I woke up violently shaking and fading in and out of anesthesia-induced sleep. Through tired, scared eyes I could barely muster the strength to whisper to my tearful husband, “Did she take it out?”

Just a few hours prior, I delivered a perfect, healthy baby boy. My second child, third pregnancy. Fifteen minutes after Charlie’s birth I was wheeled into emergency surgery to remove my placenta because it would not release. As I signed consent forms for all types of interventions, my doctor cautioned this was very serious, and there was a chance she would have to do a hysterectomy. In the operating room, I began to hemorrhage. The doctors couldn’t control the bleeding and warned my husband and sister of all the scary potential consequences. Hysterectomy. Stroke. Death.

I lost half of my blood supply. Thankfully a hysterectomy wasn’t necessary and I stabilized after one blood transfusion, then a second. However, I knew even before becoming fully conscious what the doctor would say about subsequent pregnancies.

At 30 years old, my lifelong dream of having four children was whisked away.

I am grateful every single day for the two beautiful children I have, and that I was able to leave the hospital with my family. I’ll never forget the fear I felt while entering the OR that my children would grow up without a mother and my husband would become a widower five years into our marriage.

However, after 25 years of imagining several children running around our house, it’s been an adjustment. There will never be a Madeleine or a Max. No butterflies fluttering through my stomach at the sight of a positive pregnancy test. No more rubbing my tummy, bursting with pride at the life growing inside. No more maternity clothes, or ultrasounds, or hearing that strong, precious heartbeat. Our son will never have a brother; our daughter will never have a sister.

Despite a million positives I can list about having two kids, and a million reasons to feel grateful, being done at two kids and 30 years old wasn’t my plan.

Well life, as we know, often doesn’t go by the plans we make. As much as we like to be in control, God has a plan for each of us. We don’t always understand that plan, especially during hardships. Looking back, however, the road usually seems a bit clearer. Instead of allowing myself to feel sad, or bitter about my path changing, I’m working hard to focus on being open to whatever possibilities lay ahead. To trust what God has in mind for me.

A Creed for Those Who Have Suffered concludes:

I got nothing I asked for—but everything I had hoped for;
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among men, most richly blessed!

Everyone’s “suffering” is different. I know mine certainly pales in comparison to others’. It doesn’t take away all of the sadness, and that’s OK. I can be grateful for what I have while mourning the loss of one part of my life that won’t come to fruition.

In the end, I trust I will be given what I would have prayed for in the first place, even if it’s hard to see right now.

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Lilly Holland

I'm a writer and stay-at-home mom to Penny, 15 months. Prior to spending my days with my daughter I was an elementary school teacher. After teaching, writing and being a mother became my full-time job and I haven't looked back since. Follow me on my website or Twitter