When my husband Ricardo and I got married and decided to start a family we were so excited! We got pregnant right away and shared the news with our family, friends, co-workers and cast-mates who were performing alongside us in a Christmas musical. About eight weeks into the pregnancy I started having excruciating pain so we rushed to the ER only to find out that the baby was growing inside my right fallopian tube. We weren’t familiar with the term ectopic pregnancy and were devastated to learn that the tube wasn’t a viable place to sustain the baby’s life. Not only that, but if the baby grew much bigger the tube would collapse, cause hemorrhaging and put my life at risk.
Because I was in my early twenties the doctors wanted to preserve my fertility and not surgically remove the tube. It was advised to send me to the oncology department to receive a shot of chemotherapy. The drug of choice would dissolve the pregnancy and eventually force a miscarriage. As you can imagine we were devastated, confused, sad and angry. On one hand I felt that by agreeing to the shot I was killing my baby wondering how I could ever forgive myself and other the other hand I knew it needed to be done. Ricardo gently reminded me that God was with us even in the midst of the struggle.
Due to the nature of the medicine the doctors didn’t know when the miscarriage would begin. I found myself needing to make a decision about whether or not I would continue on with the musical. Was I going to stay in the show not knowing when my body would begin the process of miscarriage or was I going to ask the director to find someone else to fill my role? I decided to move forward with the show. I made it through dress rehearsal week with no problems but on opening day my body began the process of losing the baby. As you can imagine it was physically and emotionally challenging yet there was an indescribable peace that I’d make it through.
As the curtain was about to go up on opening night the director came over to me and said, “Carrie. Isn’t God so kind that even in your darkest hour, he’s also given you your brightest hour?” She knew how much I loved to perform! She gave me a big hug, squeezed my hand and with tears in both of our eyes the show went on.
Thankfully Ricardo and I were surrounded by a loving faith community who modeled love to us which in turn taught us how to serve others well. God used those precious couples in our life group to walk alongside us through the grief process. They prayed for and with us, brought us home cooked meals and checked in on us often. They so lovingly demonstrated 2 Corinthians 3:4.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Jesus is the perfect example of compassion because he himself knows what it is like to go through excruciating pain and suffering. He also lived out for us how to respond to others who are going through a difficult time. He is our example.
I want to be careful not to paint a flawless picture of my grief because during the days and weeks that followed the loss there were waves of sorrow that howled through the depths of my soul. Even to this day I still wrestle with losing our first baby and the five others we lost over the course of three years, but I am comforted by the fact that each one is known by God.
My husband and I are thankful to have three thriving children who serve as a daily reminder to us of how transformative God’s love is. That in his beautiful and mysterious ways, God makes us strong even when we are weak.
Carrie Robaina (Host of the She Walks In Truth podcast)
P.S. If you or someone you know is experiencing grief due to pregnancy loss my favorite resource is the book Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy.