Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Consider It Joy

Warning: This is long and hard and confusing and I'm sure I could have written a shorter version, but I guess I want to have the facts down so I don't forget. Here 'goes.

In July, I began seeing a new fertility doctor in the area and started treatment again. This time, I was put on a drug called Femara. A few weeks later, after we got back from our Arizona trip, a couple of subtle symptoms led me to take the first of about 6 pregnancy tests. They were positive. We were excited of course, but cautiously. Getting pregnant is only a quarter of my battle. Staying pregnant is the other three-quarters. Being very, very early in the pregnancy, there wasn't much to do except go in every few days for blood work, so they could watch what my HCG levels were doing. The first two tests, weren't perfect, but the numbers were increasing...which was good. Then, one morning before my third blood test I woke up knowing that it was over. I don't know how or why. There were no obvious signs of miscarriage yet, but I just knew.

I took the third blood test, got the results...72 (which was an increase, but hadn't doubled as it should have). Sure enough, a day or two later my body started showing me what my heart already knew. Our 4th miscarriage.

Okay...here's where it gets crazy.

So, Casey and I are in the middle of mourning this loss, dealing with our great disappointment, when I get the results back from a forth blood test. 72. It stayed the same. We...Casey, me, my nurse, my doctor, we all found this to be a little odd. Considering the very real evidence of miscarriage, we assumed the number would have plummeted. My doctor was still calling it a "live pregnancy," and wanted to do more blood work. I was a bit frustrated by this. I knew what was happening. There was no way this was still a "live pregnancy," but what could I do, but continue with the testing?

A few days later, my blood work came back with an increased HCG...136! I had no idea how this could be. I didn't know what to think. The physical process of miscarriage seemed to be coming to a close. My numbers, while they were increasing, weren't increasing fast enough to sustain a healthy pregnancy. These are the things I knew. But, against my own will, I couldn't help but start to wonder...start to hope...that maybe there was still hope.

Next step...an ultrasound. It was a Monday morning and Casey and I went together. Technically, I was 7 weeks into the pregnancy. After a few moments of searching, the technician found a perfect-looking 5 week pregnancy. Perfect size. Perfect shape. Lining looked good.

On the drive home, I was in shock. Numb. Terrified. I had already faced this loss. Do I start hoping again? Do I start praying for a miracle? I didn't know what to do...cause I knew for sure that I couldn't be disappointed again. I didn't think I could go through that again. Not yet. But I couldn't help it...I did hope. And I did begin to pray. Hard.

The next blood test came back...230-something. My mind was reeling, and my doctor seemed pretty perplexed by the whole thing, as well. I was a mess. There seemed to be this little glimmer of hope, but I had to stay guarded at the same time.

They took more blood. And we waited. While we waited, my body began to show me, once again, that things were not going well. I began to prepare my heart and mind once more. At this point, more than anything, I just needed to know...one way or the other. I needed this month of confusion and uncertainty to be over.

We had a second ultrasound this past Monday. This time there was nothing there.

After that crazy, painful emotional roller-coaster, here is where I'm at:
I am heartbroken.
I thought my long wait for a baby was over, and it's not.
I feel panicky sometimes that maybe I will never have another biological child.
I look at Braelyn and see more and more what a miracle she is.
I am not ready to stop trying yet. But I suppose that day will come.
I know full well that the Lord can give me another baby. And I know that He doesn't have to.

It is in these times that the Gospel begs to be spoken...even if it's just to yourself. It should come to our minds, Believer, as easily as tears come to our eyes. And when we think we can endure no more, the Holy Spirit equips us to say along with James, that we consider it pure joy to face trials of many kinds...because in times like this the Gospel is so real and true and beautiful you can taste it. What grace God has poured out on me!...That He would share more of Himself with me! That I have TASTED the goodness of His Gospel!

I was an enemy of God. Alone. With nothing. Broken. Empty. Cast out. But God, by pouring His anger towards my sin onto His perfect and precious Son, made a way. And He found me. And He called me by name and robed me in the righteousness of Christ and showed me my place at His table.

So I had nothing. And then, by no work of my own, I had everything.

The Gospel: It answers for all sin and all pain and all suffering. It satisfies it all.
Maybe I would question if that were really true, if the past 3 years had been different.
But now I know...it is true.

Thank you, to all who have prayed on our behalf. God has heard your prayers and has showered us with His grace and perfect love.


Ashley M said...

Thanks for sharing this, Steph. More though, thanks for being a living example of the Gospel and being willing to see the Lord in these things - the hard things, so you can know Him more. I so appreciate you, your faith and the life the Lord has given you so you can bring glory to Him.

Jennifer Mickelson said...

You write beautifully and so honest - I have been praying for you and Casey and will continue too.

Debbie Hyde said...

I am both heartbroken and joyful with you. You will continue to be in my prayers.

Sara said...

Oh Steph, I cannot even begin to imagine experiencing all of this. I love you.

Terez said...

I follow your blog religiously, and you write so beautifully - I can only imagine what you are feeling. I am in tears, but in awe of your strength. I am so sorry that this happened, but you are amazing for looking at it from such a faithful perspective. What an inspiration! Hang in there...I am so sorry...

Anonymous said...

I've been praying for you and Casey. We recently learned that Glenn has an inherited clotting disorder called Factor 5 Lieden. It can also cause miscarriage in pregnant women. Following is a link of that you might be interested in. http://www.babycenter.com/400_factor-5-leiden-and-pregnancy_940412_696.bc
I'll keep praying!

Erica said...

I'm so sorry that you've had to go through another season of feeling so up in the air about everything. I'm so inspired by the way you handle things though. You're the kind of woman I want to strive to be. Love you so much.

Sadie Dodson said...

Stephanie, my heart is broken for you. Thank you for sharing what you are going through so eloquently. You are such an inspiration and power testament to the Gospel. I have been praying for you and I certainly will continue.

Abba's Girl said...

Praying for you and Casey..

mandi said...

Oh Steph. I am so, so sorry. I just want to hug you, real big.

in our time of loss,my mantra was
"i know that God is good. I know that God is good."

it was both a declaration and a reminder. He does not leave us to our own bearing while we walk through the valley, He is with us. His rod and His staff, it comforts us.

love you

Mom said...

My dear, sweet, precious daughter,
I am in tears and my heart is breaking for you and Casey. My hope is you will get some comfort from the support of family and friends who are praying for you. Please know that your faith in the Lord in these difficult times is amazing and the you and Casey are a great example and inspiration to others. I love you both so very much!

Amanda Host said...

Hey Steph - I stumbled across your blog. Know I will be praying for you. We too had a VERY hard time getting pregnant. I loved my fertility dr. who also has an office in the Woodlands. If you want a second opionion or anything, I'll give you his name.

Jenny said...

I am so sorry about this roller coaster of yeses and nos. Thank you for sharing. I understand your heart's hope and prayers and I will pray alongside you. My precious Sophia is just about to turn 4 in a week and it will also mark 3 and half years of us trying to have a second. I have not done any kind of fertility treatment (though it took us 2 years of trying to have Sophia--and when she came along I knew she was a miracle). I don't think my heart could take it. plus, I just haven't felt lead by the Lord to look into it seeing as I am just about to turn 38 in a month, and with my pregnancy my body took it as a stressor and it brought on Lupus. You are wonderfully healthy and young and I feel such hope for y'all. I still keep hope too and yet at times toil with the fact that I have been blessed enough to be raising two wonderful step-daughters (14 & 12) and have been pregnant with my little one too. But still I pray, hope, praise, cry out and cast out on Him. He cares so well, so much.

Amy said...


I am so, so sorry. I cannot comprehend going through what you and Casey have. You are a beautiful, strong person and I have so much respect for you. Know that we are also praying for your family during this time.

Caryn said...

Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Thank you mostly for pointing us back to the gospel. You are an example of God's sweet grace. You & Casey are often in Kempton & my prayers.