Thursday, February 13, 2014

The story behind the picture... part 2

If you missed part one, you can find it here.

Finding out we were pregnant was a kind of relief I had never experienced before. I felt so incredibly joyful and hopeful for what the next 9 months would bring. I was ready to be the best darn pregnant person out there. I exercised everyday, I increased my daily intake of protein (a feat all by itself), I started thinking about finally setting up that room we designated as a nursery when we moved in two years ago. It was go time- and "go" I could do.

We found out we were pregnant late Monday night, May 20th, 2013. I called the doctor Tuesday morning to share the good news, and they scheduled our first appointment for Monday, June 17th- fittingly falling the day after Father's Day.

In addition to our exciting baby news, we had also received a call from our breeder that our golden retriever puppy would be ready to be picked up on Saturday, June 15th.

Life was feeling good.

During the next month, we told our closest family and friends about our exciting news. We had my family over for dinner and had our nephew, Noah, pretend like he was going to sing a song that we had taught him in front of the whole family. When everyone was in place and the cameras were rolling, he announced that Aunt Heather and Uncle Matt were going to have a baby. It makes me tear up remembering their total shock and excitement, and seeing Noah's big smile as he looked at us like, "Did I do a good job?!"

For Matt's family, we bought our nephew Jackson a personalized T-shirt that would be his size at the time of the baby's arrival and brought it with us to the family beach vacation. The first night we were there, we told everyone we found the cutest gift for Jackson that we couldn't wait for him to open, and everyone watched as he pulled it out of the bag (again, here come the tears). This was great because there was the slightest delay as everyone processed what the shirt said, "I love my cousin." And then the explosion hit. Sweet sweet memories.

That entire week at the beach, Matt and I thought about what next year would look like with a 5 month old and a dog, and enjoyed our beach-reading days, knowing that those would not be happening again for quite some time.

Fast forward to Saturday, June 15th, when we added this sweet buddy to our family. If you follow us on Instagram or have read this blog for long, you know that we're kind of obsessed with our dog. This, by the way, is how he rode the entire two hours home from the breeder's house. :)

That Sunday was Father's Day, and I wanted to celebrate Matt for the future daddy he would be to our baby and for the day (literally) he had spent being a great doggy daddy to Tally. ;)

Monday was our big day. We were pumped! I was just shy of 8 weeks- already only a month away from my second trimester. We had to spend a long time in the waiting room, which gave us time to talk about what we were about to experience. We talked about what we would do if we heard two heartbeats and decided we would actually be really excited about twins. We also talked about how we would respond if, worst case, they couldn't find a heartbeat. Looking back, I see this now as the Lord preparing our hearts.

When it was finally time to head back to the room, I was happy to know that my doctor would be performing the ultrasound as opposed to a tech. I was on the table and Matt was by my side in the chair as my doctor started the sonogram. I waited patiently for his response as he focused on the screen.  I had had enough friends have babies to know what was supposed to happen at this point. And it wasn't happening. But with one last ounce of hope, I asked in my strongest voice if he had the sound on.

At that point, my doctor took my hand and told us that we had unfortunately lost the baby.

I didn't want to cry. I wanted to be strong and hold it together, for me and for Matt. And he was thinking the same thing. But neither one of us could really hold back the tears like we wanted to.

All of the previous joy and announcements and future planning suddenly felt silly. I remember thinking, "This will be okay, we can do this," but feeling like everything else our doctor told us was a blur of words going in and out of my ears... the good news was that we were able to get pregnant... we could decide whether we wanted to let the process of losing the baby happen naturally or have a procedure to remove it... the pros and cons of both sides... what most of his patients decided...

I don't really remember the drive home, other than I was so anxious to get back to Tally, who had been home for 4 hours and had probably gone to the bathroom in his crate on our first time away from him.

Getting home to that little 7 week old puppy who needed us was about the best thing that happened to us that day. The timing of us picking him up just two days before could not have been more perfect.

My DNC was scheduled for that Wednesday. Waking up that morning I remembered thinking how much things could change in two days.

Matt took off work for the day and sat with me for as long as he could before they wheeled me back for the surgery. Everything after that, including the drive home, is blank for me- a side effect of the anesthesia they said. I slept that afternoon while Matt worked from home and took care of Tally, and then sweet friends of ours brought us dinner that night.

If I'm honest, those next couple of weeks were a blur of highs and lows. Highs from visits with friends and family and taking Tally on his first camping trip, and lows where I stayed in workout clothes and glasses with no makeup for most of the day.

Because I had started a summer blog series where I documented a picture from each day, I was semi-forced to look for the good in those days. And I'm really glad I did because there were many moments of joy in those weeks that followed (see week 4 here and week 5 here). Realizing that is actually what prompted me to do it for a whole year, which I started on New Years Day of this year.

Going through the miscarriage changed me. No longer did I feel like I was "trying" to let go and "let God" like I felt throughout the whole trying-to-get-pregnant process. I finally felt like I was there... like I didn't have any other choice. And it felt like peace. Brokenness, but peace.

Throughout the entire process of trying to get pregnant and then miscarrying, there were two huge moments where I felt the Lord breaking me and refining me. Both revolve around Sunday morning worship at our church. The first one came during the song The Lord Our God. There's a line in the song that says, "Promise Maker, Promise Keeper, You finish what You begin. Our provision through the desert, You see it through to the end. In the silence, in the waiting, still we can know You are good. All Your plans are for Your glory, yes we can know You are good."

I could feel God asking me if I really believed that HIS plan for my life was better than the future I was planning for myself. I was reminded, as I stood there listening to the song, of Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, because he felt the Lord was calling him to that- and in that moment, I realized God was asking me to trust that His plan would always be better than my own, and to hand over my plan of having our own children completely.

Did I believe that if we were never able to have our own kids, that God would have a plan that was somehow sweeter for our lives? Because the truth was, he would. And it wasn't until that moment that I believed it.

There's a line in the song that repeats, "I won't move without You... I won't move without You... You're the light of all and all that I need..." 

I cried in brokenness as I sang those words and finally meant every one of them. I had to stop moving on my own. I had to hand over every single part of our future family- down to the idea that we may never have children of our own- and trust that God would show us what He had in store for our family, and that what He had is store would be amazingly better than what we could imagine.

The second big moment came during a song that still makes me cry when I hear it. It's called Give Me Faith by Elevation Worship. Ironically, the worship leader in the video led worship at Clemson's FCA while I was there.

The part that broke me in the middle of my low days and now makes me cry sweet tears says, "I may be weak, but Your spirit's strong in me. My flesh may fail, but my God, You never will. So give me faith to trust what You say- that You're good, and Your love is great. I'm broken inside, I give you my life."
The truth in this song piggybacked on what I felt God teaching me in the song The Lord Our God. It reiterated what I already felt but added specific clarity- I felt like my flesh had failed but finally believed completely that God never would.

I am honestly different from those moments and different because of what we've experienced in the past year and a half.

Call it perspective, call it maturity, call it grace. But I'm strangely grateful for this past year and a half.

Do I wish we were holding a baby in our arms right now? Absolutely. Do I worry about this happening again when we try for future children and make our way through this pregnancy? Of course. But I feel stronger and more equipped for hard times that may hit us in the future and know, really know, that God will go before us and pull us through to the other side.

I know I'm not the only one who has experienced hurt like this. In fact, my story is a walk in the park compared to what some of you have lived through. I wanted to share our story because reading about other people's experiences when I was in the middle of our own brought me hope.

If I can pray for you, I would love for you to email me- and whether or not you share your story is completely up to you.

Thanks for listening, friends. :)


Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the embarrassingly cheesy story of how Matt and I met, along with the WINNER of the Valentine's Day product giveaway!

See you then!



  1. Oh my sweet friend, this brought tears all the way through. You'll love for the Lord was in every word here. And your strength will see you and Matt through every day of this pregnancy. It was very much the same for me "trying" to get pregnant. I had to finally give it all to my Heavenly Father. Big ((hugs)) to you.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story...tears are flowing over here!! Your story is bittersweet and inspirational to me. You have managed to strengthen your Faith and relationship with Him in a time when many people would place blame on Him and separate themselves. You, Matt, and baby Nelson will be in my prayers and I am so excited to read all about your pregnancy and new mommy experiences here. Hugs!

  3. Your faith during this struggle is such an encouragement and something I needed to hear. Thank you for being vulnerable and open about your journey, it's encouraging to so many.

  4. Heather, this is a beautiful story. I am so excited for you and this next step of the journey!
    Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing... I know you are speaking to so many delicate hearts! Many prayers for the rest of your pregnancy!

  5. Thank you so much, Heather. Your story is not only touching those that have gone through similar experiences, but is a testimony of faith for those going through tough times - reminding us that God has lovingly planned out our lives in His perfect timing. Jeremiah 29:11
    - Melanie M

  6. I'm so sorry that you've gone through this but incredible that you've found the good throughout it and have completely leaned into God through this. I'll be praying for you, your husband, and second baby...for health and a smooth pregnancy.

  7. I'm so glad you shared this - we haven't personally tried to start our family yet, but I know of so many women who go through this thinking they're alone, and you've helped them just by offering your own story. I'm sorry you had that experience but so excited for your new blessing!

  8. *tears* so glad that shared your story on the blog. Beyond happy for you guys and can't wait to meet Finn's new best friend :)

  9. Heather you are amazing, to share your story so honestly is so brave. Your faith leaps from the post and is a total inspiration. A x

  10. Heather, this is a beautiful post and I want to thank you for sharing. We suffered a miscarriage 2 years ago and many things have prevented us from trying again. I too had to be reminded that God's plan for us is bigger than anything that we can plan. Finding the good is what helped me through those dark days. Blessings and prayers to you on this new wonderful journey.

  11. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it will inspire and encourage so many people.<3

    Congrats again! We will have to "talk" about sibling rivalry with Tally and the new baby. My son and Sophie have the most interesting relationship. Ha! ;)