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BARRENNESS, LOSS, HEALING, AND HOPE PART 3

Click HERE for Part 1 and HERE for Part 2.  TRIGGER WARNING: Death, Miscarriage, Pregnancy Loss, D & C.

Fast forward one week.  4:45am on Saturday April 5th, the bleeding began.  Exactly nine weeks pregnant.  I had minimal cramping but we ended up calling the on-call MD later that morning.  We were told to come in immediately if it got any worse.  Since it didn't change, we waited a day.  The next morning I was bleeding more heavily and in excruciating pain that I was on all fours leaning over the side of the bed.  My husband called the on-call MD again and we were told to head straight to the E.R.  I knew what was happening.

The rest of that day was sort of a blur.

They did some tests. An ultrasound.

The ultrasound revealed the yolk sac but the technician couldn't detect the baby.  She commented that it didn't mean for sure it wasn't in there, but that we just couldn't see it.  What she could see though was something neither one of us were expecting...and they were, rather, alarming.  Not one, not two, not three, but four fibroids...at least that she could see. She said there could be many more that she couldn't see as they tend to cluster together.  Fibroids, what are those?  Tumors she said.  The largest was the size of a large potato, she said.

You're kidding me right???  Where did they come from?  How long have they been growing?  Are they cancerous?

The ultrasound above is just one fibroid.  This particular one is attached to the uterus via a stock, meaning that it is growing on the outside of the uterus.  The three remaining are growing in the muscle lining of the uterus.  Now let's back up.  You ask me, "this one is how big?  And you couldn't feel it?  How could you have not known something this large was growing inside of you??"  That is a great question.  I did know something was growing inside of me and it was our baby.  What I didn't know was the "bump" down there which was visibly protruding now, wasn't actually the baby, but indeed the largest of the four fibroids. What I learned later, was that due to my fibroids, my uterus was enlarged to a size 14 week pregnancy.

There were so many waves of emotions.  At times I was in a fog.  I remember being wheeled down the hallway looking up at those fluorescent lights wondering if my tears would ever dry up.  Not wanting to make eye contact with anyone as the news was becoming real.  The doctor confirmed our fears.  A miscarriage.  My husband sat next to me and held my hand.

Both doctors were kind and caring...gentle in their words and actions.  I will be forever grateful for those nurses too.  They had eyes of compassion...having endured a miscarriage themselves, they knew how to care for me...knowing exactly what to say...and what not to say.

I was sent home to deliver (they gave me medication that would induce the labor) and was told what to expect that night.  I was instructed to come back the following day to confirm the miscarriage was complete and do more tests.

From what I understand, most women don't have pain while miscarrying...maybe mild pain like cramping from your period type of pain.  I however, had massive tumors inside my uterus and I can't begin to tell you the physical pain I endured.  Unable to keep down the pain medications and on all fours, I cried out to the Lord.  I was so weak and tired.  The pain and contractions continued for hours and hours.  I didn't sleep that night.

As instructed, I went into the hospital the next day physically present, but not really there.  It was surreal.  The entire process.  They verified medical history.  I signed a bunch of forms.  The staff continued to work as usual like a well oiled machine as I was in another world of my own sifting through the fog of emotions and trying to find my way.

There was still too much bleeding.  It was dangerous and the doctor was concerned.  I was scheduled for an emergency D&C (Dilation and Curretage) surgery.  One of our pastors graciously took time out late in the evening to visit us in the hospital and pray.

As I was wheeled into the operating room I remember looking up at the tiled ceiling. The room was very sterile, white walls, with lots of bright fluorescent lights above me.  I dared not to make eye contact with anyone as I already couldn't control my tears.

A nurse gently squeezed my hand.  I cried again.

I thought of my husband alone in the waiting room.  I cried more.

I imagined my family, completely unaware of what was happening to their daughter, sister, aunt, niece...I couldn't stop crying.

The next thing I knew, I was in recovery resting and trying to get my bearings.

The following day we called my parents and told them the news.  They didn't know we had gotten pregnant because we had planned to wait to tell them at 11 weeks once we saw them in person.  We called more family and friends and we asked for prayer.

At times, I began to wonder if I had any tears left.  But there were more.  There were always more.  They would come quickly and were wild.  I'd catch my breath for a moment trying to grasp some self-control, but the tears kept coming.  The death of our baby.  The death of a dream.  My heart was broken.  I felt alone.  And empty.  Never again would this baby and I share the same space.  Mother and child.  I will always wonder who our baby would have been...

But I was never alone.  My husband never left my side and cared for me throughout the entire process.  And God never left me.  He was always there.  I never doubted God's goodness or His faithfulness, and I never doubted that He knew what was in store for us.  He heard every spoken and unspoken prayer.  This experience was not a surprise to God.

A few days after the surgery and still very much doped up on narcotics, I visited with my gynecologist about the fibroids and he checked to make sure I hadn't developed any infections post-surgery.  The bleeding continued for almost two more weeks, as I passed a lot of blood clots.  For the next week and a half (while off of work), I wasn't able to drive or lift anything.  Once I returned to work, I was on very light duty doing paperwork at my desk for the next couple of weeks.

One of our pastors at our church stopped by to pray with us one evening and gave us a resource to read during this difficult time (I highly recommend I'll Hold You In Heaven written by Jack Hayford).  The book is really more of a pamphlet which answers a lot of questions that one might have if they recently went through a loss whether that be a miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, or an early infant death.

I share our experience because I know that God will create beauty from these ashes.  The grieving has only just begun but I am believing that God will not only heal my body and these tumors, but He will heal my broken heart.  Our broken hearts.  It will come in time.  And with prayer.

As painful as this is and as tender and as fragile as I am, I will continue to write.  The struggle is part of the story.  God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling.  And I am believing that there will be peace and joy in the morning.  Whether that comes tomorrow morning or a year from now, I will receive it.

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