2012 was the beginning of the most difficult season I have yet experienced. On January 14th, I unexpectedly miscarried our baby Max. He was 17 weeks old. Chris and I had thought this child was a long awaited answer to our prayers for a growing family, but then he was ripped away from us. I held our little boy’s body in my hands, but he had already gone to be with the Lord. Pain filled me, crippling me, making me want to hide away from everyone. The emptiness I felt was so deep, like nothing I had ever faced. God used Ella and Max to encourage me to take the difficult steps of seeking after healing. I didn’t want to punish Ella by not being there for her and I didn’t want Max’s death to be for nothing. I knew God didn’t want me to deal with this pain alone, he was asking me to seek help in community. However, I felt raw, like I was walking around carrying a sign that revealed all my grief and pain to the world. The hardest thing was interacting with people I really didn’t know, like the grocery store clerk that I couldn’t find the strength to crack a smile for. Just when I began to feel like I could brave the checkout line, I learned that we were once again pregnant, only three months after losing Max. We weren’t ready for this. Actually we were pretty sure we would never be ready again, but here we were.
At this point pain gave way to fear. I began to ask, “What if it happens again? Can I emotionally survive another miscarriage? Am I going to lose another child, and my ability to trust in God at the same time?” Fear quickly led me to hide from the community that was giving me support. Chris and I told very few people about the pregnancy at this point. Instead, we hid. Fear made me want to avoid life, circumstances, and people. The enemy used fear to pull me away from the very things that could have offered hope, and I started to doubt. I began to doubt God’s goodness, his faithfulness, and his love for me.
I had called my mother to tell her the news while she was in Texas helping to care for my dying grandfather. I was sure she was going to respond with the same fears as I had. Instead she squealed in excitement and quickly shouted the news to the others with her. I wanted so badly to join in that excitement but I couldn’t, I was afraid. I had to protect myself from hoping. About a week and a half later my fears became reality; I woke up in the middle of the night bleeding heavily. My heart sank. I had just experienced this a few months before when I had miscarried. There was nothing that could be done to stop it, and I spent the night crying out to God in anger. I got an appointment in the morning, and the first thing they wanted was an ultrasound. I checked in and as I sat in the waiting room, I felt like I had done a 180, like fear had undone any progress to healing I had made. Chris and I were called into the ultrasound room, the tech started the ultrasound, she looked around for awhile and found the baby . There was no audible heart beat, but she zoomed in, and we were able to see the little baby’s heart pumping away. We were relieved but apprehensive. But while waiting to see the doctor we decided we weren’t going to keep this a secret anymore. We didn’t know what was going to happen, but we also wanted to give God praise that our baby was still with us. Almost as if to keep us from hoping too much, the doctor told us the baby was in a position that was a possible sign of impending miscarriage. From there on we had weekly and bi-weekly ultrasounds and appointments throughout the whole pregnancy. There were concerns about positioning, baby’s lack of growth, unexplained pains, contractions that were too frequent, too strong and too soon, and placenta previa just to name a few.
Everyday I struggled with the fear of losing my baby. Finally, at 37 weeks, after three days in the hospital under observation due to new complications, they rushed me in for an emergency c-section. Praise God! Jemma Faith Pousseur made it into this world; safe and sound. Besides the normal chaos of just having a c-section and a baby, things were good. DEEP BREATH, with 2013 close by I was moving on to better days, and a new season; or so we thought! A few weeks after Jemma was born, we realized that she was having feeding issues. She wasn’t taking in more than a few ounces a day, and trying to get her to eat that much was extremely difficult. She didn’t want to be held, she wasn’t gaining weight or growing, we had weekly appointments, with test after test, hospitalizations, a feeding tube and the chance we would need to go to a children’s hospital out of state. There were more sleepless nights than I care to remember (or can remember). All along we were questioning if she would make it out of the woods, and if she did what permanent damage was being done to her body and mind? Through all this, I once again found myself struggling with how I could trust God with all these unknowns. Thankfully Jemma’s issue was found, but there were many more months of screaming and struggling with feeding while her body healed.
Fear still controlled my emotions, and led me to believe differently than what I really knew to be true. I questioned whether God’s plan was only for his good and not for mine at all. The truth, however, was I was seeking for God to provide me with what I thought was best; and that involved not suffering, not going through pain, and not being afraid. In his mercy, he slowly began to change my perspective. Answers and healing didn’t come overnight but as I continued to pursue God in His word, in community, and in prayer, he was faithful to meet me and bring me that healing. Isaiah 53 reminds us that he took up our pain and bore our suffering. Christ’s work on the cross, his sacrifice, has made it so when we experience pain and suffering, it doesn’t have to scar us. When I was able to leave my pain at the cross, I began to experience freedom from fear.
God’s work isn’t done in me yet, but as I continue to move into freedom from fear it allows me to draw into community rather than to hide, to have peace in the storm, to trust in God truths, and to know deep in the foundations of my soul that as I continue to follow after Him -no matter what happens in my life- God will choose to use all things not only for his good, but mine as well, because He loves me.