Chelsey: This morning I waited anxiously to hear my baby’s heartbeat. The doctor continued to rub fresh, freezing jelly on my belly, looking for that miraculous sound. Minutes felt like hours as I watched her facial expressions, looking for fear or concern. But suddenly, there it was. That rapid horse-trot-like music that brought instant tears to my eyes. A perfect heartbeat. A growing, 12-week baby. On the drive home, my celebration was met with heartbreak as I thought of all of the women whose Dr. appointments went much differently. Whose ultrasounds didn’t show what they had prayed for. Whose dreams of motherhood were stolen. I wept for all of the family, friends and numerous women who have lost babies all too soon.
October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and although I don’t personally know or understand the pain that comes with this, I do want to be aware. I want to learn how to better support and love friends who have experienced losing a child. I want to grow in understanding of how to talk about it, and how not to talk about it. I want to shine Christ’s love in a dark place. Throughout the month, a few different women are going to be sharing their experiences. Our desire is is to bring insight, hope, healing, love and comfort.
Today, I want to introduce Julie Geleynse. Hear her story of how she has been RE-defined by God’s love:
My name is Julie. I have a husband. I have had two miscarriages. I desperately want to be a mother. I’m weak. I’m a failure.
Do you notice anything about this introduction? This is the way I saw myself after losing two babies within seven months of each other. I was defined by my circumstances.
My story began in July of 2015 with a positive pregnancy test. My husband and I were so excited! We had about two weeks of naïve, wonderful, pregnancy bliss. But at six weeks I was diagnosed with a moderate-sized subchorionic hematoma, which is basically a large blood clot in the uterus. We were able to see our baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound, so our doctor was cautiously optimistic that our baby would survive. Unfortunately, two weeks later, there was no longer a heartbeat.
Fast forward a few months to the end of January. We were pregnant again! This time, my husband and I both had our guard up – we didn’t want to get hurt again. Things seemed to be progressing well until I started spotting. The ultrasound looked very different this time. All of the pregnancy organs were on the screen, but there was no baby. The doctor called it a blighted ovum. I was shocked, confused, and angry. Why was this happening again?!
After these two losses, my heart was very susceptible to the devil’s lies. “You’re not good enough. You’re weak. You’re a failure.”
I needed something to snap me out of the pity party I was throwing for myself. So I decided to run a marathon. Yes, you read that right. A marathon. Of course I decided to do something only 1% of the population is able to complete. Julie, what are you thinking? You’re good at decorating cakes. Why don’t you just do that instead?!
Fortunately, my friend was just as crazy as I was, and she agreed to run a marathon with me. So we started training. From the end of March until September, we stayed committed to our goal and training plan. It’s amazing to look back at how much we accomplished in those months. My body went from barely being able to do three miles to thinking a 12 mile run would be “easy”. I was starting to feel like myself again – not that “myself” thought 12 miles was easy before! 🙂
The day of the marathon finally arrived. The race itself wasn’t the prettiest. The first 21 miles weren’t so bad, but the last 5.2 miles were so difficult! It was hot, I was dehydrated, and my legs felt like they just couldn’t take another step. But my friend kept pushing me and, by the grace of God, we crossed the finish line together – two seconds under our goal time!
I was way more emotional at the end of the race than I thought I would be. When I gave my husband what must have been the smelliest hug ever, the tears came. Even though I was completely exhausted, I remember saying, “I feel strong again!”
After two miscarriages, the devil convinced me that I was defined by my circumstances. And that I was a failure because I wasn’t able to carry my babies full-term. Through the months of training and lots and lots of prayer, God showed me that I was so much more than my miscarriages. I was strong, determined, committed, and above all, I was a child of God.
I don’t know what the future holds, or if I will ever have the opportunity to be a mother, but I do know that God has everything in control, and His ways are so much better than I could ever plan.
It is my hope that God will use my story to help others. To help them see that they are not defined by their circumstances. To encourage them to find something that makes them feel like themselves again – that doesn’t mean they have to choose a marathon, but I’m glad I did!
To conclude, I’d like to re-introduce myself:
My name is Julie, and I am a child of God.