Our last week was long and hard--but we made it though yet another miscarriage and another week. I've had lots of time to think and pray and ponder ... and the Lord has used this loss to heal my heart of a heavy burden that I've been silently carrying for too long.

Sixteen years ago I had a D&C.  I was 19 and pregnant (unwed) and my boyfriend was very angry that I refused to get an abortion

He went off on me one night, leaving me alone, crumpled on the floor of my apartment. I woke up the next morning cramping and scared.  I knew that something wasn’t right. Since I had no insurance, I didn't have a doctor and had received no prenatal care to that point. I called him to take me to the hospital. He said he was busy.  I gave him a choice--he could take me or I would call my mom and ask her to take me. He picked me up 20 minutes later and dropped me off outside the ER door of the hospital

The hospital didn't have the facilities for pregnancy care or anything, so they transported me by ambulance to the major hospital in town. That hospital got me up to the ultrasound lab right away. The tech was measuring my baby and showing me my baby's arms and legs on the screen and then asked if I wanted to see my baby's heartbeat. Of course I did, but then he couldn't find it. He said he was new to this, so he went and got someone else to help find the heartbeat. And then they brought in another man to help find the heartbeat--but they couldn't find it.

The whole day was a blur and very emotional. The three techs left the room for me to cry alone. Sometime later a nurse came and wheeled the hospital bed I was in back down to the ER where I waited to be discharged. The hospital let me go without any directions, no knowledge of what to expect or what to do--just a "sorry your baby is dead, see ya later" kind of thing.

I went home numb and confused.

Not knowing what to do, I listened to the advice of my boyfriend and allowed him to make an appointment for me to have a D&C at a local clinic. It was a "family practice" doctor. I didn't know he was also an abortion doctor.

I was on his table a few days later for the D&C, Part way through the procedure, he told me, "It's no wonder they couldn't find a heartbeat - you weren't nearly as far along as you thought you were.” I was awake for the whole thing. He said it wouldn't hurt, but it did.  It felt like he was ripping my child from my womb, that he was also ripping my heart out of my chest.

He finished the procedure with me sobbing on the table--in shock and in grief that I had just killed my baby.

I have grieved that decision to allow my boyfriend to steer me in the direction of the abortion, in allowing myself to be numb enough to not THINK! I have wondered for the last 16 years if I was guilty of killing my unborn child, or if he was already dead. I haven't had peace about it since that horrible day.

Last week when the ultrasound showed that my baby had died either that morning or late the night before I saw for myself that my baby had no heartbeat. He or she was not developed enough to see arms and legs but I knew where the heart should be, having seen it beating there only days before.

The doctor came in to see me before I left the clinic. He looked at the ultrasound pictures and compared it to the picture from the Thursday before. He expressed concern over the amount of tissue in my uterus and the lack of blood (I had spotted through the weekend, but only minimally-- not enough for the miscarriage to be able to proceed naturally or normally). He recommended a D&C and I hedged.

I told him about my experience as a 19 year old, and my heartache over the possibility that I may have killed my child. I had only confessed the full story to my husband once before, two years after the D&C (and before we were married). No one else ever knew the whole story. It was a painful confession to make. However,   he assured me that I had seen it the week before, and I saw for myself that it was gone. He was concerned that I had a high likelihood of hemorrhage and that I would very possibly end up in the hospital if I went home to allow the miscarriage to proceed on its own. He had his nurse schedule the D&C with the hospital.

Because we were unable to find someone to stay with our children, my husband dropped me off at the outpatient surgery door. I went in alone and heartbroken, scared to be on that table again. When I woke up in the recovery room, I knew my womb was empty and my heart ached for the baby I will never hold and will never know. I pulled the blanket over my face and cried.

Fast forward a bit. This last week I've been grieving the loss of my baby-- cleaning house and rearranging furniture and keeping as busy as possible during the days and laying awake at night, thinking and grieving, hurting and praying and crying out to the Lord. I have relived my experience on that table 16 years ago so many times in the last week and last night it finally all came together.

My husband and I were sitting on the couch together and I asked him about it. For the first time in years, it occurred to me that three technicians could not find my baby's heartbeat that long ago day. My baby *was* dead because I could SEE his arms and legs, his head, his body. I had never seen an ultrasound before, but I could clearly see the shape of a tiny baby's body on that screen. My baby was dead, and I did not kill him.

I'll never know or understand why the "doctor" said what he did. It has messed with my heart and my head for years but the truth of the matter has finally sunk in. My baby died, and I'll never fully know why, but I know that he was dead before I ever went to that doctor's clinic and lay on his table. I guess I should (or could) be angry with the doctor, but I'm not. I'm very sad about the whole thing, but I'm not angry.

For the first time in 16 years, that heavy burden of guilt if I killed my baby is gone. I felt it lift late last night while I was talking with my husband, like a physical weight that was lifted from my back and shoulders. I have peace for the first time in my life that my baby died for reasons only the Lord knows and I know that this peace has come from Him.

The Lord has given me a tremendous gift of healing this week. My heart no longer breaks for the child I lost 16 years ago, though I am sad for that child and the six other children that I have miscarried over the years. I grieve their absence, and will probably always feel the lack of their presence but I know that they are with Jesus. My Lord, who loves the little children, has my little babies at His side. He loves them far more than any mother's love could even begin to understand.

My heart still hurts.  I am daily reminded that my womb is empty, but my heart is full. I might still cry from time to time (and I do) but they are cleansing tears. I miss my babies here, but I could not wish them back. I pray that the Lord does not see fit to take any more of my children before He takes me, but I also pray for His will. I know that He knows best, even when it hurts. I know that He loves me and I believe that when His children cry, He feels their sorrow.

Montgomery, AL USA
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