We make plans. Big and small, we make countless numbers of them throughout our life. From what to eat for lunch to quitting a job or having a baby, we make decisions of various significance daily. And when January arrives, we are usually reevaluating, creating, and redirecting plans as we start a new year. I had recently done just that as I spent some time writing out a five-year plan detailing aspects of my personal, professional, relational, physical, and spiritual goals for 2015. I was feeling empowered and in control.
One of these goals was to welcome a second child into our family as I had recently discovered that I was pregnant. We knew that we wanted a second child but I was always a bit hesitant, as I had begun to get used to my body again, the flow of my work/home life, and a more self-sufficient toddler. The thought of adding another baby was both exciting but also overwhelming to me. I decided to start the New Year with full acceptance and excitement for this child to be. I would not allow myself to focus on any of the fears I had. My husband and I came up with names and envisioned our life with him or her. I started to write in a pregnancy journal and I pulled out the baby toys to see what I had kept. We were preparing and the excitement was building as my belly began to show.
Then it happened. I experienced terrible back pain and I began to bleed. I felt I was miscarrying and although friends and family encouraged me with success stories, deep down I knew. I told my husband I was losing the baby. The following day I went to A&E and they examined me but were unable to do an ultrasound until Monday. It was terribly reminiscent of the scare we experienced with our first child. Not too far into the pregnancy with our first child I was told that I was going to miscarry. It was also a Friday and I was left to wait for it to happen over the weekend. The following Monday I went for a second opinion and fortunately everything was fine and I went on to have a healthy baby boy. This did give me a glimmer of hope in that anything is possible. However, I simply did not feel pregnant anymore and my mind was preparing itself for the bad news to come.
On Monday we went to the hospital for the long awaited ultrasound. I wondered if the fetus would still have a heartbeat. The woman who performed the ultrasound calmly turned to me and said with an apologetic tone of voice that there was no fetus at all in my uterus. She then moved the instrument towards my fallopian tubes and that is when they found the ectopic pregnancy in my right side. The surgeon was brought in and I was told that I would need to go into surgery straight away. With eyes wide, I turned to my husband shocked. They put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me into another ward to prepare me for the operation. I barely had time to absorb the information.
It is true what they say about treasuring your health. I had never imagined that I would be having surgery and truthfully I was scared. The health care system in England is unfamiliar to me and my family was thousands of miles away in America. I had never had surgery before and while the time passed as we waited, thoughts and fears had their time to creep in. Logically I knew that there was much worse that could happen, especially after looking around at the others in the hospital who were fighting life and limb. Still, something inside me hurt and I knew that all levels of logic would not keep me from grieving this.
It is only now, days after the surgery that I am fully processing everything that has happened. I am saddened by the loss of what should have been. This loss of another child that was supposed to join our family in September. I am saddened that I am now missing a Fallopian tube. Perhaps the Doctors are correct in telling me that I do not need it, but it feels wrong to have a piece of body missing. And when I look at the incisions on my abdomen, I feel the tears start to form. I don't like these scars that are evidence of the intrusion into my being. These scares that represent a serious loss of what could have been.
As I write today I can feel the sun warm the left side of my face as it streams through the windowpane. It begins to soothe my soul a bit and I am grateful. I take my son's face into my hands and I kiss it. A thousand times I kiss him. Why are we so surprised when our life doesn't go as planned? It rarely does for anyone. It is amazing how much we cry over the loss of what could be. But these are our plans and not the plans that God and that life live out for us. The morning before I went in for the ultrasound I read my Bible and came across Proverbs 19:21 which says, "you can make many plans but the Lord's purpose will prevail." How true. The night before I started to experience the pain, I was given a new vision for my work and I felt great excitement about it. In looking back I am given encouragement as I think of this and the other positives in the what should not have been. My son James was a miracle as I had neither expected or planned for him. The fact that life does not always go as planned opens the door for other things to happen. The darkness of pain likely will follow us a bit on our new path, but new light can shine ahead.
As an average girl growing up in suburban Minnesota, I did not imagine that I would one day live in London, Chicago, and LA. I would certainly have never imagined that I would one day dine with the President of Uganda, attend a party at a billionaires home, talk with celebrities, visit the work of life changing organizations, start my own business, travel the world, and fall in love more than once. There has been a lot of pain but a tremendous amount of gifts and adventures given as well.
And so I move humbly forward with my plans for 2015. Saddened by the loss that has marked the beginning of this year but also hopeful for the next what could be. I will try to find contentment in the midst of sorrow for this is life. A wild and crazy mix of what could have been and what should never have been and what you never imagined to be. Good, bad, and all the surprises in between.