February 7th, 2016. My first-ever due date. The day I had been waiting years for. The day our babies were expected to arrive. And now here it is, but without the uncomfortably huge belly, the excruciating contractions, or the welcoming of our precious twins. February 7th. The day our babies should be sleeping in our arms.
Nothing could have prepared me for the roller coaster Seth and I have been on the last few years – one that just keeps going, no matter how sick and disoriented we get. You see, our hearts have longed to expand our family from very early on. But when month after month after month went by, I started to fear that maybe this whole getting pregnant thing wasn’t going to be quite as easy as I had expected. And boy, was I right. In fact, it took nearly four years of trying before we got the biggest surprise of our lives.
June 5th, 2015. The day that I had thought for a long time would never happen – my pregnancy test was POSITIVE! I was pregnant! Naturally, I ran to the store and bought several more, just in case. And sure enough! + + + June 5th. The day I found out I was finally a mother!
At 7 weeks, we had our first ultrasound. I was filled with so much excitement, but also with underlying fear. I remember telling Seth, “I just need to see a strong heartbeat.” My excited doctor, after a few long moments, fell silent. No heartbeat. My heart sank. She left the room and I burst into uncontrollable tears. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
We checked my hCG levels. They were not only higher than what matched my ultrasound, but they were increasing appropriately. There was hope! Perhaps I was just earlier than I thought! But several ultrasounds later, we discovered the high hCG was because there were two babies. But neither of them were progressing. Because I showed no signs of miscarriage and the babies did not deliver on their own, I underwent a D&C at 10 weeks.
July 10th, 2015. I remember checking in first thing in the morning. I was so weepy, so drained of any strength – physical, emotional, or spiritual. Coming out of anesthesia, this only worsened. I’ve never felt such emptiness. Even though my babies had already died before the procedure, they were still with me. But now? Gone. And I felt it. July 10th. The day I hate to remember but never want to forget. The day we said “goodbye” to our sweet babies.
My surgeon assured me I’d be physically feeling better in the next few days than I had been. Except the opposite happened. Beginning on day two after surgery, I started having severe abdominal cramping. This intensified for the next approximately 24 hours. My D&C was incomplete and I was left to labor through miscarrying additional tissue at home. I’ve never experienced such pain – in absolutely every way.
Little by little, my heart heals. Piece by piece, it mends, though it will never be the same. There will be no “full recovery” until the day I hold my babies in heaven. Some days, I feel the Lord’s strength permeate my severe weakness. Other days, I wonder how I’m going to make it through. But I always do, and it’s no secret why.
“My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” -Psalm 73:26
My heart and flesh have literally failed me. But God alone is my only strength – the sole source of my sustenance and true joy. I must choose to receive this gift of strength. Some days I do, and others I don’t.
My closest family and friends have, on many days, absorbed the overflow of the pain from depths of my soul. The question of “why me, God?” The comparisons. The jealousy. The hopelessness. The discontentment. The anger. But they have helped shoulder the burden and lightened my load. They’ve brought me and my broken heart before the Lord – the safest place I could ever be – the place where my soul can begin to heal. To them I am eternally grateful, and for them I am eternally blessed.
February 7, 2016. The day I choose to praise God for not wasting my pain. The day I remember that He is good. That He knows. That He weeps with me. That He is holding my babies until I can. February 7th. The day I lay my hurt at His feet and let Him cover me with His peace and comfort.
We chose names for our sweet boys that will remind us of God’s omniscience and holiness. Elijah means “my God is I AM.” Even though we don’t understand His ways, we know and believe He is purposeful in all things. Jude means “praise,” and we want our hearts to continue praising God, regardless of our circumstances or feelings. They share the middle name of Thomas, which is their daddy’s middle name, and means twin.