Babies, Blighted Ovums & Hope

For the past 2 months my body has been growing, changing, responding to hormones and for the past month, we have known that, according to initial testing all of these things were due to being pregnant: For the first time at forty. Yesterday morning we woke up to go and discover whether it was one or two – not thinking that it was simply going to be the idea of a little person – rather than a little person. The egg had fertilised and implanted, but didn’t develop beyond that – and despite everything that science can tell us, we don’t know why this baby didn’t grow. The gestational sac did – was perfectly sized for 8 weeks. The baby didn’t: I am saying baby because, for us, the moment the egg and sperm fused, that was a developing human being.

Strangely, the week this conception happened, I had a dream that I was going to have a phantom pregnancy (this wasn’t the same thing but the outcome feels the same); I also stopped feeling emotionally pregnant about 10 days ago, but put that down to exhaustion, to nausea and general hormonal irritability. Somehow my body and soul started a conversation that the rest of me is now catching up with.

This morning I woke up with the sensation that the whole pregnancy experience belonged to someone else – yes, I know shock and denial do funny things to one’s mind – except then the sadness kicks in and the tears start again and I am reminded that this is my story. It’s our story.

I am deeply grateful that we chose to share this story with our community, our family and friends from its early days of praying, hoping and dreaming. It meant that people got to share in our excitement, allow for me to struggle through the morning sickness, give me space to be tired and more mindful of germs. It allowed for people to share with us their “pay it forward generosity”. It allowed for a different type of joy within our marriage and our families.

And now… It has also allowed for us to be loved and held and supported in what ranks up there for me with having to say goodbye to a little boy who I so wanted to be mine, but also couldn’t make mine, and watch his initial failed adoption with another family knowing that there was no stepping back in to make him mine; it ranks up there with not knowing whether my mom was going to come back from theatre after a triple heart bypass…. And yet it also doesn’t – for the simple reason that this time around I have learnt how powerful being vulnerable is in this space.

This vulnerability means that we have had a SHARED outpouring and acknowledgement of the loss of dreams and of hopes. In response to our public acknowledgement we have received many private stories, as well as public acknowledgements of shared experiences, shared sadness – and stories, which science seems to support, of hope and little people growing into their full bodies. Beyond the emotion and the science I have been so aware of the prayer covering our family too – for me, Eugene Petersen’s paraphrase in The Message sums it up:

“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath” (Psalm 34: 18)

Today, in the midst of tears, the feeling of being gutted, there is an awareness of deep slow breaths too. Of choosing to see hope and gratitude in the midst of heartache and knowing that in the midst of grief there is still hope.

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16 thoughts on “Babies, Blighted Ovums & Hope

  1. ah, thanks for sharing Lexie. sad face. my sister recently had something similiar – not sure it was the same thing but was also like a phantom pregnancy but wasn’t and i can only imagine the anticipation and excitement and expectation and then having to shift the mindset and a lot of people not understanding or having to explain a bunch of times when you really don’t feel like it. – strength and love to you and so glad for the power of community in and around your lives.

    • Brett, thanks so much for reading and responding…I am seeing God’s hand in this in ways that make no sense logically but know there was a prepration process for me…On Thursday night I was reading 1 Samuel where Hannah commits to handing Samuel over to God and felt strongly that i would have to do that with this baby – and then on Friday discovered the truth that the baby was already with God – and while the world maybe sees foetal tissue, i see a fertilised egg which is a human being…. i know that our little person is safely with God… we get to grieve not meeting him this side of Heaven, but that’s okay too…. we don’t do this alone. And for that I am so grateful. I am sad that your family has been through the same…it’s horrible and sad for everyone…. and yet there is always more love waiting to hold the space. Wierd.

  2. I had an early miscarriage a year ago. Didn’t have time to tell everyone before it was all over. I was so grateful for those friends who had known we were pregnant. Their support and prayers meant so much. For those who didn’t know, I felt it was a bit awkward only telling them after the miscarriage that we had been pregnant. (Their support and love was just as meaningful, it was just the catching- them- up bit which I found sad.)
    Having friends know about our miscarriage meant a deeper sense of celebration at the start of our next pregnancy and birth of our son. It is powerful and empowering to journey together in community.
    You are innately strong Alexa. Vulnerability and tears prove it all the more. Sending love, hugs and prayers for your journey forward.
    Xx

  3. I’m so sorry to hear your news Lex. It’s always the most horrible thing to go through. Sending lots of hugs and positive thoughts. Much love Kate

  4. Hi Alexa
    My heart cries with yours. I don’t really have any meaningful words so here are some from a song by Michael W Smith (Sovereign over us)

    There is strength within the sorrow
    There is beauty in our tears
    And You meet us in our mourning
    With a love that casts out fear
    You are working in our waiting
    You’re sanctifying us
    When beyond our understanding
    You’re teaching us to trust
    Your plans are still to prosper
    You have not forgotten us
    You’re with us in the fire and the flood
    You’re faithful forever
    Perfect in love
    You are sovereign over us

    May you both find all the strength you need for this time in your lives.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Alexa. We are busy walking a very similar journey to this, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to hear about and learn from someone else’s story. To know we are not alone is a great encouragement. Thank you for your vulnerability, honesty and God honouring words xx

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