Anxiety! Have you ever had an anxiety attack? I had never had an anxiety attack until the ordinary day that turned my life inside out. I was on my lunch break, and my husband and I were on our way to my 10-week OB/GYN appointment. I went into the checkup with a positive pregnancy test and blood work to confirm the pregnancy test results. Nonetheless, when the Nurse Practitioner performed the ultrasound, she told me there was no baby and I was not pregnant. She told me to go back to work and call the office tomorrow to take the next step to normalize my cycle. As the staff rushed off to lunch, I left the office heartbroken and confused.
That unusual ordinary day
My husband and I had driven only about one mile down the road when I was struck with the most severe pain I have ever felt. It was as if someone was taking a knife and cutting it across my stomach. I leaned forward to put my chest on my legs and screamed in pain. My husband quickly turned the car around and rushed back to the doctors office. He stood at the office door knocking and screaming until, finally, someone opened the door and let him in. He picked me up and carried me into the office where the Nurse Practitioner, who had just examined me, came to me and said I was having an anxiety attack. I looked at her with tear-filled eyes, This was NO anxiety attack. The doctor rushed into the room, took one look at me and told my husband to get me to the hospital immediately.
There was no time to wait for an ambulance. I was experiencing a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. When I arrived at the hospital my husband began yelling for help. Triage was called. When I woke up I was surrounded by all my family and church family. I had lost the baby, four pints of blood, and my fallopian tube.
Broken heart and broken foot
How did this happen to me? This is the stuff you read about, not live through. At times I wondered why God saved me that day: What was his purpose for my life? What was to be learned from this experience? For a full year after that horrific day, I spent each month counting the pregnancy milestones that should have been how my baby would have been growing. And on the 27th day of each month, I would find myself crying and brokenhearted. I couldn’t drive by a hospital without crying. I had lost all trust in medical doctors. One would have thought that with a positive pregnancy test and blood work to confirm the pregnancy, an experienced doctor wouldn’t just dismiss these test results but would investigate to find out what exactly was happening prior to allowing me to walk out the door. In the midst of my pain, I found forgiveness, not easily, but with the grace of God.
My husband and I moved immediately after this incident from Virginia Beach to Northern Virginia. On a Thursday morning in May, just four short months after relocating, as I sat on my couch reading my Bible prior to getting ready for work, I received a phone call from my husband’s job. My husband had been in a horrible accident. His foot had been run over by a forklift carrying over two tons of marble. I was to meet him at the hospital. Minutes later, another call came in telling me they were flying my husband to Baltimore where doctors would amputate his foot. Bewildered, I began gathering his stuff. While driving, a third call came in telling me my husband had been redirected to a local hospital where a doctor would try to save his foot. I was no longer the patient; I had to focus on my husband and caring for him. I spent the first month at his hospital bedside every night.
It was no longer about me and my pain, it was about us. We overcame all these tragedies in our first year of marriage. My body and emotions slowly healed through many tears and sleepless nights. I slowly regained hope that I could and would someday have a baby.
So many questions, so few answers-
I had a second pregnancy: Miscarriage at six weeks.
A third pregnancy: Miscarriage at seven weeks.
A fourth pregnancy: Miscarriage at five weeks.
The fifth pregnancy was another ectopic pregnancy. I was sitting in the ultrasound office when the nurse told me to go straight to my doctor’s office and be prepared to go to the hospital for surgery. The ultrasound confirmed the baby was in my tube and needed to be removed immediately. As I traveled the short distance back to the doctor’s office, my eyes filled with tears once again. The doctor seemed to think I would be able to have a shot to terminate the pregnancy and not need surgery. Although I did not want to lose this baby, I was hopeful this procedure would save my tube and give me a chance to become pregnant in the future. But this was not to be. As I sat in the hospital waiting for the shot, the call came: For some reason, my liver enzymes were elevated and the only option was surgery. I dropped the phone and dropped to my knees in the middle of the waiting room. I was a ball of tears. Why, God, why this way, why me? Out of every test that was run there was no plausible cause for all of these miscarriages, why do you have to take my only tube? At eight weeks the miscarriage took my other fallopian tube. It was confirmed I was barren. I had lost both of my fallopian tubes.
Each miscarriage was a different experience that left the same empty lonely feeling. I felt the physical pain of each miscarriage. Though my body healed quickly, my emotions and my mind did not. I was torn each time between hope and fear. Hope that this pregnancy would be different, that this time I would have a child. And fear of what if I lose this child too? What if my tube ruptures and kills me? What if the child is not healthy? What ifs consumed my every thought and played with my emotions. I remember crying till I had no more tears. I would have highs and lows; and with each loss, my lows got just a little lower and my highs at being pregnant got just a little higher. Had God healed my body or was it His will that I never have a child? So many questions with so few answers as to the reasons these losses were happening to me. How did my body fail me so many times, and when will I be healed?
When hope is just too painful
My hope was gone; I gave up on having a child because hope was just too painful. The loss of five babies had become unbearable for me. My hope was gone, and I no longer believed God would heal me. I became silent, silent to my husband, silent in church, and silent to God. There were no words to describe this pain as my heart physically ached inside and peace was nowhere to be found. My husband wanted us to pray, and I just had no words to pray. I felt God had abandoned me. He had promised me in his word that He would never leave me nor forsake me; but He had left me, He had been silent in my time of need, and I no longer knew what to say to Him. I was too fearful to charge Him foolishly because I had seen God’s healing power. I watched Him heal my husband’s foot and return him to running and playing basketball. I heard people in the church testify that He healed them of cancer; and I saw crippled people get up and walk. So who was I that He had forgotten about me? Maybe, all my faults had disqualified me from being His child. Maybe the word was not working for me.
From my silence I began to ask God to help me. God help me. I prayed these three words for months and months. I knew I needed Him and He was the only one to help me, but I did not know how to pray for what I needed and I didn’t know exactly what I needed. I wanted the emptiness in my heart to be filled. I watched family members have two and three children, and I played with other people’s kids wondering what it would be like to play with my own child.
Then, one day, I was treating a patient who had this beautiful little girl. I decided it was best to keep the child occupied so that I would be able to treat her mother. I gave the child some markers and paper to draw. After I had finished treating her mother, the little girl came over to me and handed me the picture she had drawn. I asked her to explain her picture and tell me the story. She began to explain each picture. She pointed to a person in the picture.
”This is you,” she said.
I encouraged her, ”That was wonderful.”
She pointed to the next picture.” This is your baby; it is a girl!”
I hugged the little girl and took the picture. When I got to the back room, I began to cry. How could this be a perfect stranger, a seven year-old girl God had sent to me to let me know I would have a baby. God had heard my prayers and was healing my mind, body, and soul. In His word He said a child will lead the way to peace (Isaiah 11:6), and this child had lead me back to my Creator, who had sent her just to restore my hope.
It has been seven years and five miscarriages. Finally, I was diagnosed with Graves disease, which doctors believe was the cause of my miscarriages. I received treatment, and I am receiving healing each day from my Heavenly Father. I declare my healing, and I am here to tell you to never say never when God is in the midst of your situation. In September of this year, I will begin a treatment cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF)! Let God’s word be true and every man a liar. I have traded my sorrows for joy, my tears for a garment of praise, and my fear for hope, because my Father holds all power in the palm of His hands. Amen!