I gave birth to twins two years ago this October. That, in and of itself, is a miracle, because I am unable to have children without intervention.
For the last two years, my husband and I have been on the long and winding path of infertility. It could be said that we were reckless to choose this path that is filled with so much pain and uncertainty. Our first try at in vitro fertilization, or IVF, failed. This was unbelievably difficult, and through it, I learned that my faith wasn’t as strong as I had thought. However, the Lord patiently helped me learn while continuing to gently lead our family to the next door we were to walk through.
Our second attempt at IVF, to our delight, was successful. We were pregnant! With twins! My husband and I were on cloud nine. Our pregnancy was perfect. Everyone rejoiced, and we praised the Lord as we prepared for our son and daughter to arrive. When I say my pregnancy was perfect, it really was, until thirty-three weeks… and then it wasn’t. A routine check-up revealed that I had preeclampsia, a very serious condition that can affect pregnant women. I was immediately hospitalized. I was devastated: how could this be happening? God had worked everything out up until now, overcoming every obstacle and providing for every need. Had I been wrong to trust? At that moment, I knew I had to make a choice. I was here in the hospital. This was happening. I would either trust God or I wouldn’t.
I chose to truly trust Him in a way I had never done before. It was good that I did, because being hospitalized was only the beginning. I thought the Lord’s focus was my attitude, but His plans were so much bigger.
The day before I reached my thirty-fourth week, my preeclampsia worsened to the point that the doctors decided that they would induce labor that evening. I was terrified! I wasn’t ready! The babies weren’t ready! I continued to remind myself of truth and refused to believe the fears that tried so hard to take over my thoughts.
Being induced that early meant that they would take my babies to the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU after they were born. So, on top of all this, I wouldn’t get to take them home with me. I could hardly process this, but again, I reminded myself that God is good. He is here. He is carrying me right now, and He knows what He is doing. Everything inside of me wanted to fall apart into anger and self-pity, but His great mercy sustained me.
That night during labor, I had critical blood pressures repeatedly, but He protected me from seizures and stroke. My son was born early in the morning, and my daughter shortly after. They were so perfect. I got to hold them for only a few moments before they were whisked away to the NICU. We were soon told that our son was suffering respiratory distress from a strep infection he’d contracted in the birth canal. It hadn’t been caught, because the test was performed wrong. He was born first, so he bore the brunt, sparing his sister from the worst of it. Since I was taking drugs to prevent seizures, I wasn’t allowed to go up and visit them until the next morning. I lay in my hospital bed and cried.
That night they called my husband and me from the NICU. Our son was very sick, and it didn’t look good. We sat by his bed, praying, but somewhere deep in my soul, I knew God was going to take him home. I cried out, “Lord, I know you’re not going to heal him, but please let me know You’re here.” I heard the Lord say to me, “I love you, Connie Joy, and I am here.” Immediately after that, my son went to be with the Lord. Any grief my husband and I had experienced before those early morning hours paled in comparison to the sorrow we were flooded with now. We hadn’t gotten to hold him when he was alive for more than a minute. He had been the bigger twin and had seemed so strong, For seven months, I had felt his cheerful, vigorous presence in my body, and now he was gone.
I left the hospital two days later. I had a sadness within me, a hole, or maybe a chasm. His sweet and perfect face kept coming to my mind in a slow, thick, and raw way. My son was gone, and I missed him...I wanted him so badly. That day, I left the hospital with no babies, even though I came with two. Through the grief, for the first time in my life, I had decided to choose to trust God and believe that He is good, no matter what happens. I didn’t question that. I was not, and am not, angry. I am broken, but I know God Almighty is moving.
Fifteen days later, my husband and I took our precious little girl home without her brother. Every morning when we get up, she brings healing to our hearts. Her perfect face is like a flower. Her tiny sighs and smiles lift our spirits. In the midst of sorrow, the Lord gave hope. Someday when she is old enough, I will tell her about her brave big brother who came before her and waits for her in heaven. Until then, we dance between pain and joy as we look back and then to the future.
The Lord took my firstborn son. I am broken-hearted, but I know it will be providential in our lives. I have seen the Lord use the short life of my precious son to change many lives. He was a perfect arrow that God used in different ways to bring many people to Himself. I learned to trust God and not turn away in suffering. I learned that you can feel great pain and, at the same time, know that all is well...that God will use everything to do a beautiful work in your life. His plans are never small. They stretch infinitely outward, affecting time and space in ways we will never know this side of heaven. Reality does mingle with emotions, truth, and lies. I know He is working in this great pain. Our loss has a divine purpose.
No matter what you face, choose to trust. God is working on your behalf to weave a beautiful tapestry from the messy threads of your life.
Following these events, I suffered two more miscarriages, dealt with some pretty intense marital issues, struggled with PTSD and depression, my husband received two life-altering medical diagnoses, and we decided to have a surgical procedure to help us (me) be able to conceive naturally. This has been a season of suffering. My biggest and dearest hopes and dreams had been shaken. I have experienced the sorrow called death take my heart and rip it to shreds. One might wonder, “Where is your God?! How can you follow a God that does that to you?! You were set up! Your faith has made you a fool!” So many people prayed for my son to be healed. But God said no. That is the thing we all dread, isn’t it? The God who could, but does not give us the “yes” we want. What do you do when the One who can, doesn’t? You choose to praise Him anyway. That is all. Why? Because He is good and needs no further defense or explanation. How do you escape the fiery pain of losing that which you hold dear? You don’t. You lean into it and let that pain fuel the resurrection of your walk with the Lord. That pain, those losses, led me straight into the arms of Jesus. Let your pain lead you into His arms too.
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