Her hand trembled as she steadied the pregnancy test. Two lines. How could there be two lines? We just got off birth control a month ago!
Vanessa and her husband knew they wanted to get pregnant in the near-ish future, so stopping birth control was the obvious step. She just assumed it would take a while to get pregnant.
She blinked away tears as one splatted on the test. She gulped down her guilt. They wanted a baby. But she was in a great real estate career, enjoying her job and her life. She wanted a baby. Just not that very moment.
It took quite a while, over two months, before she finally felt okay with being pregnant. More time passed and they were on their way to find out the sex of the baby.
Ramon placed his hand on her belly as she sat in the passenger seat. “I’m so excited to find out if we are having a boy or a girl.”
“Me too,” Vanessa smiled back.
At the doctor’s office, Vanessa laid back on the exam table while she and Ramon looked at the ultrasound screen. The gel was slimy and cold as the ultrasound technician searched around to see the baby. She tapped the screen a few times, as if the machine was broken. She looked back at Vanessa’s semi-protruding belly and scanned it again with the probe.
“Hmmm..I’m not finding the heartbeat. But I’m pretty sure there is something wrong with this machine,” the sonographer said. “Let me go get a different one, and we will try again.”
“Okay,” Vanessa responded.
While they waited for her return, the two of them continued on with everyday conversation about arbitrary things like the weather and what they were planning on eating for dinner.
Finally, after waiting for thirty minutes, the new machine rolled in. The sonographer squeezed more gel onto Vanessa’s stomach and tried again. Vanessa stopped looking at the screen and glanced at the lady with her hand on her stomach. Her face was ghost-white. She was silent for a minute and said, “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat.”
Vanessa and Ramon looked at each other. Then back at the screen. Silence filled the room.
“I’m going to make another appointment for you at Sharp Hospital, just to be sure.”
They went in the next day, and right away the doctor said the baby passed away, that the baby had been dead for a few weeks. She cracked a couple jokes to lighten the atmosphere, but Vanessa scowled through tears at her lack of sympathy and consideration.
I just lost my baby! She screamed in her head. How can you tell a single joke in a moment like this? Don’t you even care how we are feeling?
The second and third miscarriage were back to back. About a month apart.
This was beginning to take a toll on their marriage. They began to wonder-almost place blame on the other-is it you? Is it your fault we can’t have any kids? Vanessa felt horrible for thinking so, but she started thinking that maybe it was him. She already had a 17-year-old, so how could it possibly be her? She began to fall into devastation because her husband didn’t have any children; now it seemed she couldn’t give him any.
There was silence in the marriage. They didn’t really argue with each other, but it was silent. She mentioned adoption, but he said it wasn’t for him, at least not in that moment in time. She wondered if they shouldn’t be married so that he could still have kids.
The devil continued to lie to her.
The fertility testing began to run their lives. Insurance didn’t cover any of it, so they were spending thousands of dollars just to continue to be disappointed. Being intimate wasn’t even something they looked forward to anymore because every day, every time she went to the bathroom, everything had to be documented. Was she fertile? Was she not? When she actually was, it was so difficult because now it felt like a job, a task to just produce a baby. It was no longer about loving each other through intimacy. Fertility testing overtook their lives. It almost became an addiction-an obsession.
Finally, her acupuncturist asked her if she had completed the process to test for a MTHFR mutation. She had never even heard of that, let alone been tested for it. Vanessa asked her doctor about it, and after testing, they discovered that she did carry the MTHFR mutation, which basically means that her body was not able to properly process folic acid. Because of this, it was causing the pregnancies to end in miscarriage after a few weeks.
Vanessa stopped taking her prenatal vitamins with synthetic folic acid and followed a detailed nutrition plan in order to get what her body needed.
“Lord, Your will be done,” she would pray.
But after the fourth miscarriage, she started to become bitter toward God. Miscarriage after miscarriage. “Don’t You know these are my babies? These are lives! Why do You keep taking them from me?” she screamed her prayer under gritted teeth.
She miscarried again. Five miscarriages in two years. “I just thought this time was going to be different,” she cried as her head rested on Ramon’s lap. “I’m done. I’m so tired. My body is confused. It doesn’t know if it’s pregnant or not or happy or sad. I just can’t do this anymore.”
Every other time he would say, “It’s okay; it’s okay. We’ll just try again.” This time, he whispered, “It’s okay. We can be done.”
After five miscarriages, she was obviously devastated, exhausted, and sad. But she almost felt relief after her conversation with her husband, like a burden was lifted. She silently prayed, “Thank You, Lord, that this is not in my hands. I relinquish this control to You. I’m done trying to control everything. I know we will be parents one day, even if it’s not through birthing our own children.”
A month later, Ramon and Vanessa decided to go to an extended night of worship at their church. She felt like she just needed to grieve and cry and worship. She knew God was worthy of her praise, regardless of her circumstances and all that they had been through.
During the first song, though, she felt an extreme thirst. So much so, that she needed to walk out of the room to go find some water. A young lady tapped her on the shoulder. “I felt like God kept telling me to go talk to you but it was so packed in there I didn’t feel like I could. But then I saw you walk out here, so I had to come find you.”
Vanessa hesitated a little, “Uh, okay.”
“Am I making you nervous?” she asked.
“No.” All I want right now is some water, she kept thinking.
“Let’s sit real quick. It won’t be too long.” They grabbed a seat on one of the nearby couches in the lobby.
“God knows you’re strong, but He wants you to find strength in Him.”
“Yeah, that sounds like me. Ha!” Vanessa chuckled as tears already started to form.
“I know this sounds crazy, but I keep getting a feeling that you’re pregnant.”
“No…you’re probably just getting that ‘cause I was just pregnant. I actually just miscarried exactly a month ago.”
“Oh, okay. Well, I’ve felt this before, as if there is a baby kicking inside of me. I’ve never been pregnant, but that’s what I feel. And the last time this happened, the girl I spoke to, she did end up being pregnant. “
Vanessa brushed a stray hair out of her face. “Oh, I believe we will have a child one day, but it’s okay if it’s not through me. I know God will provide a child for us.”
“No, the next time I see you, you will have a round, baby belly.”
She prayed over Vanessa. Vanessa thought the whole conversation kind of odd, but she just felt like God was reassuring her that one day she would have a baby (however that was).
That evening, she and Ramon were just thankful and praising God for His reassurance. She felt for the longest time that God wasn’t listening, but for the first time in a long time, they had hope again. It was as if God was just sending them a little love note, reminding them that He is always there.
The next day at work, Vanessa just couldn’t get that conversation she had with that girl at church out of her head. Wouldn’t that be insane if I was actually pregnant?
She stopped by Walmart, slipped into a stall, and took a pregnancy test.
She almost passed out right there. She rushed out of the store and texted Ramon to meet her at Starbucks so she could share the news.
That time was different than every other time. They had truly relinquished all control and that baby was God’s baby. They had finally let go and trusted God. Two years of fear. Fear of going to the bathroom. Fear of losing another baby. Fear had consumed them. But this time, fear was no longer there.
She carried that baby to full term and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Ramon Jr. Now they get to wake up in the middle of the night, lose sleep, feed, rock, and take care of his every need. And they wouldn’t change any of it for the entire world.
Vanessa commented, “God is so faithful. I have no feeling of wishing that I didn’t have to go through all of that. I needed to go through that to get to where I am now. I have no resentment or anger. I am closer to God than I have ever been, and through it all, I have witnessed and experienced God’s unending grace.”
Five is the number of grace. Five of their babies went to heaven. She truly misses every single one of them and looks forward to the day she will get to see them. But then God gave them a baby to hold in their arms. God’s grace unfolded right before their eyes. Through the whole process, they both grew closer to God and to each other. Though there were ups and downs, lots of downs, it only strengthened their marriage and their walk with the Lord.