Our friend Beth Ann Mergens and her #waitinginhopestory
Sometimes I still can’t believe this is my life. I lost three of my babies? You have to be kidding me.
You see, having our first two children were easy. In many ways, I just assumed having more children would go the same way…… we got pregnant quickly, and in a gift I didn’t fully realize at the time, had two beautiful, hard labors, with the end result of our dear boy, and then our precious girl.
When I had my first miscarriage that day in May, I was sad, confused. But I comforted myself with the thought that we could soon try again, and it likely would not end in sorrow. So, when we lost another baby in July, I was shocked, and truly heartbroken. I worked hard with my (wonderful) doctor to recover. I was feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and constantly fatigued, so she had me focus on eating extra healthy and supplementing my diet with various vitamins. We ran blood tests. I saw my therapist. And through it all, I started to feel like myself again. The grief had done some deep work in me, and I hoped we were on the way to better things. By the time my husband and I decided to try again to have another baby, almost a year later, God had allowed my heart to buzz with a sense of hope and excitement. I carried our last little one a bit longer, and we breathed a sigh of relief when 6 weeks passed…. then found our selves saddened to only be at the same place yet again.
Through the death of my babies, I have become profoundly grateful for how the pain brought me to a deeper, more kindred knowing of my Jesus. It has become more deeply rooted in me than ever before. And like me, these roots exist equally in two very different places. Passing through the parched soil of confusion and depression as actual life slipped right out of me; then in the richness of coming to know my sweet Savior and the Holy Spirit as a literal, tangible Comforter.
Deep in my heart, there is a tugging. I know my God.
He is a God who loves to give good gifts to his children. And no, not just the gifts that come from pain and trials, but also the gifts that make us laugh out loud and feel lavished upon. This is the clearest picture of his character—He sent his PERFECT son to die so that I might have Life. This is immensely lavish!
Without vulnerable hope, life is void of some of its greatest joy; some of the deepest rejoicing. I’m learning again (and again, and again) to hold my hands open to God, in one hand my grief, and the other my hope.
We are working with a specialist now, a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Although we tested for it earlier, it turns out I have low progesterone. The big one for me though was my surprising diagnosis of the MTHFR gene mutation. Not only did this shed light on my miscarriages, but it also helped to explain the additional fatigue and anxiety I have been battling. The main issue with MTHFR is methylation, which means during pregnancy I need a special kind of folate in my multivitamin, one that my body can readily absorb. Currently, my doctor is helping me to integrate this methyl-folate into my routine, at the right pace and in the right dosage. Until this is figured out, child-bearing is on hold for a while.
Even amidst the true heart-healing that has occurred in me and the body healing that is still in-progress, I struggle in the tension. The tension that comes between, “In this world you will have trouble,” and “there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat, and drink, and be glad.” I often wonder, “How can I move ahead, hoping for miracles, when I’m not sure if my heart can take another cataclysmic break? When I don’t know if I’ll ever be back to my ideal picture of health again?”
I’ve longed for relief and rest from the years of grief and yearning. But if I’m totally honest? The relief I frequently long for is temporal, because I think temporal thoughts. “If only our family would grow soon….”
“If only our finances would stabilize….
“If I would feel healthy again….”
“If we could take an amazing vacation….then I could rest.”
These things can seem more “real” to me. But then God shows up—he reminds me that He is what’s Real—like in the rainbow that came in such a moment there was no denying it was sent for me, in the quaking of my being as I sing truths of His goodness, and in hope-filled scripture that fills my heart in a spiritual and corporeal way.
Do you know what happens when He shows up in this very real way? I find that I can honestly hope again.
Psalm 27 says this, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” But just before these verses, David describes what he is looking for relief from: evildoers assailing him to eat up his flesh, adversaries and foes, an army encamped against him. Life often feels like this, doesn’t it? When physical health seems far off, when our babies are dying and our hope is severely deferred, doesn’t it feel like you are under attack from all sides? If you aren’t diligent the darkness could cave in at any moment?
In His mercy, God allows me to look to him IN hope and FOR hope.
How do we look upon the goodness of the Lord right now in our current reality? Even on the days when our hearts feel full of doubt and emptied of faith? Even when we are just so, exhaustingly weary?
We “take heart and wait for him.” This is waiting for His presence (And oh sisters, He will come!). This is longing for a baby. This is waiting for the phone call that will give results from a blood test. This is grieving the babies we cannot have or the ones that left us too soon.
We come to him with all of it, honoring all of it, with tears streaming down our faces. And if we can’t say it out loud, we let our hearts cry, “I am cared for, you are making me new, and I believe I will see your goodness, Lord.”
May we find rest in His goodness.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Beth Ann Mergens graciously shared her story with us and we are grateful for the obedience of her heart to be vulnerable. Thank you. Please follow her on facebook beth.mergens or instagram @bamergens.
We would encourage you to grieve the death, grieve the life unknown and most importantly: Memorialize, Commemorate and Remember your Babies Life, somehow. This will look different for everyone, pray about what works for you. Beth Ann posted this on social media in early October: "three arrows for our three babies in heaven": Finally got my last arrow--for our third baby who beat us to heaven. // October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss awareness month. I can say I definitely didn't expect to the join this "club" that no one wants to join. But what I've found? A group of women who are some of the strongest, most courageous, and truth-seeking women I've ever known. And to me, this is a gift. ❤️