A woman’s journey through the first trimester

Charging at the waves with a glass in my hand, as Aaron Weiss so deftly put it, pushes up against the unparalleled feelings I have felt thus far.  It seems some days I would charge into the wild joy I felt, knowing life was inside me, made by love.  Charge like a wild mare I would and then collapse into a wall of despair as if all the wind had been swept from my lungs. Can any pregnant woman relate? Maybe any woman can relate. And so begins the recounting of my first trimester.

At first I was ecstatic. My husband and I deliberated on telling family and friends, and eventually we decided we could tell them. Most people wait until they are at a “safe period,” meaning past the riskiest time for a miscarriage to happen. I wanted to push against that. I didn’t want to avoid sharing our news because I was afraid something would go wrong with the pregnancy. I wanted to declare it. It was beyond my control what happened, and I would announce it in faith. This was what Levi and I felt in our hearts we should do, and this was a high point in the journey. I do not regret this decision.

I knew I was meant to be happy, glowing, as they so often put it. Yet I felt this grayness setting over and within me soon after I discovered our pregnancy.  My career involves life born time and again, but there are also phone calls, lab results, the “I’m-so-sorry’s” and “They-didn’t-find-a-heartbeat’s” and the “you’re-having-a-miscarriage’s…”  All the latter seem to swell in my mind as I go to the bathroom and see blood. I nervously lift the phone and ask the midwife what is going on and what I should do.  “Nothing,” she says, “this really can be normal.”  Can be? But what about the times it isn’t normal?  Surely there can be something I can do. “Let’s just keep an eye on things, and get your lab levels drawn.”

I hate waiting.

I charged at the ocean with a glass in my hand

And what did I think I could do? Capture God’s sovereign plan in the smallness of my own thinking?

I must have looked rather ridiculous crying fiercely at home, thinking there must be something I could do in the meantime while I wait for those dreaded results.  But there was nothing to be done. I had as much control over what was happening inside my body as a field mouse has over the coming rain. I could do nothing.

The results came, and I passed with flying colors. Levels were rising showing signs of a healthy pregnancy. My body was doing what it needed to do.  There I was again charging into wild joy like an unbridled mare, but the greyness came quickly and swiftly. Doubts flooded my mind like waters swim upon the divots in the earth in a downpour.  What if this is temporary? What if my body can’t do what it needs to in order to care for this baby?

There was more blood and more tears along with it. Coming up fast was my first ultrasound. I knew what they would say. I had to prepare myself for it. They would tell me there was no heartbeat. My husband came with me, a brave and peaceful rock in the midst of my storm. They did the ultrasound and saw nothing inside the gestational sac. The tech had a completely flat affect. I couldn’t read her at all. I just wanted to know.  Then I find out I’m earlier than they thought I was and that they wouldn’t see anything anyway at this stage.

Things like that don’t help a worried mother, who isn’t even sure she should call herself a mother yet. Should I grow attached to this baby? Will I lose it? I wanted to give myself fully to this pregnancy, but something was holding me back.

Lack of trust will destroy a person. It takes away their ability to love and be loved.

Then came the ultrasound at the right time. Walking into that building, I was trembling so intensely. I laid myself upon the table hardly able to breath as the probe searched, and then I heard it…

thump bump thump bump thump bump…

Recalling it now brings tears to my glassy eyes. That feeling at that moment was completely indescribable. My baby is living inside of me, receiving everything he/she needs to live. And I did nothing to get that baby this far along. I begin to realize just how little control I have over this pregnancy. That day, I wasn’t a wild mare running lose upon the hills, I was a mare standing atop of a hill, with the sun warming my face. I breathe in.

There are times you feel invincible and times that make you realize that you aren’t. How could I cope at work in the bathroom when I saw blood again? I was so thankful for the kindness of a midwife who took her time to talk with me and assess the situation. The greatest assurance came from that time, to know it was all truly normal. Things began to change that day.

Slowly, I came to realize that I could choose each moment how I would respond to the changes my body was going through. Would I feebly attempt to capture the ocean’s waves in a glass or could I sit by the shore letting it wash over me? We cannot understand God’s ways, but we can know God. And in knowing God we always know of love. Today, I am 16 weeks, already almost a month into my second trimester, and my Little is moving and growing and changing me.  Doubts still come when I feel all greyness around me, but I choose. I choose to choose a better way.

I lift my up eyes to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heaven and earth.   Psalm 121:1-2

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