The Rest of the Story

 

Well, even in this busy time I feel compelled to share “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say to my blog re; “Why do you want/have so many children?”.  I think it is because in one of my recent devotions I came across my penciled in words, “waiting to hear heartbeat.”  I realized that last year and the year before at this very time I was waiting to find out or had just found out about our last two miscarriages.  I know that this time being pregnant with Ella Joy, the joy is so great,especially knowing the pain and loss of the past two years.

  The trials that came after we were called by the Lord to allow him to decide how many children we would have were great trials, but also irreplaceable blessings in disguise. The losses themselves became victories.  Four victories to be exact, four glory babies:

 

  Joseph Earl Schaffner

  Silas Daniel Schaffner

  Mercy Renee Schaffner

  Paul Samuel Schaffner

 

   I don’t think you ever completely get over the loss of a miscarriage and I really don’t think we are supposed to in the sense of hanging on to that hope and memory of that little one God chose to create and decided to take home. My first two miscarriages, before Ally, have now become joyful memories instead of painful as I look back and see that God had a plan all along. The pain of the first one was so ripe and raw, and I don’t think I had ever been through such personal feeling pain yet in my Christian life. My first miscarriage also happened during a difficult season in our lives. We had just left a church for numerous reasons and sadly others chose to lie about us. These two things coupled were very difficult. I am very glad I named each child as sometimes I will just write all my children’s names, those here on earth and those with the Lord. Sometimes I am overwhelmed to think I will meet them someday. It has definitely helped and changed my perspective on eternity. I often try to tell myself that perhaps that child would have been very sick or maybe would have rejected Christ. These things just help me to realize someday I will understand why the Lord knew it best to take them home to be with Him. My first miscarriage was a very spiritual lesson. I started worrying at 6 weeks when I didn’t feel sick or tired. My doctor had me come in and said there was no heartbeat, but we should check again in one week. I returned in one week, still no heartbeat. He said I should pass everything like a heavy period. Weeks and weeks went by and he was on vacation. I finally went in to be checked as I had passed some things but had gotten sick and was on antibiotic for tonsilitis. He checked me and not everything had passed and he did an in office d and c to finish it. It was extremely painful and I had infection and it smelled. I just felt like such an unworthy person. It was close to Easter and somehow the Spirit helped me to identify with all that Christ had gone through on the cross for me, a wretched sinner.  Death and sadness are part of the fall.  It was definitely a difficult trial. It was especially hard because we had prayed for 6 months about just allowing God to determine our family size. We had felt a peace about this and were excited at the possibility of getting pregnant. It was my first real understanding of God not just always giving us what we want, but what He deems best. We named him Joseph Earl. Joseph, as Joseph in the Bible went through so much hardship, but it was all God’s plan. I actually don’t know if he was a boy or girl, just like I don’t really know with any of my miscarriages, but I have always guessed right with my other children. This first loss was very painful for a very long time. Time has healed it now.  But, I wouldn’t trade how it drew me so close and so dependent on the Lord.  During these times there really was no one, even my husband, who could really comfort me except the Lord by the Holy Spirit, promised to be our comforter.

     My second miscarriage was hard in a different way. I felt sick and was sure all was well! I went to the doctor at 6 weeks, no heartbeat. Went back at 7, a faint heartbeat, but he had never seen a baby make it at this low of heart rate. Somehow it helped me though, knowing this little one was alive for even a short while. I went back at 8 weeks and he was gone. I felt like such a failure and really felt like we had misunderstood the Lord or not heard him right. Then, my doctor, a strong Catholic, said to me “Michelle, this is not a failure! This is a home run! You have two souls praising the Lord in heaven forever!” I was overcome with the weakness of my faith and the reality of his words. I didn’t like the pain, but I loved how God was drawing me to Himself. I determined to trust Him. I determined that no matter what He knew what was best. Maybe I would have died? I just knew He was in control. This time he did a d and c because of my sickness and the infection last time. I named this son Silas Daniel. Silas, freed from prison, Daniel, freed from the Lion’s den. Me, freed from Satans deception that God didn’t care or love me. O yes he did! No matter what happened, He loved me! That night God gave me a dream: I saw two tall, blonde young men standing before God’s throne singing and praising God. They stopped singing and said, “Thanks, mom for giving us life!” I felt such peace. Obedience to God sometimes costs us. But, the payoff is so great.

I felt peace and told the Lord He was enough. I trusted Him that the family he had blessed us with was enough.

   This miscarriage was followed by a debilitating migraine.  I wish I had known about trying coffee then, but I did not.  (I had never drank coffee before but have since found that the hormonal changes in my late thirties after miscarriages, my pregnancy with Ally and even before cycles caused me terrible migraines that coffee has helped tremendously!)  The migraine ended up turning into a pinched nerve in my neck.  I was in so much pain and I cried out to God in hot showers in the middle of the night.  One time at about 3 in the morning I read in James if you are sick you should call the elders to pray for you.  The next morning I called our church and Angie Bennett said, “Why don’t I have you talk to Pastor Greg right now.” He prayed with me on the phone and then said they had an elders meeting that night.  We went to the meeting and with all but one of my children around me and my husband they laid hands on me and anointed me with oil and prayed over me.  It was not just the physical pain, but the spiritual warfare that was taking place.  The next day I went back to the doctor and they were able to give me some muscle relaxers that helped me to heal.  The elders praying over me in itself was an amazing experience.  Here were these men of God, praying for me and my family!  It made me realize my need of my church family and of being obedient to God’s word.  I was so thankful to be out of pain.  I felt peace in the loss and peace that passed understanding.  God was in control.  I was so blessed.  I appreciated each child in my home even more!

    Not too long after I found out I was pregnant, and was steeled up and prepared for no heartbeat.  I had even memorized a verse that talked of having no fear of bad news because my trust was in God. I was indeed shocked when he said all was well! Allyson Grace has been such an undeserved gift from His hands and we give praise to God for her, just as we do for Luke, Abi, Kaiti, Josh, and Anna.  Some do not understand why I never put her in the nursery and always held her. Oh, for this gift would be treasured!

I actually wasn’t sure if we could have any more children due to my age and the fact that I nurse for a long time. The first miscarriage after Ally was not surprising to me. I didn’t feel sick, she was still nursing and I just felt like the Lord told me that I would lose her. She did have a faint heartbeat, but again, he had never seen a baby with that low of one make it. I lost her and it just happened naturally without a glitch. For me, it helped because I was still nursing Ally. I mourned her loss. I named her Mercy Renee.  Mercy, God’s mercy in allowing me to carry her a little while, His mercy in my life, and Renee, for a special horse my dad had who died giving birth to her foal.  My perspective had changed though. I felt like the Holy Spirit controlled me instead of just my emotions. I knew she joined her brothers in heaven.  I can’t wait to meet her one day!

  Just under a year later, the Lord began to speak to my heart about adoption. I began the very beginning paperwork. Then, I found out I was pregnant and felt confused. I thought I heard him clearly. This miscarriage was hard because my due date was the same as with Mercy Renee: January 22, one year later. This baby actually was given a 50/50 chance. But, again, the Lord took him home. I had a d and c due to our DR trip. This time it was hard because I could see the disappointment on my children’s faces, especially Kaiti. We named him Paul Samuel. (Paul: missionary; Samuel: the Lord heard my prayer.) I so wanted to come home and tell them they would have a brother or sister! But, I was definitely comforted by the fact that the Lord had called us to adopt for sure now.  I can now see how we probably would not have started the adoption process as soon and would have been so far behind in the wait time.  It also became overwhelming clear to Ron, especially after seeing the poverty in the DR.

    And now, little Ella Joy is doing well so far.  Lord willing, we will meet her and hold her and teach her about the Lord who loved her and created her.  I found out I was pregnant on the day I turned our dossier for our adoption in. I believe God wanted to make sure we were going to adopt. He actually said to me, “even if you ever get pregnant again, you are still supposed to adopt!”

Yet, after I found out all was well with this pregnancy, one night in bed I sobbed. I was mourning Mercy and Paul and the fact that I DID want them! I hurt and ached for them even though I was pregnant again. The Lord reminded me that this is part of the yearning of heaven in this life. So, in a way, they are gifts in more than one way. They draw us to the Father! They cause us to reflect on Him and his blessings. And honestly, this past summer one day, I said, Lord, all I have to offer you is this PAIN. I just offered him my pain and sorrow and loss.

I think one of the hardest parts of miscarriage, is often a woman is suffering loss and going through the grieving process, and few know and she has to pretend like all is well. I think that is why the Lord had me share about my miscarriages on the prayer chain and with family and friends. I received cards and prayers and even a meal or two. It really helped.

   So here we are, this is why we have so many children.  It has been part of our walk of faith and obedience to the Lord. May His name be praised!

 

Love and Blessings to You,

 Michelle    

 

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6 thoughts on “The Rest of the Story

  1. sally says:

    Michelle, Thank you for sharing your heart! You are a blessing to so many people including both of us. We pray each day for your family and also now for Ella Joy! Love to all of you.

  2. Barbra M says:

    Thank you for expressing the words my heart has been speaking for years. I yearn for the day I will meet three of my own children in Heaven yet covet my time on earth with Blaise, Breena and Brad.

    • Barbra,
      I think it is a silent ache many women carry. Thankfully, Jesus has removed the sting of death…and we can have that glorious hope to meet them one day! What a day of rejoicing that will be! Many Blessings to you, Michelle

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