My name is Carley. I am a child of God, mom, and wife. As moms, we tend to go through dark seasons in life. Seasons where we feel scared and alone. Seasons where just getting out of bed is an accomplishment. Seasons we don't like to talk about and would rather keep locked away. I pray that my story speaks to you, reminds you that you are not alone, and encourages you to keep moving forward.
From the beginning, something unexpected happened after my first son, Jaxon, was born. As a first time mom, I expected to struggle with the lack of sleep and maintaining my once perfectly tidy house. I had such a happy and healthy pregnancy that the possibility of postpartum depression and anxiety didn't even cross my mind. A few days after my son was born, the “pregnancy high” I once enjoyed completed dissipated. It felt like I hit a brick wall. I felt like a complete failure as a mom. After a few months, I got into a mommy routine and focused a lot of my extra energy on developing my small business. Just before my son’s 2nd birthday, I relapsed back into my postpartum symptoms. The anxiety was crushing; I couldn't function. I wasn't sleeping or eating. I lost 10 pounds in a week. I couldn't even hold my child because I would shake so bad. Along with my body, my faith wavered… bad. I remember going to church and feeling so angry with God. I questioned why this was happening to me. Why give me a perfect child that I cannot take care of? Time passed, therapy happened, medication happened, and family support happened (big time). Eventually, I did lift out of the fog once again, and this time I felt my faith had been completely renewed. I even made the decision to be baptized in September, a beautiful day I will never forget. I apologized over and over again, thanking Him for my many blessings. How dare I question Him? I knew, deep down, there was a plan in store for me, it’s just so difficult to look up when you are feeling so low. I tell you all this so I can bring you back to this point in time.
Our World Flipped Upside Down
After going through such a hard time postpartum, like so many women, I was absolutely terrified to have another baby. Truth be told, I think my husband was equally as scared. He had seen a side of me that he never saw before: hopeless, broken, sick. It wasn't until recently my husband and I finally sat down and made a conscious decision to try to conceive. We had made it such a point to NOT conceive before, this was definitely a big weight lifted off our shoulders. I was so excited that we were finally moving forward and we’d be, hopefully, holding a sweet new baby in our arms within a year. I took a test a few days before my missed period and there appeared just the faintest of faint lines, but it surely was positive. Hubby and I were both filled with so much joy we could hardly contain ourselves. We told anyone and everyone we could about our exciting news. There's no way I could have held it in, I was absolutely glowing in every sense of the word. The next week, we did an initial consult with my OB to confirm the pregnancy and everything seemed to be on track.
January 9th was the day of our first ultrasound. What started as a joyful day turned into a day of complete sadness. I was fully prepared to see our little blob on the screen, after all, I knew exactly what to look for this time. Unfortunately, the US tech was unable to find a heartbeat. She tried many uncomfortable positions, depths, angles, and all we saw was what looked like an empty egg. Although we were at 7 weeks, she said it could be too early to see anything on the ultrasound. We were told to go ahead and continue with our next appointment with the OB nurse and then our doctor. When that appointment came I sat in front of the OB nurse completely still; my body felt numb and my ears were ringing. She was doing her little spiel about “having a baby,” and “where to go to have a baby,” and “genetic testing,” and blah blah blah. I just stared off into the distance. I finally interrupted her and sternly said, “please stop talking,” followed by me completely breaking down. I felt terrible for being rude to her, I just couldn’t take it anymore. A few minutes later, my doctor came in and offered us hope that it could just be too early. The rest of that day was a blur. My husband had taken off work, and I secretly wished he was working so I could be alone. I felt myself slipping into that too-familiar fog. I cried the hardest cry I ever cried if you can imagine what that might feel like. I tried to reason with myself and make sense of everything, distancing myself from the emotional aspect of what it was like to have a miscarriage. I didn’t want to be that mom; no one does. I knew I wasn’t brave enough. At my last appointment, I was officially diagnosed with a “silent" miscarriage. Meaning, the pregnancy was not viable but my body still had not caught up, which explained why I continued having symptoms. Treatment options were discussed, and although I wanted my body to do the “natural” thing, after nearly a month my doctor thought it best to go ahead and schedule a D & C. A surgical procedure performed after a first-trimester miscarriage.
Putting Faith on the Back Burner
There were a few days between my last appointment and when the procedure was scheduled. I cried every single one of those days. When you feel like this, you forget that God has a plan. Instead, all you feel is pain, anger, and desperation. I couldn't help but wonder, "why me?". Keeping my faith had been difficult these last few years. I would say partly because of my anxiety, but I admittedly had put my faith on the back burner when I became a Mom. It should have been the exact opposite. Prior to starting a family, I'd like to think I had a pretty chill relationship with God. I prayed daily and thanked him for the abundance of blessings He provided. It wasn't out of desperation, I just prayed. It was natural. But now, I was angry and I was questioning him, once again. Why give me the confidence and faith in myself to do this all over again, then take it away? It felt so cruel. He broke my heart. Thinking back on it today, my prayers to Him around this time sounded so needy and desperate; nothing like the relationship we had before. I felt ashamed for questioning Him, but I couldn't stop myself. The morning of the procedure I decided to do my best to focus my attention elsewhere. I wanted to grab ahold of that faith and do my best to believe in His plan. When it was finally time for the staff to wheel me back to the procedure room, I lost it. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and beg for His mercy, but all that came out were tears. I clung to my Mom and sobbed. I didn't want to go back. I didn't want to let go. I realized at this point I was still holding onto this baby. Through the sobs, I finally said, “It’s not fair. This is not what I wanted.” The anesthesiologist gave me a little something in my IV to calm me down (at my request), and from there I don’t really remember anything.
When I went in for my follow-up a week later, our doctor walked in with a pathology report [insert audible sigh here]. I had a rare form of a partial molar pregnancy, which ultimately means there may be some time before my husband and I would be able to conceive again. I had been holding onto that last shred of hope that we could try to conceive right away and have our sweet rainbow baby in no time. And now, that dream was long gone. I held it together long enough to get to my car, then I lost it again. How much more could I take? I decided I could only be frustrated about this for one more day. Just one. I gave myself 24 hours to get it together. I spent the rest of that day praying and reading my favorite passages from the bible. Jeremiah 29:11-13 resonated with me: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with ALL YOUR HEART.’” As Brave Little Ones, "God's Plan", shirt reminds us that God has a plan for our lives! We can depend on Him to guide us and provide for us.
Faith is Unbreakable
I’ve come to the conclusion that my faith is unbreakable, and although it waxes and wanes, it is still very much present. Without it, I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle half of what I’ve been through these last few years, much less come out as strong as I am today. For now, my husband and I enjoy being parents to our perfect blessing, Jaxon. We know that soon God will reveal His plan for us and our family. I’m not perfect; I have my bad days and my very bad days, but I am thankful for EVERY day He has given us. More tests coming up on March 29th, and I know no matter the results, we will continue to grow stronger as a family.
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