Miscarriage | Real Life Stories
Full Circle With God
By Amy Mulvaney
My husband, Mark, and I were married in 1989. During our wedding ceremony our pastor prayed that our marriage would be a testimony of Proverbs 3:5-6 which says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Little did we know on that blissful wedding day how much we were not going to understand and how much we would need to trust Him. We looked forward to the day when we could begin trying to start a family. Actually, I had been looking forward to being a wife and mother as far back as I can remember, but I had just graduated as a physical therapist and needed to begin applying all those years of training.
Unfortunately, by 1992 I had to give up my job as a physical therapist due to a back injury acquired by lifting a stroke patient. I had been through a year of rehab to strengthen my back, and I was unable return to full capacity so I had to let go of my position. I decided to audit some courses in hand therapy, but that turned out to be a closed door as well.
I was confused about what direction to take when I found out we were expecting. Finally a direction, a purpose! I had missed three months of cycles, but I kept having negative pregnancy tests. When a test was finally positive, my doctor wanted me to come in for a work up. I was so excited. My excitement turned to fear as I watched the facial expressions of my doctor and nurse. He explained that he thought the baby had implanted in my tube. If this was the case, the baby could not grow without eventually rupturing the tube which can be life threatening for the mother. I was instructed to go home for the weekend and come back Monday for more tests. If the tests confirmed his diagnosis, I would have to go into surgery that day to remove the tube and the precious new life. That weekend seemed painstakingly long. I had already begun to bond with this child and letting go seemed impossible. We prayed and prayed.
On Monday morning the tests confirmed what we had feared so I was prepped for surgery. I was devastated. When I awoke from surgery, I was told that the tube was filled with scar tissue from a ruptured ovarian cyst as a teenager, and the baby was actually in my uterus. I was still pregnant, hopeful and exhausted from the roller coaster of emotions I was experiencing. My doctor put me on bed rest, but God had a different plan. About ten days later I began cramping and spotting, and after some tests it was confirmed that our baby had died. The sense of loss was almost suffocating. I never realized, until I went through it myself, the depth of a mother’s love for her unborn child and the desire to validate the significance of the life that was lost.
The next day I went in for a DNC. The doctor wanted to examine me in his office first. Fortunately they let me in the back door of his office. After the exam they put me in a wheel chair and rolled me through the waiting room filled with joyful expectant women. I couldn’t make eye contact with any of them. I was then taken to the hospital across the street.
While waiting in a room to be prepped for the procedure, I passed some of the baby. One of the nurses said to another nurse, “What do you want me to do with these products of conception?” I was horrified! That was my baby they were so callously discussing. I lay on the table and sobbed. I retraced the past weeks and reviewed all the things I might have done wrong. I soon began to realize this was a futile attempt to explain what was out of my hands to control. I wanted desperately to talk to someone who understood my pain. Oddly enough when we got home from the hospital, there was a message from a coworker who said she had just had a miscarriage that day. She didn’t know what I had just been through. We called each other daily and found sharing our experiences helpful. The days, weeks, and months were difficult with every pregnant woman and newborn baby I’d see. I longed to hold my baby in my arms.
Little by little God’s word became a balm to my wounded heart. I began holding on to His promises to carry me, to never leave me or forsake me. It brought me comfort to know that God also knows the pain of being separated from His Son.
Many months went by and my back continued to worsen. I finally had back surgery for a herniated disc and three months later found out we were expecting. Although we were thrilled, our hearts were guarded. When we passed the first trimester, we breathed a sigh of relief. We felt that we were “out of the woods”. At 27weeks I began having regular contractions. The doctor examined me, and I was 80% effaced. I was admitted and medicated until the contractions were under control and then sent home to bed rest with a medicine pump. On an August evening bright- eyed, full term Joshua Mark was born into our family.
When Joshua was almost one, we again found out we had another blessing on the way. That all too familiar fear crept into my heart, yet I brushed it away as I watched the visible evidence that my body could carry a pregnancy as Joshua was learning to walk. We still breathed another sigh of relief as we saw the beating of that miraculous heart on the ultrasound screen. With a new assurance we went to the mountains to celebrate our anniversary. During dinner I experienced a sharp pain that made me very concerned. I contacted a family friend who is a radiologist, and he reassured me that many women feel sharp pains during pregnancy. The pain seemed to subside and so did my fears. We then picked up Joshua at my parent’s house and drove to Alabama to celebrate Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. The day after Thanksgiving I began cramping and spotting. I was hundreds of miles away from home and my doctor. My sister-in law called her doctor who met me at the nearest hospital about an hour away. Even though I had never met him before, I knew the all too familiar look on his face. I couldn’t believe I was hearing him say, “I am so sorry, but there is no heartbeat.” I wanted to scream, “You must be mistaken. We just saw a beautiful heartbeat last week!” When they brought me in to the pre-op room, the room was completely empty except for nurses staring silently at me while I grieved publicly. Soon I was rolled in to have another DNC.
We then returned to Mark’s sister’s house. They were very gracious to give us their bed, but I wanted to be home with my bed, my props, my doctor, my baby! I was so angry! How could this have happened to us again? The pain of loss again seemed unbearable and again my arms ached to hold and rock this child. I had many questions, and I began to cry out to God for answers. My heart was bound tight. As I began to slowly let go of my grasp and trust the Lord who had been so faithful to carry me through difficult times before, the healing began. I had to let go of understanding things my way and trust the One who could see what I could not. Although it took time, I eventually found great comfort in knowing that I would see my babies in heaven one day and that their lives are already fulfilling a purpose at His feet.
When Joshua was two we were amazed to see TWO little heartbeats on the ultrasound screen. This time I went into labor at twenty weeks and was put on bed rest for fifteen weeks. After a long battle against my contracting body, it was finally safe to bring twin boys, Andrew and Matthew, into this world. As I rocked these two precious boys in my arms, I wondered if my two children in heaven were being rocked in the arms of my Savior.
After my second miscarriage a friend introduced me to Caleb Ministries through the ministry’s annual women’s retreat. Not only was it a wonderful, relaxing, time to grow in my walk with the Lord, but it was also a time to meet others who knew my pain firsthand. That weekend I met Sandy Day, founder of Caleb Ministries and mother of Caleb, stillborn at eight months. God is so good to bring people into our lives who have a “back stage pass into our pain” where others cannot understand. Sandy is one of those people. At the retreat I began purchasing Morning Will Come books to take home and give to friends who need them. I was amazed at how many women were suffering silently, some wanting to find the true Comforter, Jesus Christ, for the first time.
Sandy asked me, a few years later, to pray about starting a chapter in Caleb Ministries. Feeling completely unqualified and inept, I brought this idea to my husband and the Lord. In the way that only God can, He confirmed to us this is what I should do. Since that September day in 2000, I have watched the Lord masterfully unfold His plan of comforting His children through those He has comforted. He has brought many women into our ministry who have walked this painful road and now desire to walk along side others on their journey.
The first woman the Lord brought to our chapter was a lady named Cindy. A few weeks before our first meeting, Cindy delivered precious Kate, stillborn at six months. Cindy came with me to the Caleb Ministries Women’s Retreat that November, and I watched God do amazing things as He brought women together who had lost babies that year. Cindy is now volunteering in our Chapter and ministering to others in need.
When I was grieving the loss of my precious children, I could not imagine how any good could possibly come out of those tragedies. Yet I have seen God bring my life full circle to a place where others can find hope from my journey with Him. For it says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to His purpose.”
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In His Time
by Ann Chapman
When we are surrendered to the Lord our trials in life become opportunities for growth in grace. The beginning years of my married life were characterized by infertility, miscarriage and daily depression; through the pain, Christ has brought me to a greater faith in Him with a burning desire to share His love and mercy with others.
As a child I spent many hours playing with my doll family, enjoying the feeling of responsibility and dreaming of the day when I would be a “real” mommy with lots of “real” babies!
Because of my own mother’s terminal illness and early death, I was impressed by how fragile life can be and of the value of relationships with God, family and friends. In high school making friends and having a good time were top priorities although I was careful to read my Bible and attend church. I didn’t understand what the Bible meant by hardships and struggles and the growth that resulted. For me, living the Christian life was great! Perhaps the struggles were for the “non Christians.” When I graduated from college, my fairy tale would be complete by marrying Wesley and starting our beautiful family. How comfortable my life was: a home, traveling, church activity, and a wonderful husband. Of course God was my “disciplinarian” to keep me in line, but I had no concept of Him as my loving Father.
As our friends began to get pregnant, we too, decided that it was time to start our family. Certainly having a baby would be easy for us! As time passed, my desire to have a child became intense. What first began as an exciting possibility was fast becoming a frustrating challenge.
After a year of trying to conceive, we sought medical attention to determine if there was a problem. Wesley and I under went a series of tests, mine much more involved than his. I had blood tests, a dye injection test, and numerous pelvic examinations. My physician suggested that I have a laparoscopy to discover possible internal complications that could be contributing to my severe cramping and heavy flow. I was petrified to have the surgery, fearing I could die from the anesthesia.
The morning of surgery I felt helpless as they wheeled me away from my husband and mother in law. As I lay on the table, I prayed that the Lord would bring something good out of all this. I told Him that if it took this to have a baby, I was ready, but that I needed His help to get through. Little did I know that my prayer would be answered in such a marvelous way. Infertility was to be my pathway into a Christ filled life, based on total dependence and faith in the Lord.
Surgery revealed that I had endometriosis (a build up of scar tissue) and a slight malformation of my uterus. My physician suggested major surgery to burn away the abnormal tissue. He felt we should wait to see if there were any miscarriages before dealing with the possible uterine malformation. He was very “matter of fact” with his information, and I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I had a diagnosis of endometriosis and an improperly formed uterus. What was that? Why were all my friends getting pregnant with no problems, and I had to deal with this? Why did God create me if I was not going to be able to bring a child into the world? After all, the reason I was here was to give my husband a child, wasn’t it? I was confused, angry and felt defective, like a broken machine no one wanted anymore.
Wesley and I sought spiritual answers to our questions. We read the Bible and listened intently in Sunday School and church for a clue. We were hurting and needed to hear of God’s mercy and care. While searching for answers, the Lord led us to a Bible centered church where God’s love for us, His desire that we serve Him in all areas of our lives and seek His help for everything was emphasized. We learned how He delights in giving us strength, guidance and answers to prayer. The thought of God actually answering prayer was something new to us! We began to earnestly pray for a baby and to wait for His answer, whether it was “yes,” “no”, or “wait.”
At the same time we sought the opinion of a second doctor. He recommended further testing before undergoing the major surgery. We had new hope that perhaps one of these tests would do the trick. Although many of the tests were uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally, each test built our confidence that our infertility would be properly diagnosed, treated and cured. The doctor found my hormone level to be inadequate, so he prescribed Clomid, a fertility drug. Maybe God’s handiwork needed a little earthly help, so I began taking the drug with much enthusiasm. Clomid gave me several side effects, the worst of which were sudden hot flashes. These became a family joke for they occurred at the most unlikely times in the middle of the night (covers would fly!), in church, even during meals!
After several months on Clomid with no success, the doctor felt the laparotomy would be necessary. Here I was, back in the hospital for the second time in a year, concerned and frightened, but trusting the Lord for a successful, safe surgery. How pleased I was to learn that the doctor had treated the endometriosis and had done a procedure that would lessen the severity of my monthly cramps. That was an unexpected blessing!
My recovery was slow, but I was filled with hope that the Lord was now ready to answer our prayers for a baby. (A word to the wise: don’t ever think you have God’s plan figured out. He works on His own schedule!)
Several months later I received the news that my father had died. My sense of loss was profound! Certainly I knew God was in control, but I felt so alone with both parents gone and no children to ease the hurt. Infertility had become an enormous burden to bear.
Imagine my excitement when exactly one month later, I conceived! It seemed God, in taking one life, was giving us another in answer to our prayers. His timing was remarkable, and I was so excited!
After several blood tests, we were told of the possibility of twins. Being on fertility drugs increases the chances for multiple births. Twins sounded great to me. After three years of infertility, we were ready!
A week later I began to bleed and although the lab work indicated that all was well, my doctor put me to bed. An early ultrasound showed there were two gestational sacs and one was deteriorating. Perhaps that was why I was bleeding; I was losing one of the babies. I lay in bed for ten days, awaiting another ultrasound.
During the second ultrasound, the nurses became quiet. Although I could tell nothing from the screen, I knew something was wrong. All too quickly I heard the devastating news both sacs were empty the babies were dead! We were heart broken, having been through so much to get to this pregnancy.
Wesley was with me and when I saw the look on his face, I knew he was hurting, not only for the loss of our babies, but for me as well. He was the one I depended on for strength and support and now he needed comfort. A husband’s role in infertility can be extremely difficult.
We were faced with the decision to have a D & C (to surgically remove the dead tissue), or to wait for a spontaneous delivery. We decided on the surgery. This trip to the hospital was not one filled with hope for a diagnosis or treatment of a symptom, but one of despair a wiping clean of the pregnancy I had dreamed of for so long. Again the question, “Why me?” came up. I was confident this was the way of the Lord but wondered what purpose all this pain and suffering had.
Afterwards our next decision was to see an infertility specialist. It was so difficult each time I sat in the doctor’s waiting room filled with happy expectant mothers. I longed to carry around one of those swollen bellies. At the infertility clinic I saw women just like me, desperately wanting to conceive and have a completed pregnancy. I went through a series of new tests and began to feel like a science experiment with all the needles and equipment used on me. The specialist concluded that my ovulation was irregular and I would need to have blood drawn several times during my cycle to determine ovulation.
After working with us five months, he decided another laparoscopy was needed to further clear the endometriosis and to remove a growth (called a septum) on my uterus that could create problems if an egg implanted there. After surgery he recommended a stronger fertility drug requiring daily injections. Poor Wesley patiently learned how to administer them but never enjoyed causing me pain!
The drug put me on an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows. Excitement and hope the first two weeks of my cycle, impatience and sadness the second two weeks, and finally despair when my period came.
By the end of my second month on Pergonal, my period was late. Could this be another chance after five long years of waiting?
It was good news. I was thrilled, of course, yet used complete caution in telling only a handful of family and close friends. The infertility specialist monitored me closely.
As my eighth week passed without complication, and an ultrasound showed a strong heartbeat from the baby, I returned to my regular obstetrician for the duration of the pregnancy. My husband and I had planned a trip to Disney Land the next week and both doctors saw no problem in our going.
Our trip was wonderful. I wanted to go up to everyone there and scream, “I’m pregnant! I’m going to bring life into this world Praise the Lord!”
Wesley drove back home, and I stayed in California to attend a conference. One evening I began to bleed slightly and immediately called the doctor. He recommended bed rest. The next morning it seemed no better, and I left for home, but by the time I saw the doctor the bleeding had stopped. I felt ridiculous, perhaps overreacting, but glad to be having another ultrasound.
As the ultrasound scanner went over my slightly swollen belly, that familiar silence filled the room once again. There was no heartbeat. Our ten-week-old baby had died, but was still intact in my uterus.
Tears overwhelmed us as we sat in the doctor’s office waiting for some kind of answer from him. What could he say? Lord, I wondered, what do you want from me? A broken spirit? Well, I’m broken! Still knowing this was all in God’s plan, I wondered what it was that He wanted for us and just how much more pain the process would bring.
Further tests were performed, following the miscarriage. The doctor felt that the septum must still be intact and continued to be a problem, since the baby proved to be a perfectly healthy girl. Hearing the gender of our baby made losing her even more painful. I almost felt like a murderer and hated my defective body. Two weeks after having surgery to remove the septum, I began hemorrhaging and was returned to the hospital to the maternity floor, no less! This time the surgery was successful, and we were again able to pursue trying to get pregnant.
After eight months of unsuccessful attempts to conceive, we decided to take a break and put our energies into adopting. Until now I had only been interested in having my own biological child. However, time and pain had changed my outlook, and I felt that having a child by adoption would be just as rewarding as giving birth to one. Anyway, I told the Lord I was open to anything!
Our series of interviews, references, family histories, views about life and child rearing, feelings of having to prove our “worth” as suitable parents, became as emotionally exhausting as the infertility procedures had been. That year and a half seemed endless.
It was at this time that I reached an all time low. Knowing that one day we would get a phone call telling us we had a baby should have made me optimistic. Instead I only felt depressed and couldn’t pull myself out of it. We were told it could take another two years to get our phone call. We had already waited nearly seven years, two more seemed like an eternity.
For an entire week I searched my Bible day and night, asking the Lord for guidance. I also asked others to pray for us that we would know God’s will. I desperately wanted to be free of the depression and of my constant tears, which left Wesley wondering how to help.
Finally, one afternoon I sensed the Lord leading me to go back on the fertility drugs for one more month. That seemed unusual. It had been nearly a year since Id even thought about the clinic and fertility drugs. But I was convinced that this was the Lord’s answer to me. I was surrounded with a feeling of complete peace and my depression lifted. That same week a further answer came through scripture. Luke 1: 13, “Your petition has been heard and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you will name him John.” I marked the verse in my Bible and shared all this with Wesley that evening. My enthusiasm convinced him that I had truly felt this was God’s leading and not a crazy idea in my mind.
I picked up a thirty-day supply of fertility drugs, had blood drawn, and went home to gear up for another month of injections. About a week later, in the middle of the day, Wesley walked through the front door. This was highly unusual and I could tell something was up. My first words were, “We don’t have a baby do we?” He grinned and said, “Well, I sure wouldn’t be home at this time of day for any other reason!” The caseworker had called Wesley at work and given him the wonderful news that we had a baby boy waiting for us.
I was absolutely speechless. Our dream had finally come true. We had a son! A baby who would be ours! I could take him to the park, shopping, swimming, hiking, biking everywhere and he would be MINE!
We had only a few hours that day to shop for everything we would need for the baby. My long list of things to do included a call to the clinic to find out how this would affect the workup we already had started. The doctor assured me that stopping the drugs would cause no problems. He added that he was thrilled to hear our wonderful news!
Our caseworker shared all she knew about our precious baby boy. We were especially touched by the unselfishness of his birth parents. It is impossible to express the gratitude we feel to them for this baby the greatest gift we could ever receive.
Imagine our joy the next day as we flew to meet him. From our first glimpse of him lying there in a tiny bassinet, we felt an instant bond of love. I was almost afraid to touch him for fear this miracle was only a dream.
As Wesley picked him up and handed him to me, the overwhelming love in my heart assured me that he was truly God’s gift to us. My suffering had not been in vain, and I was able to thank God for infertility, surgeries, and even pain. Here we were, “parents!” to this beautiful baby boy. What an awesome word!
The month following his arrival at home seemed like Christmas with all the phone calls, friends dropping by and beautiful gifts. My sister cross-stitched a verse we claim for our son. I Samuel 1:27, “For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of him.” There was that word “petition” again, just as the Lord had shown me in Luke.
Amidst the celebrating and joy of our baby’s arrival, there was something I did not understand. Why had God led us to go on the fertility drugs and what did the verse in Luke mean? I had not given birth to this baby; we didn’t feel compelled to name him John. Perhaps I had misread the Lord. It was disheartening to feel sure God was speaking in one way, only to discover something completely different. I was confused.
The weeks passed quickly with so much to do. I joked with friends about only having twenty four hours to prepare for motherhood, instead of the usual nine months. There was a lot to learn.
Very soon I became aware that my period was late and told myself that my “cycle” must be off due to all the excitement. Three days later, I went to the drug store to get a pregnancy test to confirm that I was not pregnant.
Imagine how odd I looked, holding a newborn and selecting a pregnancy test. The check out lady scolded me for even thinking I could be pregnant. I took the test home, followed the directions exactly, and was shocked to see the obvious “positive” results!
That afternoon when I told Wesley the news, he was speechless. Suddenly I remembered the verse I had read before and knew this pregnancy was God’s answer! I told Wesley, “If this baby is born, he will be a boy, and we will name him John.’ Eight months later I gave birth to a healthy baby boy whose name is John.
We now have two precious boys, each one chosen by God to arrive in His perfect time and unique way. Our love for these children cannot be measured, and we feel privileged to have gone through the circumstances that led us to parenthood. I hope my story will bring you comfort, knowing that the Lord’s timing is perfect and that He will see you through all the difficult times. I thank Him for all my past hurts for they have molded me into a stronger person, one who trusts in the Lord for all things and who has learned to wait for His time.
Update: Wesley and Ann have three precious boys and they continually live each day knowing each of their boys is a miracle from God.