Monday, October 12, 2015

A Talk On Loss and Hope

Last May, I was asked to give a short 5 minute talk at the Stake Relief Society Meeting on hope.  This was less than three months after my second miscarriage and there was nothing else I could possibly talk about except for them.  I wanted to share the talk here with my friends and family.  I think about those two babies every day of my life.  I also think daily about whether or not there will be anymore living babies born into our family.  This isn't our whole story, but a little glimpse.  October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, so it seemed fitting to share this now.

Hope is what led me to the missionaries 16 years ago and hope is what helped me know there was more to this life than I had known.  Hope has served me well in the years since.  Specifically, it has helped me much in the last year.  Early 2014, my husband and I learned we were expecting our 3rd child.  We felt much excitement and joy over this new baby.  We waited out that first trimester before telling too many people.  Then, at 12 weeks when we saw the baby on ultrasound and saw it moving around and heard the healthy heartbeat, we felt excited to share such wonderful news with everyone.  At 15 ½ weeks, I woke up in the middle of the night bleeding and in extreme pain.  I left immediately by myself, leaving my husband and our two sleeping children behind for the ER.  He joined me later when my good friend, who is also my Visiting Teacher, came over to stay with our kids.  An hour later, I was no longer pregnant.  I had miscarried and with that, I felt a hopelessness and despair I had never before known.  I felt betrayed by my body.  

Friends, family, ward members rallied around us and I truly learned what people mean when they say they have drawn strength from other people’s prayers and love in times of trial.  Four months later, we found out we were pregnant again.  I was a little nervous, of course, but my doctors felt so sure it wouldn’t happen again, especially considering I had two healthy pregnancies and deliveries before.  I did a somewhat new first trimester blood test where they test just my blood and can tell me the gender and some health risks for the baby.  Everything came back looking good and we found out we were having a baby girl!  I had been really worried those first 15 weeks, but we had an ultrasound that was after the time of the last miscarriage and the baby girl was doing great!  Measuring the right size, strong heart beat! I was still nervous, but I was feeling better physically with the first trimester over and emotionally having passed that last miscarriage’s date. 

I went in for an appointment at 17 ½ weeks and they couldn’t find the heartbeat.  So, after waiting an agonizing 45 minutes, they moved me into the ultrasound room and pulled her up.  There was no heartbeat and no movement.  I had miscarried again.  At that moment, I felt so lost and confused.  How could this be happening again? 

After getting someone to watch my children and calling my husband at work to tell him and ask him to meet me, I went immediately to the hospital where they did many tests on me and withdrew amniotic fluid also to test before inducing me.  It was a much more physically exhausting experience than the last miscarriage.  It took over 24 hours before I delivered the baby and placenta.  After two days in the hospital, they sent me home.  I don’t remember much about those days except that I know I did a lot of soul searching and a lot of crying.

We still don’t know what is causing me to miscarry and there’s a chance we never will. Through this continuing trial, I have renewed my hope, though.  One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 2:25 “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”  I wasn’t feeling any joy at this time, but my hope was that I would again.  I knew that was God’s plan for me.  Not to have multiple late miscarriages, but to find a way to have joy in spite of them.  That scripture always makes me think of the Plan of Salvation, befittingly this plan is also known as the Plan of Happiness.  Following this plan, will always lead us to joy and happiness.  I know that if I hold up my end of the plan and endure to the end by reading my scriptures, praying, attending church and the temple, partaking of the sacrament, serving my family and others that God will lead me to joy and give me peace.  I don’t know if I’m going to be able to have any more children.  This is a trial I’m currently in the middle of.  Is our family here on Earth complete?  I don’t know the answer to that; I do know that my hope is not contingent on a particular answer to that question.  My hope lies in my Heavenly Father and that He will guide me and my family through this process, that He will give me strength to find joy in this life and in my family and finally, with peace.  I’ll leave you with one last favorite scripture that has helped soothe my soul through this trial and has given me hope that I will feel joy on the other side of it.  And maybe even find some joy during this time.  John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”