One month and three days ago we learned we were pregnant. We conceived on our own (in fact, David’s first words were, “how did this happen?” Well, buddy, when two married people love each other very much…), miraculously without any medical intervention, and we expected to deliver Nora Beth’s little sibling on May 18, exactly 17 months after we welcomed our first little chunk of light.
And seven days ago we discovered that maybe, even though we’d already found and purchased a second crib and begun making plans for Nora Beth’s big girl room, we wouldn’t be doing that after all. And today we learned that we are not pregnant. Actually, we are, but there is nothing growing there. We have been pregnant with hopes, with dreams, with expectation, but not with another baby.
I’m experiencing an all-too-common chemical pregnancy (or blighted ovum). My body is pregnant and busy producing HCG, equipping me with pregnancy fatigue and nausea, but due to genetic non-viabilities, it is not producing a child. We are heartbroken. But, we are still pregnant with those hopes, those dreams, those expectations because we know that we serve a God who does not deliver emptiness. And in the midst of a pregnancy that is growing nothing, we are currently cultivating a new faith.
For seven days, I Googled every possible thing I could think of related to this potential diagnosis; I questioned and analyzed every twinge, each nuance of pain, and all of the sensations of my body; I woke up from every dream – both the good and the bad, confused about where reality was; I battled doubt, some hours by actively attacking it with scripture and worship, and other times just curling up with it and not battling at all. For seven days, I exhausted myself. And this morning, when I immediately saw the confirmation of our worst fears, a uterus containing solely an empty gestational sac, I simply cried. I trembled and cried and reached out for my husband. Then I inhaled the goodness of the Lord again and wrapped myself in His peace.
This pregnancy is not one that will turn the Areys into a family of four, but undoubtedly it will yield something powerful nonetheless. It will produce a richer understanding of the Lord’s beauty and the fulfillment of what He promises those who love Him. He promises us that “every good and perfect gift is from above.” There is no doubt in my mind that the positive pregnancy test that shocked my heart on September 9, and caused me to walk around the house shivering with excitement and wondering WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF (!!) was a genuinely good and sincerely perfect gift from above. I will never regret that joy. I will never regret the physical emptiness inside of me, because I know that where nothing is growing, He is moving.
I don’t write as a quiet or subversive plea for sympathy. I write to heal. I write so that maybe someone else trapped in the throes of internal conflict and doubt might do the same obsessive Googling as me and find our story. I found countless stories and clung to the ones that resulted in a child. This story is not that. Not this time. My gestational sac was and is empty. Our diagnosis was and is heart and gutwrenching. Instead of tiny kicks in my belly, I felt one huge kick to my face. And I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for every pregnancy that ends before it blossoms into the fullness of a parents’ greatest desire. But my heart is full. Because when I am empty, He has the greatest room to pour into me and overflow His promises. This baby is not the baby we thought, but what we’re birthing is the hope of the family to come. Where nothing is growing, all things are possible.