Saturday, June 1, 2013

On What Will Fix Me

This picture is borrowed from the internet, and is in honor of my friend Laura, who thinks posting pictures of pregnancy tests is gross.  Happy birthday, friend.

I cannot put into words the devastation I felt upon losing our first baby.  The unbelief.  The emptiness.  I felt like I had been allowed into an exclusive sorority, one that had taken almost a decade to enter, only for my membership to be retracted before it was even enjoyed.  I felt hollow and fearful that I would never have the children I have always wanted.  And I honestly believed that the thing that would fix the pain was to wait out the 2-3 month required recovery time suggested by my doctor and get pregnant again as soon as possible.  That, I thought, would fix it all.  I dreaded the thought of getting to August 8, my original due date, without having another baby on the way.  It would be too much.  I was sure of it.

So I did everything right.  I read books on miscarriage.  I attended support groups.  I lost weight.  I carefully packed up my maternity clothes and sad reminders of what we had lost, only to be reopened when we had something else to celebrate.  I read my daily Bible reading on my iPhone.  I bought a basal body thermometer, and I began waking up every morning close to the same time to take my temperature.  I recorded each day's temperature on a chart, and I learned as much as I could about luteal phases and such.  I am amazed at how God created the human body to work in such unique, yet predictable ways.  But in all of my doing, the goal really was to just get pregnant again.  This seemed to be the real fix.  Because, after all, having a family was the goal.  And pregnancy is where that seems to start.

I tested too early.  I knew it was too early.  I knew better, but I had waited over two months while my body healed.  I was done waiting.  And so on a Friday afternoon, I took a pregnancy test.  It was negative.  Or was it?  I stared at the test for a good long while, and there seemed that there may be a faint line.  I knew enough to know that sometimes women see what they want to see on these things.  So I reached out to women who knew my pain.  I posted a picture of my test on a message board of women who were expecting after having lost babies.  I asked for honest answers, and I got them.  Looked positive to them.  A line's a line, they said.  We were officially expecting.

And here is what I found.  Rather than relief and celebration, I found myself waking up at 2 a.m., hurrying to take another test, hoping that the two pink lines would still show up.  Instead of peace, I found terror.  I found disabling amounts of fear that my blood work would come back with bad news of another baby lost.  I prayed to sleep through the night because I knew if I awoke, the anxiety would overtake me and not let me go, not let me sleep.  I compared tests, certain that the lines were not as dark as they should be.  I imagined my first ultrasound, and I always imagined the doctor finding nothing, just an empty black space on a screen.  I cried when I should have been laughing, should have been thankful for the new life growing inside of me.  And it became clear very quickly.  A new baby was not the fix.

It never is, you know.  It never really fixes anything.  That thing that you long for?  That thing that you hope will make you feel secure or settled?  It won't.  Not if you can't find peace and security without them.  And I know this.  I do.  It's a lesson I have learned a thousand times and will still need to relearn, I am sure.   The security doesn't come in the people or the circumstances or the good news.  Peace does not come with a baby or a boyfriend or a wedding or a new house or a good paying job.  Fear and anxiety don't end with the custody issues are settled, when the divorce is final, when the bank account is full.  Not completely.  Because all of these things are temporary. They can change.  In an instant, the thing we find our security in can be lost.  Material things can be lost.  Relationships can fail.  Babies can be lost before they have the chance to be born.  

So I went back to what I know, to the thing that has brought me through every single difficult time in life.  I go back to the truth.  I love that the King James Version says that if my mind is "stayed on Thee"  that He will keep me in perfect peace.  I began carrying my verse cards* with me (again), and I started reading over specific verses to help with the anxiety.  And my mind began to be transformed.  The fear gave way to trust.  The anxiety was replaced by peace.  My faith in my heavenly Father became accessible to me again.  I know He is good.  I know He is faithful.  And I know that whatever circumstance I walk through, He strengthens me in it.  He gives grace to get me through it.  

I am praying daily, thanking God for this baby, knowing that this child's days are numbered by a God who loves him (or her).  By a God who loves me.  And I can trust Him.  I can trust Him even when I am unsure about the outcome.  I can trust Him when nothing else looks right.  I can trust Him when circumstances go wrong.  I can trust Him while I wait to decipher His will.  I can trust Him when all seems lost.  I can trust Him, and that is what fixes me.

     
*You can get your own verse cards here.  This has been one of the greatest purchases of my adult life.**  
**My lavender jellies and a Cabbage Patch Kid named Delta Noelle were the greatest purchases of my childhood, in case you wondered.

2 comments:

  1. Julie, this brought me to tears. I am so thankful for your trust in our Sovereign God. He is good, even when He takes away. I had to learn the lesson to just trust God. For the first three years of our marriage, I would cry every month when I "started". I would cry every time I found out someone else was pregnant, especially if it was someone who was an alcoholic and drug abuser. We were doing things "by the Book" (yeah, THAT book!), so it seemed natural that we would have no problem getting pregnant. After all, my own mom had 7 pregnancies! But that wasn't what God had in mind, and I needed to just trust Him. I STILL long for a child to be born of this blessed marriage, but I am almost 43, have Hashimoto's, am VERY overweight, and have pretty much given up. And I'm ok with that. In the Fall of 2009, I went for NINE weeks without my cycle. I was kind of excited, because I thought for SURE we were pregnant. But after leaving the doctor's office, with a negative test, I sat in my car and talked with God. I told Him "I trust You, no matter what. Even if we are never able to get pregnant, I trust you." The very next day, we got a call from our caseworker about a 1 month old baby girl who was going to be placed in an adoptive home, and did we want our names put in the pot to be selected. YES! YES! YES! And as you know, we now have a precious 3.5 year old girl...the one that God had promised us that Fall, and we didn't even know. My husband is now raising 4 children who aren't even his biologically. I KNOW he must hurt so much over this, but he's only spoken of it once, and he loves each one of these kiddos, even the one who is not "ours", but only our foster child.

    Thank you SO much for sharing this!!! God had a purpose in you going through this, and you may never know what it is, but He WILL be glorified in it.

    Love, because of Christ,

    Angie Ochoa

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  2. Praying for you and Jake and ya'lls precious baby....you will be such a wonderful mother!!!

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