Sunday, January 6, 2013

When Love Flooded In

My intimate and personal story of a life that was given and taken away, and how strength was given to say BLESSED BE YOUR NAME! This is not to testify to anything that I could have ever done in my own strength, but to magnify the name of God and proclaim that God is undeniably present with the brokenhearted.

There has never been a day that I was more excited to pee. November 14 I peed on that “magical” stick and 2 lines appeared…two significant lines that brought me to my knees with complete awe and excitement. I was pregnant!

I had dreamed of this day since I was like….12. Haha.  I pulled out the baby name list that I have been adding to since I was 13, I started furiously pinning ideas on pinterest, and I started brainstorming all the fun ways I would tell my family and friends this thrilling news.

But then it set in…fear. Ya know, that paralyzing emotion that the devil tries to use to rob you of joy and trip you up in trusting God’s best. Thoughts like “what if I lose the baby?” “What if my child is like so many of my current patients, born severely multiply impaired?” and then guilt “don’t mess this up…if something wrong happens it will be your fault” and “you don’t deserve a blessing like this”.

Those thoughts would consume me in the night and in the morning--during my weakest hours.  I asked for prayer warriors to surround me and prayed with a friend rebuking those lies and fears and I was set free. God whispered to me “I work all things together for your good, according to my purposes.” And at that moment and multiple times again I told God “Every day you give me with this precious gift of life, I surrender him/her to you because they are yours and for your glory.”

We had told many friends and immediate family about our exciting news and everyone was ecstatic for us! We were really looking forward to making our big public announcement in a couple more weeks at Christmas. We wanted everyone to join our celebration!

Until that time, I started singing songs to our baby and coming up with many nicknames for him/her J I started to imagine the memories we would make together with the simple moments and the first milestones. Oooh how I couldn’t wait for my first ultrasound so that reality would set in more, that life was REALLY in me!

December 19 was the day I was anticipating. There I laid, the doctor applying the ice cold gel below my belly button and there he was (I kept thinking our baby was a boy), with a little figure that I could already decipher body parts--his head, body, and even his little arms. Streams rolled down my face as I looked in awe at our precious little baby. AND better yet, there was the tiny little pulse, giving me a peace of mind that our little babe was as he should be. The tears strolled even more. “Oh God, what a miraculous blessing that I am carrying in my womb!”  We were told our baby’s due date was July 19, 2013; we were 9 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

On the way home, we stopped at the store to frame the pictures of the ultrasound for our parents for Christmas—we knew it would be a heart-warming gift.

Two days later (December 21) Mike and I made our way to Lansing as we were going to celebrate Christmas early with my family.  That night I had a little bit of spotting and felt uneasy. I called the doctor that was on call that night and he said spotting was pretty normal and he felt confident and hopeful for me as I had just had an ultrasound on Wednesday and there was a heartbeat. I held onto that and chose to not let myself be consumed with thoughts of fear. I slept great that night and felt fine the next morning.

That next day when it came time to open up presents with my family, I started having sharp cramps that came out of no where. Again I called my doctor and he explained to me that as the uterus is stretching that it can be more painful for some women. He told me that since I was not bleeding he didn’t have concern at this point.

The cramps became unbearable and my family thought it would be a good idea to go to the emergency room in order to give me a peace of mind that everything was ok and to see if there was anything I could do to minimize the pain. The pain remained at a level that I had never experienced before. I had blood work done and a pelvic exam and they said that things were looking ok at this point. I had to go to the bathroom and I had some more spotting than previously. Deep breath…“God works all things together for my good, according to His purposes.”

I went back to my room and the nurse was ready to take me to get an ultrasound. I was excited and nervous to see my precious baby again. I kept praying that everything was going to be ok. The technician spent a long time assessing me with the ultrasound tool and my heart began to drop. I kept telling myself, “Everything was fine just 3 days ago…they can’t be wrong now”, trying to cling to all the hope I had left. I softly asked her “How is everything looking?” and she responded, “I’m just the picture taker, the doctor has to review the pictures.” My stomach instantly began to ache…beyond the intense cramps I was experiencing. “Oh God, please let everything be ok!!!”

They wheeled me back to my room and my PA told me she was waiting to look at the pictures from the ultrasound with the doctor. My PA had to only be 26 or so, and she was so sweet while taking care of me throughout the day. When she came back to my room her eyes were red and it didn’t take long for her to speak these words choking back tears, “You are the last person I would want to say this to, but the baby had no heart beat. You are going through a miscarriage right now”….(she continued talking but I couldn’t hear her until she ended with this), “I want you to know right now that this is not your fault.” She left to give me some time with Mike and my mom.

The transition of her telling me the news and leaving the room was surreal, but this is a peek into what I felt. Deep sorrow and loss met with deep peace and comfort. As my husband held me and cried with me, I knew God was in that room. All the nicknames, memories, and dreams we had with our baby raced through my head, but God’s love flooded my heart.

The deep emotional pain quickly met with deep physical pain as I now understood that the cramps I was experiencing were contractions that were meant to pass the baby that I would never get to hold.
But I went back to the words God had spoken over me “I work all things together for your good, according to my purposes.” So I laid there in my husband’s arms in the hospital bed, with tear stained cheeks, staring off, allowing myself to rest in the comfort that God so tenderly provided me.
“My dear child, I have your child…remember how the song ‘better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere’ played multiple times throughout this week? My dear child those words were to prepare you, your child is in my courts.”
Wow. More tears softly fell down my face. The best day I could ever provide my child, the greatest achievement they could ever experience, did not even compare to the brilliance my baby is experiencing in heaven.  No pain, no heartache, no sickness (all things that I would want to protect my precious child from) will never touch him. I’m crying over that reality even as I type this.

As God whispered those words over me as well as bringing many songs and passages of scripture to mind, I knew that I wanted to use this loss as a way to minister to others---and I have gotten many of those opportunities already.

They eventually discharged me from the emergency room and over the following 12 hours, I went through tremendous physical pain as I waited to pass the baby. But even then, I knew God was there (and not only that, but my husband was such a beautiful representation of Christ as he held me, cried with me, and prayed for me each step of the way).

**I won’t give the physical details here, but want to offer that if you know of any women in the future who have a miscarriage, I would be honored to help them walk through their loss physically, emotionally, and spiritually. **

Over the next few days I got such encouraging words from friends and family. It was amazing the support that surrounded me. I do not regret for one minute sharing our news “too early” as some may say. Having loved ones pray for me and embrace me and Mike during this time has blessed us so much! God even used people who didn’t even know I was pregnant to speak to me in miraculous ways. He used a first grader and a dear lady I’ve never even met from a different country to speak life and hope over my womb, and neither one of them knew that I was pregnant! Wow, my God is good!!!

OK, so I can’t help but share my sweetest and most intimate detail about my baby that God shared with me. The way that God so compassionately cares for us is so astonishing! Now, this was something that I might have thought was weird in the past, as I couldn’t wrap my mind around it; but a friend of mine who had a miscarriage a few years ago prayed with me and told me that God told her the name of her baby. Knowing the baby’s name was not even something that crossed my mind because I wasn’t sure what the gender was (although, as I shared previously, I had my “motherly instinct” that we were going to have a boy).  I still hadn’t thought much about what our baby’s name was, but God had. So, this friend of mine was praying for me and she said “God, I thank you that this baby is a warrior, that this baby is in heaven warring in the spiritual realm and interceding for Carly and her and Mike’s future children.” Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to think about that…it brought tears to my eyes to think about, but I also thought, “is that really what my baby could be doing in heaven?” So I prayed about it on my own separately later on.

So going back some, as I had mentioned previously, a woman from a different country who I have never met spoke hope and life over my womb. This woman is my best friend’s mom (my best friend is an international student, so I’ve never gotten to meet her mom before). She didn’t know I was pregnant yet and she called Veronica on the day I was having my miscarriage and shared with her she was praying and had a vision of me with grain seedlings in my womb. Veronica told her that I had been pregnant but was currently going through a miscarriage, but her mom said, “Tell Carly, that there WILL be life in her…she has seeds of life in her!” TEARS….LOTS OF TEARS….God sees us and God uses His people to speak life into our situations. HALLELUJAH!!!

So anyway, going back to the name (I’m sorry if this seems dragged out, all of these details are significant!), I was sitting at dinner with a group of friends and out of the blue the name “Graham” popped in my head. Mike, knowing that I’ve been passing baby names by him since we were engaged, just nodded and said, “yeah, that’s a cool name.” At this point, I didn’t mean for it to be the name of our baby we had to wait to hold, but for a future baby. Later that night I googled the meaning of the name Graham and the top two meanings I could find were GRAIN and WARRING!! “Are you kidding me God?” I wept as God showed me that the most intimate details matter to him. So, that is his name, our precious boy’s name is Graham.

Sweet Graham, I want to say you left too soon, too early
But instead I know that you are in the place that God intended earth to be
I will never forget the day, the tremendous loss on December 23rd 
But how just two days later I could celebrate the LIFE we have through our Savior’s birth
The arms you are in are greater than mine could ever be
And one day I WILL get to hold you, the one who has been warring
I will join you in playing in the streets of gold
And I will join you on my knees in bowing low
To the King of Kings who is worthy and who reigns
To Him who was so very present, when love flooded in


  1. WOW! All I can say is WOW! What an inspiring story. I hope that I can be there on the day that you meet Graham. A beautiful reunion. To God be the praise and glory for His infinite wisdom.

  2. Carly,
    Thank you so much for sharing this story! I've recently been asking God for examples of what it means to "dwell in the shelter of the most high" and what it is supposed to look like to take refuge in Him. It seems like such an abstract concept until I hear stories like this--where you are able to rest inside the strength of His love no matter what is happening on the outside. And you're able to already look forward in order to use the experience as a way to minister to other people. This has definitely spoken healing to my heart!
    I am praying for you and Mike both.

  3. Love you Carly!!! You will be pregnant again! It will happen! I love both you and Mike! :) if i am in the grand rapids area, let's meet up with you both. I really miss you.

    -Jen Johnson

  4. Fresh tears as I read this. What a might God we serve than can bring peace into all circumstances. Love you Carly!

  5. Carly,

    Such an amazing, faithful, and inspiring story of God's love for his children. I have a few close women in my life who have experienced this loss and I would love to share this with them. I did not know this happened to you and I Am deeply sorry for the pain and anxiety over this loss, however, Gods love that you received and the story you shared gives me chills. Your bold faith to share your story is incredible. Be blessed this Christmas, and your special gift will come. God will fulfill that desire of your heart sweet friend.

    Love, Rae

  6. GAH. Love you sister, so much. This is phenomenal. Truly a testimony of and for Christ alone!
    Thanks for always proclaiming, boldly living for Him only!