From the Heart | Our Pregnancy Journey

footprints

It is with great apprehension that I (Jody) write the below. Zach and I are pretty open with our lives, and especially when we’re with people one-on-one, we’re very inclined to share things that maybe we wouldn’t necessarily share from the platform. However, our pregnancy journey to get to this point has been very personal and only a few close friends and family have been walking with us over this last year of the hardest struggles we have ever been through. The reason I have decided to share our story here is 1) I want you all to know where we are coming from. We treasure where we are right now and are who we are today because of what we have walked through, and 2) for those of you may have experienced what we have gone through, we want to let you know that you’re not alone, and that there is hope regardless of your circumstances.

Have you expected to get something and there’s never a question in your mind that you won’t get it? Kind of like going to sit on a chair… unless it looks really old and sketchy, you never doubt that a chair is going to hold you. I think of pregnancy like that for the majority of women. As soon as you see the two pink lines, in 9 months you’re expecting to have a baby whether you’re ready or not, and from then on out, you’re never the same! The planning, the dreaming , the lists are made, and you’re on a ride that will never slow down. That was us when we got our first positive pregnancy test in early 2012. “Holy cow! Soon we’ll be putting in reservations at restaurants and we’ll be Gray Party of Three.” After the 24 hour period it took for us to come to terms that we actually were pregnant (25 google searches “How to have a false positive pregnancy tests”) we were so pumped and I had no idea how fast our child would capture our hearts. No too long after finding out, we found ourselves in the doctor’s office with my OBGYN confirming what I had begun to suspect – we were losing our child.  Shortly after, we lost our child.

You hear the terms “blind-sided,” “caught off guard” but there are no appropriate words to describe the shock we felt over this happening. It was not even a POSSIBILITY that we would lose our child. My mom never had any miscarriages, my sister didn’t have any – all of their pregnancies were fine and great. How in the world could this be happening to us? It’s like any chair I go to sit in – I have every confidence that it will hold me, but this one collapsed under my weight after a minute of sitting in it while it mocks me saying, “Gotcha.”

I had heard of other women having miscarriages and it just kind of went in one ear and out the other and I have never thought too much about them. Now I know differently. I understand the devastation and sense of despairing loss that comes with a miscarriage.

So here we are, being taken on the biggest emotional roller coaster of our life when we lost our first child. To make a fairly long story short, it took a couple weeks for us to start recovering, and then a month after our loss we found out we were pregnant again. Six weeks into that pregnancy, we lost our 2nd child, and then 2 months later we had another bun in the oven. Everything looked great and we passed the mark where we has lost our last two pregnancies. We made it to our 9.5 week ultra sound feeling great with no indication anything was wrong, and moments into the ultrasound, our OBGYN begins to tell us that there is heartbeat.  We had lost a baby once again.  Child #3.  As we waited for my body to naturally miscarry, we prayed for 3 long weeks for a miracle only to have our hopes dashed at the end.

Going through a miscarriage once, sucks. Going through it twice, even suckier because you were hoping the first one was a fluke. Having a 3rd miscarriage… well, let’s just say it almost did me in. I can honestly say that that period was one of the darkest in my life. I had never felt so abandoned by God. So truly hopeless. I just didn’t get it. We prayed all the right things, we begged, we petitioned, we had our church elders and close friends standing with us in prayer, I had HUGE faith, I believed so hard! I knew my God was healer and the giver of life and could heal my baby…. But nothing. No answer. Just one more child of ours gone.

I honestly questioned my faith. Did I really believe in the God who I had known ever since I was a little girl? Was God and Christianity just a great security blanket when things were good and when things got only a little tough? I honestly didn’t know.

My saving grace was me being slotted to speak at a Christian women’s conference 3 weeks after our latest loss. I knew from the get-go I was supposed to be there and months prior I was already planning my talk. I was going to share about my one or two losses and then say “but look at me now! I’m pregnant again and have triumphed and God is so good!” but now I found myself in a really hard position after the latest loss – talking about faith to a group of women when I had none of my own. I thought about asking the Lord if he knew what he was doing but at that point, 1) I wasn’t sure if he even existed, and 2) if he did, I wasn’t talking to him anyway. Somehow, I knew I was supposed to still go, and I forged ahead slowly putting together my talk the few days leading up to the retreat.

I arrived the first day and I remember sitting in my room trying to polish my talk while sobbing, wondering if I would even be able to do this and get through it. The next morning, I got up to speak and let me tell you something – I walked up in front of all the women without hope and without faith and 45 minutes later walked away a different women. You see, as I stood in front of those women and shared honestly and with tons of vulnerability where I was at and shared the scriptures I knew as a little girl, and shared the bits and pieces that friends had been speaking over me and sharing with me during the last few weeks, I was changed. You see, the Bible has power. His word cuts through soul and spirit, joints and marrow (Heb 4:12 ASV ) and the tongue has the power of life and death (Prov 18L21). So as I was speaking truth and life, the Word was coming back to me and providing healing.

The retreat and the dear women there were definitely a turning point for me. The loss was still there, and will always be, but my faith was renewed. Over the course of time and continuing to dive into the truths of God’s word I have realized that in order to have healing, we don’t have to do a song and a dance or pray the right words so many times…we simply don’t. God already defeated death and sickness through the sacrifice of his son – it’s covered and already taken care of. Striving is the last thing we have to do as believers to get God to come through for us or give us the healing we are asking for.   Now why did all three of our children die? I don’t know. I’ll never have all the answers or claim to. All I know is that 1) God is in control. 2) He knows his plans for me. 3) His plans are to prosper and not to harm me and plans to give me a hope and a future (Jer 29:11) and 4) he calls me to trust him regardless of the circumstances.

I had a great devotional recommended to me by a sweet, sweet woman and the book is called “Streams in the Desert”( L. B. Cowman).

This was one of the entries:

“Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2)”

A child of God was once overwhelmed by the number of afflictions that seemed to target her. As she walked past a vineyard during the rich glow of autumn, she noticed its untrimmed appearance and the abundance of leaves still on the vines. The ground had been overtaken by a tangle of weeds and grass and the entire place appeared totally unkempt. While she pondered the sight, the heavenly Gardener whispered such a precious message to her that she could not help but share t.

The message was this: “My dear child, are you questioning the number of trials in your life? Remember the vineyard and learn from it. The gardener stops pruning and trimming the vine or weeding the soil only when he expects nothing more from the vine during that season. He leaves it alone, because its fruitfulness is gone and further effort now would yield no profit. In the same way, freedom from suffering leads to uselessness. Do you not want me to stop pruning your life? Shall I leave you alone?”

Then her comforted heart cried, “no!”

Homera Homer-Dixon

It is the branch that bears the fruit,
That feels the knife,
To prune it for a larger growth,
A fuller life.

Though every budding twig be trimmed,
And every grace
Of swaying tendril, springing leaf,
May lose its place.

O you whose life of joy seems left,
With beauty shorn;
Whose aspirations lie in dust,
All bruised and torn,

Rejoice, though each desire, each dream
Each hope of thine
Will fall and fade; it is the hand
Of Love Devine

That hold the knife, that cuts and breaks
With tenderest touch,
That you, whose life has borne some fruit,
Might now bear much.

-Annie Johnson Flint

The final thing I learned is 5) My life is not about me and making Jody have the best life in the world. It’s about Christ and bringing glory to Him. Some of you may not understand that and it may make no sense, but all I can tell you is, I have hope.

We have a sweet couple that we know who has gone through their own difficulties of having children. One of her recent blog post shared their latest devastating loss with adoption. And she referenced a song by Ginny Owens that I have known for year, but the words are so fitting for the walk we have gone through.

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reasons why you brought me here.
But just because you love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley if you want me to.

Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet.
So if all of these trials that bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if you want me to.

And it may not be the way I would’ve chosen
When you lead me through a world that’s not my home
But you never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone.

So when the whole world turns against me
And I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear you answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering that your love put you through
And I will go through the valley if you want me to.

(Listen to the song here).

The loss of what we have gone through will never be forgotten – I know every single one of my due dates of when I should have been celebrating the birth of a child. Yes, it was hard for MONTHS to see other baby announcements and people’s baby bumps getting bigger. And then there’s the dreaded question, “When are you guys going to start trying?” and I think to myself “If only you knew.” But through and in it all, I began to trust and have confidence that my time would come, and we’re not alone in this, whether that would be bearing our own children or adopting… and praise God, it’s looking like I will finally be experiencing pregnancy in its fullest. God has this and is not through with me (or us) yet.

I never thought one miscarriage, much less three would ever be a part of my story, but it is, and someday I know our whole family will be reunited in heaven. Pregnancy to me is such a gift. I will never take for granted getting pregnant and being a mom and I hope for those of you out there who have kids with no struggles or problems, or have been “inconvenienced” with an unplanned pregnancy, that you thank the Lord that you can even have children. I know some women who would give their right arm, and probably more to be in your shoes. Enjoy it all – the weight gain, the morning sickness, the swollen ankles, the sexy pregnancy pants – everything. You have such a gift.

Thanks for reading and sharing on this journey with us.

– – – – –

If you would like to hear the talk that was shared at the women’s conference, email me at Jody@zachandjody.com and I would love to send you a link to download the MP3 of it.

134 thoughts on “From the Heart | Our Pregnancy Journey

  1. And we will continue to pray with you, as we have been throughout this “journey”… We love and miss you guys and are so proud of you!
    Uncle Norm & Aunt Jody (and yes, you know what still “auto fills” when I type “Jody”) LOL

  2. Oh Jody!!! Big hugs to you and Zach! I too have experienced 3 miscarriages. It is the worst feeling in the world. The last one days before United hurt the worst. I was the farthest along out of the 3. My 1st miscarriage was before getting pregnant with my 3rd son. It through me for a loop. I now know that because of that loss I was able to seek God. Prior to that I felt lost. We have thankfully been very blessed to have 3 wonderful boys and we decided to start trying again last June for our 4th. I never thought I would have another miscarriage after the 1st since we figured it was a fluke. Well this past November we had our 2nd miscarriage. This made me question my faith as well. How could God give us such a gift and then yank it away from us. What did I do wrong? Did I not believe enough? And hundreds of other questions ran through my mind. Then a few weeks before United we found out we were pregnant again. We were overjoyed and had a good feeling about that baby. Only to lose another sweet baby. This time further along than the last 2. My doctor encouraged us to go out of town. So last minute we decided to go ahead and head to Santa Barbara. I cried most of the way there and many times during those 4 days I silently teared up and cried as speakers said things that struck a nerve. It was good to be around so many friends, even though it was not easy. It was the best thing for us. We have taken a break from officially trying and I have begun taking extra supplements in hopes it will help. We stopped full on trying and are leaving it up to God. We know he is good and loves us. He knows what he is doing. We trust in that. He has a plan and if it is meant to be we too will be blessed again. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story!

    I am so very excited for you and Zach!! You will be amazing parents. I cannot wait to see how your bump grows. ❤

    • Ann, I’m so heartbroken at your story and so sorry for your loss and that you were suffering silently at United. I’ll be praying for you and you family and family to be… big hugs…

  3. Zach and Jody! God bless you and your family. You have been on my heart and in my prayers for quite a while now (even though we only met briefly at PASS Seattle). Now I know why. Thank you for using discression in your posting, considering others who struggle with being childless. Thank you also, for being open about your own struggles. I know first hand the deep pain and struggle like this, and how He uses grief for His glory, and also to grow ones own faith. God will use this to bless and touch even more people than you already have, as well as blessing you. You are both amazing! Much love to you, and you will continue to be in my prayers as our heavenly Father continues to do His work in and through you.

  4. How incredibly special for you guys ❤ Everyone has their own journey into parenthood and sometimes it takes miracles to get there! I commented on your facebook today asking why anyone would be crazy enough to NOT want to follow your baby updates! I had no idea the struggles you've been through, I am sorry for my comment ❤ It was certainly not meant in ill will, only to wish great happiness in your many MANY beautiful times in your lives! I understand the heartbreak pregnancies can bring. I'm a surrogate mommy and carried two beautiful babies for a dear friend and her husband last year. While I was able to carry for them, I learned so much about infertility and the many other struggles of pregnancies. Miracles are not miracles for no reason ❤ Now you'll have your very own!

    • Girlfriend, I totally know what you meant and wasn’t offended at all 🙂 Thanks for being excited for us and so amazing how you have carried children for another couple. What a selfless and moving thing to do 🙂 blessings, J

  5. How incredibly special for you guys ❤ Everyone has their own journey into parenthood and sometimes it takes miracles to get there! I commented on your facebook today asking why anyone would be crazy enough to NOT want to follow your baby updates! I had no idea the struggles you've been through, I am sorry for my comment ❤ It was certainly not meant in ill will, only to wish great happiness in your many MANY beautiful times in your lives! I understand the heartbreak pregnancies can bring. I'm a surrogate mommy and carried two beautiful babies for a dear friend and her husband last year. While I was able to carry for them, I learned so much about infertility and the many other struggles of pregnancies. Miracles are not miracles for no reason ❤ Now you'll have your very own!

    • Girlfriend, I totally know what you meant and wasn’t offended at all 🙂 Thanks for being excited for us and so amazing how you have carried children for another couple. What a selfless and moving thing to do 🙂 blessings, J

  6. Jody (and Zach),
    Thank you for your courage to be so transparent and vulnerable about this topic. Brian and I had one miscarriage before we were blessed with our (now) 8 and 5 year olds. I vividly remember the complete heartache of one, and can’t imagine the grief of three. You are so right that it happens much, much more than is talked about, and I know with all my heart that you are ministering to and blessing many, many more than you will ever know this side of heaven. I will be praying for all three (six) of you and lifting you up to Jesus’ arms, asking for health, peace, and trust… in all the days to come. Thank you for allowing God to use you, because He is… for far greater things than even your brilliant photography. 🙂
    In Christ,
    Christine

  7. Wow!! I had a feeling from a knowing look you and Zach exchanged while speaking about family at WPPI that you were going through something. I am always sad to hear of another family entering the baby loss community. 1 Loss is hard enough, but 3?!? I am soo sorry!!

    I list a set if twins to miscarriage 9 yrs ago, and then our precious, perfect daughter, Rosalynn Patricia was called to heaven too soon @ 35 weeks gestation. Devastation is an understatement, shook my faith was just the beginning, but thanks to God, supportive friends and family, and then the birth of our beautiful rainbow baby, Avaleen Rose, my heart has started to heal. There will always be a hole where my angel babies own, but I will see them in the future:-)

    Congrats on the expectant arrival of your rainbow baby!! (“Rainbow Babies” is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the stormy hat preceded it. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.) my prayers will be with you for the remainder of the pregnancy to be uneventful, and you give birth to a healthy, beautiful baby:-)
    Congrats again!!!

    • Erin, I have heard of Rainbow babies but never with that description. I love it. Sorry for your losses. How utterly devastating 😦 Thanks for sharing your story. So glad we have friends and God to turn to! Blessings, J

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I was diagnosed with several fertility issues just last week and have been scouring the internet for resources and stories so as not to feel alone in the journey.

    Many congratulations to both of you! Looking forward to following your journey. 🙂

  9. Jody, I am so proud of you for being the strong woman that you are. I love how truthful you are to your feelings and how well you were able to express them. We have a 6 year old and have been trying to have another for some months now. Whether we are able to be blessed with another child or not, we do appreciate and love how much the one we do have has changed our lives. His existence alone teaches us, on a daily basis, how to love in different ways. One of my favorite things about being a mom is juxtaposing my relationship with my son to that of my relationship with God, for He is my Heavenly Father.

    I look forward to continue reading your blog and watching your belly grow and know that your little one will be so blessed to have you two as parents.

    Hugs and prayers to you both!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles, Jody. I’m heartbroken for your losses but oddly comforted as well, because I know that I’m not alone. The more I shared my own miscarriage story, the more I found that there were a LOT of women like me and I found much comfort in their stories. Last fall, pregnant with our first child, at my 12 week appt the doctor couldn’t find the heartbeat. Ultrasound confirmed the baby had passed. My body would not miscarry naturally and so I was forced to have a D&E procedure. Having lost the baby was the most devastating thing I’ve ever experienced, needing a surgical procedure on top of it was even more stress. We found later that it was a boy and that I had had a partial molar pregnancy and we weren’t allowed to try again for 6 months. More devastating news. Now 7 months later we are looking forward to trying again and one day holding our baby in our arms but I’m terrified of being pregnant again. So thanks again, for being brave enough to share your story and let us all know we’re not alone. Best of luck with your pregnancy, I look forward to following your journey online. xoxo

  11. I must tell you that your amazing photography is what drew me to the two of you, but your outwardness about your Christianity is what really kept me around! The real reason I wanted to send you a message is b/c I wanted to say I am so sorry. You see a couple weeks ago you asked on facebook what you should hang on your living room wall. I suggested a very large family portrait and then ask if you had any children. I honestly at the time thought it would just be a way to find out more about you. But after hitting enter I realized that ‘Oh my what if they don’t have children and want them’. Then it was too late to take it back and I thought I was just being silly and over thinking things. Now I realize that God was whispering in my ear and I chose to not listen. 😦 I have friends that have struggled with pregnancy and I understand a little where you sit. So again I am sorry for being insensitive.

    On the other hand I am so very happy for the two of you and love following the 2 (or 3) of you. I also look forward to meeting you in November at Blink. (I do hope you are able to make it as that seems like it would be the end of your pregnancy.)

    -shelbie aka @5starranch 🙂

  12. Congrats to you two. I can’t imagine what you went through. I have a six year old son and have wanted another one but problems with my thyroid and maybe an issue with immunity has put that to the side.I’m blessed with my son, though, so I’m not whining. 🙂 I’m getting old so I am waiting on God to show me my next step. I’ll take feeling better ahead of the baby for now. Thank you for sharing your story…I know at least one of my friends who has really struggled with this…two miscarriages that I know of. I hope she sees this on my FB page and is comforted.

  13. Your story is absolutely beautiful! I thank you for sharing. Things like this often make us women want to hide as if it were our fault not knowing that it really is all in the Master’s hands. My 30th birthday will never be the same when I surprised my mom with a trip to my first ultrasound with it showing no neural tube development. I as most was devastated and really questioned God as to why? Well needless to say I started celebrating the women in my life who were pregnant to mask my pain. God blessed me with a little girl 9 months later and a little boy 13 months after her! God is certainly a rewarded of those that set their eyes on him! Watch out for the 5 month super fertility days!! 🙂 he gave me double for my trouble so that means triple for you! Lol! My two are two peas in a pod! Be blessed with your journey towards being loved unconditionally!

  14. Oh, Jody. I’m so sorry that you and Zach had to go through such heartache. I can’t even imagine. My mother went through something similar, suffering loss after devastating loss, a total of 9 times. I’m not quite sure how my parents survived it or how they had the strength to go on. It was such a dark and difficult time for them and they still have a hard time talking about it. She told me that one time as she was lying in her hospital bed, some well meaning church friend said to her that it was all part of God’s plan. She said she had never been so angry in her life, and she thought to herself that His plan sucked! They gave up on having their own child and adopted my sister. They were thrilled and in the process of adopting again when they found out she was pregnant again. And I was born 9 months later! I was blessed with 2 healthy pregnancies and 2 beautiful boys but I walked on eggshells the entire time because my doctor had told me it could be hereditary. I’m so sorry for your losses but so thrilled that you are in such a wonderful place now! And how wonderful you are to share something so personal!

  15. Jody – thanks for sharing. I too struggled when trying to get pregnant with my first daughter. Little did I know when at your workshop in December that you two were going through this 😦

    I can say that even with these trials I could not tell that you two were having this struggle as you both seemed to be perfect together even though you were experiencing a lot of stress on the matter (I speak from experience). You both were so amazing to me and I appreciate it because I understand how hard it is to be around someone pregnant when it’s supposed to be you.

    Big hugs your way – I am so happy for both of you and think you will make amazing parents!

    ~Kim

  16. Bless your family. I know your struggles oh too well, none of which I will share with you now because I pray you never, ever, one more day doubt this journey that you’re on. Know that there is triumph in the struggle and loss. My second born just turned 7 last week and you wouldn’t believe the journey we’ve gone through to get him there. I’m looking forward to reading and celebrating in your journey and I can’t wait to meet you, Zach + 1 at The Blink Conference! My heart is smiling for you!!!! CONGRATS!!!!! 🙂

  17. I know this post is old, but I was just reading through your whole blog and hadn’t read this one yet. I am so touched by it. My husband and I have experienced 3.5 years of desiring to have a child but not being able to, a miscarriage and the death of a baby girl we were supposed to adopt before she even left the hospital. In the last 3.5 years I have questioned everything I believe about God and His goodness. It has been a long and difficult journey, but now I have more hope and joy than ever. By a miracle I am now 10.5 weeks pregnant. I’ve never made it this far and our baby is measuring healthy and has a strong heartbeat. We are so thankful. I am still cautiously excited, but I am trusting God’s promises. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  18. Jody, I first “met” you two through Creative Live and I rejoiced at your clear Christian testimony. I just now discovered this blog and I’m glad I did. I had no idea you’ve had to bear these trials. My sister has miscarried three times as well. My husband and I buried our preemie son over a year ago. I don’t know why God has us walk through these heart breaks, but I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He’s good, that He’s sovereign and that one day we’ll be reunited with our little ones.
    The book One Thousand Gifts was a tremendous blessing to me and I’m blogging my one thousand gifts this year: http://www.fotoselimdq.blogspot.com/
    May God continue to heal your heart!
    Liz

  19. Your story is so incredibly moving. I wish you all the best in this exciting time and will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Your family’s strength and enduring faith are inspiring.

  20. Pingback: From the Heart of One Woman’s Struggles | It's the Gray Family

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  22. First, I do want to say I’m sorry for all you’ve been through and so glad you’ve got a sweet little one to hold. And as I was reading I so was ready to comment about how much you’ve touched on where I am right now, but then I got to the last paragraph and felt like a naughty little child. You see I have 3 fabulous daughters and have had 2 miscarriages in the process and after dealing with PPD I finally felt like I was getting on solid ground just to end up with a very unexpected pregnancy. I think it is hard to see the other side of things when you want something so badly, but please have a little compassion for us. I’ve never felt farther from God than I do right now. The fear of messing up my daughter’s lives our something happening to me is completely overwhelming. Now that I’ve been in both places, I can understand why women feel so desperate to make the choices they do. I haven’t told anyone yet other than immediate family even though I am 18 weeks because I know I ‘should’ be full of joy, but when you feel smacked in the face, just like a miscarriage, it’s hard to wrap your mind around. So, thank you for some helpful thoughts and verses, but also remember we don’t know what kind of valley each other is walking through.

    • Nelly – I am so sorry for what you are walking through right now. Thanks for being open and honest and sharing your side. My words may fall short, but even though you did not plan for this child, take comfort that God did. This precious little baby is 100% no accident. I will stand with you in prayer that this pregnancy and post-pregnancy will a completely different experience and that it will be full of joy. My heart hurts for yours. Thank you again for sharing. Blessing precious momma…

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