experienced the pain of being reminded that I wasn’t yet a mother by people who would consider themselves “pro-life.” They would call the fetus a “baby” but then encourage me that one day I would become a “mother.” Isn’t it assumed that a baby has parents? Wasn’t I already a mother?
Mothers make sacrifices for their children. Although opportunities were fleeting, I made whatever sacrifices I needed to. I gave up caffeine, endured sleepless nights (all the while teaching), walked, took it easy, and ate more healthfully. Then, during the complications, I had to miss work, I lost a lot of blood, I gave a lot of blood, I took medicine, I got a shot, I got poked and prodded in places that had never been poked and prodded until I was aching, not just from the actual miscarriage, but from the tests and emotional turmoil of not knowing for sure if my baby was living, and then knowing for sure that it no longer was.
And, all I had to show for it was a sore belly and a broken heart. And, the reminder that I wasn’t like “normal” moms and that my baby was gone.
I regret not sharing the news of my pregnancy right away. I regret that so many of my friends and relatives are hearing about Chase’s and my baby for the first time today. I regret that I didn’t allow my child to be known, for however long the Lord allowed. I regret that I listened to the world’s standard of when to announce pregnancy. Now that I am announcing a miscarriage, it all seems bizarre and terribly ironic.
Friends and family, there is a little Culbertson. I wish it was here on earth, but it isn’t. Our baby is in the arms of Jesus, of whom I am so incredibly jealous. My heart misses our little one and the absolute JOY we had in its life instead of the absolute despair we now feel in its absence.
I wish I could say that I have accepted this trial with grace. I haven’t. I have doubted God and his love for me. I have wondered if it was punishment for previous sin. I have wrestled with the fear of trying to conceive again — what if we lose another baby? Through it all, my husband, my faithful and strong best friend, has been so patient and loving. Together, we are trying to accept that this has happened and trying to trust that God has good things for us as His children. But, guys, it is hard. It is really hard, and sometimes I am not good at trusting. However, I know that God will carry us through this new “normal” stage of life and through our new “normal” days.
The day my custodian found out, she gave me a big hug, with tears. Her only words were “that baby was just too special for God to give up quite yet. But, he sure does love to make up to us the heartache we have to go through. Just you wait, he’s gonna give you such a sweet blessing some day. Maybe even two!” It’s words like these, however sappy, that bring comfort. To know that it wasn’t a punishment or that it wasn’t because I did something wrong, but because God, somehow, allowed it. But, also, that he won’t allow it be in vain. That our story will be used and that our precious baby’s life isn’t wasted.
April 11, 2015 will be a day I always remember. It holds the moment when I first knew of our baby. It is a day my baby was living. It’s when Chase’s and my perspective on life changed.
I do believe God will give Chase and me living children. Since our wedding day, we have witnessed more rainbows and double rainbows than I have seen in my lifetime. In only 9 months, God seems to be showing out by giving us rainbows on our honeymoon, vacations, and random days throughout the year. God’s promise for provision and safety is shown through a rainbow. I believe that our next baby is our rainbow baby – our promise from God that he will provide and that He is here and that, though there may be storms, something beautiful will break through.
I just wanted you to know. We just wanted our baby to be known.
If you have struggled with miscarriage, please know that you are not alone. If you need encouragement and support we are more than happy to be that friend for you.
For more information, encouragement, and perspective on miscarriage, these have great insight:
Rebekah and Chase