Danielle Heckenkamp shares her experience of being called to trust in God during her fifth miscarriage.
Trust is an interesting word. It may be one of those words we use too flippantly and when the time comes to practice trust, the hardships take us by surprise. This might not be the case for you, but it was for me during my fifth miscarriage. Just when I thought I had given all that I could to God, He asked for more. These are the moments in life that take us by surprise. It’s the forks in the road of life that bring us to a defining moment. Do we accept the hardships by choosing His love and trusting in His providence? Or do we battle against His desire to give grace?
In life, the times are countless in which we need to trust, whether in God’s providence or to trust in the faith of others. But this time was different. It was my ninth pregnancy: four surviving children and four babies in heaven. Unfortunately, miscarriage was nothing new to me. It had become part of my motherhood, as it is for so many of us. As difficult as it may be, I don’t regret or trade going through those pregnancies. Yet, this 9th pregnancy was different. My previous miscarriages occurred within the first 6-8 weeks. This miscarriage began at 11 weeks. It was the day before my first doctor’s appointment and I began to spot. I wanted to pretend the spotting would stop and everything was fine, but I knew it wasn’t okay. If I’m bleeding, I’m miscarrying—that’s just how my body works. Well, that first ultrasound showed no heartbeat, no life.
I still have an ultrasound picture of that baby. It is the only picture I have of our miscarried babies. The doctor believed the baby had passed away around 9 weeks, but my body hadn’t realized it yet. God truly made our bodies remarkable. As women, our bodies are designed to keep fighting for that life inside of us for quite a long time. They don’t want to give up easily. This is true perfection in creation. But now it was time—my body had finally begun to realize the baby was not going to make it. So, I decided to go home. I had always miscarried at home and it was the most peaceful place to deal with the hardship.
The doctor warned me this miscarriage would be different, since I had been 11 weeks along, and she was right. My miscarriages in the past consisted of a mental anguish more than a physical. The physical pain was intense this time as it brought full labor contractions. But that sweet baby was eventually born. I will spare you all the details, but the most important part was that my husband and I were eventually able to bury our baby.
Things did not end up as peaceful as I thought they would be. It was several days before we could bury our baby, as I began to bleed uncontrollably. (When you question if there’s too much blood, there’s probably too much blood.) Yet, again, it was something that I hoped would stop on its own, but it did not. Instead, I was rushed to the Emergency Room and needed a D&C to stop the bleeding. Those hours in the hospital were long, but I had never had such unbelievable peace. I could control none of what was going on around me or with my body, (which usually upsets my A-type personality), but this situation was unique.
This was all in God’s hands and I chose to trust Him. I could’ve allowed my emotions to overpower my will, but I didn’t. I can’t even imagine the graces God sent during that time, because I was at peace. I trusted in God’s plan, whatever that may be. I trusted His love for me and my family. I had given myself for that baby and now I placed myself at the feet of God asking for His protection. Most A-type personalities don’t find peace giving up control, but I did, not because I am a saint, but because I was relieved to have God continue the fight for me with His love and grace. Choosing to trust is easier said than done, but nothing is impossible with God. This is the true progression that many saints wrote about – giving up everything, including our wills, to follow God’s Will.
After leaving the hospital, my husband and I eventually had the opportunity to privately bury our baby, named Philomena Isaac. The road was not easy after that experience, as it’s always easier for me to internalize pain rather than share it. But I continued to trust in God. He helped me get through that day, which I can confidently say was one of the most difficult days of my life. He gave us the graces to move forward—to accept the loss, but also to embrace the love and graces He continues to shower upon our family.
Copyright 2022 Danielle Heckenkamp
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Danielle Heckenkamp is a stay at home mom and freelance writer who lives in Wisconsin with her husband and six children. Danielle writes about her daily experiences as a mom and love for her Catholic Faith. Danielle is the co-author of a nonfiction book about manners and common sense. You can step inside Danielle s daily life on Instagram.