It was a Tuesday, and I had to pee. Out of nowhere, I felt prompted to take a pregnancy test. To rule it out.
A minute later, I was staring at a plus sign sitting on the bathroom counter, next to Vera’s toothpaste. I could hear my heart racing, uncontrollably, throbbing in my chest. I checked the expiration of the test. Valid. I found another one, shoved behind the extra shampoo and deodorant in the bottom drawer. I peed again. Another plus sign emerged.
A month earlier I bargained with God. I pleaded. If not now, we have to move on. I’m going to be forty! Vera is on her way to six! We will start the adoption process again! (We already tried back in January.) Please, I’m begging you! If this isn’t it, let me move on!
But then, he did it.
He did the miracle I always said it would be.
I was pregnant for the first time in my life. I was six weeks along. He put infertility to shame. My severe endometriosis. The uterine polyps and fibroids. The ovarian cysts. My age. My eggs. He said, “Ha! Let it be so.” And it was.
But I didn’t trust it.
For three days, Jesse and I knew we were pregnant but didn’t allow ourselves to celebrate or dream. For three days, we waited on lab results and prayed for doubling numbers. For three days, I tried not to let myself do the math: nine weeks by Mother’s Day, finding out the gender near my birthday, and meeting our sweet baby right before Christmas. For three days, I tried not to envision sharing the news with those who’ve walked with us through years of infertility, an extended adoption process, and the last two years of hearing me say, “I feel crazy saying this out loud, but I feel like God is saying we should try to get pregnant.” I tried not to connect all the dots of his elaborate plan and reread the notes saved on my phone, my dreams and other people’s visions.
But I’m only human.
That Friday, I met my friend for coffee at 8:30am. At 8:34am, I got the email from the nurse. I sat there, weeping in my tea. Shaking. My numbers weren’t rising “appropriately.” The doctor wanted me to go to the Emergency Department to rule out an ectopic pregnancy.
They confirmed a miscarriage at the hospital (we later found out it was ectopic). They confirmed there was no sign of new life in me. And these weeks since, I’ve been trying to confirm all the truths I believe.
Slowly, like the fog rising above the mountain I see out my kitchen window, grief is lifting. Hope is showing her brave face throughout my days. I don’t understand how or why, at this time in our life. At this crossroad we’ve been standing at. And I certainly don’t know what the outcome will be for our family or how it will grow. But last night, I was reading to Vera and she said, “I’ll read it, Mama. Let’s pretend I’m the big sister and you’re my little sister.” And tears filled my eyes for the hundredth time.
Although my heart is aching and my prayers are few, grace engulfs me. I have friends stepping in, carrying the weight of this because I can’t. Handing me bougainvilleas and brownies and praying on their knees to intercede. A husband who wakes up early, stays up late, goes to work, makes dinner, and runs to the gas station at 9pm to get me ice cream. My sweet girl, who knows nothing, has sensed my sadness. In those hardest, darkest nights, when I put her to bed, she wrapped her little arm around my shoulder as we lay on our sides. She’s never done that before.
I am having a hard time putting all the grief, shock, and confusion into words. I’m struggling to understand. But the earth continues to spin and the sun comes up each morning. The long, dry grasses at the edge of our driveway continue to bend and dip in the wind. The other day, Vera and I got to see a mama bird feeding her babies in the nest, eagerly, no matter how many little birds were in that nest. The mockingbirds taunt the hawk, but she sits still and peaceful on the antenna. Undisturbed. I’m taking my cues from nature and relationships: beauty, light, grace, and warmth still exist. And that’s proof enough for me that, even in the midst of heartache, God’s goodness does, too.