I started this blog to be open with a struggle that far too many endure. I want to be real about the emotions and pain involved in infertility and miscarriage, but also the comfort and hope that can be found in God throughout it.
With this next story in my Baby Rodriguez Series, I hope to encourage you to focus on God’s goodness throughout your trials. During the most tragic time of my life, I could see and feel God’s love everywhere I turned.
Miscarriage is a physical process. No one can predict if you’ll have one, how long it will take, or if your body will complete the process naturally. It is incredibly painful, scary, and overwhelming.
Mine started on May 10, 2017. Just three days after having spent the weekend telling my family our amazing news, my pregnancy symptoms were nearly non-existent. I had experienced extreme (EXTREME!) breast tenderness and fatigue. I cringed with pain while putting on my clothing each morning, and rarely made it through the day without a nap. But from one day to the next, that all changed.
I told my husband that night, and he just gave me this face that read, “oh no, that doesn’t sound right.” I immediately said, “Oh, I’m sure it is nothing. I’m probably just adjusting to the hormones.”
I feverishly searched online about why my symptoms had subsided already. For every medical article about this not being normal, there was one that said it could be normal. Sometimes, Google really can be your best friend or worst enemy.
Just to calm our nerves before bed that night, I took one more pregnancy test. It took much longer for that “Pregnant” result to appear on the screen than the original tests. We now understand why… my HCG levels were lower than before, meaning that my sweet little love had already stopped growing.
The following day I experienced slight cramping at work throughout the day. Again, this could be normal or not. When I got home that night and told Steven, his face was more visibly panicked than the night before. Then, the bleeding started… and it was severe.
I don’t care what Google says. There is NO WAY this can be normal.
I immediately changed into comfortable clothes, and collected my feminine supplies. We were heading to urgent care right away.
Steven stepped into the garage for a second. At the time, I didn’t know why.
He called his Mom to tell her what was happening… and to cry. Trying to remain strong for me, he didn’t want me to see him upset, and if we were going to say goodbye to our baby that night, he wanted his Mom to know he/she existed.
A tearful, panicked call from her son is a far cry from the special Mother’s Day surprise we had planned to tell my mother-in-law she was going to be a Grandma.
My in-laws dropped what they were doing, and planned to meet us at the hospital. We were heading into the scariest moment of our lives, and they refused to let us do it alone.
They beat us to the hospital, and as we pulled into the parking lot, we saw my in-laws waiting at the entrance. My brother-in-law had a wheelchair for me. Fortunately, I was able to walk on my own, but I am so appreciative of that gesture. They were thinking of and taking care of all the practical things for me… wheelchair, water, snacks. Things I needed in that moment, but just was not thinking about for myself.
At the urgent care check-in counter, I choked back tears to state the reason for my visit.
“I’m approximately 7-weeks pregnant, and I think I’m having a miscarriage.”
“Do you prefer to see a man or woman?”
I prefer to see whoever will keep this baby safe inside me!!!
“No preference. I just want to be seen as soon as possible.”
We sat together quietly in the waiting room. I’m sure we each had our own thoughts racing through our heads. I went to the restroom several times before the doctor called me in, cringing each time at the sight of what was going on inside me, and wondering how my baby could possibly be safe in it.
The doctor finally called me in, and the testing began. Vitals. Weight. Urine tests. Blood tests. Ultrasound.
The ultrasound was the worst. Having to strip down without making a mess. Trying to read the technician’s face for clues as to what she saw as the wand pressed and moved everywhere. I finally closed my eyes and cried silently on that bed. I took the opportunity of this quiet moment to pray.
After the doctor had a chance to review the lab results and consult with an OB doctor by phone, he called me back in, and basically had nothing for us.
“You haven’t miscarried yet, and I’ve seen many healthy pregnancies after bleeding like this.”
That’s it?! That’s all you’ve got for me?!
Steven and I remained hopeful that night. We still had a chance. But, this mama was on a mission for better answers!
On May 12, 2017, we visited an OB doctor. My in-laws picked us up for this appointment. After another ultrasound, the doctor explained that I had a threatened miscarriage, which meant I had a 50% chance of miscarrying, and there was nothing we could do at this point to prevent it. He was able to show me the gestational sac, but nothing more.
We tried to remain hopeful, but it was becoming more and more difficult. I think at that point, my husband had already begun accepting that we would have to say goodbye to our baby. And, by the end of the weekend, we did.
The bleeding and cramping persisted all weekend. On Sunday, May 14, 2017, despite what was happening, my husband spoiled me. It was Mother’s Day, and he made sure I knew it was MY day. I woke up to “Happy Mother’s Day” hugs and kisses and was waited on all day long. He took moments throughout the day to pray for us and our baby. He’d rest his hand on my tummy as we watched TV. We each tried to hide our sadness, and enjoy the day as much as possible.
In the early evening, the pain got worse. Like way worse. It was a severe jolt that repeatedly ripped through my abdomen and up my back. I laid on the floor to try stretching out my back. I started to control my breathing to make it through the waves of pain. And it was at that point that I realized what was happening. My body was preparing itself for mini labor. Nothing was working, so I eventually decided to take a hot bath to soothe my back and abdomen. It helped at first, but the pain kept coming. Worse and worse as time went on.
I finally agreed to take some pain reliever, but we did not have acetaminophen, which is an acceptable pain reliever during pregnancy. I asked him to go to the store to buy some. I could read the desperate look on my husband’s face. He did not want to leave me home alone, but I insisted on only taking acetaminophen. Isn’t it crazy how that motherly instinct kicks right in? My mind knew what was happening, but my heart refused to stop protecting the well-being of our baby so long as it was still inside of me.
He reluctantly left, leaving me to my own thoughts and a steaming hot bath. I took that moment of silence to pray.
God, I want this baby so badly. I’ve longed for this baby. I can’t imagine a world without this baby. But, if it is not your will for us to keep this baby, give me the strength I need to get through this pain. Give my husband the strength he needs to get through this, too. Amen.
I was shocked by my own words. During every test I took at the hospital just a few days before, I was pleading with God to keep my baby safe. I had even told my cousin, “I can’t see how God would give us this miracle to just take it away.”
But in that moment, enduring the worst pain I’ve ever felt, I knew God loved me no matter what happened. If it meant taking my baby back so quickly after blessing us, then I just had to trust him. I had no other choice.
Shortly after Steven returned with the medicine, the pain had reached its peak and we just knew. We knew it was time. He held my hand and said, “You’re going to miscarry right now, okay baby. You can get through this, and we are going to be okay. I promise.”
There’s no better way to describe that five days than it sucked. It just majorly sucked. The following day was even worse. As I called to schedule an appointment with the doctor, I was transferred from operator to nurse to other nurse to other operator and back to nurse, each time having to state the reason for needing a same-day appointment.
“I had a miscarriage, and I’d like the doctor to confirm.”
It was like reliving a nightmare.
I took the week off work to allow my heart and body to heal. My body was back to “not pregnant” quicker than I thought and my heart… well that healing will last a lifetime.
It is painful to relive those five days, but God’s love and goodness was so evident throughout that time. He ensured we had family support with us at the hospital and the immediate days that followed. He ensured I had quiet moments to pray and listen for him. I was able to endure this in the comfort of my own home, with my husband by my side. He ensured the compassion and understanding from my boss and freed my mind of worrying about work and my staff. I’ve never felt God’s presence like I did as I prayed for his will to be done that day.
I’ll never know why this happened to us. I’ll never know why our sweet baby was taken to heaven before we could even meet him or her. Perhaps this was my next major trial to further reinforce my reliance on God. Perhaps God was positioning me to help another mother or couple enduring this struggle. I had given up all hope of ever having my own baby, and perhaps this was God’s way of encouraging me to not give up hope, but to continue trusting in his timing. Perhaps all of the above.
But my favorite theory is that my Grandpa needed a sidekick in heaven. My Grandpa loved being a Grandpa. He loved teasing us, joking with us, and telling us stories. He looked forward to seeing each and every one of us. To think my sweet baby was born into heaven and handed over to the most incredible grandfather… that has given me the most peace and comfort in this situation.
My Grandpa was called home on May 5, 2017, and our baby on May 14, 2017. In my heart, their lives are forever connected. I was heartbroken over the thought that my Grandpa would not know my baby. And now, I find peace in God’s mysterious plan and abundant love… my Grandpa is THE FIRST to know my baby. I can only hope he/she is not spoiled rotten before I get there.
I encourage you to look for God’s love and goodness throughout your trials. It is there all around you to give you hope and comfort. Philippians 4:13 reads, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Focusing on God and his goodness will give you strength to endure your trials, and get one step closer to being who God created you to be.