Praised be Jesus that none of us go it alone. And when the day seems dark and the road appears never ending, all I can say to abandon myself to divine providence is, “Jesus, I trust in You.”
by Heidi Indahl
As an author, I have been both humbled and blessed to meet many women on their own journey of healing following pregnancy and infant losses. Their stories touch my heart and call me to prayer each day. This is Mary Kate’s story, which she has agreed to share in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month this October.
Mary Kate’s Story
When we married Nov. 4, 2011, I had no doubt that my husband and I would have a future filled with babies. We were so excited to raise many little ones and assist the Lord in setting their souls on fire for him. Somewhere in the range of four to seven kids would be fantastic! We would raise them on a farm, and I would homeschool our children while Jaime worked after earning a doctoral degree. Yes, we would have the proverbial perfect family with the perfect life, and everything in our lives would be able to be viewed through rose-colored glasses.
I never thought that we would have to say goodbye to our children when their lives barely had begun.
My husband and I are the parents of three little saints: Joseph Andrew, Therese Catherine and Gianna Rose. These little souls were lost to us but born to heaven on March 24, 2012; Dec. 22, 2015; and June 28, 2017, respectively. Following the loss of Joseph (not named until after losing our second child), I began to seek answers outside what mainstream obstetrics and gynecology was telling me.
They assured me that there was nothing to worry about, miscarriage “just happens, and isn’t really a big deal.” My mama heart whispered to me otherwise, and I set out on a journey to find better answers and, hopefully, something resembling spiritual peace.
Through the use of the Creighton Model of charting my menstrual cycles, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and low progesterone. Armed with this new information, I was started on metformin and progesterone supplements. I was hopeful for a healthy second pregnancy when the time came, and I was terrified but overjoyed to discover I was pregnant in December of 2015.
The joy was short lived, and on the morning of Dec. 22, I began to experience bleeding. I prayed for God to save this baby and begged the baby to “just hold on.” But in the emergency room, my worst fears were confirmed: another miscarriage. I distinctly remember the doctor telling me to have a Merry Christmas, and all I felt was numbness and shock. I remember thinking how callous the doctor was, though I understand this was probably not her intent. I believe this casual attitude toward baby loss is just another symptom of a culture which places little value on the very young and the elderly.
I ended up going into labor (which I only realized later) after about a week and delivered a sac with no baby inside—a blighted ovum.
It took many months of working through my anger at God for allowing this to happen again, with the support of my husband and a wonderful parish priest who said a private Mass for our babies. In early 2017, I could feel my heart and soul beginning to heal, and I even considered beginning a ministry for women who have miscarried. I had made peace with the fact that I may never carry a child to term, and I thought I was okay with this reality. I did ask God to not allow me to become pregnant again unless I would give birth to a healthy baby.
On June 16, I was so weepy and emotional that I thought I should take a pregnancy test just to be sure I wasn’t pregnant. I was convinced this was just long, drawn out premenstrual symptoms, and my period was just around the corner. So when I saw “pregnant” on the digital test, I gasped out loud and covered my mouth in shock.
I was started on progesterone shots right away and was hopeful that this pregnancy would finally deliver a healthy newborn into my arms. But on the morning of June 28, I began to bleed and have cramping while at work, and I left to go home and call my doctor, a wonderfully devout Catholic and member of my parish. She arranged for ultrasound to see me 20 minutes later, and I immediately went to her office afterwards, which confirmed an ectopic pregnancy. I was operated on the same day and lost my left fallopian tube in addition to the beautiful soul I was carrying.
At three months after losing my baby, I would not be truthful if I said I was doing just fine. Every day, I grieve over the three precious children that I will never hold, this side of heaven. My heart is heavy, and some days it is a struggle just to get out of bed when I know there will be yet another pregnancy announcement on social media. Or coworkers bring their new babies to work to visit. Or I see beautiful, innocent babes at Mass and think, “My baby should be here, too. Why, God?” These questions are exhausting and painful.
I don’t have answers for you, precious mamas. Only solidarity, compassion and love. Know that I walk this sad and lonely road with you, I am here for you, and I love you as a dear sister in Christ. Praised be Jesus that none of us go it alone. And when the day seems dark and the road appears never ending, all I can say to abandon myself to divine providence is, “Jesus, I trust in You.”
*If you are searching for spiritual support following pregnancy or infant loss, I would like to personally invite you to join a closed Facebook group inspired by my book. If you would like to connect with Mary Kate directly, she invites you to connect on Instagram @mkthissen