June 23, 2010 There I was, pounding my fists on the ground, crying out to God on my face in our music room. “Lord, have mercy!” Could this really be happening? Again? Kelly was already asleep by now. I couldn’t blame her. It was already late and she had been through so much these past weeks. It was the night before it happened.
It’s been a difficult year and a half for me and Kelly, to say the least. For those of you who don’t know, it was last August that we decided to start trying to have children again. Kelly was pregnant once before back in 2007. We were about 5-6 weeks in when we noticed something wasn’t right. Not many days later we lost our first baby. It was an interesting mix of emotions for us as we had no real connection with this little life yet but still were experiencing grief. We both knew that new mom’s frequently miscarry their first child so there were no real red flags at this point. Shortly after last August, another positive pregnancy test came along, only this time there was very little time for us to celebrate as Kelly miscarried shortly thereafter.
I didn’t know what to think. What does this mean for us? Is this a major problem or a common occurrence with a lot of new parents? One thing was for sure, we were going to wait a good while before telling people we were pregnant the next time this happened.
Would you believe it? Last November Kelly surprised me with a positive pregnancy test wrapped in a gift box! It was a good gift. We both really felt like this would be the one. It just made sense. We prayed about it, and really trusted him for the safety of our little one. 5 weeks went by, then 6. It was a landmark we hadn’t crossed before. We started telling family and friends. We celebrated and laughed and rejoiced. Needless to say these things bolstered our confidence in the baby’s health. That was, until Thanksgiving. Kelly came to me and said that she was bleeding again.
My heart sank.
How? Why? It didn’t seem fair. How could a good God let this happen again? We immediately went to the doctor’s office and they put Kelly on bed rest. That meant no activity at all; just lying down and waiting. Some weeks had past but things weren’t looking good. In fact, symptoms were escalating.
One night I snuck out of our bedroom to pray and seek God. I put Shane & Shane’s song “For The Good” on repeat and just sat. All at once, in the midst of that oncoming tragedy, God gave me the good grace to see and trust Him in a new way. The lyrics of that song echoed in my mind, “When darkness is surrounding me, by Your Spirit, Lord, help me see You are working all things out…for the good of those who are called by You, for the good of those who are in love with You.” I was struck by Paul’s words to the Romans, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
I remember for the next hour grieving and rejoicing all at once. I knew that things didn’t look good for our baby and it might not even make it through the night. On the other hand, I knew my God. I had walked with Him for 10 years now and I trusted Him. I trusted His strength to save and heal, but I also I trusted His wisdom and love for me. That night, through the tears I prayed, “God, You know better than me what will bring You the most glory and me and my family the most good, so do whatever you want. I trust You.”
Even now I feel that combination of sorrow and yet complete joy. I worshipped God that night.
That next day, God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereign love took our baby home to be with Him. Those next months of recovery were difficult, confusing and lonely. Kelly felt it the hardest. She will tell you it was a very dark season for her. What were we to do? How were we to make sense of it all? Would we ever be able to have children of our own? Questions spun in our minds.
To find out what might be wrong, we went to a fertility clinic. They did some blood work and other tests and we eventually discovered that there was in fact something keeping us from carrying a baby to term. Kelly had a particular condition in her womb that was not allowing the babies to have enough room to grow full sized. It was ultimately the thing killing our children.
We had an answer to the “why?” but now could anything be done to fix it? Praise God that the answer was yes. A minor surgery on Kelly righted the whole issue with her womb. The doctors said that pre-surgery, she was at a 70% risk of miscarriage. After the surgery her risk went all the way down to base line. We were so grateful to hear the news. A few weeks of recovery and we would be ready to try again.
It’s always a struggle to see God’s purpose in the midst of tragedy. Many of you have gone through things like this. Many of you have experienced much worse. It’s hard to see God’s wisdom and love when what is happening to us seems less like the work of a wise benevolent being and more like the cruel joke of a villain. Kelly once said to me, “God doesn’t have to pull back the curtain to show you His purposes, though sometimes he graciously will.” In our case it was a month ago that He pulled it back.
Kelly was spending time with a friend of hers who was a nurse. She learned that the condition she had was actually quite serious and the consequences of it could have been devastating. Had she been able to carry a child the full 9 months with her condition, the most likely outcome would have been stillbirth because the child would have suffocated for lack of room in the womb. If it was born and lived, there was an extremely high chance of severe physical and mental deformity that could eventually kill the baby. In many of these cases the mother would sustain so much damage during birth that the uterus would have to be removed and they would never be able to have another child. Worse still, often during birth mothers had lost their lives. We would have never been able to prevent this had we not had 3 back-to-back miscarriages. O the depth of the wisdom of the knowledge of God! He spared us from even worse grief though it came through suffering. We were both blown away to hear these things.
Well, believe it or not, this story has a happy ending. After all these things had happened, I was asked to be the worship leader on an overseas trip. We found ourselves on our way to Israel for a 12 day tour of the Holy Land. Some days into the trip we realized that Kelly was “late”. We didn’t want to get our hopes up so we waited and waited. Still nothing. Our first night in Jerusalem we left the hotel and snuck to a shady little convenient store and bought a pregnancy test. God had taken us halfway around the world to tell us the good news. We are going to have a baby!
It’s been 12 weeks now and not a single problem yet. Kelly is healthy. The baby is healthy and growing strong. It’s about the size of a plum this week (why do they measure size in terms of produce anyway?).
God has made a beautiful, powerful story for us out of what seemed to be our darkest days. If ever we trusted Him it is now. He is a good God and he always does what’s best for His children. I hope that truth leaps out from these words. We’re so excited for you all to share in our experiences with our little one as they happen. Keep checking this page for updates. Also, if you’re interested to hear kelly’s take on the matter, she’ll be posting a blog about all this very soon. Just go to kellyneedham.wordpress.com.
More to come, gang! Love you guys!