Spring was a season of grieving and healing. As March approached, we crossed the two-month mark of our miscarriage. My doctor told us to wait two months to start trying again for another pregnancy to ensure my body had fully healed. While still processing our loss of baby Micah, I began to place hope in a new pregnancy – a new life, predestined by the sovereignty of God, that could redeem and give understanding to our loss. Lord willing, there is another child we were meant to hold and raise on this earth.
I convinced Kevin that we should wait one more month to try again for one reason alone: Let’s avoid a December baby. With Eliza’s birthday on the 10th and mine on the 19th, plus Christmas, plus other immediate family, I feared that not being excited about a December-due-date baby would trigger more sadness of our August-due-date loss.
So, we protected and prevented for about two weeks around the window of my expected ovulation.
Our God had different things in store.
Around that time, I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine, and I remember marking on the sheet “Not pregnant/no chance of being pregnant.” I hesitated before I marked the box and thought to myself, there’s no way. The same week, I had a dream that I was pregnant and remember laughing about it to my friends after church. To them I reiterated, there’s no way it’s true.
In mid-April, a few days before our cross-country spring family vacation, I woke up one morning feeling off. I thought to myself: Surely, it’s because my period is coming soon. When is my period coming? I grabbed my phone and opened up my fertility tracking app, which read:
6 days late.
My first thought was surprise. Clearly it had not been on my radar at all. My period must be coming today, I thought to myself. As the day came and went, reality started to set in, and I experienced a lot of emotions: denial, anger, confusion, anxiousness, fear.
But as the sun set and the next morning came, a new day, the Lord gave me peace even in the unknown. I needed to take a pregnancy test.
I picked up a box of pregnancy tests at the store and waited for a moment to take one with Kevin. Waiting for a 4th positive test is an experience I wasn’t sure I’d ever have. When we saw the double line, indicating positive, the Lord gifted us in that moment with joy. All we could do was smile and laugh.
Our new journey had begun.
Our rainbow baby.
OK God, we get it. YOU are in control. Even when we try, we can’t control the way that you create life, in your timing. We trust you with this child, that his or her days are numbered—just as we’ve trusted you with our first three: Lydia, Eliza, and Micah.
Perhaps it was the distraction of vacation or the shock and joy of our pregnancy, but the fear and anxiety of pregnancy after loss didn’t set in until Kevin and I were laying in bed together the night before our first appointment. I broke down in tears.
Our appointment. Our appointment was where we found out that Micah’s heart had stopped beating. Everything was fine before our appointment.
Kevin and I prayed together and once again had to relinquish control and trust God. We just needed to get to the other side of our appointment.
It all felt so familiar – except for one major difference. Thank God, Kevin was at the appointment with me. (He was not able to come to our sonogram with Micah due to COVID.) We held hands as the sonogram started.
“This baby is measuring much smaller than your projected due date,” the sonogram tech said immediately.
After a deep breath, I let my sonogram tech know our story. I let her know that there was absolutely zero chance that this baby was conceived between the window of 7-9 weeks ago. With that, she assured me that she was no longer worried about baby’s size. Our baby had a healthy heartbeat and healthy size for a 6-week pregnancy. They moved my due date back about two weeks.
Turns out, I had ovulated 12 days late.
Our due date?
Right in between mine and Eliza’s birthdays.
The exact week we wanted to avoid.
But at that point, I could care less about the shared birthday week.
The only thing that mattered: our baby was healthy.
While we celebrated, we also kept up our hearts guarded. Micah’s heartbeat didn’t stop until 10 weeks. We still had a long way to go.
Our second appointment was set for 10.5 weeks pregnant and the day before we left for our Young Life summer assignment. This timing almost mirrored the same appointment we found out about our last loss. As first trimester nausea began to cease and a few trips provided much-needed distractions, anxiety came in again as Kevin and I left for our second appointment.
There was nothing I could do to control any of the circumstances. We just needed to get to the other side of our appointment.
The plan was to detect baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler with our nurse practitioner. When she came in the room, she assured me that I was on the early side so if they didn’t catch a heartbeat, not to be immediately worried.
Within 15 seconds of doing the Doppler and no heartbeat detected, she stopped suddenly and said, “We’re doing a sonogram.”
Kevin and I just waited anxiously behind a closed door for our sonogram.
When the sonogram tech got us and led us to the room for our sonogram, Kevin held my hand tight again. I took a deep breath, in this all-too-familiar space, staring at the screen in front of me.
Within two seconds of our baby being on the screen, the sonogram tech knew what I needed to hear, “Your baby is a great size and a healthy heartbeat.”
I cried so hard that she had to stop the sonogram.
I couldn’t stop crying.
–tears of absolute relief and gratitude.
When I finally could regain control of my breathing and slow down my tears, we started the sonogram again. Our tech explained that my placenta was anterior which is why they couldn’t pick up baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler. She assured me that was normal, and we even got to see our baby wave and kick!
Finally, we could take a deep breath. We allowed ourselves to fully celebrate this little life.
THE END TO THE FIRST TRIMESTER.
To be honest, it feels like I’ve waiting 6 months to be out of my first trimester. And I’ve never been happier to see my baby bump grow than I have these last few weeks! At almost 15 weeks, Lydia and Eliza have taken notice of “Baby J” growing. Lydia has started praying for Baby J at night and praising God for his life. (She’s convinced he’s a boy…we will see at 20 weeks!) Lydia even taught Eliza how to “kiss” Baby J on my belly and at night they take turns kissing my belly. This new daily routine is the sweetest gift.
There have been so many mixed emotions this pregnancy.
I have cried as many tears for Micah in this pregnancy as I did before. I still miss Micah.
Yet I also rejoice in this new life.
Sitting in the tension of both of those emotions—joy and grief—in a way I never have quite before.
To rejoice is to also grieve, and to grieve is to also rejoice.
Yet I need to feel and experience each emotion separately.
I need to remind myself that grieving Micah doesn’t mean loving “Baby J” any less.
Celebrating Baby J doesn’t mean missing Micah any less.
To be honest, I’m still sitting in this tension.
There are days when I have peace, but still moments when I break down and cry as the heartbreak of losing a child and the tension between the two emotions overwhelm me.
ALL I KNOW.
If there is anything that this fourth pregnancy has shown me, it’s that I literally can’t take control, even when I try! The fact that our pregnancy was an unplanned surprise has somehow given me more peace to let go and let God be God.
Early in pregnancy I came across this Bible verse: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
God’s ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are higher, higher than I can comprehend. All I know is I need Him. I run to the Father and I fall into His grace… again, and again, and again.
So here we go. December, you don’t scare me anymore.
We are ready for you baby number 4, our rainbow baby.
We are ready to name you, find out your gender, and prepare our home for you.
We are ready to meet you, hold you, and raise you.
You are the one we’ve been waiting for.
God chose you, and we choose you too.
We are yours, and you are mine.