A friend reminded me recently that the broken hearted are not immune to getting their hearts broken again.
Exactly two years after our son Anderson’s prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect, there we were again, another ultrasound, another round of heartache. Only this time, no heart beat.
We found out we were pregnant for the third time just days before my husband’s brother got married. I desperately wanted the pregnancy test to turn pink. This was the last month where we could have a baby before our next move and before Andy gets into the thick of his orthodontic residency. I waited for Andy to arrive in Georgia to take the test, too nervous to find out the answer on my own.
We waited for a few seconds and there it was, a second pink line. Andy said, “We’re going to be outnumbered,” with a huge happy grin on his face. Those blissfully unaware one-liners cut deep when life begins to unravel.
When we returned home, panic started setting in. I thought it was because Anderson was being particularly difficult with his therapy exercises. When we walked into his clinic tears filled my eyes and I couldn’t stop the flood. I excused myself from his therapists, went into the bathroom and cried out, “God, don’t do this to me again, don’t do this to me again, don’t do this to me again.”
I was worried about receiving some sort of bad news with this pregnancy. I wasn’t sure what at the time. It turns out, that the baby inside of me had stopped growing a day or two before. I guess I knew. I knew something was off. That this pregnancy that Andy and I prayed for, for months, for years, would end right after it began.
My body was not getting the message that the life inside of me was now lifeless. The day we went in for the operation was one of the loneliest days of my life. No amount of soothing music and serene images dancing across the big screen in the pre-op room could bring calm.
Part of me feels sorry for us. We cried out for just an uneventful pregnancy. Don’t we deserve that after what we went through last time? And then part of me feels ridiculous for even writing about this topic at all, as 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.
And really, both thoughts are absurd. Children are a gift, not a right. And if we feel as if we can’t talk about our pain because so many others experience far greater pain, well then, we would all hurt silently. The truth is, we are all subjected to and connected by the joys and sorrows of the human experience.
Everyone can relate to a broken heart, even if the degrees vary.
So, here I am with a heart that is once again wrecked, a soul that is restless and this time with a body that feels empty. How do we keep doing this? How do we keep trying in a world with no guarantees that unexpected pain won’t once again rip through our home?
We remember that a life lived in the shadows of comfort is no life at all. Fear will not rule our hearts, love will. So, we will stand with our faces in the sun, not knowing what will come next, but with a hope that is unrelenting.