Family, Grief, Living through heartache, Praise, Walking by Faith

Heart of the Matter: Overcoming Heartache

December 13, 2013

Cynthia: This is Cynthia with Heart of the Matter Radio, for women seeking the elegance of God’s wisdom.
This world is broken and we suffer as a result. Romans 8:22 says, for we know that the whole world has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only this, but we ourselves have the first fruits of the Spirit grown inwardly as we eagerly await for the adoption as sons.
So, the world is broken. It’s messed up. But there’s a promise that God made and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. I have Lynn Oates with me today and she’s going to tell her Romans 8:28 story. Welcome, Lynn.
Lynn: Hi. How are you today?
Cynthia: Tell me your story and how God is helping you use your heartache.
Lynn: Okay, yes. For me, my journey started about six years ago now. My husband and I, we were just the typical young married family and we had decided that we wanted to add to the two of us. We were like okay, let’s have a baby, and we said sure. And nine months later our son arrived and it was no problems, it was beautiful. He was healthy. He is a blessing.
So three years later we said all right, let’s do that again. And this is where our world started to turn upside down. We said let’s try again, and so we did, and we thought okay, yay. Nine months later, which would have been the following June we’d expect another little baby. It was no problem to conceive. 
But little did we know about ten weeks into the pregnancy I went in for a regular appointment, I was all alone because we’d been through this before. My husband was working, so no need for him to arrive. And they were like well, let’s get your dates correct and the ultrasound tech was in. You know. Mom, you’re so excited to get a sneak peek at the baby, so I’m like okay, let’s go.
And so we go in there and we’re just chatting and then she takes the screen and she turns it away from me. She says I’ll be right back, and she goes and gets the doctor and she comes in and then they have a conversation with me and tell me that the baby does not have a heartbeat any longer.
I was devastated, in shock. I kept going are you sure? So she turned the screen back towards me so I could see him, and sure enough. There’s this perfect little, you know. Legs, arms, fingers, toes. Little baby just laying in there with no movement. So they take you and move you into another room and do all sorts of prep work for you to, I had to go and get a D&C the next day.
They don’t tell you really much, they just say we’re really sorry, you should try again, you have to have surgery tomorrow. And that’s kind of it, and you go. It just happens. Unfortunately for us this happened four times over in a matter of four years, a little over four years.
I seemed to have no problem getting pregnant, but I really did have a challenge of keeping the children. And it was all later. The first one, like I said, was at ten weeks. The next one was at eight weeks along. Then it was twelve weeks. And then the last one was thirteen weeks along. 
It’s just very quiet for someone who suffers a miscarriage, because we don’t give birth, and we don’t get to hold a baby. And we don’t have a funeral and we don’t have a burial. So people necessarily don’t chalk it up for a baby. Unfortunately the pictures, I believe that just as it says, life begins at conception. So for me it was a baby, and it was a very big heartache. Very long, drawn out heartache for us, as a family. But for me as a whole.
Cynthia: Okay. So what is your response to this heartache?
Lynn: Okay. So what has happened when you just are quiet, and your friends around you are having children and you feel like everywhere you go, down every aisle in Target that you look, there’s a beautiful pregnant lady and you just have this envy and this anxiety about you.
I think at those times that’s kind of when Satan starts whispering to you. He can pretty much almost get a foothold of somebody who is in this much grief, I truly believe that. The saying, why would God do this to you, if he loved you why would he do this to you. And so you start taking on the victim role. You become very angry and bitter, at first. I did anyway.
I remember being behind a vehicle that had those family stickers on the back of the car, where they have the mom and the dad and the four children. And my first reaction was I’m just going to gas it because they shouldn’t be allowed to brag about the family they have. Here I am, you shouldn’t put stickers on your car, that’s crazy talk. I should never have even felt that way but that’s kind of how you are in grief. You’re just in this spiral.
So finally, for me, kind of the turning point was that I was at such a lost and dark spot. I mean, I was just suffering. I was angry, sitting in church was uncomfortable. And that’s what was happening, was Satan was just filling my head with you should not be treated this way, you deserve better, how can God love you unconditionally, why does he keep punishing you. That’s what I found, I think I’m being punished.
And so I came across the only verse, I had it on a magnet on my refrigerator, and it said encountering trials, count them all joy. I would laugh at that, like that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. How can you count that? I can’t count those joy.
But then I didn’t like how my life was going. It was just very empty and dark and sad. I wasn’t being a good mom. I was just kind of putting on a show, you know. As far for my son we’ll go to the park and then let me go home and just cry, or be sad, or whatever.
One day I just came home and I was like I can’t take this anymore. I can’t take feeling this way. I just laid down in my floor, like face in the carpet flat in the floor, and I just told the Lord. I was like this is the journey you have for me, I don’t know what to do with it except be sad and I don’t want to be sad anymore. How can I make this turn around to your glory?
From that it started working, like as far as getting out of the hole. And then I also read Beth Moore’s book Getting Out of the Pit, Get Out of That Pit, I think. I did exactly what she said. I drove my pit into the living room and I decorated it and I made it my own. I’m like oh don’t you want to come join me in my pit. Nobody wants to be in your pit.
So I just really owned my grief and just wanted to be stuck in it. Like I said, when I had laid down and I prayed to him and just kind of gave it all over, like it was a switch. It was as if everything had just been lifted off of me. Like this fog had been lifted. I didn’t want to cry that day. I think it was the first day that I didn’t cry in the shower.
And so I just said I’m going to move in, and whatever I can do, Lord, use me. I just gave myself to him. Gave my story. If you can put somebody in my life that I can share and make them feel better, just use me.
The very first person was a friend of mine’s sister, and she called me. It was two days later and she had called me and said my sister just lost her third baby. Can I get you connected with her? And I’m thinking why does she want her to call me? I’m like this grumpy old bitter person. But just me and her communicating and talking, it was therapeutic for both of us. Both Christian women, both questioning this path that we’re on, but yet at the same time being just open to the Lord’
s will in this matter.
And I had resolved that I was going to have no more children, that my son was my family, and I was perfectly content with that. You know, you just start to live life and you start to plan and you start to actually enjoy your husband and your son and doing things again.
When I started to feel sick and I was tired, and it had been weeks like that, and so I went on to WebMD and self-diagnosed myself, like everyone else in the Internet age, and had decided that I either had a thyroid problem, which as a woman in her mid-thirties made total sense. Or I had a pituitary tumor and that most of my symptoms were leanings towards the tumor.
So I called my doctor’s office and I was like I am in a panic. I said, you’re not going to believe this. It had been, at this point, two years since my last loss. So I never even thought about a baby. And she was like well, have you ever taken a pregnancy test? I’m like no, why would I do that? I told God I’m done and he just shut my womb and we’re going to move on.
And she’s like I think you need to go take a test. And so I did, and sure enough, we were pregnant again. And I just was in shock, and I showed my husband and he was like what does this mean. I said well, either I’m about twelve weeks, this’ll be done, or we’re actually going to have a baby this time.
Sure enough, the Lord was so good. I was so undeserving of the blessing of our daughter. She is truly a gift and I didn’t deserve it. I was so mean to the Lord, I don’t even know how he even said all right, I’m going to give you what you want. Man, I just was very humbled by that.
I think that was a surprise, that was a bonus to me, is that I did not expect him to give us the opportunity to be a parent again and actually have a baby here on earth instead of heaven. And I just very humbled by his grace.
And she is. She’s a gift. And so now I’m on this next journey.
Cynthia: What was your reaction when you first saw the doctor and found out for sure yes, you are pregnant?
Lynn: Well, this is amazing. The doctor and nurse that had been with me through all four of those losses, my nurse a very strong Christian woman and so she always prayed with me. Like through each step of the way, and I told her, I said I don’t really even want you to pray for me because I’m just already crazy. This isn’t fair.
But at this time we just all three were in the room. My doctor, my nurse, and myself. And I am just like so now what? And he’s like well, all we can do is pray and hope we’ll meet this one. So they all had some ownership of this pregnancy too, so it wasn’t like I was going through the journey just us and our family. A lot of people were involved in praying over this gift. Because it was like we just really really hoped, at this point, surely he wouldn’t take a fifth one home to him.
But you know what it was too? I had to resolve to be okay with whatever he wanted. Even I was probably at the ninth week appointment, not it was maybe the tenth week, I’m sorry, and they sent me to the specialist for the first time because I’m older and my history and everything. I remember being in the car for this one and I’m sitting in the parking deck. I had arrived at my appointment a little early and I’m just talking to the Lord. And I said you know what? If you take this one, I’m okay. Just use it to your glory.
I was just committed to just whatever this meant, really use me. I’m going to be okay. I survived those four, I can survive another one. That’s fine and I know how to do it. I think that the biggest part was I was just okay with whatever road God took us down. 
And I can’t say the same for Brian. He was very scared and very apprehensive, and every appointment seemed to just bring sadness. So it was very hard for him. I was finally at a point where I was like well, it’s just this is the journey that he has me on and so I’m going to either share with everybody how glorious it is that we have a baby, or I’m going to just tell her story. At that point we didn’t know it was a girl, but tell the story of how I made it through another one.
I wasn’t necessarily sure how it was going to be. It was amazing. Each month, each ultrasound, each appointment, I think that we all just praised God at the end of my appointment when we heard a heartbeat or we saw the baby dancing in there. Then when we found out it was a girl, named her pretty quickly, and it was. I was like Grace has to be in there because man, he is just showing me so much grace. I can’t even . . . it’s overflowing.
So her name is Emily Grace. 
This is also kind of funny, but sad too, because my doctor, we were looking at closing to due dates and stuff and they were going to induce me because I was high risk. So I was going to have her a week early. And he sits there and starts looking at his calendar and he’s like you’re not going to believe this. And I said what? And he goes well, this is when me and my family are going to the Holy Land for our two week vacation. I said you are kidding! My due date, you’re not even going to be here to deliver her? He’s like I cannot believe this, and he’s like unless you want to wait till I get back. And I was like absolutely not. You don’t ask a pregnant lady to go like a week past her due date. That’s just not going to be cool.
Anyway, we found the other doctor in the practice whom I love and he knows our history as well, and he delivered her. We took pictures, texted him, kind of made faces in the pictures like wish you were here. He gave a phone call from there. I couldn’t believe he called us. He’s in Egypt and Israel and just doing this trip, and just called and he said I just am so grateful for her. And I was like you have no idea. 
It was an emotional journey for a lot of us, I guess. I would say that.
Cynthia: So now you are reaching out to women who have had this same problem right?
Lynn: Yes, ma’am. Yes.
Cynthia: Tell me about that. 
Lynn: Okay. So what I have is it’s always been in my head, because after a woman discovers that she has a miscarriage in the doctor’s office, you’re kind of either told that you’re going to lose the baby at home and you just are given some medicine and told to make it as comfortable, or you have to go through a surgical procedure. 
But nobody ever gives you any other information beyond that. It’s kind of like well, this happens, I’m very sorry, pat you on the back, I hope you can try again. Next one will be better. So what I am hoping to do is have what I would call a baby loss comfort kit. 
And basically in there I would like to, I will have included in there of course Kleenex, because, mind you, after that ultrasound, and twice this happened to me. After my ultrasounds where we did find out there was no more heartbeat, you just are sitting in the room. They don’t give you a box of Kleenex and they don’t really even talk to you. You just are sitting and waiting for the next step.
In the little boxes I hope to have, like I said, a box of Kleenex. A tangible item. I would have clung to anything tangible that was somehow a remembrance of that moment. With my knack of crafting and sewing I will include bracelets in there. They do have a charm, a silver charm on them that do say angel. It also will have a candle, a journal, a pen, and then an information card from me.
I will give a letter as one mom who has lost, to another, just of encouragement and it
’s okay to be said and to really mourn the loss of a baby. Because they don’t tell you that. Everything is just move on. You do have to have a moment, it is a life. And whether you have felt that child move yet or not, the excitement of knowing and the anticipation of a baby coming is so grand and you don’t think that you’re going to have a bump in the road like that. 
I just want people to know that you can mourn the loss. Even through there’s not a funeral, have your own. Your own little memorial to it. If you have to, have it in private or your and your husband, and just say your goodbyes. It’s a lack of closure, I think, sometimes.
I hope to kind of get a little network of meeting people at the doctor’s offices who are sixteen weeks or less. Sixteen weeks or more, or seventeen weeks or more, you go through like an actual childbirth in some cases and you’re in the labor and delivery of the hospital where prior to that you’re not. You’re just in an operating room situation and just your doctor’s office situation.
So I just want to kind of meet women there. I don’t know if this will end up starting a support group. I would hope so. There isn’t one that’s close here in our area. The closest one, at the time that I found for me was over an hour away, and that just was not conducive for me. So I hope to start here in our little town and see what happens. 
This is all God’s hands. He’s just kind of laid this on my heart and I’m not real sure what the big picture looks like, but things have kind of fallen in my lap with a connection in of our hospitals. And then the doctor’s office that dealt with me and know where I’m coming from. I just hope to equip doctor’s offices with these kits so when a woman does find out, a mom finds out that she’s not going to be bringing her baby home, that this can just be handed to her and maybe she knows, coming from someone else, that you’re loved and it’s hard. It’s okay to mourn the loss, I think that’s the biggest thing.
It’s okay to mourn the loss of a baby. Grieve it as a baby, not just as an embryo or whatever they want to scientifically label it.
Cynthia: That is so beautiful. Because God took this trial and instead of just staying home grieving you are reaching out to other women and saying I want to help you through it. It’s just so sweet.
Lynn: That’s because I wish I had had that. I think that, unfortunately I was really good in the beginning of putting on a front. We do that. We all want to be strong. Oh my gosh, the Proverbs woman, she doesn’t have a bump in the road. And we want to come off as God’s carrying me.
But at the same time we are unfortunately of this world where we are hurting. You don’t want to show that because we’re supposed to be strong. We’ve got to be strong for our husband and for our children and our family, just to show that we’re okay. When inside you’re not. 
Had one person come up and just said just let me hug you, it would have been tremendous. That’s my own fault, because I kept people, probably, oh I’m great, I’m good, God’s good, he loves me. Because that’s all I could say. I would seriously just pray for the next five minutes, all right, they’re about to walk up and talk to me. Lord, just give me that smile. Next five minutes.
So I do hope that I can meet some of these women where they are with their grief. You’ve got to know it’s okay to grieve, that’s the biggest thing.
Cynthia: Absolutely. Well, if you look at the Psalms closely David really pours out his grief, and he’ll say my God, and then he’ll say why have you forgotten me? And then why am I mourning? It’s all in there. Go to Psalm 88, Psalm 42, 43. You will see stuff in there where he is really, not just grieving, but he’ll even be angry at God at times. It’s okay to do that. Because God understands. He’s been there with you.
And so yes, take that grief to the Lord. I just think it’s beautiful that you are willing to open up and share with other women. That’s just so precious.
Lynn: Well, you are sweet, and I honestly made that promise. And I did promise that when we made it past our big hurdles with Emily and we were like in the last ten weeks, I said this baby is yours, you love her more than me. I just kept saying that, use me. I think I’ve said that a number of times. Use me to glorify you. Let me, take me and this journey, and actually be for you, about it.
I’m saying like just try, and I just wanted him to be able to use this story. I didn’t want it to go in vain and just be oh yeah I had four miscarriages, God’s good, he gave me another baby. I want it to be like, I want people to see the light in me that god has given me to get through it all.
I get the verse now, like I said I used to laugh at that magnet on my refrigerator, but I’m like oh my gosh, Lord, I get it. I would not be the Christian that I am today, I would probably not have that beyond the seat-warmer Sunday kind of person had he not been just squeezing me as the clay that I am. It hurt, he was pushing and squeezing me. Every bit of it hurt. But oh my gosh, the other side is just seeing where he loved me through all of that. Through as hateful and mean and angry as I was at him, that’s amazing. Our God is amazing.
I feel bad, I do. I always say I am undeserving of her, I’m undeserving of any of this. Because I was not nice. Bitterness was my title for awhile, and I was not nice to God. I was very mad at him, I wouldn’t talk to him. I’d catch myself going but Lord, and I’d be like nope. I have nothing to say to you today, I’m going on. It’s just easier not to deal with it.
And I’m so thankful that he never left my side. Ever. And I know he won’t.
But like I said, I do hope that I just beam it now. Like I am just that beacon that is just like yes, I believe. It’s been hard, but oh my gosh, he is so good. And faithful and loving. Amazing what he can do. In his time. In his time.
So encountering trials, yes, praise God and count them all joy. It is a wonderful road and not one that you want to have to be on, but man, the backside is amazing, of it.
Cynthia: That’s a beautiful story. Well, how can someone else help? If you saw someone, and I haven’t had this happen to me, lose a baby in those early early weeks, how can I help them?
Lynn: I wouldn’t necessarily make a phone call. If you’re close enough to them I would just show up, and I would just be like let me just hug you. I love you, this is ugly, but let me mourn the loss with you. I understand, it’s okay. And what can I do for you? Not to say anything that it’s God’s will, or just try again. Those are hurtful at that time, because in the midst of the loss you’re like that’s the last thing you’re thinking of is saying okay, well, yay, praise God, he wanted this. Those are not the ways that you want to hear.
I think just hugging and loving those people. And whether you just one day show up with her favorite cup of coffee, honestly it’s the simplest things. It’s not making a big to-do, or standing so far away from your friend that they feel like they’re a burden if they are to call upon you. Be that ear. 
I don’t know. Even remember just little moments. A friend of mine was pregnant at the same time I was with the first one. She was two weeks behind me. And so it was really hard. We even went on vacation with them, so it was really hard watching her grow as I was just, it was like I’m supposed to be in the same spot is what I kept thinking. Whe
n she had the child in the hospital it was very hard to go and visit, and she made a comment. She’s like I know this is hard, but I appreciate you here.
And so that made it all better. Like I was totally fine. I was like okay. Good. I was able to rejoice with her. But it was really hard to take that step, because it is. It’s like it was a reminder. There’s a lot of reminders. 
I would just say just love your friend. Just love on them and just pray for them. And if you can encourage them to get connected in a group of some sort, whether it be an online group or if you know somebody that you can connect them to to talk to, that’s an amazing encouragement for somebody who is in the midst of experiencing it.
Cynthia: I want to thank you again for coming and talking to me. And I’m going to give you an email here. If you would like to get in touch with Lynn you can contact me at and I can help you connect with her to either just talk about what you’re going through, or maybe even to help her with her ministry.
This was really precious.
Lynn: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share. I just praise God.
Cynthia: God bless you.
Lynn: Thank you.
Lynn tells about herself:
I am a passionate follower of Jesus, a Wife, a mom to 2 very busy kids with an 8 year age gap with a heart for Moms who experience loss due to miscarriage.  I am working on a program called Sweet Birdie Blessings to equip Doctor’s offices and Hospitals with comfort loss packages for women who experience miscarriage. I want  them to not suffer in silence and know they are not alone in their journey. The Lord has been so full of Grace when dealing with me as I journeyed through grief and I am grateful it is all to His Glory.
Lynn Oates and her family

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