pp – The journey to parenthood is not an easy one for many. I had a sober view of this reality before Pav and I began actively trying to conceive. It helped me face the sadness of this first play-by-play series of events: a faint-lined positive home-pregnancy test, scheduling a doctors visit, bleeding the next day, in to the doc’s office to hear: “All I see is an empty sac,” and dealing with the letdown of those short-lived hours of excited anticipation. I never expected the denial and confusion about this particular experience. Sorting through the medical definitions of the start of a viable pregnancy vs. what I’ve been raised to believe as the start of life at the moment of conception. So, really, what had just happened? Do I call this a miscarriage? Oh the questions, the doubts, the guilt, pain, confusion… I indeed named this a miscarriage until further doubt was presented as other events of that year played out. The bottom line at that point was, I did recognize the facts that it was very common to have a miscarriage (or whatever?) in the early months of the start of a new life, so I didn’t fret that there was anything terribly wrong.
So as the spring months continued, we also continued our longing for the budding of new life – this time with an even more weighty recognition of the miracle and gift of life forming in a mother’s womb. When we next laid eyes on a clearly, boldly positive pregnancy test, I could never quite get my happiness and excitement up to a high level. Perhaps there really was an underlying gut instinct that something would go wrong. I kept trying to deny and overcome those thoughts that I felt guilty about, but there were only fleeting moments and best when I truly did. The first doctor’s visit was plenty early, and we didn’t hear a heartbeat. No concern was expressed at the time, so we scheduled the rounds of standard tests at the hospital before our next appointment. We waited over an hour in the waiting room for our appointment and were finally called to walk back to the exam room. A thought hit me just before we walked in the room, and I turned to a Pav and said, “Ya know, if we don’t hear a heartbeat today that’s probably not good.” He simply replied, “Let’s cross that bridge when we get there.” Well, we got there. That’s what happened, and we were encouraged to go to the hospital the next day for what I understood as “double checking things” with a colleague of his, but what turned out to be automatic prep for a D&C by a very rude nurse who had the nerve to ask me, “Did you want this baby?” I guess with the abortion rates in Greece being the highest in Europe, it didn’t seem like such a crazy question to her.
There are plenty of details of that day that I could recount, but I sure wouldn’t enjoy it, and I’ve already reprocessed them in writing and moved towards healing, so I’d rather rush to that part. But this day, June 12, is the anniversary of that D&C. Another day filled with so many questions, doubts, guilt, pain, and confusion, which led into more days and months of the same. Yet another incident with the doctor seeing me for a check-up messed with my emotions again as he stated, I believe you’re pregnant again, but since I’ve already examined your uterus, and I saw nothing there, we have to do a blood test to detect an ectopic pregnancy. That day was extremely defeating for me. I realized the style of communication that had been established in my, or rather, Pav AND I’s relationship with this doctor, was not something that I felt any peace continuing with. So the hunt was on for a new doctor I could communicate well with and develop a genuine trust in.
I tell you what, this month+ long search journey was not free of pain either. I felt manipulated into testing beyond what I wanted, but I also failed to articulate or even pinpoint myself just exactly what it was I was looking for in a doctor… until of course, I found it. Thank you, Lord, for leading me to the doctor and midwife team I have now. So let me start the crescendo, I don’t want to wallow in the “piano” volume any longer. 😉
mf – After nearly a year, Theodore was conceived, and we found out on Thanksgiving day by having my blood drawn – no more home pregnancy tests, hehe. After waiting a month or so to share our joy with some of our closer friends and extended family, I learned of miscarriages they’d experienced that I had never known about. It’s interesting that it’s such a silent, often uncommunicated pain people walk through. One of them recommended a book (What was lost: A Christian Journey Through Miscarriage by Barrett, Elise Erikson) that I promptly bought on amazon and read. It helped me really sort through some of emotions and pain of the previous year, and most importantly, recognize God’s sovereignty in our journey.
f – I now have a story to tell that I can share with others to encourage them when they walk through similar difficulties. I’m able to honestly relate that “I get it.” This is by no means the main reason for God allowing our pain, but it sure is a sweet way He uses our experiences in sweetly redeeming ways! I am genuinely thrilled with the ways the Lord has already used my story to encourage others and draw them closer to Himself. And of course most of all I’m thankful for how He drew ME closer to Himself through it all! And of course, now Pav & I rejoice in an even more profound way for the gift of life given to us through our son, Theodore – a Greek name meaning “God’s gift.” Where have the months gone? Our little sweetie is less than two months from his first birthday, ah!!
ff – I remember lying in bed next to Pavlos (I’m so thankful for him!!!) one night in January, 2014. I had just wrapped up my reading of the book I previously mentioned, and I rolled over to ask Pavlos his thoughts on what he’d learned through our miscarriage journey. How had he come to grips with the sadness and pain, or the doubt and confusion about whether there was ever a baby in that first gestational sac? Would we meet them in heaven one day? Were they really live souls from the first moment of conception?
He so wisely replied, “Going through this has made me revisit the truth of the depravity of this world, the pain and effect of sin and brokenness. But it has also brought me peace in God’s sovereignty. Life – It’s not in the will of the flesh – but it’s when God chooses to give life. God can even give it when it hasn’t happened physically – like the conception of Jesus!” 😉 Yup!
I was encouraged by his thoughts, and I finally was able to more fully process my own aloud with him. I felt wholly at peace in the truth that God is Creator – and I was able to truly, completely trust Him fully with His wisdom and knowledge of His creation. He knows the truth and realities of those first two little hope-filled lives that we had longed for those early months of 2013.
I had been given advice by a friend or two that in order to completely grieve these two losses, I should pray for God to reveal to me the sex of these two babies and even name them. I had felt kind of uncomfortable by this concept, but after processing through the book which also suggested that as a possible healing idea to consider, I had been asking God in my prayers if this was an appropriate thing for me as well. I hadn’t really felt the need to until that particular evening a specific, God-glorifying idea came to mind. Victory – Niki in Greek. Jesus is the victor over death. Amen!!! And therefore, I “named” those little hoped-for lives VICTOR/Vicky and Nik/NIKKI/Nicole. Since I was a very little girl I wanted to name my girl Nicole, and I constantly named my large collection of dolls and teddy bears Nick and Nicole, hehe. These precious little ones remind me of God’s great conquering of death through the death of His only begotten son, Jesus. God in the flesh – born as a humble baby, lived a selfless, obedient life to God the Father… and died the death for our sin that we might have ETERNAL life. Oh it is so beyond awesome – and joy, hope, and peace bringing. I’m so thankful! A diminished chord in my story was beautifully resolved and redeemed. God’s composition of my life continues, and I pray it is first and foremost for His great glory as the Awesome Composer!