Today’s What It’s Like piece touched me deeply and moved me to tears. I am so grateful for Kristin Juarez’s willingness to open up to us and share what it’s like to experience multiple miscarriages. Having gone through 3 early miscarriages myself, I still struggle to find the words to tell the story, and Kristin does is so beautifully here. I appreciate her willingness to ask and share the questions that have no answers and the journey that your faith goes through along the way. Kristin, truly, thank you for sharing your story with us today and for being vulnerable in an area that is not often talked about. Your words will make someone else feel not so alone. Thank you.
After having my daughter unexpectedly at age 20, I knew I wanted more children. She was the joy of my life, and I wanted to have five more just like her! It was just the two of us for over 16 years, until I met and married my husband Jay in 2014. I assumed, like many do, that it would be a breeze to have another baby. We knew we wanted to start a family within the year, and SURPRISE we got pregnant almost right away! I was overjoyed with the idea of having a baby with the man I love.
Just a few weeks after a positive pregnancy test, I started to spot. I didn’t think too much of it, as I had spotted a few times during my first pregnancy and I’m generally not a worrier. But it escalated quickly, and an ultrasound showed the baby was already gone. To say we were devastated was an understatement. We were assured by my sweet OBGYN that this was probably a one-time occurrence, and a subsequent pregnancy would likely be carried to term. I went through several months of shock, depression, and intense grief. I was angry with God for taking my baby away while other women abuse and neglect their children. God and I had a lot of hard conversations.
We waited a while to make sure we were healed emotionally and tried again, and once again we got pregnant right away. I was very anxious leading up to the week we lost our first baby, but we made it through and even got to see the heartbeat! It was a beautiful sight. We were so grateful to God for blessing us with this child after all we had been through.
A few months later, I had some spotting, but again wasn’t worried since my doctor had said that was normal and everything looked great. I went to her office, just in case, and once again during an ultrasound found out the baby had stopped developing a few weeks before. I was alone, and hysterical. I couldn’t get in touch with Jay, so the nurses put me in a patient room, gave me snacks, and checked on me frequently. Thank you, Jesus, for sweet nurses!
This time, we opted for surgery, so we could test our baby for any abnormalities. Testing indicated a normal female karyotype, meaning I had been carrying a healthy girl. That made it all the more confusing…not having an answer to why we were losing our babies. It just made it seem so much more senseless. Was I doing something wrong? Was that concert we went to too loud? Did I drink coffee before I knew I was pregnant? Did those extra 20 pounds smother her to death? Was it the conventionally raised apple I had eaten? ACTUAL QUESTIONS I ASKED MYSELF! We were hoping to find a reason we were losing our babies, and unfortunately had none. Again, God and I had a lot of discussions. I tried so hard to trust, but also wondered what his plan was and why it included losing our babies. The pain is so deep, so wide, so thick. Did we have more children in our future? Is God really good?
We went to a reproductive endocrinologist and began a battery of tests, both hormonal and anatomical. All my testing came back normal, as did Jay’s. This was first time, but not the last, we heard a doctor suggest that we keep trying, as eventually one of our babies will be born. This was so hard for us to hear. All our children’s lives hold significance; it’s not a science experiment for us.
Around this time, my daughter graduated high school and went away to college (Go Rebels!), and Jay and I moved from my beloved hometown St. Louis to Dallas, TX for Jay’s job. It was a particularly dark time, and I wondered where God was taking me. I fell into a pit of isolation, loneliness, and depression. I held my body responsible for losing my babies, and I punished it as if that were true. I ate anything that would bring me joy, stopped any and all healthy movement, and sat in front of the television any spare moment I had. I worked more than was healthy and shut out God, and a lot of my friends and family. Our marriage suffered tremendously.
We went on to try a 3rd, 4th, and 5th time. We lost each of them, and I fell further and further into the pit. We had agreed before our 5th baby that would be our last attempt, so that loss was particularly painful because it meant the death of both our baby and dreams I had held onto my entire adult life. That was six months ago, and it’s been a painful journey. I have felt both carried by and abandoned by God… cared for by others and also extremely misunderstood and alone. I have bargained, begged, screamed, cried, and prayed. I have slowly begun to forgive my broken body, and my anger with God is softening.
As I have always assumed more children would be in our future, it has been hard to be hopeful. We have discussed adoption, foster care, and Safe Families, but we need to be further in our healing before we consider those options seriously. Nowhere in the bible does God promise us the number of children we desire, but I try to hold on to God’s promises that he loves us, has a good plan for us, and will be faithful.
Just a few months ago, we bought a house with 4 bedrooms, kind of by accident! I keep asking God, “What do you have planned for all those bedrooms?” I have times of certainty that God’s plan includes children in some way, and other times I see it being just Jay and me. I am learning to see the beauty in both paths, and maybe that is what God had planned all along.
PS – ***I am not sure how to fit this in, but if I could get people to understand one thing about recurrent miscarriage, it would be that it is a death. So many have asked, just days after, if I’m doing better, as if it were a common cold. It’s a death, and very emotional with long-term effects.***
Kristin is a Midwest transplant living in DFW, TX with her husband, Jay, her “fuzzy prince”, Loki, and various foster dogs (…that need homes! Adopt them!). Her daughter is finishing her second year in college, and Kristin loves when she comes for long visits! Hope can be renewed every morning, and she chooses to live that way. You can find her on Instagram at @kristinmjuarez and/or @juarezwolfpack.
PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called ‘In the Wait’!
PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cycles, raise a child with special needs, use an egg donor, be a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse, Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriage, suffer with endometriosis. experience depression, start a company, have a micro preemie, lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illness, fund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility, be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility, be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer, and be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!