It happened.  Again.  I got pregnant and we lost the baby, this time at 8 weeks.  This  makes 3 miscarriages for me, with the last two in a row.

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pregnant with Olive, 2011 // photo by Jose Villa

The first time I had a miscarriage, in May of 2011, I was unprepared for the grief.  I had never been pregnant before and was actually amidst a very intense journey with infertility.  There were doubts as to whether or not I even *could* get pregnant, medically speaking.  So when I saw those 2 lines for the first time and received the good news from the doctor’s office via blood test, I was on cloud 9.  It was inconceivable to me that I might not make it to full-term.  I felt like my prayers had finally been answered and I was invincible.  So when I received the crushing news that my HCG levels were plummeting and I would soon miscarry, I was devastated.  I got the news at the worst possible time: while driving to San Diego for a party I was working on.  I was going to have to see dozens of people that night and put on a smile and try to socialize.  I ended up crying with many friends that evening as I couldn’t hold back the grief.  I cried all the way home (probably not that smart to drive in that state, looking back…).  It was a dark time.

But after that time of sorrow, an immense joy came into our lives when I got pregnant shortly thereafter with the baby who became Olive Iris.  I had a perfect pregnancy.  It wasn’t just normal, it was amazing.  I felt great, she thrived, the delivery was smooth and we ended up with our miracle.  Although the pain of my miscarriage was still somewhere deep down inside, Olive’s arrival healed so much in me.

With our fertility struggles in mind, we never planned to ‘wait’ to get pregnant again.  To the contrary, we hoped and prayed we would get pregnant again somehow, anytime.  When I was checked out of the hospital with a 2-day old baby the nurse asked incredulously, “Are you SURE you don’t want the pill?  What if you were to get pregnant right away??”  I laughed and said, “I would gladly take another baby right away.”  I meant it.  I still mean it.

Time passed by but we had the sweet distraction of watching our daughter grow and flourish.  Last fall, however, I learned I was pregnant again.  You couldn’t imagine our excitement.  But once again, just a few weeks later, we learned I was going to miscarry a second time.  I ended up having my miscarriage the week before Christmas and I began the emotional & physically-painful process at a wedding, of all places.  I remember the night before the wedding, crying on the floor of our hotel bathroom and mourning the loss of that child.  Once again, however, God gave me the strength and grace to lean on Him through the painful ordeal.

The first time you have a miscarriage, you are devastated by the unexpected nature of it.  No one thinks that it will happen to them.  No one could prepare themselves for it.  But I soon learned (from sharing my experience with friends) that many around me had suffered a loss as well.  Although this did not diminish my own pain, it served to encourage me that there were others who had walked in the same valley and found healing on the other side.  I felt hopeful.

The second time I had a miscarriage, I was confused.  What did this  mean?  Why was this happening to me again??  Was there something wrong with me?  Would I ever be able to carry another child?  With time, the fears faded away.  I remained hopeful.

But now, three.  The third time.  I honestly cannot explain how it felt to get the news a third time.  This time was different.  We found out I was pregnant and I had concerns right away.  The levels were low so we had repeated blood tests (four over the course of a week).  We were amazed (BLOWN AWAY) by how the levels begin rapidly and miraculously rising.  I went from having alarmingly low levels to having above average numbers.  I thought I just had a slow starter in there!  I felt like that week *was* my test.  I felt like in some way, God was showing me that I had a fighter in there and that we would make it with this baby.

At my first ultrasound, we saw the gestational sac.  And it was small.  It was actually really small, but the doctor suggested I could be earlier than we thought.  I could tell, though… I could tell by her voice and her very intentional phrasing that she already saw it coming.  When she left the room, hot tears started flowing down my cheeks and I just stared at the screen, staring at that tiny black sac and prayed that somewhere in there was a healthy tiny baby.  I hadn’t had any cramping or spotting or any other worrisome symptoms to make me suspect miscarriage.  Erik had packed our ‘good camera’ for this visit and was prepared to shoot video of our baby’s blinking heartbeat.  But instead, he slipped the camera back into his bag and prayed with me as I laid there, weeping on the table.  We scheduled another ultrasound and went on our knees, praying desperately that week.  I told a few close friends about the situation so I could ask for their prayers as well.  We all had a glimmer of hope.  We all wanted that miracle.

We told Olive about the baby in my tummy and at nightly prayers, she would say in her tiny voice, “Dear Jesus, Thank you for Mommy.  Thank you for Daddy.  Thank you for baby brother.”  I don’t know why she always insisted that the baby was a boy but she did.  Thinking back on these prayers is bittersweet.  I know Olive would make a wonderful big sister.

On the morning of my last ultrasound, Erik and I prayed in the car and we prayed again before the doctor came in.  He still brought the good camera, hopeful in his heart.  I knew the moment that the screen went up that it was over.  I could see the sac right away and while it had grown, it was far too small.  No yolk sac, no visible fetal pole, no heartbeat.  The doctor gently explained my options and discussed genetic testing and offered words of comfort about how young I still was, and how she felt like I still would be able to have another child.  I just nodded politely, the tears streaming down my cheeks and hitting the crinkly paper cover on the table.  I remember the doctor’s look of horror when she accidentally said “baby” instead of “fetal tissue” while discussing genetic testing.  Although Erik and I would call my loss a baby, I know most in the medical community would not use such a personal, emotionally charged word when it comes to a first trimester loss.  She offered her condolences and left us alone in the room.  I laid there for 5, 10 minutes, not saying a word.  Erik prayed for us again.  We left the building quietly and drove home in mostly silence.  I cried on and off.  I didn’t make a sound.  It was actually very reminiscent of my labor with Olive (one day I’ll share her birth story), when I just wanted to be silent and alone.  The tears seemed to come without any effort, spilling down my cheeks in constant rivulets.  I looked out the window as the landscapes whizzed by and I said farewell in my heart to the hope and the dream of this second child.  My fourth pregnancy, my third miscarriage.  I said goodbye to the baby who was going to be due the week before Christmas, who was going to be due right around the time I miscarried the last pregnancy.  It seemed so poetic when we thought about the timing.  Still poignant now, but in a painful way.

You would think that the third time you go through a painful experience, it might hurt a little less.  Grief has no such familiarity.  It is a new grief each time.  In fact, with this third miscarriage, it is a little more terrifying.  I have now entered the 1%, the extremely rare group of people diagnosed with recurrent pregnancy loss.  I take the best prescription prenatal vitamins on the market, I had daily omega 3 supplements and organic food and no caffeine or alcohol or smoking and plenty of vitamin D and rest.  I have a perfectly normal uterus and am “only” 30 years old.  It is sort of baffling.

But then, it isn’t.  Because I believe that everything, including these painful miscarriages, are part of a plan: God’s plan for my life.  I know that the pain, the experience, the growing that has occurred because of these miscarriages, has been for good.  That sounds crazy, right?  How could losing 3 babies be good?  I know all 3 babies are safely in heaven, where there is no pain and no suffering.  I know that I will see them there one day.  I know that I have become stronger, more resilient, more dependent on Christ, more trusting in His will, through these experiences.  I know that I love and cherish Olive more because of these experiences.  I know that Erik and I have been strengthened in our marriage through these experiences.  I have even been blessed to see some others around me say they have been blessed and encouraged watching us walk through this trial.  That is so humbling because I do not handle things perfectly but I know that anything I am able to do, it is because Christ strengthens me.

I also want to remind those who may not share my beliefs that prayer is not a magical incantation or spell.  Some might wonder how or why I would go through these painful experiences when I prayed so hard for the babies.  Why weren’t my prayers answered?  Well the short version is because God is sovereign and His will is perfect.  Sometimes prayers are not answered the way we want them to be, but God is always there and His plan is perfect.  I want His will and not my own.  I am grateful for all the prayers that went “unanswered” in my life that ultimately were demonstrated to be answered later, in much greater ways.

So now.  I am still going through this miscarriage.  It took Olive a few days of our gentle reminders that there was no longer a baby brother on the way.  She looked confused, but has now phased that phrase out of her evening prayers.  Erik is giving me incredible support and love and encouragement.  My friends and family have been amazing as well, checking in on me and sending their prayers on our behalf.  I know it will be a while before I can think on this without fresh tears, but I know that time will come.  Writing this post helped, even if a few new tears were shed.  :)

I want to thank each of you for taking the time to read this post.  I know it may seem oddly placed here, amongst happy photos of Olive and gorgeous images from weddings.  But this is a part of me and my story.  I pray that none of you will suffer the same loss but if anyone reading this has gone through the trial of miscarriage, I pray you know that there is hope on the other side.  I am assured of this with everything I am.

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Comments (27)

  1. Sherry: May 7, 2014

    Angel, I am so sorry for your loss :( Miscarriage is so so hard. Thank you for sharing your story and how you’ve chosen to trust God through it all. I know God will use it to comfort others dealing with painful trials. May He continue to wrap His loving arms around you. I will be praying for you! Xoxo, Sherry

  2. Naomi: May 7, 2014

    Angel, I’m so sorry that you have experienced such pain. You, Erik, and Olive are in my prayers! I pray for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Nicky: May 7, 2014

    Angel, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I know that no words can suffice at this time. I, too, have been where you are and I read your post with tears streaming down my face. Thank you so much for sharing your story and opening your heart. Praying for you and your family and for God’s healing. xx

  4. “You would think that the third time you go through a painful experience, it might hurt a little less. Grief has no such familiarity. It is a new grief each time.” So beautifully said. Your faith and resiliency continue to amaze me. God has not given you an easy lot, yet you always return to a place of joy and thankfulness. It’s one of the things I truly admire in you. But for now, take as much time as you need to process and reflect in silence. Grief cannot be passed over quickly. Love you so much!

  5. Sally: May 7, 2014

    I’m so sorry that you are going through this again but I know that as you have shared, nothing God does is in vain or for naught. Thank you for sharing your story. And for helping others see that there is hope beyond the circumstances and that there is no shame in having a miscarriage or more than one. I know God will use this for his glory and as a testimony of his goodness despite circumstances. Praise God for you. May he continue to bring you and your family peace and comfort as you grieve and heal. Sending lots of love, hugs, and prayers. xoxo

  6. Courtney: May 7, 2014

    Beautifully written of a difficult time in your life. I can’t imagine the emotional roller coaster but am amazed at your perspective of everything. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Maya: May 7, 2014

    I am so very sorry for your loss Angel. You are handling it with such grace and it is such a testament to the beautiful and strong person you are. I’m sending love and hugs to you, Erik, and Olive.

  8. christina: May 7, 2014

    sweet friend, as always your words touch me. when you 1st sent us the text i prayed like never before, and its so hard to think of all the prayers of those who love you not being answered. both times, i just kept asking why…you are his faithful servent, why? at the same time, i am so grateful for you, as god is showing us all through you how to come through the most diffucult times of our lives with grace & stronger faith than ever. i am continuing to pray for you and the hope that you will once again be able to experience carrying another baby. he will make it happen!!!! i love you so much!!!

  9. justme: May 7, 2014

    Unfortunately I understand this awful situation all too well. My first was over eleven years ago, it was also my first pregnancy. I do have a thriving eight year old son now but last year I suffered three confirmed miscarriages and one suspected, all back to back. I never in a million years thought this would happen again. I try to understand and find comfort in my prayers but the tears still come. I think it was something like four years before I was able to fully feel like I was at peace with the first one.

    Every day is easier and every day I fall even more in love with my boy . . . he really is the greatest gift. I’m not surrounded by people who understand. My husband tries but I know he is clueless in trying to help me. It makes me feel guilty that I don’t know how to let him help me. As everything else, this too shall pass.

    I sound like an emo fool. . . I’m not that bad anymore :) I have plenty of Good days now and I’m closer than ever to God. I guess reading your blog stirred up all my pain and make me realize I’m not finished mourning.

    I’m hopeful but not holding my breath.

    I’m sorry you are going through this, it sounds like the hard part isn’t even over. That’s the worst. Thank you for sharing your journey, as painful as it is.

    xo – J

  10. sandra pan: May 7, 2014

    I agree with Kristin’s sentiments..thanks for the reminders of God’s perfect plans. Your faith is astonishing and i pray He gives you renewed faith and strength.

  11. Mae Stock: May 7, 2014

    So sorry Angel, hugs and prayers sent your way.

  12. Beth Morgan Cowan: May 7, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your heart and being vulnerable! I can not fathom how you must feel or how much pain you must be in. You don’t know me…I’ve never met you…I follow you on IG. But one thing I know is gods promise in Romans to work ALL things for HIS good to them that love The Lord. When I was younger I didn’t really understand that when I was in the midst of hurt pain and heartache. I wanted all of it be for my good and I wanted it all to be good. But Gods heart for us is so deep and so loving and he is so so so sovereign that HIS good will surpass any of tr good we hope will come! I promise you that these sweet babies lives have touched the lives of others and helped others undertand the gospel. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt….it hurts like hell!!! But I believe God will change lives through this post! Their short lives are not in vain! Rest in the arms of your savior and trust that he is holding your sweet babies until you can! My heart breaks for you…but our Gods heart longs for you to know him more! He will heal those wounds like only he can and he will open up doors to minister to others like no one else can! You are stronger than you know…He is stronger than you know!)

  13. Katherine: May 7, 2014

    Thank you so much for posting. Your humility and grace shown in this is deeply encouraging. I have been through recent health issues with my husband and we are “only” 25, but we too have learned to trust in Christ above all else and that God is good through it all. Through tragedy, our hearts are changed, we learn compassion, and the small things that once may have been taken for granted are celebrated, and we come out of it more grateful for everything. One book that helped me through this season and just good in general is 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It’s written beautifully (like your writing!) and brought me encouragement on dark days. Thanks so much for sharing and encouraging others through this.

  14. Gina: May 7, 2014

    So blessed by your heart and the truths Christ is daily putting to action in you. ‘Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning’ Ps 30:5

    Xxoo

  15. Deborah: May 7, 2014

    This was so heartbreaking yet encouraging to read. I always remember you for your smiles and cheerfulness. It’s truly God working in you to allow you to be hopeful and able to trust in His sovereignty despite this great tragedy. Your family is in my thoughts!!

  16. Tierra Park: May 7, 2014

    Angel, I am sorry to hear about your miscarriages. You’re right. God’s plan is perfect even though getting there is hard. I wish you and your family the best during this difficult time. -Tia

  17. karen hilst: May 8, 2014

    Don’t give up on trying to have a baby. God has a plan for you. I endured 5 miscarriages, 4 in a row. I am blessed with 4 children! Two of the blessings came after I turned 40! A friend of mine gave me this advice a long time ago, she had lost 8 babies, and she was blessed with 5 children. You never know what God has in store for you. Keep the faith.

  18. Angel, my heart breaks for you. You’re such a wonderful, sunny person and I can tell how much strength you have. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure these losses. xoxoxo

  19. Nicole: May 8, 2014

    Your words are so beautiful and healing to me too. I too am part of that 1%. Love and hope to you xo ❤️.

  20. Nicole: May 8, 2014

    Angel I am so sad about your pain, I couldn’t read this without crying. Now I feel so bad about asking you on sunday, I know it must have been painful. I am praying for you. -Nicole

  21. sheryl: May 8, 2014

    It’s been 23 years since my 3 miscarriages and one unconfirmed. I didn’t know the gender but gave them names, David and Joseph two of my favorite Bible characters and Kathryn a wonderful woman God sent me to help me through it. It feels good even now to identify with someone whose been there. It gives it some validity which is something needed for a “hidden” grief. Just this week I thought of my dad who passed away 2 years ago playing with my babies in Heaven. He was an extraordinary grandpa. So thankful we will see these little ones again even though our arms feel very empty down here. Blessings on your journey!

  22. michelle: May 8, 2014

    i love you so much.

  23. Emilie: May 10, 2014

    Incredibly touching and heartfelt… so sorry for your loss. But thanks for sharing your story!

  24. Deborah Freeman: May 11, 2014

    I am so sorry for your loss Angel.

  25. oh angel…i’m just barely catching up on your blog and i am in tears. i’m so sorry that you are going through this. but you are absolutely right, God has a plan and nothing he does is in vain. thank you so much for sharing your story. you are in my thoughts and prayers. i wish i could give you a big fat hug right now (even though i only know you “virtually.”) stay strong, mama!

  26. angel // love & splendor: May 14, 2014

    Thank you so much, sweet Hannah. I’ll take that hug! ;-) Truly appreciate your kind words and prayers.

  27. skippee: May 16, 2014

    Oh no…I’ve been away from blog reading and I’m so sad to come back to read this. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through…again. I pray that God draws you so close during this difficult time. You are an amazing person and mother. I have tears streaming down my face reading this…I’m so heartbroken for you. I know some of what you’re feeling as we lost a baby a few months ago too. *hug*

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