It was 16 years ago today, October 16, 1996, that I received the saddest, most devastating news of my life. I left my office that day en route to my first visit with my newly hired OBGYN and on my way out the door, my boss yelled out “don’t let them remove anything they shouldn’t.” Those words would prove to be prophetic, unfortunately. As I sat in my doctor’s office, the huge smile on my face was erased the minute she interrupted our conversation saying that she wanted to do an ultrasound in order to make sure my baby “had landed in the right place.” I followed her to “that room” where after some probing (it seemed like forever), she gave me the grim news I somehow knew she would be delivering. My pregnancy was an ectopic one and I would need to have it terminated as soon as possible…like right now…get to the hospital, I’ll meet you there. Not exactly the “delivery” I had expected and had prayed for for so many years. Seeing the look of desperation on my face she offered up some slim hope by saying she would send me across the hall for a second opinion, to a specialist who would do a dye test so that her findings could be confirmed or denied. She left the room in order to contact the specialist and the hospital, leaving my husband and I reeling with this bit of information. I was speechless and my husband was full of questions, one which I’ll never forget…”What’s the problem honey..can’t they just move it?” Jan, the nurse walked in with the saddest face and the only thing I managed to say was “I left the bag of goodies in the dressing room” – (Just an hour before, I had giddily filled a bag with goodies from my doctor….”What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” lanolin oil, cocoa butter, etc.) “You’ll be back for it, honey,” she said. I gave the room one last sad look as I walked away on my way to further heartbreak.
Across the hall I was met with a doctor who almost seemed hopeful that the findings would be positive. He administered the test and began calling his colleagues over saying my case was a textbook case. Thanks Doc. Really bad bedside manner….bad!!! I dressed quietly trying to hide the tears as we made our way to the hospital. I was prepped for surgery and I recall laying my hands on my tummy and thanking the Lord for the opportunity to hear the words I had always longed to hear…”Congratulations, your pregnant.” The last thing I recall before the anesthesia kicked in were the words my boss spoke as I left the office earlier that day.
I woke up in recovery to news that my doctor was able to save my fallopian tube and that I would be spending the night (another first for me and not the hospital stay I had looked forward to). To make a hideous matter even worse, I was given a bed in the maternity ward where I listened to mommies cooing and babies crying all night. My nurse Lily mercifully made arrangements for me not to have a roommate. Now, that would have sent me over the edge for sure. She was a comfort to me that night and the Lord used her to offer healing words…”Next time you come back here you will leave with a baby.” I responded, “From your lips to God’s ears.” With that, she closed the door to keep the happy sounds out and I turned my back and cried myself to sleep.
My husband picked me up early the next day. He had a busy day and I was happy to be alone. I was stunned that life could go on for him, when life for me would never be normal. Would it? Would I ever climb out of this hole? I crawled up the stairs to our bedroom screaming at God. I was so mad at Him. “What have I ever done to You, I cried…I’m a good girl…Why do You hate me so much?” We had been married for 10 years and had been trying for that long to start a family. We had undergone a battery of infertility tests and procedures five years earlier with no success and I had given up hope and purchased a dog. Now here I was five years later certain that I’d never bear my own child only to have one dangled before my eyes like a carrot and for God to say SIKE !!!! to me was more than I could handle!!! Note to the reader…I was sooooo not born again…talking crazy and acting crazier!! I was tucked away in my bedroom being tormented as I saw report after report of everyone in Hollywood giving birth to babies…I tell you the Oprah show almost sent me running into the Boulevard when I heard an artist sing a song he had written for his firstborn son. Oprah and her audience were in tears and I was on the floor in a fetal position. I thank God for my husband who was patient as I cried every night; for my sister who knew the Lord intimately and interceded for me. For my other family members who knew just to give me space…I thank God that He was merciful and as I healed physically and emotionally, I was unaware that I was being positioned to receive the greatest miracle of my life.
A week later (on October 23, 1996) I received a call from my doctor informing me that not only was one of the tests suspicious and I’d have to come in for a follow up, but that the “fetus” as she called it…baby to me…got stuck in the middle of my tube which told her there was blockage and the likelihood of a successful pregnancy was zero to none. She ended the conversation by saying that I should see her friend, a fertility specialist…get pregnant and come back to her for a better outcome. She sounded so confident…I slid down the wall and landed back on the floor in a heap of tears.
I have known sorrow…I’ve been well acquainted with pain….both physical and emotional, but none greater than on this day so many years ago. The details are forever etched in my memory. I have also known deep gratitude…such joy…amazing grace…such love from a God who healed my hurt and made me smile again and I am reminded of His faithfulness each day when I look into the eyes of my children…the ones He gave me the privilege of birthing (with no lab assistance…a real miracle) and raising. At some point I will share the events leading up to the miracle births of our children. Each character mentioned above was present for both miracles. God is faithful and His word is true!
I’m praying for those women who, like me, walked away with empty arms…the ones longing to be called mommy…who turn down baby shower invitations because it hurts too much to see others celebrating what should be an event all women should celebrate if they choose to…those who forsake their friendships with women whom they were once close with, but with whom they now have nothing in common. Praying that our God would show Himself strong on your behalf as He so graciously did for us.