Over the next several months, the Women of Valley Blog will feature stories written by Valley Women who have experienced sudden life events. Our Bloggers will be sharing about these events, their feelings, the changes that came as a result of the event, how people reacted to them and most importantly how their faith was impacted. We are referring to these Blogs as “What Happened When…”
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose,” will be the thread verse that is woven into each Blog. I pray that as you read these accounts over the coming weeks, you will be challenged to look for this thread in your own life stories and be encouraged in knowing that God always works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
The silver cross-ribbon necklace I wear around my neck is a tangible reminder to me how God’s love flows through everything. It reminds me of His love when I feel like my world is falling apart. In 2015, I suffered the loss of two babies. You’ve read it right…two. I’m a mother of two precious children now living in heaven. My first child died in March at almost 10 weeks. My other child went to heaven in September after a rare ectopic pregnancy. Today I’ve been given a chance to tell you what happened when…I miscarried, twice in less than a year. I believe God placed this chapter in my life and now, I want to tell you my story to let His love be reflected in the midst of my sorrow.
Seeing a positive pregnancy test is a feeling I can’t describe. It seemed like all those times of playing house as a kid and taking care of my baby dolls was about pay off. The most emotional feeling I had in that moment was the fact that my wonderful husband was going to be a dad, our parents were going to be “grand” and our family was going to grow in His glory. At our first doctor's appointment we heard and saw our precious baby’s heartbeat fluttering on the screen. Tears fell from my eyes as it was the most beautiful sight and sound I had ever experienced. I touched the cross around my neck and was reminded of God's love and I gave thanks to the One who was molding my child. My heart was full. I couldn’t think of anything else God could give. If there was anything else, my heart would have burst. All I could think of was Jeremiah 29:11...There is hope and a future growing inside me. God was going to have me be a mother.
It was the beginning of March when I realized something was not right. It was like the gates opened and the floods of worry hit me like hard stones on my chest. I called the doctor immediately and was told I couldn’t see the doctor until the following morning. In the meantime, I was to remain “calm” and keep my feet up. I followed the orders as my mind wanted to grasp on to anything that would calm my fears. I called my mom and called my mother in-law. Both of them echoed the same words “this can be normal.” I hung up and did my best to focus on the T.V. As my husband held my hand he kept telling me, “it will be okay.” I had such anxiety that it was very hard to pray or read my Bible. I only remember repeating over and over again, “God, please be with me.”
The next morning as I walked into my doctor’s office, I had great hope that everything would be fine. However, the sonogram screen proved otherwise. My baby, my little Sweet Pea’s heart had stopped beating. Our baby was gone. My husband being a father…gone. Our parents being “grand”…gone. The image of our baby in our arms…gone. It seemed all hope was gone. My world seemed to go silent.
When my husband and I walked through the door of our home that day, we both fell to the floor crying tears of great pain. We shared our grief with each other and then we called our families. As we shared this news with family and friends it was all so very hard for both of us to believe. It seemed unreal. And…it seemed unfair. Why would God allow this? Why did my baby have to die? Why did our hope and a future have to be pulled from our hands? I don’t remember how many times I spoke to God, but I said to Him, “I’m not mad at You, Lord, but why did this pain have to come into my life?”
In the coming days, I felt God was with me through it all. He was there holding my right hand along with my husband as each wave of physical and emotional pain kept hitting me. During the days that followed I learned that not only was it going to take time for my body to heal, but it was also going to take time for me and my husband's broken hearts to heal. For the next few months, my husband and I drew together, seeking God for His comfort and mercy.
In the summer of 2015, our “whys” turned into “what now” as we decided to try again. We thought what a blessing it would be for us to be pregnant before our Sweet Pea’s due date in October. It would give us something to look forward to. In August, I found out I was pregnant. I still remember explaining to my husband what a rainbow baby was. It was God’s way of giving us hope again. I remember saying, “God wouldn’t put us through that pain again, would He? He knows the desires of my heart and this is His plan, right?” The mountain of questions took up space in my mind as I prepared for our first appointment. I prayed for this to be a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.
The morning of the appointment, I remember standing in the middle of our backyard looking up at our tall evergreen trees watching the birds fly by. I closed my eyes and listened. I wanted to be with God. I wanted to be with Him and be in that moment. Looking back, I treasure that moment because it was God, myself and my baby. I believe God silenced all of the “what ifs” I had been thinking for that moment because He knew of what was to come. I held my cross necklace with a smile on my face sensing God's presence and love as I released the last breath of serenity I would feel that day.
At that appointment, my doctor discovered that I had a rare ectopic pregnancy. The doctor looked at me with worry in her eyes as she told me my life was at risk and we needed to act now. I was rushed immediately into surgery. The last thing I remember was holding the hand of my doctor. I held her hand and asked for Jesus to be with me as I went under.
I apologize to you as I can’t type the end of my story in words. My emotions are still raw, but what I want to share with you this - God’s love flows through the cracks of our hurt and pain. His love is continuous as He has reminded me through the cross-ribbon necklace around my neck. His love has no end. And...His love is real even when we don't feel it or understand the pain in our lives. Sharing this story with you is a part of my mending. If you have gone through a pain like this, I pray you won't feel alone anymore. God loves you, He loves me, and He doesn’t want us to ever suffer alone.
He offers hope and peace in knowing that He works all things in our lives for our good. (Romans 8:28) He also offers comfort and rest. Matthew 11:8 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." He understands. He knows what it is to hurt as He watched His Son, Jesus die on the cross. My husband, Andrew, and I still feel the hurt, yet we know we can trust God with all of our pain.
As I end this, the greatest comfort God is giving me now from all this sorrow is to seek and help others who are going through or have gone through a pregnancy loss. I have had several friends who are going through this experience even as I write this Blog. I am finding that we can heal from these trials and as we seek God’s grace, His love flows.
Words from Debi Lydic, Director of Women’s Ministry: If you are currently going through or have gone through a similar experience involving a pregnancy loss and would like to talk with me or our Care and Counseling Pastor about your experience or if you would like to connect with others who have had a pregnancy loss, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valerie Ridings lives in West Des Moines, IA with her husband, Andrew. They have a sweet dog named Charlie. They have no children of their own but they plan to open their hearts & home to adoption within the year. They have attended Valley Church for about two years.