I referred to it in our last post. Today I want to share the story that took our marriage from the honeymoon stage to the next level of intimacy–growth through heartache.
Tom and I wanted children. We had decided on two in our pre-marriage talks–a boy first, then a girl. It was a dream that I had held for as long as I could remember. I was thrilled when Tom and I decided to start trying for our first baby.
It’s an often-shared joke of how we had decided to wait two years to have a family. In my mind that meant getting pregnant at 1 years and 2 months so we would have our first baby by our second anniversary. In Tom’s mind that meant we would start trying after our second anniversary. It was a difficult time in our young marriage. But we finally agreed on our second anniversary.
When we found out I was pregnant we couldn’t keep our news to ourselves; We announced it to everyone–even the UPS delivery guy, we called Boots. He was happy that we were so happy. That is, until we weren’t.
Tom had a meeting in Tampa for his job at Gordon’s Jewelers where he was asked to speak. Being only 6 weeks pregnant, I went with him to enjoy time by the pool. His meeting was at another hotel. He didn’t tell me where it was, only the name of it. I don’t recall why we didn’t stay in the same hotel, but it made what was about to happen the biggest challenge of our lives.
Tom left early. I slept in. When I awoke I was bleeding heavily. I was in shock! I called my obstetrician and the nurse’s voice became sympathetic. I knew that voice and it wasn’t encouraging. I was scared and alone. She told me to get to a hospital as soon as possible.
I cried and prayed. This couldn’t be happening, not here–not now! But it was and I didn’t know what to do.
We didn’t have cell phones or even beepers for that matter. I looked up all the numbers for the hotel chain Tom had mentioned and called each one to see if there was a conference taking place for Gordon’s. I found it and asked them to tell my husband he needed to call me right away. It was an emergency.
What I didn’t know is he was just walking up to the podium to speak when he got my message. I can only imagine that moment and the panic that ensued for him. He called me right away, and hearing his voice brought me to tears. He said he’d be right there, but didn’t say he would call an ambulance.
I heard the sirens, but being in a big city I had no idea they were for me.
A few minutes later a team of EMTs entered my room with a gurney ready to deliver a baby. When they saw me and that I wasn’t full term, their countenance changed. It was the same sympathetic look with which the nurse had spoken to me earlier. This kind EMT knelt next to my bed and explained that I would have to go to the ER where they could examine me.
Heartbroken and afraid, we drove to the hospital.
I’d love to say I found the same sympathy at the hospital, but I didn’t. In order to see if I was still pregnant they ordered a urine test–the only way to determine pregnancy at the time. It took 4 hours for results. The worst part? They didn’t allow Tom to come back with me, so I was alone for that time, crying and afraid of the news I would hear.
The ER nurse I likened to an army sergeant- harsh and impatient for anyone with signs of weakness. I’m not exaggerating. She told me in her matter-of-fact tone, “You’re having a miscarriage, and there is no way to save the baby. I happens all the time.”
Again, I’m alone. Tom doesn’t know what’s happening. After the four hours I was told they messed the test up and would have to do another one. At this point Tom had had it, and called our doctor in Orlando to see if it would be safe for me to drive the two hours home. He said yes, but for me to lay down in the car.
He demanded the ER dismiss me. They resisted his request and said if we left the hospital insurance wouldn’t pay the bill–we would be responsible. At this point Tom didn’t care, he just wanted me out of there. I felt rescued and relieved to be going home. Still no answers as we drove home in silence.
I did lose the baby. We had to tell all our family and friends the news. I was haunted by the what-ifs that lead to worry and fear. It was a hard season for us.
Upon returning to work, I couldn’t talk about it and told everyone I was fine. I asked my coworkers to tell our customers to not say anything about what had happened. I needed to move forward without crumbling every time someone asked, “How are you doing?”
Three months later is when we took our first planned vacation together to California. It was what we needed to heal and try again. God used this heartache to knit our hearts closer than we ever imagined. Tom had cared for me at my weakest, even when his heart was breaking too.
I realized then what lasting love looks like. It wasn’t a fairy tale about which I had always dreamed, but it was our story being written through all we would face together as husband and wife.
What heartaches did you experience in your early years of marriage? If we look back at them now we can see more clearly what God was doing for good in the midst of the heartache.