Bridge to Beautiful

Monday was my birthday.  Though, this year, the date April 2nd was a little uncomfortable for me.  It was also my due date.

When we found out we were expecting our 5th child, we were elated!  We knew it would be hard, but we felt such a peace that this was of the Lord and He would most certainly carry us through.  We purposed that we would not just try to push through the madness to get to the other side, but that we would make every effort to live in the moment and take notice of all that God was doing in us.

We told our family immediately.  We knew they would pray and that is what we needed most.  I am so thankful to have family {and friends} that prayed for us daily!  We spent a week or two preparing for survival mode, knowing that I would only have a short time on my feet before the hyperemesis took me out.  We made plans, put meals in the freezer, set aside extra money for eating out, and lined up babysitters.

The sickness did not creep up slowly this time, but knocked me down in one fell swoop.  One day I was vertical, the next horizontal.  I ended up spending every moment of the next two and a half months in bed.  I had only the strength to crawl to and from the bathroom a couple times a day.  I had a bowl for all of the puking.  Greg started working from home, the girls were enrolled in school, and the boys often spent their days with other people.  I was failing at everything it meant to be a wife and mother, and humbled beyond anything I had ever experienced before.  I wish I could say that I at least used my time alone wisely, but I didn't.  I desperately wanted to spent my days reading my bible, but I could not read, or at least praying, but the effort it took to think would cause more vomiting.  I did pray a little, but it was mostly "Jonah and the withered plant prayers".  As my body deteriorated, so did my spirit.  I can honestly say that there were some days that I just wanted to die, hoping I would just slip away in the night.  Thankfully we had many friends & family members that would come encourage us, pray for us, or send us scriptures.  And even my darkest hours {and they were so very dark}, the unbelievable misery {a misery that words will always fail}, and the overwhelmingness of it all - God was still so good!

Then at my twelve week appointment, my midwife was unable to find a heartbeat.  We scheduled a sonogram for the next day.  That appointment was the beginning of a very different sort of journey.  So with grace filled hearts we received the painful news that our baby had passed away.  It was time to learn about grief.

The next few days were a blur of activity.   I was still as sick as ever, and though I was committed to miscarrying naturally we sought a second opinion to make sure that would be in our best interest.  We learned through some blood tests that my HcG level was in the millions {it's not supposed to be over 300,000}, my thyroid and liver were compromised, and I had an unexplained mass in my uterus along with the baby.  My Doctor scheduled me for an emergency D and C, with a possible hysterectomy if deemed medically necessary in the moment. Oi!  Thankfully everything went without complication. Though my Doctor confessed months later that this was the most scared he had ever been for a patient, and the hardest thing he has ever had to do as a Doctor. {I failed to mention He is a close friend of the family}

Then came recovery.  I had/have quite a ways to go, both physically and emotionally.   When I think that I have finally done all the recovering I need to, my body will betray me and I realize I still have a ways to go.  The same could be said for the grieving process.  Once I think that I have spilled all the tears that need to be spilled,  I will encounter a situation and they will escape unfettered down my cheeks.  I am not trying to squash the process, or hurry it along, but continue to be surprised when grief washes over my soul.

But all this being said.  I will not remember this only as the year that we lost our baby, or the year that we struggled to keep it together, or the year that our dreams were left unfulfilled.

This year we learned about God's all encompassing grace.
This year I learned that what He shatters, He rebuilds.
This year we learned that every trial that brings you to the foot of the cross, is a blessing in disguise.
This year we learned about the kindness of others through shared meals, shared experience, and shared tears.
This year I learned that true brokenness, is truly breathtaking.
This year I learned that anger, mixed with repentance, is a bridge to beautiful.
This year we learned about the sacrifice of praise.
This year I learned that God is ALWAYS good.

And I have a feeling the lessons are only just beginning.


Unknown said...

I think the hardest part for me would have been feeling God put me through all of that "for nothing" . I appreciate the way you have put your joy and suffering into words and looking at it 'divinely' and not just as physical suffering

Jeni said...

I don't think anything that happens to us is "for nothing", but sometime we just aren't given eyes to see how it all falls into place.

ThreeTwentyThree Creations said...

Sigh...I miss you. Thank you for sharing so openly and gracefully.

Annette said...

What a tender, transparent account of your trial! Thanks so much for sharing! Hearing your heart has blessed me.

the Rinehart four said...

Romans tells us that all things work together for good to them that love God. I recently had it explained this way.. not all things are good, but they do work together for good! You can have faith that God used this trial for good! Thank you for sharing your heart so openly. Miss you and love you...

Cindy said...

Jeni- I'm so sorry for the pain you've all experienced in this journey- and yet- I rejoice in all the beautiful, eternal things God has/is teaching you. Beauty for ashes doesn't come overnight and I'm convinced the oil of joy for mourning is poured out liberally for the rest of our lives- We rest in His love. hugs and prayers <3

Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing this, Jeni. I have prayed lots for you this year, as you've come to mind. You have such a beautiful testimony of the Lord's grace and help in a very dark time. I don't think it was all for nothing either - no sorrow is - and maybe He is wanting us to learn to trust Him when He's not going to let us see the reasons. Do we trust Him to be God? I have to confess, I struggled this way with my last pregnancy, in the dark hours in bed. So many emotions and fears. But God is still God, and He is good. I'm so glad to hear more of your story!

jenica said...

Oh Jeni, I did know any of this had happened...I'm so so sorry! I think I know some of your pain and darkness and also can say God is good. He is near in these times and SO personal and gentle with our wavering emotions and trust. What at Father to us and our little ones in His arms!
Praying for you and Greg and kids.

jenica said...

*did not know*

Gina said...

Oh,Jeni- this account was so moving, especially your testimony that in all this ugliness, God is good. What an incredible witness to the power of God.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Catherine Parks said...

Jeni, so I snooped over here from the True Woman blog, and I'm so glad I did. This post is breathtaking and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story to give glory and praise to God.