Monday, October 7, 2013

Experiencing Loss: Our Pregnancy Story

**This blog post was difficult, yet important for me to write.  I am writing this not because I want to expose our hurts for the sake of exposure, but because I feel it is significant emotional event and sharing about this is part of the process of healing.**

We had just decided to tell "round 2" of people we were pregnant.  Our immediate families found out at the end of July just after we did.  We found out one week before we left to come back to China, and were excited to share the news with our families in person.  After trying for only a few months, it seemed very surreal.  Even more so when my family took us to Target to go shopping just an hour after hearing the news.  Needless to say, everyone was excited there would be a baby in April.

After arriving back in China, morning sickness set in.  Actually, it was more like all day sickness with the worst time being after dinner.  We made appointments, saw the baby's heartbeat and started planning for the upcoming arrival.  Baby was dubbed "Little Bear" and we talked about Little Bear a lot.  I was nervous and excited, however, had I not been so sick I don't think I would have even felt pregnant.  But I was, indeed, pregnant.

On September 17th that all changed.

I woke up and discovered I was spotting and also had cramps.  As I sat in the bathroom trying to understand what was happening, fear started to set in.  The Hubby was asking, "What should I do?  Should I go to class?  Do you want me to stay home with you?"  Not knowing myself what to do, I told him to go to class and I'll call the doctor.  I was hoping if we went on with life as normal, it would be normal.  Ayi was coming in 10 minutes, he had class at 8:00 - just continue on with life and everything would be fine.  I called the doctor's office and 15 minutes later my doctor returned my call.  He wanted me to come in at 11:00.  The Hubby came home because he couldn't concentrate in class.  When he walked in the door, it was one of those moments where you don't realize how much you need someone until you see them.  I was glad he came home early.  

On the way to the hospital I knew what was happening, but deep down I kept holding on to hope.  It was, after all, just spotting with cramps so far, maybe Little Bear is still ok.  Maybe this will all be a bad dream, a scare we have.  

We got to the office and waited a half hour for the doctor to show up.  He had to squeeze us in between other appointments and a Caesarean he performed that morning.  We walked back to his office where he asked me some questions and then walked us over to the ultrasound room.  As we stared at the screen, there was no movement, no heartbeat, nothing.  The doctor was speaking with the tech in hushed tones (and in Chinese), but I already knew.  When he finally stammered out the answer (I think he had just as hard a time grasping what happened and how to say it), I couldn't contain the tears any longer.  It was heartbreaking.  I don't really remember the rest of that appointment, except that he wanted to perform a D&C but since my blood type is RH negative I needed Rhogam (if you don't know what that is, RH negative mothers carrying RH positive babies can build up antibodies to RH positive blood. To prevent the antibodies from forming, RH negative mothers need Rhogam after birth, or miscarriage, so subsequent pregnancies are healthy), and we didn't have the medicine yet.  The doctor wanted to wait until we got the Rhogam to do the D&C.  

One of God's sweetest blessings was the fact that some of our closest friends had just had a baby the week before and were still at the hospital.  We were able to go upstairs to see them, cry together, pray together and take comfort from them before getting back on the subway to come home.  It was such a blessing to us to be able to share in our grief with them immediately after finding out.

After we left the hospital, I called an American doctor in Shanghai I had seen at an appointment earlier in September.  I'm so thankful we had went to see her.  Talking to her about what was happening was comforting.  She gave us great advice and was very soothing.  After we got home, I started heavy bleeding. I will spare you the details, but if you have never experienced a miscarriage, or known someone who has, it is incredibly painful.  Basically, you go into labor (depending on how far along you are).  I was 11 weeks along.  It was the worst pain I have ever experienced.  

The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday I was bleeding a lot.  Thursday it slowed a bit.  Friday I went back for a check up.  We had received the Rhogam on Thursday (we had to order it from Hong Kong) and I went in on Friday to have my doctor give me the shot.  I was expecting to be there for 30 minutes or so, get a shot and go home.  That is not what happened.  The ultrasound showed that I still had 90% of the conception tissue intact.  How that is possible, I don't know, because I can tell you on Tuesday and Wednesday I saw more blood and clotting than I have ever seen in my life.  The doctor wanted me to schedule a D&C for that day.  I was devastated.  At this point, I had a very emotional, perhaps hostile, response to his recommendation.  After my wonderful husband calmed me down and prayed for us, we decided to go ahead with the D&C.  Being admitted to a Chinese hospital and having surgery is its own blog post, I won't expound on that experience now, but it consumed our entire day and a lot of energy to get admitted and navigate our way through the system.  I had the procedure and thankfully they allowed us to go home that evening (although the Hubby had to go back on Saturday to finish all the paperwork - like I said, it needs its own blog post).  Staying overnight is normal after a D&C procedure in China.  I think the nurses all thought we were crazy for leaving, but I was thankful to be able to be home and sleep in my own bed.

That was all three weeks ago.

How are we now?  We are doing much better.  The days following the D&C I was highly emotional.  Anger, frustration and mood swings abounded.  I had several melt downs over non significant events and mostly felt like a terrible person (for my actions and behavior).  I have since learned that it was a normal hormonal response, much like postpartum depression.  We have come to peace about Little Bear's loss.  Obviously, we are hurting, sad and confused; but God has shown us His grace even through this very difficult time.  We see His handprint upon it all and are thankful for His abounding love for us, even in suffering.  

Yesterday, I sat down with Jesus to spend some time with Him.  I needed a promise.  As I waited upon Him, Revelation 22 was impressed upon my heart.  I knew it well, but initially thought it was a strange place for the Holy Spirit to send me after what I experienced.  It was exactly what my soul needed.  It is a promise.  A promise for us, for humanity, for Little Bear - a promise of redemption and reconciliation.  A beautiful future full of hope.  That is what I see for us.  And what I see for Little Bear.  Little Bear will never have to know the struggle of this life; the sin that so easily entangles.  Little Bear will only know perfection in heaven.  For that I am grateful. 

I am still processing all of this and will continue in the coming weeks and months.  I'm reading a helpful book called "What was Lost: A Christian Journey Through Miscarriage".  This book is a great resource and has been incredibly helpful to me to process through such a difficult loss.  

We covet your prayers.  Thank you all for lifting us up before the throne. 


  1. Hurting for you and lifting you up in our prayers.

  2. Thank you for your honest sharing and reflections, Jessica. My heart breaks for you and my prayers are with you...we will be praying for healing and peace and for whatever the future holds for you both.

  3. So sorry to hear this, Jessica. Chris and I experienced several miscarriages before finally having Helen and Patrick. The miscarriages were the loneliest time of my life, feeling like my body was betraying me and really just not knowing how to deal with it. Thankfully, God is faithful, even when I couldn't (can't) understand what he was doing.

    A book that was some comfort to me is called "Empty Arms" by Pam Vredvelt. I will find my copy and send it to you.

    Please know that you and Steven are in our prayers.


  4. Since the moment your mom told me about your miscarriage, Chris and I have been praying for you. I think back and understand now why God has made you so dear to our hearts :) He knew that you would need people that have been where you are and to be praying with understanding from the depths of our souls. We have experienced the pain of loss (Kaitlyn-4yrs old) and a miscarriage just 9 months later. We will continue to pray for you--We love you and are here if you need more :) Philippians 4:7 was my rock during my darkest times <3

  5. We love you guys - praying with you friend. :) Sara and Jeremy

  6. As I read this my eyes welled up with tears. I have never experienced a miscarriage but I do know the love for a child from the moment you find out. Little Bear will be waiting to meet you in Heaven. We love you guys and are praying for you.