amy courts: en route

When You Win the Wrong Lottery
November 16, 2011, 11:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s been an eventful week for my friends…and a bit of a rough one for me.

It was precipitated by the happy fact that a few weeks ago, Elijah started sleeping through the night, thereby ending our sweet, middle-of-the-night interludes. He’s growing up too fast.

Then, last Monday, Paul ran his hand over my belly, and like a shock wave it hit me that we won’t ever again get to feel a tiny growing baby dancing inside me.

Then, stupid Betty Draper didn’t want to be pregnant with her third baby.

Then, three friends had their second or third babies.

Then, a few more friends posted magnificent announcement photos of their brand new baby bellies, or new pictures of their ever-expanding, almost-ready-to-pop bellies.

And then, just for good measure, one more had her second baby.

Sometimes, it seems, the mountain literally crumbles when you’re already in the valley.

So, like a emotional champ, I skipped over to Google and typed in “emergency hysterectomy.”

(I’ve done this before. It rarely ends well.)

I read scattered findings – because there are no major, concrete studies that tell us anything conclusively about why or how many women’s childbearing days end this way – and came across one teaching hospital’s study at which 22 out of 110,000 women had emergency hysterectomies over a ten year period, all due to similar complications but otherwise for no discernible reason.

After wading through thickets of anger, regret, and crossing the inevitable “What if it was my fault? What if I had just waited for Eli to come on his own, instead of inducing labor and starting this ball rolling…?” river, I reported these findings to a dear friend who shared my experience. And her response was, “When you do the statistics it sucks – 1 out of 30,000 or something – really couldn’t I win a really good raffle? Or the lotto?”

It sounds funny, but it’s a healthy reality check too: This can’t possibly be my – or anyone else’s – fault, ’cause massive postpartum hemorrhaging leading to near-death and the consequential life-saving emergency hysterectomy is, as Marilyn pointed out, about as likely as winning the lottery.

That to say, there’s no point in wondering where blame lies, because it doesn’t. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen…at least, not to more than a couple dozen in one-hundred-and-ten-THOUSAND women. When it does happen, it’s a classic fluke. The terrifying exception to an otherwise predictable rule.

So…where do I go from here? What do I say, and how am I to feel, when part of me is truly rejoicing with my friends for their healthy new babies and perfectly normal wombs, and the other part is screaming “WHY!?!”

I mean, where does the 30-year-old widow turn when her friends are celebrating one anniversary after another while she grieves another year without her husband? Where does the almost-mother turn when others are celebrating birth after birth while she grieves the loss of her stillborn daughter?

To where does anyone turn when the most senseless devastation befalls her, and there simply are no answers for the questions burning the last shreds of her faith?

To Hope.

To the One who is so intimately acquainted with grief and sorrow that He knows the best – and only – thing to do is invoke the all-knowing groans of the Spirit who so perfectly and adequately pleads the Father’s mercy on our behalf.

To the peace that lies solely in the bittersweet company of the Knowing few, who can grieve together.

To the Comforter who promises that all will be made right, in the end.


13 Comments so far
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Oh, Amy 😦 This makes me sad 😦 It is good you are giving yourself some time to grieve, though.

I’ll admit that at various points during my pregnancy, when I thought of you I felt guilty. I know it was my first, but still. But you were always so gracious and excited for me that you helped me not feel that way. And I was more grateful for that than you will ever know.

Of course I ended up with a whole different sort of scare, with Brae being early. It ended well, of course, with a ridiculously healthy baby, but I’m scared to death that it will happen again next time,earlier, and the results won’t be as good. And grateful for the chance to have a next time.

I’ve always worried, even now as I write comment, that something I say about my pregnancy or future plans will be unfeeling and will hurt you… I pray that has never happened and never will. You’ve been a huge encouragement to me and I appreciate you doing that even through your own pain. I know that when I was waiting to be able to try (for financial reasons) and when I was unsuccessfully trying, I felt pangs of jealousy and even resentment when others became pregnant, and so I can’t even imagine how I’d react in your shoes… you are a model of grace in this circumstance. (though I should say the resentment was reserved for people that I knew would not take care of their babies… I can’t believe how many people I know just go on with life as usual after having a baby as if the baby isn’t even a factor… just pawning the kid off on whoever will take him/her. Makes me, as a practitioner of attachment parenting, very sad to think of these kids).

Lots of hugs,

Comment by Misty Fagan

@Misty – there has never been even a moment when I’ve resented you or your story with sweet little Braeden! Not to worry, ever. I would never, ever, ever wish my story on ANYone else, nor any guilt for not sharing it! It’s the simple reality the warring emotions: the genuine, deep pleasure in seeing my friends give birth to and raise these GORgeous kids…and the sadness that I can’t have more. They’re two of the most real emotions, and I constantly experience them both simultaneously. 🙂 That to say, you should never, ever fear telling me about that precious boy or what it took to bring him here. Our stories aren’t the same, but they’re equally beautiful in their own ways. And I LOVED hearing all the little details about your pregnancy and delivery!

Comment by amycourts

Because of your pain, you have a deeper awareness of the preciousness of each human life, and what a miracle each birth is. I know that’s no consolation for your pain, but it is one of the amazing things about our creative Redeemer that He can bring blessing out of sorrow. I am so proud of you that your heart chooses to trust and not revile, chooses to press in instead of draw back. I know there’s a price, and I’m grateful that you are willing to pay it.

Comment by Gwen

@Gwen, you’re right about that. I don’t know how God intends to redeem this…but I know He will. It’s a steep price, indeed, and one I would never have paid willingly. But I trust God is doing something major. Like, binding me in an unspeakable way to other women who’ve experienced similar trials.

Comment by amycourts

Amy, you have such a resilient spirit and a beautiful faith. Your perspective is inspiring. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I’ll be praying for you.

Comment by Char

…by God’s great grace alone.

Comment by amycourts

Sorry you are having such a tough week. 😦 You have a lot of thoughts running around rampant. It’s a hard, tough place. They just take control and it gets worse and worse, snowballing. But it doesn’t matter if you could or couldn’t have done something differently. You did what you knew. Paul was doing the same, supporting you. How can any of us do differently than what we know to do? It’s impossible.

As you get older, your friends won’t be having babies anymore, so the reminders won’t be coming as often at least.

I sort of wasted a lot of time in bad long term relationships myself, and now facing a high likelihood that I won’t have any kids at all. It’s a lot different situation than yours, but I can sort of feel what you are thinking. But maybe God wants it this way, that I have to give in some other way. He’s the better judge at what “should be.” I can definitely see some ways that I wouldn’t be able to interact with people and kids as well or as much if I had my own.

The thoughts still get to me though, especially as time passes by.

There was a book that helped me a lot, I don’t know if you’d like it or not, but just in case, it is:

I still use the ideas in this book on a regular basis. It opened up my mind to all these untrue thoughts we have about ourselves and our situations.


Comment by kalalauk

I think all of us experience some kind of grave loss at some time or another, though it takes different forms. Losing the opportunity is just as major as losing the parts, I think. You’re absolutely right that God is the only judge of what Should Be, and knows perfectly. I can’t wait to see what that must be in our stories! In the mean time, I’m gonna have to check out that book…

Comment by amycourts

I am struggling for words, Amy. This is the type of thing that gives me such pause. If we were everyday friends, who lived close to each other, all I would want to do is just sit with you and enjoy watching Eli be. I for one and am thankful your son was spared the loss of his mother.

Comment by Bonnie

These are good, healing words Bonnie. Makes me wish we were everyday friends. Thank you!

Comment by amycourts

omg I ADORE GOOGLE. I googled “emergency hysterectomy” and found you. I lost my uterus four months ago after childbirth and I am still reeling, emotionally. I love your honesty.

Comment by Rach

You don’t know how many times I’ve thought this: “When you do the statistics it sucks – 1 out of 30,000 or something – really couldn’t I win a really good raffle? Or the lotto?”

Thought you’d like to read…I find in your writing so many of my own thoughts. Again, it’s nice not to be alone. I’m Rachel…nice to meet you. It sucks we had to meet this way!

Comment by Rach

Hi beautiful …
I’m late in reading this, but still replying all the same. I know how you feel. I, too, will birth no more than my one child. While the decision was mine to make, it really wasn’t mine to make since my body decided to go on strike against me. A tubal and an ablation were the only things that kept me from my own hysterectomy. So, while I have four wonderful step-kids and one amazing baby boy, there are still times that my heart longs for more. There are times when I want to feel a baby kick from inside; times when I want nothing more than to experience labor again and see that beautiful face for the first time.
Though I don’t understand the “why” of it all, I also know that I may not understand it on this side of Heaven, and I know that I don’t need to understand it. I do know that having my own child has shown me the depth of the love that God has for me. I know that having my own child has helped me to love my step-children more unconditionally. Having my own child has helped me to enjoy every moment with him – even when he pukes all over me.
I don’t understand the “why”, but I have learned to pour those emotions at the foot of the cross and allow God to fill the places in my heart that misses the children that will never be mine.
I love you and I am always here for you, sweet friend!

Comment by Kami

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