by Karen D. Koch
In the spring of 2001, I was eagerly expecting a much-desired third child. I had longed for this ever since our second son, Mason, was 18 months old. Now he was three, and I was thrilled with an unexpected pregnancy. My husband had been content with just two children, and a third wasn’t in his plans, but he rejoiced too. We expected good news on our first ultrasound–scheduled early at nine weeks because of a previous miscarriage and my age–I was approaching 35. My husband was at work, so I toted the boys along to see the heartbeat on the ultrasound machine at the doctor’s office.
Something Was Wrong
After getting settled in the examination room, the technician got the quick ultrasound underway, but even with my untrained eyes, I knew something was wrong. The heartbeat was slow and irregular. The technician made some excuse about needing the doctor’s help to find something and slipped out, but I could already see she was getting a doctor to give me the bad news. After a brief view of the ultrasound, the doctor was straight-forward and even blunt. He said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is a viable pregnancy,”and gave me a few instructions before leaving me, shocked, in the examination room.
Crying in the Shower
The boys were just 3 and 5 and didn’t know what was going on, so I held it together until we got home and put a Veggie Tales in for them while I cried in the shower. A follow-up ultrasound a week later (my husband came with me and we left the boys with a friend) confirmed my fears–no heartbeat, no growth. Our baby had died. I declined the D&C recommendation and went through the next week in a fog, just waiting.
I prayed for a miracle, but the inevitable miscarriage came about a week later on Mother’s Day, 2001. I had just cried my way through the Mother’s Day service at church before going home to miscarry later in the afternoon. I tried to be thankful for my two children–I WAS a mother, after all. God had blessed me with two wonderful sons, but now Mother’s Day felt tainted. Why today? It seemed cruel of God to let me miscarry on Mother’s Day. I was missing someone in our family, something I couldn’t quite explain in words, and I was grieving for the little one we had just lost. I also felt a pang of guilt as my best friend, Teri, had been struggling with infertility for over a decade, while I’d been blessed with two little boys.
Then almost immediately, I received amazing news–a positive pregnancy test over Mother’s Day weekend for Teri! Mother’s Day had long been a day of struggle for her–an elusive, painful day that wasn’t hers. She even avoided church on Mother’s Day to avoid that sorrow. Her exciting news sustained me during difficult weeks.
But God had more waiting in store for me. After another miscarriage just four months later (the same week I began my very first homeschool year), then several months with no pink line on the pregnancy test, I began to resign myself to the fact that God’s plan for me didn’t include that “missing” child. I was 35. I figured my biological clock had stopped, and I tried to be content. We were honored, however, to accept the invitation to be godparents to Victoria, born in December. Meanwhile, I silently prayed for a positive pregnancy test as the months passed.
Mother’s Day 2002 was the very first day of my cycle that month that I could take an at-home pregnancy test with accurate results. I wept when I saw the little pink line indicating that I was once again pregnant, and I felt a sense of peace that Mother’s Day wasn’t a coincidence. God’s perfect timing. In my heart I repented of thinking that God had been cruel, and I called Teri first.
Many prayers went up on behalf of our little one who grow into our cherished little Madeline, born just 13 months after Victoria. Madeline’s middle name, Grace, was chosen with particular care–God was gracious to redeem Mother’s Day, not just for Teri, but for me too.
Karen was later blessed at age 41 with a surprise and very beloved fourth child, Miller, but has had three miscarriages since his birth. Madeline Grace is now 15, and the boys are 10, 19, and 21. Karen co-leads a mother’s grief group called Mourning to Morning. The group’s unofficial slogan is “Using our grief for good,” and “Allowing God to use our misery for our ministry.”
CHEA’s 35th Annual Homeschool Convention is June 28-30, 2018 at the Pasadena Convention Center.