In the blink of an eye, life can radically change. In late July, I thought I was having miscarriage number four. Then, after a series of blood tests (and what seemed to be a calling from God to relax and trust) by some miracle my HCG levels were going up instead of down. And were finally going up high enough to make my doctors happy. An ultrasound was scheduled for two weeks later to make sure everything was okay. Two additional weeks passed, and we went in for the ultrasound. And discovered that things were not okay. I had a tubal pregnancy, and it was so big that surgery was inevitable. Without time to really process the drama, I was whisked off for emergency surgery. And dreams, hope and faith got smashed in an instant. Not only was I losing the pregnancy, but I also lost a fallopian tube. I suppose that the good news is that I got to keep my life and my other tube.
After I got back to my hospital room after the surgery, I looked up to see a picture of Jesus hanging on the wall across from my bed. Ironically, the Jesus portrait that brought my dad a place of comfort when he recovered from his cancer surgery in the same hospital was instead a source of mockery for me.
In these moments of grieving after this loss, I think I’m mostly shell-shocked. Not only am I grieving the loss, but I feel great sense of confusion over what God’s voice sounds like. I used to be confident in what I felt the Spirit saying to me, and now I no longer know. Do I merely tell myself what I want to hear or did God actually promise me something last fall? Do I attempt to comfort myself in my anxiety or did God actually issue the invitation to trust? And if God issued the invitation, what’s with the dramatic end to the pregnancy? What purpose does it serve? And there’s no answer to the last two questions; and I know from experience that they aren’t helpful questions.
There’s no real reason why. I want an answer so I can prevent such a horror from happening again. I want to have a magic solution so I can exert control over my situation. And that’s neither realistic nor possible.
And in the height of irony, I had decided that I was done trying to have kids. We had finished our last round of fertility treatments, and had taken the month off while we regrouped and tried to figure out what was next. So, now I can’t get pregnant when I’m actively trying, and when I’m not trying – it’s an ectopic pregnancy. There’s a certain sense in which I cannot win. And I don’t know what I want for the future. And because of my decidedly reduced fertility with only 1 tube, I feel an additional level of concern over time. I’m not getting any younger. So, now I don’t know if I’m done with the fertility stuff or if we keep going with dogged persistence once I’m all healed up from surgery.
People keep asking how I’m feeling or how I’m doing. And the answer is: I don’t know. With the previous three miscarriages, loss is not new for me, and I feel almost a callousness creeping up in my heart as a result (not something that I particularly like about myself either). And partly I don’t want to deal with it, and I don’t want to be angry. Anger at God or life in general makes me feel powerless instead of powerful. Perhaps I’m in a constant state of bargaining – what does God want from me for things to be different next time. Rationally and intellectually, I know that this isn’t really how God works. But, something emotional and raw within me, wants to be able to exert control over the situation. Bargaining offers that. So that’s where I’m stuck for now. I’ll get out of it eventually.