Because Faith Without Works Is Dead
Many have asked why I started Hannah’s Wish. Simply put, God has put in on my heart. I am more passionate about this than I’ve been about anything in a while. I’ve been through the fire and it has refined me. I have found purpose.
We started trying for our second child when our first (Ava) was 2 years old in 2011. After a year of trying, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS makes it difficult to get pregnant and carry a baby full term. After 2 years of waiting we finally got pregnant! We were so excited we told almost everyone. I never had any problems with my first pregnancy and we figured we wouldn’t with this one, despite the PCOS. We were on top of the world.
At about 12 weeks I was taking my daughter to preschool and while stopped at a stop sign I had a strange feeling. I went home and sure enough I was bleeding. My Dr. told me to go straight to the Emergency Room. There we learned our baby had passed a few weeks earlier, in between ultrasounds. The medical term for this is a missed abortion. We were devastated. We went home with no information other than to call my Dr. in the morning to schedule a dilation and curettage procedure (D&C) for a later date.
I went to bed and was awoken at 4 am with sharp labor pains. I really didn’t know what was happening. No one explained this to me. I was in labor and was passing the baby at home. Over the next hours I had to deliver this small little life in my bathroom with my husband by my side. Not exactly the labor experience I wanted to have with him. He was amazing though. He too has been through the fire. We did end up back at the Emergency Room because I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. There isn’t anything they can do for the pain, but at least I was near medical help so I felt safer! This tragedy mostly left me wondering, “why wasn’t I told what to expect, or what could happen?” With my baby having passed two weeks earlier, the possibility of passing it at home was very real. Why didn’t one of the many professionals I spoke to the day it happened help me know what to expect? It has taken me years to get over this particular loss.
Our second loss happened 6 months later. Same thing, something clicked inside of me and I knew it was over. I had to practically beg for an ultrasound and then a D&C. I went in a few days later and had the procedure. I will have to admit; this was horrible in a whole different way. In a way, your body has to “catch up” with the fact that the baby is gone since you didn’t pass it on your own. After this loss I began to pull away from people, I didn’t want to be seen. I truly felt damaged and alone.
The years following were a blur. We pursued a full regimen of fertility treatments that were a blur. I honestly can’t find the words to write about it because I don’t remember much. The drugs I was given had a tremendous impact on me and I wasn’t myself. I recall a lot of sadness and anger. I wrestled with questions about why this was happening to me and I felt like an outcast. I felt damaged. It seemed all my friends were having babies while I wasn’t able to. I tried hard to not miss any of Ava’s life, but I can’t say I fully succeeded. I remember bringing Ava with me to a fertility doctor’s office on a beautiful July day. This was becoming her new normal. I made a decision that day to be finished with this. I was done trying to make this happen if it just wasn’t meant to be, so I called off the treatments. As far as fertility treatments go, I had only dipped my toe in. I just knew it wasn’t the route for us at that time. I wanted to get back to living life.
I started digging into the Bible, reentering my friend’s lives, and focusing on being a good wife and mom again. This chapter breathed new life into my lungs. I was beginning to feel whole again. If God wanted us to have another child, then we’d have one. I embraced my situation and focused on the blessing God had already given us. About a year into this new season I got pregnant again! Having experienced two losses I knew the protocol. Lay low. However, I decided this time to embrace every minute of it. I told friends, parked at the expecting mom parking spots, and rejoiced in the morning sickness. It was my happiest pregnancy since Ava. We were so excited!
Our third loss caught me by surprise. We went in for a routine ultrasound and there was no heartbeat. This was at about 10 weeks. I couldn’t believe that this had happened again. We had people praying for me, I did everything right, I was feeling pregnant. I didn’t understand.
This is where things got real. I wanted to self-destruct. I didn’t want to be here anymore. The sadness and pain was too much to handle. I did a lot of sleeping and crying and to be honest at one point I was pretending I was okay but I was too weak to fool anyone. I was down. My husband finally asked for help at my Dr. appointment a few weeks after my D&C. He referred me to a therapist through a group at the hospital. I even got to go to a burial service for our last baby. It was helpful, and I’m thankful for that, but I wasn’t okay. We were introduced to a new team of experts. They told me our first two losses were “unexplained”, but the third actually had a disorder called Turner’s Syndrome. I wasn’t given any real answer, but told to just try again. I was so numb.
So you have to be asking, “How did you get to this place, embarking on a journey to help other women?”
The answer is God’s grace, mercy and a whole lot of prayer. I started to lean into God more than I ever had. I had nothing left to control. I was weak and broken. I got on my face and cried out to God. I asked him to show me why this was happening and what purpose it had. I dug into his word and I couldn’t put it down. I could feel him strengthening me, I could feel a shift. About a year after our third loss I started a Bible study with my best friend called “Living Beyond Yourself” by Beth Moore. It is a study of the fruits of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23). During this study I finally laid it all down. I finally died to myself and He took over completely.
One part of the study focused on God’s goodness.
“We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
We have been saved for His works not because of ours. I learned that if we missed our ministry then we have missed our entire purpose in remaining here on earth. For years I knew deep down I wanted to help others who were facing similar challenges. I’ve always been like that, but I didn’t know how to do it. God was still fine tuning me and turning me into the person He needed to use for this. During that study I made a commitment to myself to make this dream a reality. I started to tell people and they all encouraged me. It wasn’t until I had lunch with a friend who is dealing with infertility issues that I knew I needed to do it. I saw her sadness and she was practically asking me to do it in a way no one ever had. I realized that she and many others needed what is now Hannah’s Wish.
At the end of each day in “Living Beyond Yourself” it asks: “How does God want you to respond to what He showed you today?” This is what I wrote: He has shown me that my prayer to help those who have lost pregnancies and infants or have been through infertility is a real ministry. I need to ACT. He has heard my cry, and the cry of many others. I need to DO GOOD things for him, not for me. “Those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Titus 3:8