Patience in the Pit of Grief

A story of loss and seeing God’s redemption and overwhelming pursuit in the midst of grief.

It has been hard to sit down and write out my story because so many lies flood my heart. Cam, you have two beautiful girls, there is no need to dwell on this loss. Cam, no one wants to read this story. Cam, you don’t have the time. But, as I sit down, tears immediately start to fill my eyes.

I still miss that little one. I know there should be three babies in my house.

We had our first daughter, Audrey, July 10, 2016. She was a little bit of a high maintenance baby – colic, ear infections, strong dairy intolerance, and pretty clingy. But, even in the midst of all of that, we knew we wanted to have another one soon. We’ve always wanted a big family. So March of 2017 we decided to try again, and we got a positive test! The look on my husband’s face when he walked up to me and I had a note to him that said, “I love you, dad! Love, your second kid” was just priceless. We reveled in the joy, just the two of us, for several weeks and then began the process of telling a few loved ones that we were expecting again. Joy ensued. My parents thought we were crazy but were excited for us. Slowly, it started to sink in more.

I had gone into the doctor’s office for blood work at around six weeks and confirmed that we were pregnant. I then scheduled my first sonogram two and half weeks later, which put me at eight, almost nine weeks along. The week of our first sonogram, one of our dear friends found out they had miscarried. I think it felt closer to home because I was also pregnant. I began to wrestle with so many questions: How do I comfort her? Will she hate me because I’m still pregnant? Do I go over unannounced and smother her with love? Or do I give her space and wait for her to contact me? Well, let’s just say, I froze in fear: Fear of doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing. And also the fear of Will this happen to me?

We were going in for our first sonogram just two days after our friends had. The morning of our appointment, I began spotting and having some cramps. I was at home with our Audrey girl and called my husband, Michael, and said, “Hey, can you just join me in praying? I don’t know how this appointment is going to go.” I dropped off our daughter at one of my best friend’s house. She was praying and assuring me that I didn’t need to worry. You’re right, I thought, but man I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.

We drove to our appointment during one of the busiest weeks of the year with sickening stomachs but hopeful hearts. I had told my nurse that I experienced some spotting and she said that sometimes that’s normal and not to panic. We went into the room and waited patiently for my doctor. Let me pause here to say that God is so good because my OBGYN is EXACTLY who I needed during this time of uncertainty. I don’t think I could have walked through this time without her. She walked in the room and listened to my concerns and said, “Well, why don’t we check on this baby.” I laid back, she put the Doppler on my stomach and we saw the baby. She moved the Doppler around searching for the heartbeat. Nothing. But, she didn’t give up. She looked again, trying different angles. Still nothing. She stopped, looked at me, and said, “Well, I don’t see a heartbeat.” I was already in tears. When we first started looking, I just knew we had lost that baby. My sweet doctor stepped out of the room and my husband and I processed what we could. He held me and let me cry. My doctor then came back in and we discussed what to do from there. We decided to go in for a DNC the next morning.

I left that room, walking through the waiting room feeling ashamed and so very sad. I didn’t even look up. I knew people could tell what had happened. We got in the car and I just curled up and cried. Michael called his boss, Taylor, and got the rest of his day covered so we could go home together. Taylor and his wife were also our dear friends who just lost their baby two days prior.

We got home and not 20 minutes later, my friend who had lost their baby opened my door, and it was the most comforting thing that had happened all day. We cried; she let me voice my questions, my anger, all of it. She explained to me the process of getting to the hospital and beginning the DNC. She then told me that she and her husband would be there with Michael in the waiting room while I was in surgery. And boy, was I thankful for that. My husband is a strong man who rarely fluctuates in emotions. But that day that we “officially” felt like we lost our baby and he had to see me wheeled down the hallway, he lost it. And those friends who had nothing left to give were there to sit with him in the hurt. Only God can provide a love like that. The days and months following those horrific days have been sobering.

We came home from the hospital and my house was covered in flowers, meals were in my fridge, and notes were all over my house. My people knew we needed to run to God and only God during this time. In the midst of the most desolate time of our marriage, we felt so loved and cared for.

Grief is messy. Processing the grief was messy. When is it ever not messy?

My husband had reached the point of being “okay” about a week later. And that’s okay. I never felt like he expected me to bounce back like he did. He knew I was sad and he stayed right with me.

He gave me this picture: It felt like we both fell into a deep pit and just laid there, hurting, and needed time to recover. He was able to sit up and find the ladder to start climbing out. He climbed out but stayed at the top, patiently waiting for me—encouraging me, cheering me on, and listening to me process. Though we weren’t right next to each other, we were still in it together. And as long as I was still in the pit, he was not leaving until I got out.

What did that look like practically? He would do his normal day-to-day, still played soccer with friends, still watched the shows he wanted, all of the normal things. But, he was there. I would tell him when I was having an especially sad day. I would tell him what I was learning or wrestling with. And he listened. He never pushed. But he did encourage and challenge. I didn’t need him to jump back down into the pit with me, I just needed him to assure me there was a way out. This loss has brought us so much closer together. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have wanted to do any of it without him.

Now, in the midst of all of the doubt I wrestled with and the sad days I experienced, God was working in big ways. He was letting me wrestle and tend to my heart but was also working in unexpected ways... About two and a half months after our miscarriage, I still hadn’t started my cycle and my doctor told me to take a pregnancy test. “You want me to do, WHAT?” Did she know what that could do to my heart and mental state?

Well, I did it anyway. And. It was positive! By God’s goodness and unexpected ways, we were pregnant again. And that baby joined us in our arms on February 19th of this year. Praise God and only God for this beautiful gift of love and comfort.

I still have the fear that it could happen again, that doesn’t go away over night. Yet, each day I surrender that fear more for truth that God is good and I’ll be okay. Within the pit of grief I’ve come out so much more sensitive to those that I know who have lost their little ones, too. I hate that we can relate, but I love that people have had the boldness to share their stories so that we can encourage and comfort one another.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 The Message (MSG)

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

Guest Contributor - Cameron Atkinson is a follower of Jesus, wife, and mom. She is passionate about proclaiming the freedom that we have in Jesus and has continued to see the ways God has used her story of miscarriage to point others to His freedom and grace. She loves laughing with her husband and kiddos and thoroughly enjoys a good cup of coffee or tea at any time of the day!

-Waiting in HOPE- Patience in the Pit of Grief