When I was a child and I dreamed about growing up, getting married, and having a family, I never thought I would have to face fertility issues. Even as a young married woman I didn’t expect to encounter those challenges. It’s just one of those things you know happens to other people but you think it will never happen to you. And nothing could have prepared me for it.
Sometime in my early twenties before Charlie and I met I woke up one morning with that dreamy half awake – half asleep fog and the first thing that popped into my head was a name. It was a girl’s name… one I had heard before but didn’t know anyone by the name of and never really thought much about. It was completely random and unexpected and I knew I didn’t just put it there on my own. I started to pray and ask God why this name was on my mind and suddenly as clear as day I knew it would one day become my daughter’s name. Lydia. The more I thought and dreamed about it in the days that followed, the more I fell in love with it and thought it was the most beautiful name I had ever heard.
Charlie and I met in 2005 and started dating in January 2006. We had a whirlwind romance that took us from dating to engaged to hearing wedding bells all within 5 months. By June 2006 we were married. It felt perfect and right. We were incredibly happy and excited to begin our lives together. We found out we were expecting about 9 months into our first year of marriage. To be honest, I wasn’t ready. I cried at the doctor’s office when I found out we were pregnant. I wanted more time with my new husband to have adventures and freedom and travel before we decided to start a family. But those feelings quickly left and were replaced with joy and excitement. What seemed like about 5 minutes after finding out the news, the mom in me began to emerge. I started planning and dreaming about what our baby would be like, what he or she would look like, what it would feel like to become a mom, and how our lives would become richer. Truth be told I was still scared to become a mom because I’m not one of those people that’s naturally good with kids, but I was excited about the possibilities and I knew that part would work itself out in time.
Over the next couple of weeks Charlie and I were giddy with joy at at the thought of becoming parents. Everywhere we went we were looking at baby things. We bought pregnancy books and journals and the first baby outfit. We excitedly shared the news with our closest friends and family. Sometime in the next few weeks I started having sharp abdominal pains here and there. They would come on quickly, not last long, and leave as quickly as they began. It happened several times over a few days and finally I started getting worried. The pains continued in no explainable pattern and then one morning out of nowhere, I saw blood. As a first time expectant mom, that’s enough to send you into a panic. I called the doctor and they had me go in immediately that morning.
I remember waiting in the office with a sick feeling, wanting to know so badly what was happening inside my body. They did an ultrasound and quickly discovered it was an ectopic pregnancy. I don’t even think I knew what that was at the time. The embryo was forming inside my fallopian tube and would continue to grow there, never making its way to my uterus. Ectopic pregnancies can be dangerous if not detected early because as the embryo continues to grow, the fallopian tube could rupture and cause internal bleeding. Something had to be done immediately. I remember asking the doctor, “Is there any way to save the baby?” “There is no baby, champ,” he replied. “It’s just pregnancy tissue.” Pregnancy tissue? What the heck does that even mean?! I understand the debate about when does life become life and all that… Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but there was a heartbeat and an embryo growing inside my body. It was my baby and I was going to lose it.
I broke down right there in the doctor’s office, crying with a pain I had never felt before. We had to schedule a surgical procedure to remove the embryo from my tube. There was a possibility it could leave scar tissue, making it difficult for embryos to pass through the same tube successfully in the future. After having an ectopic pregnancy, there is also a good chance you could have another one. Once the procedure was over and we were home, I cried for days. I felt so empty and devastated. Why had God told me my daughter’s name so long before only for me to get pregnant and then lose it?
There are so many worse things in this world than what I had endured. Women that have miscarriages several months into their pregnancies. Women that have baby showers and decorate nurseries only to come home without a baby. Women that have healthy, happy pregnancies only for something so unexpected and unexplainable to occur shortly after birth. Women that learn the baby in their womb might never get the chance to live a “normal” life. Parents that have children and watch them grow and then have to bury them. Women who will never be able to carry a baby at all for whatever reason. I know women with these stories and I can’t even begin to imagine their pain. It almost made me feel guilty at times for feeling the way I did. Sad. Angry. Confused. Heartbroken. But it was real. I had to go through all the stages of mourning my pregnancy and my would-be baby that would never get to be.
In spite of my circumstances, I continued forward in faith. Time began to heal my broken heart. I trusted that God had a plan and that His plan would always be better than my own. As I carried onward, I knew now that trusting God’s plan didn’t mean it would always be easy but I held fast to the promise He had made so long before, and believed one day that promise would be fulfilled and I would get to hold Lydia in my arms.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
You can read part II here.
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