Five years ago, in July of 2002, I was pregnant with our third child — a little boy. I know now that God never intended for him to live in this world. He had Trisomy-10, a genetic disorder so rare that the one seasoned OB said he had never actually seen a case before ours.
Remember that we lost our first child due to a miscarriage, and our second, Elise, we lost due to a full term stillbirth. There is nothing more of a kick-in-the-gut than a stillbirth. You have all the hope of a life after 41 weeks of carrying that little soul and then virtually no memories to comfort you after she’s gone. After a year of mourning and infertility, I found myself pregnant with that little boy. It was a wonderful gift before Elise’s first birthday in Heaven, but things were never safe feeling for that little guy.
The OB clinic took an HCG level one day and then another two days later — the usual protocol for a pending miscarriage — to see if the numbers doubled to indicate a viable baby. After that second test, the clinic assured me they’d call before lunch. I waited. I waited some more. I put off a meeting as late as I could. I called the clinic and couldn’t even get a human being to answer. Just a machine. I left a hysterical message begging for help. Still no call.
I found out later they were calling my social security number. :/ Sigh. “And I’m supposed to trust these people with test results?” was my first thought. We came home and waited again for the call. Grant finally gave up at 5:30 thinking that the office was closed. He left to go to Lowes to buy mulch.
The call came while I was alone. And I kid you not. This is exactly what the nurse said:
Well, Dr. So-n-So already left for the day, so she hasn’t seen these test results. But I can tell you that the numbers don’t look good. So you need to call tomorrow to schedule a D&C. . . . You okay?
“Yeah. I’m fine.” I said very flatly.
With the open wound of Elise’s birth/death still smarting, this nurse unintentionally (I’m sure) but still unprofessionally (at the very least) and unkindly (it felt to me) delivered the horrible news of a third loss to a vulnerable, hurting mom over. the. phone. With nothing more than a “you okay?” tacked on at the end.
I know she didn’t know any better. I know she just was trying to cross an item off her to-do list, so she could go home to her own family and relax in peace. I really do understand that.
But that was one of the lowest moments in my life. I felt beaten up and abandoned.
The good news — and I have to remind myself of this because it’s truly a miracle — is what God did next. A virtual stranger but a Christian sister who had also lost a child to stillbirth was already in the process of making phone calls to some doctor friends of hers. The next day when I was supposed to schedule that D&C, I pushed away from my desk in frustration and said, “Okay, Lord. Now what? Where do I go? I’ll go get the yellow pages.” And my dear sister-in-law called — RIGHT THEN — saying that this sister-in-loss had made an appointment with me for the next morning. Huh? Go figure!!
The next appointment at the new place was dramatically different. Sure — the news was the same. Like I said, that little one was never meant to breathe any air but celestial. But the coming-alongside approach at the second clinic was just what I needed and prayed for. And those were the doctors that cried with us through two more losses, prayed with us, and brought us through two successful pregnancies and births.
The system had thrown us straight into the lions’ den. Even though that nurse was unaware and similarily caught in a broken system, we still hurt. And we hurt really deeply. But God, like with Daniel, is bigger than the system and bigger than the hurt. I’m amazed that He cares at all.