Blessings In Disguise
By Jill Barlow

Editor's note: Every individual views faith and their own religious or spiritual beliefs differently, especially after loss. We know that our readers are from many various backgrounds, from Muslim to Hindu, from Buddhist to Christian, from Wiccan to Atheist. This is one woman's story of her own loss, crisis and restoration of faith. It is offered simply as one view of one woman speaking her own truth. It is not offered as a prescription for anyone else on how they might handle their own grief path.

The year was 1996, and we were celebrating our third year of marriage. We were going through a stressful time. In April, I had my first surgery ever because the doctor thought I had a tubal pregnancy. I had obviously miscarried already because he wasn't able to find anything. It was not an easy thing to go through. I was not a happy camper, to say the least.

My poor husband didn't know how to react. He didn't know how to comfort me or how to handle his own feelings. His way of dealing with things was to go back to work the day after my surgery. Unfortunately, this created a wedge between us. I felt isolated, completely abandoned by the man I loved the most, and from whom I needed the most comfort. I added to the isolation and loneliness because I thought God wasn't there. In my mind, I thought no one understood what I was going through. And I chose to try to handle things on my own.

During the heat of August, we discovered that I was pregnant again. Sitting in the living room, a flood of emotions engulfed me. I was excited about being pregnant again, yet scared that something bad would happen again too. What if I miscarry again? What does Rick think? I wonder if he's excited or scared. What if everything goes fine? I'll be a Mama!

Then, at 8 weeks, my fears became reality when I started spotting. My first thought was, “Here we go again.” We went to the doctor immediately, and he ordered an ultrasound.

When the nurse started the ultrasound, my heart was racing a mile a minute. What would she see this time? Is the baby ok or have I already lost this one too?

She showed us the little black ball with a heartbeat. Then, when the doctor came in she said, “Dr. Talley, you need to look at this.” I wasn't even breathing at this point.

“What is it?” I asked scared to hear the answer.

“There are two in there,” Dr. Talley said.

“Two?” My husband and I said at the same time. Looking at each other we smiled. We were both so excited! Of course, the doctor sat us down right then, and explained how high risk twins are. I am short, and he warned me that at 6 months, I was going to look 9 months along. So, we knew we were in for a roller coaster ride, but we didn't know how steep those hills would be.

On Thursday a week before Thanksgiving, I started having intense lower abdominal pain. By pressing my hand on the area, I could alleviate it somewhat. The pains would come and go. Hurt and ease off a little.

I called my doctor's office, and we assured it was just my uterus expanding. In my heart, I didn't believe them, but they were the experts, not me. I was almost 15 weeks along, and I really didn't think this pain was indicative of stretching. I was scheduled to see the doctor the next day. When I explained the pain and its location, he said the same thing, “Just the uterus getting bigger.” We heard the heartbeats that day, but my request for an ultrasound was turned down. I left the office further on the emotional roller coaster than I was comfortable with. This was one ride I couldn't get off either.

Early the next morning, things got worse, as I woke to bright red blood. Once again, we called the doctor and were told to meet him at the hospital. Dr. Talley said I was going to lose one, but hopefully not both. His prescription was a hormone shot, and bed rest on the Women's Floor for the weekend. Unfortunately, neither of these “preventative measures” worked, and I went into what I now know was labor.

There I was losing our babies, and trying to do it on my own. I was a Christian, but had gotten away from church as a teenager; my husband wasn't even saved. We weren't even attempting to attend church. I was so upset so I prayed. But my praying was in vain. “Please God; let me keep these babies, or at least one of them. If I lose them, I'm not going to be able to handle it.” I know God hears prayers, but these were prayers of a back slider who only wanted something for herself. I wasn't trying to rededicate my life. I just wanted to not go through the pain of losing the babies.

“If I lose these babies, you are going to have to commit me to the crazy floor! I don't want our babies to die!” I cried out to my husband.

Praise the Lord - He had a different plan! After several hours of labor, I was put under anesthetic. Something profound happened while I was asleep. I didn't see a white light, I didn't hear a loud voice… it is unexplainable, but woke up with that peace that passes all understanding. I had never felt such peace in my life. I knew right then, that God was back in control. I knew that He would always take care of me, no matter what, and that I needed Him back in my life.

When my husband left the hospital to go home and take a shower, he said quietly, “Something told me, we'd have the next one.” When I heard that, all fear for future pregnancies dissipated! I KNEW we would have a family.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. God doesn't cause pain, but He allows things to happen sometimes. Then, in His magnificent power, He takes the bad, and turns it into something good. God is pretty awesome in that way. He has to lovingly discipline us. If He doesn't, we'll just fall back into worldly things, and stop living for Him, which is what I had done.

I was fine with what happened. I didn't blame anyone; God or myself. I was sad, and mourned the loss of our babies, but this time my husband shared in my grief. He took a week off work so we could deal with this together. His employer showed great compassion by raising money for us. They considered what occurred as a death in the family. How can you not fall in love with babies, especially when, thanks to modern medicine, we had already seen them and heard their heartbeats? They had very much been a part of our lives.

After some recovery time, I started going back to church. I knew that's what God wanted. He had allowed me to know that I wasn't living the life He'd planned for me. The miscarriages for me were my trial runs. God said, “This is what it's like to have morning sickness, this is what it's like to feel a kick, here is what babies look like at this many weeks, here is what a baby's heartbeat sounds like when they are inside a woman, and finally, here's what labor feels like.” 1 Peter Chapter Four verses twelve and thirteen explains how I feel God worked in my life, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

Three months after losing the twins, we were once again expectantly expecting! I was already a part of a great church, and occasionally Rick would go with me. I did my best to witness to him. Especially while we were driving in the car. I told him, “If we get in a wreck right now, I know I'm going to Heaven. You won't like were you are going.” I made this a matter of prayer because my husband's salvation was very important to me.

When I was four months pregnant with our first son, our preacher came to the apartment to visit. During his visit, he asked Rick if he was saved.

He said, “I think so.”

Brother Ken said, “Do you want to know for sure?”

Rick said, “Yes”, with a quiver in his voice. Brother Ken led him through the Roman road in the Bible, and led him to pray the sinner's prayer. I cried tears of joy as they prayed. Unbelievably, our son kicked right after his daddy got saved! What a miracle! God works in mysterious ways.

Now, after 10 years of marriage, we have three beautiful children; two boys and a girl. We are so blessed! God continues to be there for us, and help us grow and raise our children in a Christian home. I can now thank God for losing the twins. I look back, and realize what I wouldn't have, if they were here. Every life has a purpose and a plan. Our twin's plan was to bring their parents back to God. That's exactly what it did.

Editor's call for stories: If your experience with G-d or your own faith or spirituality in any religion or belief set is something you wish to share with others, please be in touch with us. We are open to publishing as many varied stories as possible to show how wide ranging grief experiences can be. Again, no single story is offered as a prescription or answer for anyone else or everyone else. If your story differs, from backgrounds of Muslim to Hindu, Buddhist to Christian, Wiccan to Atheist, we'd like to hear it! Send email with "Loss Journal Submission" in the subject line to!

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