Life, Motherhood

My story does not end in ashes | Our Miscarriage

March 5, 2015

This post was written nearly a month ago… I couldn’t bring myself to post it for quite a long time, but I felt compelled to share because someone somewhere needed to read this. 

7 weeks ago, I held a positive pregnancy test in my shaking hands. The night before, I had dreamt for the first time about having a child. I can still remember looking down at the sweet perfection of life God had given me. Excitement overtook me, and I prepared a gift to give to Ian. He had no idea what was going on, but as soon as he opened the box, tears swelled in his eyes and he picked me up and squeezed me tight. It had to be one of the sweetest memories of us together. We cried and laughed and started the plans for the next eight months of our life. Every day seemed like a celebration. Every prayer I prayed for this sweet child growing inside of me.

The weeks were long as I waited for that first appointment. But the week finally arrived, and with it came butterflies in my stomach every time I thought about seeing my sweet baby for the first time. On Monday, I was at work when I noticed some spotting. I knew that for some people this was very common, so I tried not to let myself get caught in the anxiety of “what ifs”. The next day Ian and I sat in the waiting room together. This time my hands were shaking in a different way. We went in for our ultrasound, and saw our sweet pea with a small flickering heartbeat. As much as I wanted to be excited, I knew something wasn’t right. The doctor told us that we had a threatened miscarriage. There was a 50% chance that our baby would live, but it was just a matter of waiting. We scheduled a follow up appointment for the next week, and went home with our hearts heavy.

I smile when I think about how beautiful Ian’s faith was those next few days. He was incredibly hopeful, but my mind kept walking me through the worst. I tried not to talk about it, but the bleeding proceeded to get worse. Within a few days, all of my pregnancy symptoms disappeared. I taped scriptures all over my office and any time I had doubts, I would read them to myself.

That Friday, I started cramping terribly at work. The bleeding was getting worse and my body was weak. I drove myself home, and the doctor told me that I needed to go to the ER immediately. Ian met me at home, but I couldn’t move. I remember screaming through my tears over and over, “I CAN’T GO!” In my heart I knew what was happening. We drove to the hospital, our hands unable to part from each other. Our parents met us there and they admitted us almost immediately. My body had started to shut down, but I tried to stay strong as they hooked me up. After the ultrasound, the nurse came in and told us that our sweet baby, who we had just seen four days ago, had no heartbeat. They proceeded to tell me about how my negative blood type has potential to react with the baby’s blood and can create antibodies which could harm the baby. Although that is not what caused my baby’s heart to stop beating, I would have to take shots to prevent this from happening in the future. We held our composure until she left, and then we both just lost ourselves in grief. As we held each other tighter than we ever have before, we thanked God out loud. I honestly didn’t know it was possible to be thankful in a moment like that. But I felt myself overwhelmed with peace and thankfulness. Thankfulness that I had seen my baby’s heartbeat. Thankfulness in the fact my baby would never know the pain of this world. Thankfulness that eternity would be that much sweeter because I would get to see my baby again. I prayed out loud and when we ran out of words, the Holy Spirit was interceding for us. But even in the thankfulness, there was unbearable pain. I felt as if my heart was physically breaking. Our parents came in later and we shared with them what happened.

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After several hours we were released, but the miscarriage took 6 days to complete. Each day I would wake up saying “His mercies are new every morning,” but each day the physical and emotional pain seemed unbearable. I have heard that many times in situations like this that couples can pull apart from each other, but thankfully that was not the case for Ian and I. Those days made me feel closer to Ian than I ever had before. Every time I looked at him, I could see Jesus. Every time he touched me, I felt overwhelming peace. I am so grateful that Ian turned to Jesus in a moment that could have broken us even more.

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” Isaiah 53:4 says. We live in a fallen world with sin. I did not lose my baby because of anything I had done and Jesus has known my grief. It doesn’t matter that my baby was only 7 weeks old. It was my child, and no parent should ever have to lose a child.

In my grief I had to make a choice. Well… I had to make many. For starters, I had to choose joy. I know there will be days where sadness will hit me out of nowhere, but on those days I have to remember I Peter 4…

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

This is not the end of my story. God’s goodness can be revealed in my suffering. He is sovereign and I know that He has a beautiful ending to this story, even if I can’t see it yet. This verse is part of the reason I am sharing this incredibly personal story on a very public place. In your life there are probably ashes. They may not be the same as mine, but I am certain God’s story never ends in ashes. Isaiah 61 says He will bind up the brokenhearted and He will give us beauty for our ashes. That is what he is continuing to do for Ian and I.

Secondly, I have  chosen to love. In a world full of comparison, I can easily look at the happiness of new moms all around me and become bitter. Upset that they have happiness and can hold their little one when I cannot. But I have confidence that one day I WILL have another child, and I have full hope in that. Love is bigger than my grief. And yes, there may be days that I have to protect my heart and skip out on a baby shower or baby talk, but in those moments I choose to love regardless of my pain. And even more so, it is not up to me what God does in other people’s lives. Peter started to get caught up in others as well, and Jesus’ response is perfect – John 21:22 “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” What is it to me if others get the blessing of a child now and I do not? I follow Jesus and his specific will for my life. 

***Please remember that sometimes questions can often carry more hurt than people know. I remember dating Ian and having people ask us when we were going to get married. Once we were married, questions came out immediately about when we would have our first child. I know that I am not alone in this, and that it happens in every stage of life. You NEVER know what someone is carrying. So remember that next time you inquire something incredibly personal about their life. Maybe even replace your question with a silent prayer for their heart, because I guarantee that they wish they had a good answer to your question. Or maybe, they don’t want to give you an answer.

Thirdly, I have chosen to trust. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you,” Isaiah 26:3. Like I said before, this is not the end of my story. I have hope and trust that God has a plan for our family. I have to trust God with my future pregnancies. I have to trust God that I will be able to get pregnant again. Most of all, I simply have to trust. I do not know what the future holds, but I do know that He holds it together.

This post is not a reflection of how together I am with dealing with all of this. There are many hours where my heart physically breaks over and over again for my unborn baby. But I have hope and confidence that these ashes will be turned to beauty, and in many ways they already have.

We decided to name our baby Shiloh, which means peace. I know that I will always have peace with me. I have had some people ask me why I would name my unborn baby. The reason is this: Our Christian culture seems to put a large focus on how much potential aborted babies have, which is absolutely true. Well guess what, my baby, which died as a result of a fallen world with sin, pain, and suffering has just as much potential and she deserved a life and she deserves a name.

It was our desire that this post could help encourage and give hope to someone that might be going through something similar. To shed some light on the impact of questions/comments and the type of pressures they can apply. We are still in the beginning of our journey through this and know there are a lot of others out there with similar and different stories.

We are so thankful for each person who has supported and loved us through this and are so encouraged with the family and friends God has surrounded us with.

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30 Comments

  • Reply melissa March 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you so much for your beautiful and personal story. I find that my coping is very paralleled to yours. The loss of a child is so unbelievably painful and I truly believe that the only way to survive the loss is to have trust in God and the plan he has for us. Heath and I have been lucky enough to turn towards each other instead of apart and I pray that we will continue to grow together and grow with God. Love and peace to you and Ian

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Melissa, your life is such an encouragement to me. You and Heath are a beautiful example. Even though I have not known you very long, I am thankful God allowed me to meet you. Ian and I are continuing to pray with you and Heath.

  • Reply joy March 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I am so sorry that you have had to go through this. Thank you for sharing ! I know it will help others in painful places!

  • Reply Sally Bell March 5, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Victoria,

    I just want to say THANK you for sharing your heart with the world because your story has truly touched me. As I daily reading my bible and reflect on each verse; you and your husband have been a great example of what it means to be like Christ. Like Job you continue to PRAISE God, Thank Him, Trust in Him despite the loss. And I truly admire you for that. May The Lord continue to shower you and your family with many blessings. Know that my family will be keeping you guys in our prayer.

    Words of encouragement:

    8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (‭Psalm‬ ‭16‬:‭8‬ NIV)

    Sally B.

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Sally, Thank you for sharing this verse with me. He is our strong God and will hold us with then waves hit around us. We appreciate your prayers and kindness.

  • Reply Sunny March 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts. My heart and life went right back to 1983, when Tom and I lost our first, and only natural child, in miscarriage. I had barely learned I was going to have a baby. Then we were not. Our lives have always belonged to the Lord though, and faced this together, in Him, and He guided us in love and strength. Less than 2 years later I faced cancer and was never able to bear our own birth children following recovery and healing from the cancer. But our God was so tender and faithful and led us to the adoption of 2 children, some years later. Everything in it’s time and season, and He has the very best plans for you…as He had for us. Your story will help many. And I know that someday I will get to meet our little baby, as you will meet Shiloh. I will keep you and Ian in my prayers.

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:17 am

      Sunny,
      Thank you so much for sharing. It is so wonderful to see other’s with similar stories and how God has brought them through. We appreciate your prayers.

  • Reply Gloria Slaughter March 5, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Victoria & Ian,

    Thanks, Victoria, for sharing your and Ian’s story. I know for a fact that there is so much in store for you both. You can’t even begin to imagine what plans have been made for you. Excitement, fear, worries . . . all a part of life. Hold on to each other and walk the path that you see in front of you. And, tell Ian that there’s always Carrot Souffle at the end of his rainbow . . . maybe a Twice Baked Potato thrown in with it. Peace.

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Thank you so much! Much Love!

  • Reply Brittany March 5, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. It is so completely heart wrenching, but I have to say thank you. Thank you for having the faith and the courage to write this. You need to know that you have touched people deep within their hearts and circumstances. I pray for peace and God’s love to surround you.

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Thank you, Brittany. I am so thankful God can use this story to bring good.

  • Reply Suzy March 5, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Nicole, I am so sorry for your loss but so proud of the way you are letting God hold you close. Praying for you:)

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Thank you, Suzy. He is faithful!

  • Reply Patsy Bowie March 5, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. You have written a wonderful story that should help others who have experienced this. Your story is beautiful and will touch the lives of many people. Thanks for opening your heart to others!

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Thank you, Patsy. I appreciate your kind words.

  • Reply Debbie Goodrich March 5, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Beautifully put, and though i have not been pregnant i understand the pain in a different way. And it so true there are times still where i have moments of what if and i feel that warm embrace from God’s love and suddenly all is fine in my world again!!! Love you both and as always if you ever need us just call.

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:15 am

      I love you so much Aunt Debbie. Thank you!

  • Reply Lauren Duplantis March 5, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    So well written Victoria, I am so proud of you. We’re here for you and Ian if you need anything, we love you both. We know what you are feeling and you know that it’s all a part of the plan that God has for you both. I can’t wait to see the plans that lay in store for your family for the future.

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Thank you, Lauren. We love you guys so much and are so appreciative for your prayers. I am so excited to see what God has in store for us as well. Hope to see you all soon.

  • Reply Angela Tom March 5, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    very Sorry to hear about your miscarriage. You will touch and help many by sharing your personal story of faith, Hope and love! You and Ian are in my prayers and I Hope to see your bright smiles again in your dad’s FB page . Take care and God bless!

    • Reply Victoria March 6, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Thank you, Angela. He is still good!

  • Reply Suzanne March 6, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Victoria and Iam. So sorry for your great loss! I had 3 miscarriages too and really struggled with the pain, but God later gave us 3 beautiful children! My problem was hormonal not enough pregesterone to sustain a pregnancy. You will heal from this and how much more grateful and gracious you will be when you carry full term! You will be overjoyed when you do have a baby!

  • Reply Judy Barltebaugh April 27, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Victoria, just now came across your story. I am sorry for your loss but God can use your experience to help others. I too know your pain as my husband and I lost our first child at 24 weeks. When I started into labor I prayed and begged God to now let this happen. I just couldn’t settle down. I begged and begged but couldn’t get peace. Then I prayed God, your will be done and if the baby isn’t supposed to live then help me to get through this. With that prayer God gave me peace. I felt the weight lifted. I knew the baby wouldn’t live here in this world of pain and suffering but would be in the loving arms of our Father in heaven. I now have 4 grown children and know that one day I will reunite with my first born. We named him Joshua David. He needs a name because he lived if even only for a short time and will be waiting in heaven until we join him. May the Lord bless you and Ian with other children if it is His will.

    • Reply Victoria April 27, 2015 at 9:01 am

      Judy,
      Thank you so much for sharing your personal story. What a beautiful testimony of His faithfulness. I cannot wait until we are both reunited with our first child. Heaven will be all the more sweeter. Sometimes God has a greater purpose than what we can see and I am grateful that both you and I are able to trust in Him to take care of us both.
      Victoria

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  • Reply Jessie January 14, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Victoria, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry that you had to experience a miscarriage. I lost my baby a few weeks ago and I have had a really hard time. I don’t know how, but right after I stumbled upon this post, and I just wanted to tell you that it really encouraged me. Seeing your faith and trust in God, I don’t know, it was just really encouraging to me because I was really struggling with trusting God and not being angry. I think seeing other people’s faith and trust gives me a little push and it was good for me to read your words and see into the heart of someone going through something similar. Thank you ❤️

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