In February, we found out we were pregnant. We had been trying for a few months and were over the moon about it. Around 8 weeks, we were able to hear the heart beat and confirm that all was well with little baby Lape. We kept our cool, though. We announced to most of our friends and family around 9 weeks and were excited to be planning for a second child.
Fast forward a little bit. I went in for a routine checkup at just over 12 weeks. The nurse had trouble finding a heartbeat. She told me not to worry but, like any normal person, I was worried. My doctor stepped in and did her best to find the heartbeat with still no luck. At that point, I knew. I was immediately brought in to have a sonogram where it was confirmed that the baby had stopped progressing. I just sat there, stunned. The next few moments were sort of a blur. My doctor (who was truly fantastic) explained how it was nothing that I could have done, briefly discussed the next steps although she insisted that I first and foremost get home and talk with Kyle. She brought me out the back exit, which I was oddly relieved existed. For some reason whenever I was processing all of this, I had told myself not to cry because I would have to face other women as I left the office. Brains work in weird ways. I just remember being so relieved in the moment that a “back way” was something that my doctor had available for me. She offered to call someone to come and get me, but being just a few minutes away from home, I insisted that I was capable of driving myself.
I somehow made it home to essentially crumple into Kyle’s arms. He took the rest of the day off and we discussed what the next step would be. See, if this had happened any other week, we would have taken a day or two to talk about the options. This week was different because my sister would be getting married that weekend. By this point, it was late Tuesday afternoon and we already had plans to leave on Thursday morning to drive to Arkansas. We eventually decided to schedule a D&C for early Thursday and push our travel plans to Friday morning.
Thursday came and went. It was a brutal morning. The entire procedure lasts about 20 minutes, but we were at the hospital all morning for surgery prep. I understood why my doctor insisted that I not hop into a car immediately after surgery and I was very grateful to have the day to heal.
It’s important to note that, on Tuesday, I had reached out to a few friends. I’m not someone who suffers in silence (shocker). I also gave permission to allow those within our church community to let others know about what we were dealing with. Immediately, we were taken aback by how well our friends began to take care of us. Over the next couple of days we received care packages, cards, flowers, food and so many loving phone calls and texts.
It’s hard for me to think of any other time where I’ve tangibly felt God’s presence in my life so strongly. When both my doctor and nurse left the room to prep for the sonogram after not finding a heartbeat, I had a moment. Knowing what was about to happen, I sat up on the table, prayed in the Holy Spirit and aloud, I told God that if this was the road I was about to walk down, that I was ready. I prayed that I continue to find the joy, the good and the warmth that only He can give in this situation and again told myself and God that I was ready to take this on as a part of my story. I say this not to toot my own horn and not to make myself sound all kinds of holy. This was without a doubt one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life and definitely one of the most difficult prayers I have ever prayed. Sure, I’ve always been down to have an Isaiah moment where I can proudly stand and give the “Here am I, send me” line. I just didn’t think that moment would happen for me when I was most broken. But hey, that’s how it happened.
Honestly, the entire experience has been so strange. The creating of life, losing that life and then having surgery to remove it from my body is strange. Having the proverbial rug pulled out from under us, where all of our plans for the year have dramatically changed is hard. Handling the emotional roller coaster, where one minute I’m singing my favorite song to out of nowhere sobbing, is definitely unusual. One of the most important things I’ve learned throughout this is that sorrow and joy are not mutually exclusive. You can exist in a realm where you experience both intense grief and overwhelming joy at the same time. The level of peace that we have felt through all of this has been truly beyond comprehension and understanding (shoutout Philippians 4:7). While being both incredibly heartbroken, we’re also able to rejoice in that we have a healthy son, a community who loves us and so many other things to be thankful for.
Speaking of being thankful, I cannot imagine skipping through this without thanking those who have helped walk with us. Those who brought us meals, thank you. Those who sent flowers, care packages, cookies and anything that appealed to my love language of gifts, thank you. To those that would randomly text me jokes so that I could look at my phone and smile, thank you. To those that have prayed for us, thank you. To say we have felt the effects of those prayers is a massive understatement.
When people ask me how I’m doing, one of the things I say most often is that I cannot understand how anyone could go through this without community. Miscarriage is incredibly common and throughout all of this, I have not felt alone once. I’m surrounded by strong women who have gone through similar experiences. Without these women beside me, there’s no doubt I would be in a very different place at the moment. The importance of community in times of grief is something that goes far beyond the topic of miscarriage. When life throws curve balls, it can be jarring. Reach out to those around you. Push past the discomfort of vulnerability and allow others to stand beside you and help share the weight of the burdens you’re carrying. There will be times when it feels impossible to carry that weight on our own. Ask for help. Without changing our circumstances, a couple of simple texts were able to shift our perspective and how we handled this loss. Again, thank you for all of those who have helped us through this and as we continue working through it all. Here’s to being vulnerable with each other and continuing to grow together through this loss.