The Valley of Baca

Where do I start? We are coming out of one of the most difficult trials we have ever been through. Up until now, I just haven’t felt ready to write this blog post (although it may have been good for me). So, here we go. It’s a long story.
 
On February 13, I took a home pregnancy test and was very happy to find out that we had another bean on the way! As part of Marcos’ Valentine’s Day present that night, I got to tell him that he would be a daddy for the second time. We were super excited from the very beginning this time around which was new for us (maybe someday I’ll get around to writing about my first pregnancy and the things God taught us that time). We told our immediate family within just a few days although I was only 4 weeks along. We were just too excited to wait. 
 
I got in contact with my midwife from my first pregnancy within a few weeks. They said she normally liked to see patients at 8 weeks but we would be on the ski trip and her schedule didn’t work out to see me until I would be 10 weeks. Fine with me, I thought, they don’t really have much to do this early anyway. So, my first appointment was set for March 26th. 
 
On March 22, we sent this e-mail to some more of the extended family:
 
Hi family!! 


We wanted to get in touch with all of you and share some exciting news. We are officially on round 2…Elias is going to be a big brother! 😀 Maddie is about 9 weeks pregnant and we are super excited! The due date is October 23, 2013. Her first doctor appt. is next Tuesday so pray that the baby is healthy and everything goes smoothly this time around. 

 
We are all doing well and hope all of you are as well.
Love you all,
Marcos, Maddie, Elias and Baby #2″
 
Along with this picture (which is also how we broke the news to my family)

 



I almost shared the picture on facebook that night as well but I had this weird feeling that we should wait until after my first doctor’s appointment. I had never been worried about something being wrong with Elias and it wasn’t really a conscious thought this time, just more of a feeling. I just thought we should wait to make it public news until I had actually gone to the doctor. 

Little did we know just why…

March 26th came around and we were excited. We had heard Elias’ heartbeat at 9 weeks so I was pretty confident that we would hear a heartbeat. Marcos came with me to the appointment and we had Elias with us as well. After asking all the routine questions and taking my vitals, my midwife wanted to do a standard ultrasound just to see if everything looked normal (rather than just listening to the heartbeat which is what my OBGYN did the first time). She looked for a long time and then told me that she couldn’t get a good view of what was going on and thought it may even look like two sacs so she wanted to do a trans-vaginal ultrasound. She seemed concerned but it still didn’t cross my mind that something could be wrong and Marcos and laughed about the possibility of twins. She started explaining to me a few things that concerned her, the biggest of which was the fact that she wasn’t seeing a heart beating and at 10 weeks she should have been able to find it. That’s when it hit Marcos I think but I still couldn’t really comprehend what she was saying. Finally, she looked at me and said “yeah, I think this is a loss”. 

Absolute chaos exploded in my brain and I think I just stared at her for a long time, not being able to take in what she was telling me. Then as she explained that it looked like the baby had died at about 8 weeks, the first two emotions that I remember feeling clearly were guilt and failure. That’s when I started crying.

“I shouldn’t have skied. That’s when the baby had died so I must have done it when I fell or something.”
I also felt a huge sense of failure, like I couldn’t carry the baby and that must mean something was wrong with me. I should have been more careful, or eaten better or something. 

The doctor left us alone and I cried for a long time. But by the time she came back in to give us our paperwork and explain our options, a weird numbness had settled over me…a numbness that lasted for 3 long weeks. 

She gave us a few options and let us go home to make a decision. We decided to just wait it out and let the miscarriage process complete itself naturally, rather than going through an invasive process to get it over with. 

I called my mom to tell her the news and she raced the 3 hours from their house in Texas to be with me that night. I cried and processed a little more with her and Marcos over the next few hours that evening, but I think Marcos and I both just couldn’t grasp the reality of it and would rather just not think about it. 

My mom stayed for a few days and God did amazing things for us through the people He has placed in our lives. Many women in my life have experienced the same thing and hearing their stories and their encouraging words relieved a ton of my guilt that it was something I had done wrong. I remember my mom telling me that it is not surprising that some pregnancies don’t survive for some reason; what is surprising is that any of them do. The miracle of human life is so complex and miraculous, that the fact that any of us are alive or have children is truly amazing. That lesson alone was a huge change in perspective for me as a result of this trial.
 

After a few days, we tried to go back to normal life but it was like there was this cloud over us of uneasiness and tension. 

 
The following Sunday was Easter and I know without a doubt that God orchestrated the timing of all this. What better reminder could we have had at a time like that than that Jesus conquered death and the grave with his own death and resurrection. That is why he have hope. That is why we don’t have to grieve like those who don’t know Him. Yes, we lost our baby who we had already begun to love. But we know that God is being glorified in this and that death is not the end. It was probably the most meaningful Easter of my life because the circumstances made the truth so real in our lives. 
But then Monday morning came and then the waiting began again. 

We expected it to be up to 2 weeks for the miscarriage to occur so we just tried to hang on one day at a time. I didn’t cry anymore or grieve like people kept telling me to. I honestly don’t know what or how I felt. I was just numb. I didn’t feel like doing anything, even stuff that I normally enjoyed. I felt nauseous and weak a lot of days so that didn’t help either. 

2 weeks came and went with no sign of the miscarriage. The third week I would say was probably the hardest time I have ever gone through. Marcos and I were both emotionally exhausted by the waiting. Finally one night it all came out, in an almost oppressive sadness like I had never felt before. Waiting for such a long time in this state of uncertainty, not being able to grieve and put it behind us, seemed almost unbearable. We laid in bed crying for hours. 

All the tears I had not been able to cry suddenly came and I think that was the beginning of our healing. 

The next day, April 11, being physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, I finally sought the Lord like I should have done on day one. And because He is faithful even when we are not, He led me to these verses. 

Psalm 84: 5-7
“Happy are the people whose strength is on You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a source of springwater; even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings. They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion.”

Random? Well it may seem like it but it was exactly what I needed at that moment. I didn’t understand them at first but I just felt like this was what the Lord wanted me to meditate on so I pulled out my study Bible and commentaries. 

This is my journal entry from that day:

“After reading commentary and meditating, I know that God brought me to these verses. They are referring to people making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship God. The hardships and valles along the way were lessened because of the anticipation of the destination. They were strengthened by God as they journeyed. 
Valley of Baca can be translated Valley of Tears. This is where we are right now! But it is not our final destination. God can turn even this into a “source of spring water” and ” cover it with blessing”. We should not be focused on this valley we are in but on our destination. We can be joyful if we put our strength in Him. I am worn and exhausted. But it says the pilgrims go “from strength to strength”. Carried along on their journey by the joy that worship and fellowship with the Lord brings. We are pilgrims on the same journey to the lovely dwelling place of the Lord. Better is one day in your house than thousands elsewhere. One glimpse of that glory and the journey – with all it’s valleys – will be worth it.”
 
Finally, on the night of May 9th, the miscarriage process completed itself. We mostly felt relief, more than sadness, although it was a fresh round of emotions. 
 
God taught us so many lessons through this process. Probably the biggest for me was learning that we are not in control (runner-up would have to be enduring trials and waiting on God). We learned to trust God with giving us children when we had Elias but I never even thought about trusting God with taking children away or even not giving us more. I think we came to a deeper understanding of God “opening the womb” or choosing not to. We had become so prideful and just presumed we could have children whenever we felt like it. God humbled us and although it was painful, we are grateful for what He is teaching us. 

I’ll end with the lyrics to a song that we feel God gave to us during this time. Although our hearts did not always desire this, it was our prayer that God would change us and make this our heart’s desire.

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt
 
Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified
 
Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night
 
So quiet my restless heart, quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart in You


Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified


The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord!” ~Job 1:21

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One thought on “The Valley of Baca

  1. Pingback: A story of life | Day by Day

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