Series on Suffering: Miscarriage & Infertility (Update)

miscarriageWelcome back as we come together today to hear the unfolding of Jami’s story. I wish I could tell you they waited patiently and got pregnant and delivered a healthy baby.

To everyone who has begged God for something and is still waiting, read on…


by Jami…

At this point in my life, I can attest that God loves redemption. The ending to my infertility is not what I would have designed, for I would have written pregnancy into our story. But God’s ways are always better — even if we can’t fully reconcile the ending yet.

After my interview for Repurposed four years ago, we kept trying to conceive. From time to time, I learned to find contentment and accept our situation. Honestly, we were so tired of the struggle and longed for things to be easy.

One day a friend asked if we had considered adoption. We had. We had thought hard about it and even had a crate of pamphlets and applications at home. But it seemed daunting and expensive and so unrealistic. She contacted me again the next day with a call that would change my life.

“Would you really be open to adopting?” she asked again gently.

Not only did my life change with that call, but my view of how God works will never be the same.

A pregnant woman was living at a shelter and couldn’t parent her child. We were introduced, and she felt comfortable with us. Three months later we had a new member in our family named Jaden. We were now parents of two sons, and Tate had a baby brother.

Just like that.

I tell everyone, “You can’t help but see God in Jaden’s story.” Adoption points to a God who knows what we need and fills in every fragmentation. Where there was barrenness, He filled my arms. Where there was emptiness, He made us complete.

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But we had no idea our story of struggle was shifting. There we were — with our dreams come true — awakened into another harsh reality.

From the time he started crawling, Jaden got large bruises on his knees. They were large with huge knots in them. I’d show them to other moms who would dismiss the seriousness of these bruises. But it didn’t feel right to me. I wasn’t a first-time mommy. I had seen bruises with my first son, and this was different. One day his foot caught between the slats of his crib, and his ankle swelled. Another time he got his fingers pinched in a drawer, and his hand swelled up so big the doctor assumed a fracture. But the x-ray showed no break.

Blood tests were ordered, I started to panic, and we learned Jaden’s blood had a low level of a clotting factor. We were sent to a children’s hospital two hours away, and after more blood tests, our son was diagnosed with hemophilia.

Our son was diagnosed with hemophilia.

When the hematologist was explaining the diagnosis, it was if I left my body. I wasn’t mentally present when I was supposed to be listening, and I still have little memory of that day’s events. All I remember is holding the child of my heart close, trying to keep him occupied. My husband, Jim, had to relay all the details on our drive home. And that is when I shed my tears. Our exhausted baby, who had been poked too many times with needles, slept in the back seat, and I let the tears flow. I cried and cried and cried.

The next few weeks was a blur of trying to give Jaden his medicine. There were so many hurdles. His veins are so small, and it was quite a challenge to find someone in our small town who could access him without doing too much damage.

After much thought and more wrestling, we decided to surgically get Jaden a port in his chest for his infusions. The thought of my 21-month-old boy getting an incision near his heart and in his neck made my heart race. I tried to picture myself sitting in the waiting room but couldn’t manage to picture anything calm.

The surgery was difficult. Jaden’s veins were hard to work with. They tried on the right side. They tried on the left side. He eventually had a needle in his arm which gave him a constant dose of the clotting factor.

After surgery his port was continually accessed for a week, and our education began. A home health nurse came once a week, and we watched her give Jaden his factor. After only a few weeks, it was our turn. This was one of the scariest times of my life. We continue to navigate this road together. All of us, even our 11-year-old Tate, are working together to keep our family healthy. Currently Jaden gets two infusions weekly of a clotting factor that prevents him from getting bleeds, and we give him the infusions right at our dining room table.

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It’s overwhelming sometimes. But God placed Jaden with us because we are the best family to keep him safe and give him what he needs. What a privilege it is.

Sometimes I get angry and want to scream, “God, what in the world were you thinking?” I’ve never been good around blood. It makes me queasy, and needles make it even worse. I hate it. I hate putting the needle in Jaden every time. I hate the fear of not getting it in right. I hate the thought of hurting him.

As I sit in front of my now 2-year-old son, needle in one hand and grasping his port in the other, it feels like a cruel joke. How could God give me this task? But I do it. I access Jaden. He thrives. The bruising is gone. And we do this cycle over and over and over. What feels cruel brings healing. What feels cruel brings healing.

God has given us everything we need. He gave me Jim who is strong and incredibly sacrificial. He has given us people who encourage and support us. And our family — I really don’t know where we would be without our extended family. He gives me strength to open my eyes and get out of bed. He gives me endurance to keep giving Jaden what he needs.

After all of our struggle — the miscarriage, infertility, adoption and now hemophilia, I am very aware of God working in our lives. James 1:2 says to consider it pure joy when we face trials because it produces perseverance. I can testify to that. Our life IS that verse, and I know when it’s all finished, we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Not lacking anything.

We put seven years into waiting for another baby. To this day, it feels like a lot of time wasted on sadness. We look back, though, and see why we needed to wait. God had the perfect plan. He knew we needed to be ready for Jaden. Money was in place, people were in place to move things along, friends and family were ready to come along and support us. Also, Jaden’s birth mother was so calm and ready to let us love and care for this long desired baby.

The waiting, the adoption, and the hemophilia care has changed us. Our son, Tate, has become so compassionate as he watches Jaden grow and helps him through hard times. He loves fiercely with a loyalty that amazes me. Jim and I have learned to lean into each other even more, something I never thought possible after a miscarriage and infertility. God says the two shall become one, and it seems as though we are. Jim is so devoted and involved with Jaden, and they have a bond that is beautiful. Hemophilia has made us more confident. When you are “playing doctor” in your own home and succeeding, it gives you so much confidence.

God says in His Word He will give back what the locust have eaten, and I always think about Job getting back more than he had before. I know it is true for us, too. I look at my boy, and he makes the waiting seem so long ago. Our season of suffering seems so small when I sit in the presence of my Savior. He is teaching me to rest in His presence and rely on the power He gives through the Holy Spirit. I will rest, and I will rely. Day after day after day.

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photo source | mili vigerova

Series on Suffering: Miscarriage & Infertility

miscarriage

Continuing our Series on Suffering is Jami, a thirty-something who has quite a story to tell. We’re here today with her original interview from 2012. Be sure to come back tomorrow to learn how Jami’s story has unfolded. There’s joy and more suffering and mystery and redemption.

Christan: Thank you, Jami, for your willingness to talk to Repurposed readers. I’m grateful for your openness about such an incredibly painful part of your life. Tell us about your family.

Jami: Thank you for letting me share. My husband, Jim, is a graphic designer, and our son, Tate, is in first grade at the school where I teach. We live in southeastern Kansas and have a great support system.

Christan: You have one child, and you want more.

Jami: Yes, I’d love more. A large family is something I’ve always dreamed about. When Jim and I first started talking about having children, we always planned on having four.  He comes from a sibling set of three, and so do I. We’re both the middle child. It was inevitable that someone was always left out, so we always planned to have an even number.

But I miscarried in 2006. It was the most painful time of my life, but then it just got worse from there. We’ve not been able to get pregnant again. Our son was two, almost three at the time. He’s now seven.

We wanted the baby – that baby. It was so weird being pregnant and happy one day and then not being pregnant the next. Even months later I’d find myself driving to the library or store and think, “I was just pregnant and now I’m not. How is that?” It’s hard to let go of something you held inside of you and wanted so much.  It’s been even harder not being able to get pregnant again. I’ve had to let go of the dream of more children. It feels like many deaths instead of just one. 

Christan: When did you start telling people you had miscarried your second child?  

Jami: As soon as it happened. It was a really rough time for me, and I needed people to know. I tried to go on like everything was okay, but it was hard. People respond in different ways to miscarriage. Some see it as no big deal… like, “Oh, well”. But others acknowledge it and are kind. Many just don’t know or understand what it’s like. It’s a death. I have a friend who miscarried after I did… she told me she wishes she’d been more compassionate to me and admitted she just didn’t understand until she went through it herself.

Christan: How did your son handle it?

Jami:  Tate was so young I think all he knew was that Mommy was unhappy. We still talk about his brother or sister in Heaven. He wishes he had siblings… mostly someone to play with. That aspect has been the hardest for Jim and I. We’ve always wanted Tate to have brothers and sisters. Seeing him alone so much is a constant reminder of what he’s missing out on. It’s even harder to look to the future and see him alone then, too. We love getting together with our siblings over the holidays, and Tate will never have that. It breaks our hearts.

Christan: How did the Church respond?  

Jami:  At the time I was part of a Mommies Group in our church.  I remember going to one of the meetings a few weeks after my miscarriage. No one really said anything. I knew they were aware, but they just kind of avoided the topic and tried to be cheerful. I needed more.  People just don’t know what to do in that situation. When you have a baby, people come over and bring you gifts and food. When you lose a relative, people bring flowers and cry with you. But with miscarriage, I got the impression that people wanted me to move on and get over it quickly. 

Christan: Did anyone walked through the mess with you?

Jami:  My husband walked with me and still does. I have some really great people in my life who still cry with me over the experience. It’s amazing how God works… it’s amazing how He gives me exactly what I need exactly when I need it. He’s brought people into my life at just the right time — people who’ve let me be sad.

Christan: Did you ever feel like it was your fault?

Jami:  Yes, from the beginning. In many ways. The day before I lost the baby we went for a bike ride. I felt like I had over-exerted myself. I know now that’s silly. I also didn’t go to the doctor right away after learning I was pregnant. It was my second baby, and I was determined to be more laid-back than I was during my first pregnancy. I kick myself over and over for that.

I was nervous, too, about my ability to parent two kids. I was tired from chasing a two year-old and wondered if I was capable of still being a good mom with more kids. I thought maybe God heard me and knew I couldn’t handle it. I’ve also thought that I was being punished for choices I made in my past… like God must be mad at me for something or that my faith just wasn’t strong enough. 

Christan: Were you mad at God?

Jami: Oh, yes! Sometimes I still slip back into this anger. He gave. He took away. And then He took more away. I’m infertile. There was a time, though, that I was so angry with Him I didn’t talk to Him for a long time. I went through the motions, so no one knew. I stopped singing to Him in my heart. I’d go to church and just stand there during praise and worship — not singing — with a cold heart. It was really hard to cut that out of my life. It was so second nature for me to start up a conversation with God… I’d find myself doing just that, remember how angry I was, and stop.

Christan: Are you still mad at Him?

Jami:  That’s such a hard question. I hate telling people that I’m still angry sometimes.  This is what it is, you know? I’ve had people tell me that it’s a sin to be angry at God and it’s wrong because His way is perfect, so whatever He does is what should happen. I don’t want it to be His way sometimes. I want it be my way.

It really depends on where I am. I work at a preschool, and half the moms are pregnant. I have to face it every day, and it’s hard. It’s really hard to see everyday what I’m not going to get. I’m more angry when pregnant women are right in front of me.

I know that God loves me, and that He wants the best for me. I have to preach that to myself over and over, and it’s an everyday thing. It’s like a person who deals with alcoholism and wakes up every day going into the world knowing they can’t have what they want. I, too, have to wake up everyday knowing I desperately want another baby, but I can’t.

But God knows we’re human. He made us. I have to pour out my heart to Him about how angry I am with the situation. I ask Him what to do.  When I open up to Him, I do feel peace at times. I also have to let go of myself — wanting to be pregnant took up so much of my life. It’s a very selfish mindset.  t’s been me for so long, wanting it, wanting it, wanting it. I feel like God is saying “no”. I feel like I need to let go of what I want and somehow find contentment in that, but I don’t want to many days. I have to let go of myself and my wants over and over and over everyday. 

Christan: You’ve obviously healed over the years.  How did that happen?

Jami: My family. People listening to me helped. I know that there’s some people I drove crazy by talking about my miscarriage and infertility. There’s others that just listened to me — and still listen to me — for however long I want to talk about it.

I do guard myself sometimes. I stay away from situations where I know I’ll get angry. I don’t go to baby showers. I’ve lost friends, I really have. I hate admitting that because it’s selfish — it’s a very selfish part of me. If a mom comes in who is pregnant or has a new baby, I usually step away.

I’ve prayed. I still pray that God will take the desire to get pregnant away from me. So far, the desire remains. I still hope for this, though. I do feel like just asking this of Him, though, lessens the pain and reminds me to surrender. Reminds me to trust. It’s still really hard.

Christan: Looking back, has God redeemed any of the brokenness?

Jami:  That’s hard to answer. I guess I can see that Jim and I have come closer together.  I’ve learned who I can trust and lean on, and I have a deeper understanding of trusting my Savior. I wish my story was one where I went years and years of not getting pregnant and then all of the sudden I find out I’m pregnant… music swells… we make excited phone calls… we kiss passionately… happily ever after. I know this is not what my Lord has planned. I know infertility was not His original plan for this world, but we all tasted the fruit. We all nailed Him to the tree. This is my part in the brokenness. His suffering is my suffering. For Him I can endure.

My prayer life has changed more from a focus on me and my wants to other people. It seems like for so long I was just praying I would get pregnant and everything else was forgotten. When I finally let go and gave control to God, I could see I was not using my prayer life to its fullest, and my praying changed.

Everyday, though, I wake up and realize I’m infertile and that I’ve lost something. Everyday I have to deal with the anger and make a choice about what I am going to do with it. I’m constantly depending on God for help in this area. Sometimes I am bitter. All the emotions can come and go depending on where I am and what I’m faced with and I make a choice on how I respond.

It’s not always a pretty picture. I’m a sinner and I get ugly. How wonderful that because of Jesus I know that God is looking at me and sees me as pure and beautiful. I’m forgiven for the ugliness in my heart.

Christan: How have you used your suffering to help other women deal with their own infertility and loss?

Jami: I write about infertility, and this has actually helped with my own healing. I’d love to start a support group but that always makes me nervous. Things like that are so important, though. Infertility is a very lonely affliction. 


And so Jami waited as her heart was transformed and her understanding of her Maker and Redeemer matured. I remember times when I knew about others’ pain — miscarriage, a still-born baby, a cancer diagnosis, and on and on and on — and I remained silent. Not wanting to say the wrong thing, I said nothing at all. I grieve now over my cowardliness. I’m embarrassed of my fear of stumbling upon my words and appearing foolish — ashamed of my selfishness. Let us all be inspired even today to love others well.

Join me tomorrow as Jami’s story continues to unfold. You’ll never guess what God’s writing…

 

photo source | milada vigerova