We were elated with electrified emotions when we learned that we were about to have a baby! It seemed like it took forever just to get pregnant! Years of waiting and then still it took what seemed like forever and a day just to get pregnant.
Then when we were about shout the good news all the way to the end of the Milky Way Galaxy, we learned that in the seventh week, we had a miscarriage.
Emotionally, we were drained, and it definitely stole the thunder and joy from our joyous outlook of our soon future. Needless to say, we did not reach the point of telling everyone, so our sadness and let down was mainly internal, only sharing with direct family and our pastor at the time.
Not too long after, although seemingly forever, we again learned the incredible news that we were pregnant and had a little person to be born in arms of expectancy and love.
We took a difference approach this time – we voiced our faith in God and were bold in staking our claim in His promises! We "Stood on the Promises of God our Saviour," as the song goes. We looked forward and "pressed towards the mark!" We even had a Christian co-worker tell us just short of a full-on prophesy, "You're GOING to have this baby!"
We were ecstatic and of course started making preparations for our "promised-baby."
Then it happened. The bleeding in the bathroom, the stomach aches, the doctor visit, the ultrasound that despairingly found no heartbeat. We were broken. Broken in heart, in spirit and in our hopes that it would happen – another miscarriage.
After all the praying, fasting, believing, standing and faith-filled proclamations, it still happened. We were definitely crushed.
Your Marriage Will Grow in the Valleys – Not on Mountaintops
"Weeping may endure for a night; but joy comes in the morning." (Proverbs 30:5)
It is during these dark times that your marriage surfaces to the light, what it was truly based on from the beginning. Your relationship, whether faulty or solid, truly shows its colors during these times.
We distinctly remember some old friends from Washington that were on-fire Christians, active in their church as husband and wife, but then tragedy hit their marriage that had to do with their child. And instead of the wife opening up to her husband, falling with tears into his arms, she imploded and spawned isolation and distance between her and him.
Slowly the relationship by way of emotional turmoil began to die and life had begun its cold clutches of unfairness which exponentially took its toll on their marriage.
When we met the wife, she was already divorced, alone and the husband so crushed he left the church, turned to drugs and they continue to live with double the pain – from their family tragedy and their painful divorce.
We often hear preaching and shouting of being on the mountaintops, or soaring high in the air as eagles, but cringe when we hear teaching on going through the valley. There was a reason King David said emphatically, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; I will fear no evil." Why? Because "Thou (God) art with me – Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." (Psalms 23:4-5)
These are the times that both husband and wife will grow closer if love and respect are the foundation of their marriage. We not only share the good times, but also the bad. Remember those vows we all took? "For richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part..."
We do not grow on the mountain, we grow in the valleys. This is where we learn why Jesus is often called the "Lilly of the Valley." Because even in the midst of darkness, He will "never leave us and never forsake us," and neither will our spouse.
It Ain't Over Until It's Over!
After all that said, we are happy to report to you with an excited heart of pure joy, that we have the most beautiful, best 5-year-old daughter in the whole world, who was born November 6, 2006!
It is without a doubt a pure joy to be able to tell the world along with Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never give up!"
Yes, it was hard, but through a close-knit, loving marriage, we both kept on keepin' on. We began to realize that God did not disappoint us or let us down. In fact, it also helped us to put proper things in perspective.
We also realized that no amount of prophesying, shouting or proclaiming would alter what was an inevitable fact of life. To quote the Oracle from "The Matrix: Reloaded" in speaking to Neo, "Because you didn't come here to make the choice, you've already made it. You're here to try to understand why you made it. I thought you'd have figured that out by now."
But persistence will pay off! Findings show that simply because you had one or more miscarriages, it does not diminish or prevent a healthy pregnancy or healthy birth. So, keep on keepin' on!
Try to look at the bigger picture and long term goal.
Understanding Miscarriages for What They Are
These two miscarriages forced us to take a long, hard look at understanding "why" things happen and what are the real life issues that have crossed our path. Was it a lack of faith? Was it the enemy attacking home, our marriage and us? Was it a spiritual attack? Or was it simply life that has a history of throwing curve balls?
Miscarriage as defined by Dr. Michael Bowen and Dr. Jennifer Wyllie on NetDoctor.com is: A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks. Unfortunately miscarriage is very common, occurring in about one in five pregnancies. Most occur early in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Also interesting to note, that according to WebMD.com (One of the largest online dependable Medical Resources) they specifically use the terminology beyond the scope of the word "pregnancy." They specifically say that a miscarriage is the loss (or death) of a "baby." As well, it proceeds to clarify that it is not an abortion in common definition of the term. Source: WebMD - Miscarriage
According to Pregnancy.org, a leading resource for pregnant women and families:
- As many as 25% (Approx. 675,000 in America) of ALL pregnancies end in miscarriage.
- Half of this 25% have miscarriages before most even know that they are pregnant.
Jenny Evans on Suite101.com, reports, "Chemical pregnancies, which are pregnancies lost just after implantation, are thought to account for 50% to 75% of all miscarriages. Chemical pregnancies, which are pregnancies lost just after implantation, are thought to account for 50% to 75% of all miscarriages. This means that a majority of miscarriages happen before a woman even knows she is pregnant, and what she thinks is her normal period is actually a miscarried pregnancy. A late period is also a sign of a possible early miscarriage." (Source: Jenny Evans)
It's very easy for the entire negative experience to overwhelm a couple longing to have children. But still, knowing that this not only happens in a high number ratio, but that it is in fact "common," should give comfort to many potential mothers that it is for the most part not their fault!
Symptoms of a Miscarriage
WebMD states a few symptoms to watch out for include:
• Bleeding which progresses from light to heavy
• Abdominal pain
• Back pain
First, we'll give the real answers to some main causes of miscarriage. WebMD concludes these factors may contribute to the cause of a miscarriage:
• Exposure to environmental and workplace hazards such as high levels of radiation or toxic agents.
• Hormonal problems.
• Uterine abnormalities.
• Incompetent cervix (the cervix begins to widen and open too early, in the middle of pregnancy, without signs of pain or labor).
• Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or using illegal drugs.
• Disorders of the immune system, including lupus.
• Severe kidney disease.
• Congenital heart disease.
• Diabetes that is not controlled.
• Thyroid disease.
• Certain medications, such as the acne drug Accutane.
• Severe malnutrition.
Another factor is a more obvious one: age. It's been reported that women above the age of 20 have an increased risk factor rising from around 15% to about 25%.
It's also interesting to note that there has been absolutely no proof or finding that any form of intimacy has attributed to miscarriage. This was a driving question during all three of our pregnancies. But rest assured, that having marital sex and relations has zero bearing on whether a miscarriage will occur.
Guilt, Blame and Confusion
Both fathers and mothers are equally frustrated as to why it sometimes seems impossible to get pregnant. And while fathers generally are in remorse and even in some cases feel to blame, it seems the majority of the load of guilt seems to fall on the potential mommies – that it is somehow their fault the miscarriage happened.
We hope to encourage those mothers (and fathers) that somehow feel that it was something that either they did wrong, or perhaps they didn't do right.
Or, that God somehow has taken away His love and favor and withheld the joy of becoming a mommy.
One online post simply says, "I am sorry about the vent at the end but it is something that I have kept bottled up for a long time. I do not trash anyone's religion but just know that I am not subscribing to any right now. My faith is gone in God so I guess that is why he hates me so much." (Source: Talk About Marriage)
Another said, "This is almost like God or life is rubbing salt in the wound. It hurts to see other pregnant women and couples walking around the mall or whatever with their beautiful kids. It just doesn't seem fair does it?" (Source: Talk About Marriage)
We understand! We were there. We also would deal with the overwhelming emotions that drenched out spirits as we walked through the malls or when shopping. How would our child or children be? What would they look like?
We would often daydream about them laughing and playing. Both of us would feel great despair as to if we would ever have a baby.
We knew in our minds that it was not our fault – but our heart continued its attack on our emotions none the less. But through it all – we stayed together and shared life's ups and downs together. This is what a good marriage is all about.
And we had to come to the same conclusion as Coach Grant Taylor's wife on "Facing the Giants" had to come to – "Even if we never have a baby, we'll still love you, Lord."
But we are here to let you know – it will work!!! But you must not give up. And we encourage all couples to not lose sight of your main purpose and goal – for your marriage to be priority.
We must also be careful not to allow the desire to have a baby become more important than your desire to have a healthy, loving, close-knit marriage.
Many have mistakenly veered off the path of a good marriage only to be thwarted by the desire to "have a baby" more than loving their spouse. Marriage comes first – and needs to "stay" first.
So, "press towards the mark" and make sure you're pressing alone – by yourself – but together as a couple. And when, we don't say "if," but "when" your victory comes – it will be a victory shared by both of you together… which is the whole summation of things.