I am pleased to have Ingrid Shewmake of Abounding Grace share her story of healing after miscarriage. I hope it blesses you as you read. You can find out more about Ingrid at the end of this article.
Wednesday June 4th, 2008
We were so excited this morning! Today was our second visit to the OB-GYN. The first visit, I was only 8 weeks along, so it was just a routine exam--weight, urine sample, blood pressure, basic medical info, etc. BUT this morning, at now 12 weeks along, was to be our first time to get to hear our unborn baby's heartbeat!
All our 4 children came along. The nurse checked my weight and vital signs, and then led us to a room. She brought in the little Doppler audio device used for listening to baby's heartbeat within the womb.
The nurse was unable to find it, but assured us not to worry; that sometimes even though she might not able to locate a heartbeat, surely the doctor would be.
The doctor came in and gave it a try--to no avail. Then he brought in a small, portable ultra-sound machine. He said, "We should be able to see the heartbeat flashing on the screen," but all we saw was a black oval. The doctor said that he wanted us to come back first thing the next morning to have the ultra-sound technician see what she could find with the higher-powered ultra-sound machine.
Our minds were racing. I nearly lost my composure as I walked up to the appointment counter. As my husband, Shannon gave me a moment, he stepped back into the hallway to speak with the doctor--to ask him a couple more questions. The doctor just said that he didn't know, and we'd see tomorrow. He did say that he was concerned. So, we scheduled to return in the morning.
At church that night, we shared with several of our close friends and brothers and sisters in Christ, who rallied around us and encircled us with many heart-felt prayers, placing our nervous and anxious hearts before the Throne of God.
Thursday, June 5th, 2008
We dropped off our two younger children (ages 5 & 7) with a friend from church, and our two older daughters (ages 9 & 11) opted to be with us for the ultra-sound.
We arrived at the doctor's office to a waiting room filled with expectant parents--video tapes in hand--excitedly awaiting their ultra-sound appointments, each eager to view their own growing little ones in the womb via the black and white video, most, for the very first time.
The ultra-sound technician called us back and led us into the room with the big machine. She turned off the lights, squirted the warm goo onto my belly and began the exploration inside my uterus. After several excruciatingly long minutes, she finally spoke, "It doesn't look good," she said slowly, as tears began pooling in my eyes. She started taking measurements with her device, telling us that the amniotic sack was measuring about 8 or 9 weeks, but our tiny baby only measured about 5 or 6 weeks... and....
"There's no heartbeat," she said.
My heart truly sank into my stomach, as she finalized her exam with, "I'm so sorry, guys."
We were all crying, so the technician kindly offered us an examination room to wait in, rather than having to go back out into the waiting room before seeing the doctor.
The doctor came in to share with us the options involved in having a miscarriage, "We can either do a D and C (a surgical cleaning out of the uterus) or you can wait and allow nature to take its course and let your body pass it on its own. With some semblance of composure and confidence that came only from the Spirit of God, I replied, "I believe I would prefer to let God do it… in His timing."
"Well, we can give it one or two weeks, but if nothing has happened by then, we'll have to look into the other. Once you start bleeding, it will get heavy at times. You will also have some cramping. If you begin to soak more than one pad an hour, or the cramps are doubling you over in pain, then you need to call our office, or go to the emergency room."
I felt numb.
We thanked him, and gathered our things to check out. Leaving was even harder than arriving. As we passed through the waiting room on our way to the check-out window, it was even more crowded than before. My heart broke anew as a smiling young woman brushed by me holding six beautiful black and white photos of her healthy, precious blessing within her womb.
Back inside our mini-van, we all cried again. Shortly after that, the phone calls from our loving and concerned dear friends and family began to pour in. Even though we didn't understand why, we knew that for some reason, God had decided to bring the spirit and soul of that little one to Heaven so quickly.
Within hours of returning home, I began to have a light pink discharge that turned to bright red by Friday afternoon. There were cramps (a little worse than menstrual cramps) to accompany the bleeding, but nothing, nothing could compare to the aching in my heart--all the way to my very core.
Saturday, June 7th, 2008
Saturday ushered in heavier bleeding, more cramping, and eventually, the birth of a tiny, white, little baby (about the size of a person from the Game of Life), securely surrounded by a clear sack, no bigger than a bubble you might blow with bubble gum. Gross as it may seem, I had to pick it up. I could not rightly, with any part of me, flush it down the toilet. Nor did we want to go bury it in the yard. The truth is, at that moment, we really didn't know what to do with this tiny little part of us. So we took it to my OB-GYN. I simply told him that I didn't have any idea what to do, but I was sure that they did… and a part of me just didn't want to know.
I didn't go to church the next day. I spent almost an entire week at home. It hit me harder than anything had in a long time. It literally rocked my world. I have always been a strong, “bounce-back-quick” kinda gal… But this--this was just so unexpected. After 4 smooth pregnancies, labors and deliveries? What went wrong? Why us? Why now…now that we had truly surrendered the planning of our family to the Lord?
The following Saturday, my sweet and concerned Shannon finally decided that it was time for an outing, so he made me shower and get dressed and we headed out--to Lowe's! And of all places to go, it was just what I needed. We talked and walked and even laughed. And the healing began.
After Lowe’s, we went to church to print the bulletins for Sunday, and the overseer of the nursery was there cleaning. She hugged me, and told me how sorry they were for our loss. She had brought with her their very new baby granddaughter. She asked me if I wanted to hold her…and I nodded yes. “Please,” I replied.
I walked into the nursery and sat down in a rocking chair. I cradled that sweet little baby and the tears once again began to pour down like rain. I knew the Lord was also pouring down his healing rain upon my aching heart.
Weeks later, both Shannon and I would still get hit with emotional thoughts. One night, Shannon came down the stairs with teary eyes; his eyes met mine. I asked, "What is it, honey?" He replied, "I was just thinking about Christmas morning… I was going to carry our new baby down the stairs for Christmas morning..." (My due date had been December 16th.)
I shared with him that I'd been driving home from the store that day thinking about the fact that although my maternal grandma had never gotten to meet any of our children, she would get to hold this little one in Heaven before we would.
Shannon was very close to going on the mission trip with the church to Mexico, but felt strongly that God didn’t want him to go; and had he gone, we’d have waited a week to go to the OB-GYN, and I’d have been home alone with the children when the miscarriage happened.
Trials in our lives most certainly grow us, stretch us, and are so often accompanied by pain. But joy truly does come in the morning. One thing is for certain, our lives have been changed significantly by that experience, and God has already used it so many times to allow us the opportunity to minister to others who have suffered the loss of a child. And, without having personally gone through it, we never would have been capable of understanding the plethora of emotions that are involved with such a truly tragic experience, no matter how far along you are.
God is so good. He is our Healer. We have since been SO blessed with two more beautiful healthy blessings--both baby boys--and we joyfully welcome with open arms any future babies that the Lord might choose to bless us with including our newest blessing due in July of this year! Children are a blessing--even those whom we may never hold--until we meet in Heaven.
Until We Meet in Heaven
Sweet little Baby, How I love you so
Until we meet in Heaven, I guess I'll never know
The feel of your warm tiny body cuddled in my arms
Sleeping peacefully here, safe from all harms
Your cries won't ever wake me from a dreamy sleep
But forever in my heart, a special place you'll keep
Sweet little baby, for now while we're apart
Heaven may be your cradle,
But we cradle you in our hearts.
Ingrid Shewmake is a (mostly) stay-at-home mama, who enjoys writing, guest-blogging, healthy eating, cooking, Bible-study, sewing, running and exercising w/ her hubby & children, frugal living, and co-laboring with her husband, best friend of 18 years, Shannon.
She is currently working on publishing her first book, Set Free Nutrition, due out in the spring of 2013. Set Free Nutrition teaches proper food combining with Scriptural principles.
Ingrid and her husband home school their 6 blessings (ages 16 and under) and enjoy teaching their children traditional family values.
After 18 years of serving in various ministry positions, the Shewmake family has stepped out in faith and obedience to plant a non-denominational, family-integrated church in Southwest Missouri. They also have a family-owned, Christian t-shirt business featuring their own authentic Christian & home school designs.
Ingrid would love to hear from you at: email@example.com
Abounding Grace Family Fellowship: www.facebook.com/agraceff
Inside Out Christian Apparel: www.insideoutchristianapparel.com www.shop.insideoutchristianapparel.com