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The Dread of Miscarriage and the Mighty One

So, I didn’t post yesterday, and here’s why:

A week and a half or so ago, many of my pregnancy symptoms vanished. It was as if, overnight, I went from puking in the kitchen sink, to merrily going about my day.

Sure, I was still tired–exhausted really–and peeing every 15 seconds, but my other, more obnoxious mother-to-be symptoms had packed there bags.

I wasn’t worried…at first. Then, I started to just feel funny. I didn’t “feel pregnant.” I had expressed concern (mildly and inconspicuously expressed concern) to my husband. He told me to call the doctor. I didn’t.

And then, the wave of  what “could be” and what “might be” crashed over me like a tsunami. I went from “keeping it cool” to emergency mode. Suddenly, my husband and I were praying for the life of our unborn child. How did we get here?

Weeks before, while I was still grappling with the idea of becoming a mother of three in 9 short months,  I slowly convinced myself  that I would never meet that baby.

I was scared, paranoid, and wrapped up in my head. My thoughts were eating me alive. I was laying awake in bed every night.

I was not praying. I was not asking the Lord for His intervention. I was not taking action by calling the doctor and scheduling an ultrasound.

Instead, I froze. I was so immobilized by fear that I pretended that nothing was happening. I went about my days like everything was okay when, all the while, I was denying the possibility of my baby being dead. Then, my feelings seemed validated by a few signs–I lost some weight, my belly seemed to shrink, my symptoms had vanished, and I read that a procedure the doctor had performed on me my previous visit could sometimes cause a missed miscarriage.

Sunday night, I broke down and the tears came. I told my husband how serious I thought it all was. He immediately took charge and I felt such a rush of relief. He said we would go to urgent care.

But few were open and those that were did not have an ultrasound. We decided to forgo the emergency room and wait until the next morning to go into the doctor’s office.

That night and next morning were hell, but something else happened, too. My husband prayed (among many times praying) and said that, despite the outcome of the ultrasound, God was still Good and worthy of our praise.

I knew in my mind that was true. I knew, intellectually, that God would still be Good even if our baby died  or dies, but I didn’t want to believe it.

I wanted to just be mad at God–my usual m.o. when things don’t go my way. I wanted to kick and scream, curse and cry. I couldn’t, though. I vacillated between dread, hope, and a feeling of numbness.

But, for some reason, this time, I couldn’t be mad at God. I wanted to pull a “Nicole” and blame God, then shut the door on Him…but for some reason, I never could and never did.

Instead, my husband’s words echoed in my mind. He is Good. He is always Good and even if we are given bad news, He is still Good.

Yesterday morning found us sitting in a dark ultrasound room, thick with fear and anticipation. The nurse and doctor even seemed a bit tense. The doctor cracked jokes as she squirted the warm gel onto my abdomen.

Then a flash on the screen and there was the baby. I didn’t care, though. I didn’t really want to see a picture of the baby. I wanted to hear a heartbeat.

The doctor started listening for a heartbeat. For what seemed like an eternity, a flat line ran across the bottom of the ultrasound screen, then suddenly–ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom. It was quick and strong.

We squeezed each other’s hand and let out a collective sigh and release of emotion.

In the hours leading up to that ultrasound, I had decided to praise God. I sang worship music. I read psalms describing His splendor and majesty. I didn’t run, like I usually do. I stayed and I worshiped. Praised. Glorified. Exalted. The Mighty One.

I wasn’t perfect. I wish I had done all of that sooner and better. I wish I hadn’t waited until the pain was too great to reach for Him. Yet, I made progress in my relationship with the Lord and, for that, I am still praising Him…and of course, for the life of my child.

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Nicole Cottrell is trained in the fine art of button-pushing. She uses her skills daily on Modern Reject where she writes about the intersection of faith and culture as well as the unpopular stuff no one else likes to talk about. Nicole is a speaker, writer, discipler, and coffee fanatic. She and her husband planted the Foundation, a network of house churches in Arizona. Nicole lives in Scottsdale with her husband and two little munchkins, three of the coolest and funniest people she knows.