About a year ago Chris and I took a huge leap of faith and decided God would be in charge of planning our family size and spacing. I wrote this post about our reasoning behind it. I was honestly kind of scared at first but it is a strange and wonderful kind of freedom to trust in God and believe that His plan is what's best for us. So when Carolina was 9 months old, I saw all the signs of my fertility coming back. We talked about it and decided that we didn't need to abstain any more and went for it. My peak day came and went. And three days later I got my period. I was pretty confused, considering the time between ovulating and the start of a new cycle is generally 2 weeks. So of course, I'm all, what thee H is this?!? Is it some kind of freakishly early implantation bleeding? It was very light and only lasted for a day and a half. So I considered it to be spotting and waited for my period or a positive pregnancy test. Of course I took several tests that all came out negative, because one can never be too paranoid. And then I started getting signs of ovulation again.
So, it was a period. Which means my luteal phase (time between ovulation and next period) was only three days. And after extensive rounds through the internet I learned some things. 1. A fertilized egg generally implants 7 to 9 days after the day of ovulation. 2. A luteal phase must be at least 10 days in order to achieve pregnancy. 3. A short luteal phase is commonly due to low progesterone. 4. The breastfeeding hormone prolactin directly decreases progesterone. 5. My progesterone would increase as I decreased the frequency of nursing. 6. If I became pregnant with a short luteal phase, I would get my period and miscarry before the egg had a change to implant.
First of all, I obviously had no desire to get pregnant cycle after cycle only to unwittingly miscarry God knows how many babies, just because my body started gearing up for the next cycle before the baby could make its home in my uterus. I also had no desire to wean Carolina, especially before one year, just so I could become pregnant. So, it became a waiting game. One where I had to chart. I got the fertility friend app and dutifully took my waking temperature every day and charted my fertility signs and month by month the numbers crept up. First it was 3 days. Then 6. Then 6 again, then 8, and 8, and 9... Every month I hated my stupid body for being so slow to get back to normal. I felt like I was cursed with this knowledge about my fertility and hated having to wait, and while the whole world thought we were being "responsible" and spacing our babies, I just desperately wanted another baby and even though I knew it wouldn't be too long before we could try again, it felt like the day would never come. Everyone around me with their stupid normal bodies and hyper fertility and cluelessness about the whole process of everything it takes to get pregnant was popping up pregnant left and right.
The truth is, I hate NFP. But I need it. Sometimes I question why God laid it on our hearts to trust Him in the baby making process only to show us that we need to wait. And not just to wait many months before we wind up pregnant again, but to have to physically abstain and be so careful because any slip up could mean pregnancy. And pregnancy with a short luteal phase is a certain death sentence for the baby.
Well, seven months after the return of my cycle, it happened. I hit the magic number- 10. So we knew that we could stop the waiting game and give it up to God and see what happens. I knew I was pregnant well before my period was due. I took exorbitant amounts of pregnancy tests even though I knew it was a waste of money. And each one came out with the word YES and we were so happy. I kept charting my temps every morning and I saw them go higher and higher, a sure sign that the progesterone produced in pregnancy was doing its job. I wept and laughed and thanked God and told my family and told my children and prayed for the baby and imagined life with a newborn and made the sign of the cross over my womb and cried and laughed some more. Lenny couldn't stop rubbing and kissing my stomach and saying "Baby!" and it was all too cute and perfect.
Except it wasn't. Apparently, ten was not the magic number. At four and a half weeks, my temps dropped. I didn't even stress about it because temperatures fluctuate and I knew in a day or two my temps would be high again. And then I started spotting. And panic and denial and desperate pleading became my life. And then I started bleeding. And it didn't stop for a whole week. I don't even know why I am sharing this because I just want to curl up in a hole and die and never talk to anyone ever again. Except that I hope this might bring me some healing, because I am completely broken and I need to get better. I'll never forget how I crawled into bed next to Chris in the morning, the moment I realized that the bleeding wasn't going to stop. I could barely whisper the words, "I have my period." There was nothing else I could say. And I'll never forget how my body was cracked in a million places and blood, sweat, and tears flowed out and I could barely keep myself together and Chris, trying to comfort me and himself through his breaking heart, said, "Maybe the baby will be OK" and it was like a hammer straight to my gut and all the pieces fell to the floor because that false hope hurt worse than even the realization that our baby was gone. It was like looking into a mirror, because that false hope was the ugliest part of me, and I couldn't bear to see it because I knew it was a lie.
Now when I look at my babies playing together its like I'm seeing their future and they are getting older and enjoying life but someone is missing. Their sibling belongs there with them and its kills me that there is a void there next to them that will never be filled. Even if we have other children, one unique and amazing person with immeasurable worth is gone and we will never see our child again until we die. I know our baby is in heaven and is praying for us and is so much happier than living on this Earth could ever make them feel but it still hurts so bad.
And now I look back over the months of waiting, carefully trying to avoid exactly what just happened. Why? We were so informed, so cautious, so careful. We didn't want this agony. But God gave it to us anyway. I know suffering is the path to heaven. I know this, and I don't care. I don't want this suffering. I want my baby, I want my life back, I want to be a happy puking exhausted mom to my two children and I want the fear and pain of going through labor and and I want to hold my baby in my arms and be a mother of three living, breathing, beautiful children.
I hate NFP. I did everything right. I learned everything there was to learn. I didn't want to do it, but I did. Because I needed it. And I still do, even though my body let me down, my stupid, ugly, non-functioning body that I feel so betrayed by. This is my cross and I have to learn to love it. It will take time and prayer and trust, but I know I will be able to accept this miscarriage and move on. And in the meantime I will have my baby praying for me before the throne.
I love you, sweet baby. Your daddy named you, just like he did for your older siblings. Maybe one of these days I'll get to pick a name. But when he told me the name he was thinking of for you, it broke my heart with love. We named you Wren, because you flew away from us too soon, and Karol, for Saint John Paul II. We miss you darling Wren, until we meet in eternal life. Pray for us.