Friday, September 11, 2009


It was one year ago today that I made that life-altering trip to the doctor's office. I was 11 weeks pregnant and this was my first checkup. I had been spotting for a little while, but from what I read online spotting oftten occures in early pregnancy. Although it did worry me a bit, since no other symptoms (no cramping at all!!) accompanied it, I decided to not overly worry...and just leave it in God's hands. This day, however, I had decided that the spotting had gone on long enough. I went into work that morning, but made a doctors appointment near my lunch hour.

It was quite a rollercoaster of emotions as I entered the doctor's office that day. I prayed for strength...and that we would get good news. A lot of, "Please help me, Lord!" After talking to the nurse and doctor I felt reassured taht the spotting wasn't a big deal. After checking me, their words were reassuring-everything looked fine.

Then, it was time for the in-house ultrasound. They said that hearing the baby's heartbeat would just reassure me that everything was fine. I lied on the table as the doctor began rubbing the little monitor (not sure what that little thing is called) around in the jelly on my belly. I waited and waited as he continuously moved the monitor. We waited...and waited some more. I looked at the doctor's face searching for some kind of answer. I could tell he was trying not to show any emotion, but I could sense a bit of panic in his eyes. Maybe it was merely the speeding heart in my own chest that made it seem that way, but it seemed as if was now frantically searching for a fetal heartbeat. Tears welled up in my eyes. Finally, he quit searching. He quickly apologized saying that he wasn't very good at running this ultrasound machine. He reassured me that it was probably just his error...and lack of experience in running the machine. I asked if he had ever not been able to find a heartbeat before. He hesitantly, yet honestly answered, "No." (You can always count on me to ask a zinger of a question!).

While they scheduled an ultrasound for me at the hospital, I called my husband, Alan. I broke down! He reasuured me that he would head my way as quickly as he could and that the in-house ultrasound was probably just wrong.

Despite everyon's reassuring words, the in-house ultrasound was not wrong! The hospital ultrasound was quite clear. Our baby had only developed to 6 weeks and there was no heartbeat. Why hadn't my body gone through the miscarriage process? Were my dates wrong? Could we be only 6 weeks pregnant? No, I knew my dates were right. Even the positive pregnancy test that announced to us that we were expecting was taken over 6 weeks before. Still, a person's mind can go all over the place during a time like this. I held onto a tiny bit of hope that the ultrasound could somehow be wrong.

We were sent home to wait. I cried and cried. Alan cried. We cried together. We talked and tried to process this information. Either my body would choose to go through the miscarriage process in the following week or, if not, we would go in for a second ultrasound on September 18th.

It was a long week! I went about my normal activities trying to forget that I was carrying my deceased baby and waiting to miscarry. Holding on to a bit of hope that the ultrasound was wrong. Still spotting, yet feeling more pregnant than ever (my pregnancy symptoms were hightened).

On September 14, 2008 I wrote the following:

September 11th will be a date etched in my memory for all time. It was a day full of sorrow for me. However, I’m not referring to the September 11th that you may be thinking of. Not September 11, 2001, the day that our wonderful country the USA was attacked by terrorists. Although that was a sad day for all Americans, that’s not the date I’m referring to. No, my September 11th story took place seven years later on September 11, 2008. That was the day that I found out I was having a miscarriage.

From the moment any woman realizes that she is expecting she starts making plans; dreaming dreams. I’m no different. Mine were shattered that day. At first I think I was in disbelief. Maybe you would call it denial. My husband, Alan, and I were trilled to think of soon welcoming a new baby into our family. We thought our little son, Andrew, would soon be a big brother. We really wanted this baby! How could this really be happening to us?

The days following September 11th brought with them many questions, confusion and a little fear. Tears flowed from our broken hearts. Many things in life are hard to understand. I believe some of our questions will never be answered here on this earth. I also believe that a bit of grief will always reside in our hearts as long as we travel this life. However, I’ve found such comfort and peace in knowing that my Heavenly Father comforts me in all my tribulations (II Cor 1:4).

As the weekend neared I knew I needed to prepare a Sunday school lesson for my 3 and 4-year-old preschool class. Honestly, I dreaded the thought of getting a lesson together. I’ve always loved teaching Sunday school, but I had found it very hard to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. However, I prayed for strength and motivation. Before I knew it I had found some inspiration and was writing a lesson of my own.

I came across the story of the lost sheep in Matthew 18. I know this story is an illustration of God calling us, His sheep, back to himself. Yet, something else struck me as I read this story once again. It reminded me that God is our Good Shepherd (John 10:11). A Good Shepherd loves, cares for and protects His sheep. He knows His sheep and they know Him (John 10:14). Not only that, but our Good Shepherd has a plan for us (Jer 29:11). We can trust in Him and His plan for our lives (Prov 3:5). His purpose is to give life in its fullness (John 10:10). He causes everything to work together for good for us (Rom 8:28). He helps us in our distress (Rom 8:26).

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says:“For I know the plans I have for you”, says they Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster (evil), to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.”

I am grateful for all He is reminding me of and teaching me through my September 11th experience. I trust in His plan (Jer 29:11). I want His will and not mine (Luke 22:42). I am thankful that He gives us hope (Ps 31:24) and that He heals the brokenhearted (Is 61:1).

Although I found such strength, peace and hope in my faith in Jesus Christ the following days were not easy. A second ultrasound confirmed the first (and the in-house one). Even my untrained eyes could clearly see the truth before me. No development past 6 weeks. No movement. No heartbeat. Since my body wasn't going through the miscarriage process properly, we had to decide what to do to avoid infection.
A third ultrasound to reassure my breaking heart that I was doing the right thing and a scheduled d&c followed. Don't know what a d&c is? Go here to learn more.
It was physically and emotionally draining time. I am so thankful that I knew God had (and still has) a plan for our family. That even though I don't always understand His plan, that I can trust Him and His plan for my life. It caused me to wonder what I would ever do without Him...without the peace and hope that only He can give!

Have you gone through a miscarriage or the loss of a baby? Do you know someone who has...someone who is struggling with this loss? So many people don't understand this pain. Many people minimize the loss. Please know that I understand the pain. I know that it is a REAL loss and the sorrow that it brings along with it. I also know that you can find hope and peace in the midst of the pain!
I learned so much through my loss and have compiled some thoughts (well, a lot of thoughts...enough that I could almost write a book). I want to share just a few of those things with you here on my blog in the next couple of posts. Check back to read some of my thoughts on some of the crazy things people say after such a loss, people minimizing the loss, what an opportunity a time such as this is to minister to a hurting woman's soul, some things to avoid and some things to do.

As always I am here to listen and pray, dear reading friend. Always feel free to leave a comment here or e-mail me:

1 comment:

  1. I'm right there with you, Rachel. I went through the exact same thing, though it was many years ago. I was 5 1/2 months into the pregnancy, when I noticed the baby wasn't kicking anymore. The doctor didn't hear a heartbeat, and sent me home. Unfortunately he never told me I would actually go into labor to deliver my child. At the hospital they induced labor, and shortly after I delivered a precious baby boy. We named him Alex. Afterwards they asked if we'd like to see him, we said 'of course.' They brought him in a metal pan! We were horrified. Now why couldn't they have placed him on a pillow? I thought that was heartless.

    We'll see our babies again in heaven. It will be a glorious time!

    Love and hugs,


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