Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Origins of The Gray Sparrow

Hi! My name is Sarah and I'm the author of The Gray Sparrow. People write for many different reasons, and my reasons are no different...to express, to vent, to explore my emotions, thoughts, and feelings, to connect with others who are like me or who have gone through the same experiences as me, or want to journey this road with me. 

The name 'The Gray Sparrow' is not random. I spent many hours thinking and pondering what to call this outlet of mine. My story is not unique, but perhaps my perspective is...I mean as individuals, aren't all our perspectives different?

In 2012 my husband and I started on a journey that will effect our lives for as long as we breathe. After four years of trying to conceive on our own we sought out the advice of fertility specialists. Twelve years ago when we met, we would have never dreamed we would be in this situation. We married young; I was only 22 when I said my vows almost ten years ago. We had plenty of time to have children. We had to finish school, find jobs, buy a house, and adopt a couple of dogs. I had a teaching career to begin. All of these endeavors take time. Precious time. 

So we did those things. In 2008 I graduated from a small Bible college with a degree in Biblical Studies and Elementary Education. We moved from Iowa to North Carolina, where my husband is from, to begin my career and for my husband to finish his education. After we moved, bought our house, and I started my career, we thought adding to our family would be a wonderful idea.  Month after month the tests came up negative. As my friends began to announce their pregnancies my heart sank a little each time. 

We had done everything right. We waited until we were married to have sex. We both graduated with degrees in Bible and Religion respectively. We were kind, loving people. We adopted homeless animals. I worked for the public school system. We loved Jesus and wanted to serve Him. I mean, we were awesome, right?! (Perhaps you can catch a glimpse of my self-deprecating humor here...) But it didn't happen. 

(Our adopted pups, Luna & Bella)

After undergoing tests we got a diagnosis of unexplained infertility and our doctors recommended we try In Vitro Fertilization. This is where it starts to get tricky. As Christians, we had to sort through our beliefs and feelings about In Vitro. We believe that human life is created at conception. By undergoing IVF we were creating lives, not just embryos that could be discarded. After much thought and prayer, we decided to undergo our first IVF cycle in July of 2012. 

After implanting two embryos we ended up with one pregnancy. We were so excited...the word excited does not even begin to express our feelings! We were finally the ones with good news! We were so excited to share this with our family and friends. However, knowing that one in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage, we waited until we were at eight weeks gestation to tell everyone.

On a Thursday morning in September, at nine weeks gestation, I had just sat down to eat my lunch in a room full of high school students who were busily working on their papers and assignments. Almost immediately I stood up, looked down, and saw bright red rivulets streaming down my legs, past my very first maternity dress that I had donned that morning. I got my co-teacher's attention and told her I needed to go to the restroom. She must have heard the panic in  my voice  because she followed me to the restroom. I had never seen so much blood in my life. It would not stop. My other co-teacher rushed me to the emergency room, tears streaming down my face, pleading with God to save my baby, where I learned I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. They wouldn't tell me if the baby was alright. When I went for the ultrasound I begged the tech to tell me if the baby was okay. She told me she couldn't, but then pressed a button. The 'thump, thump, thump' sound of a rapid heartbeat filled the room. My baby was alive!

Three weeks later I attended a professional development workshop. I felt crampy, tired, and uncomfortable but attributed it to the subchorionic hemorrhage. I came home at 5 P.M. and laid down. I was exhausted. Around 8 P.M. I woke up with heavier cramping. We called my OBGYN and talked to the doctor on call. She told me to rest, drink plenty of water, and to call back if the cramping got worse. At 11 P.M.  I was hunched over and unable to move without assistance. We called the doctor back and were told to come to the ER, where she was on call. My husband, who is a speed limit teetotaler, raced me to the hospital, 35 minutes away. On the way to the hospital I looked over at him, his face full of worry, and told him I loved him, and that if I were to die I wanted him to know that. I have never been in such pain in my life. 

As we pulled up to the hospital I felt a release. I couldn't walk. I was raced into the ER in a wheelchair where our baby, a boy, was born at 13 weeks gestation. He had perfectly formed fingers, toes, legs. He had his daddy's chin and both of our big eyes. He was our son, yet no life came from him. Our experiences at the hospital will be saved for future posts, but that day, October 19th, 2012 became our son, Grayson's, birthday. 

In the days and weeks that followed so much kindness was poured out on to us. I heard stories from other mothers who had miscarried. I heard stories of pain, loss, and love. Most of all, I learned. I sought counseling because I could not deal with my loss of control, which I never had, mind you! I learned from my counselor, I learned from other mothers who had experienced loss, I learned about my husband, I learned about how deep love runs, I learned what it is like to lose a child, I learned about myself. But most of all, I learned about God. A verse from college, that I had heard in Chapel from a mother who lost her son, as she knew him, while in surgery came to mind:

Matthew 10:29-31
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

God loved Grayson. God loves me. He loves my husband. He cares for us and will continue to do so forever. Was I angry? Absolutely! But God lost a son, too. God gave His Son so that I could live. He understood my pain. Grayson is my Gray Sparrow. He rests now in the arms of Jesus. In the two days before we buried his tiny body I held him in the palm of my hand. Perfect, sweet Grayson. Smaller than even a sparrow, one of God's smallest creations, yet worth so much more. 

As we continue our infertility journey, I hope that you join me. Life is not perfect. I am not perfect. These are simply my reflections of faith, doubt, love, and hope. Words are so powerful. Please share, be comforted, and know that you are worth more than many sparrows. 

1 comment:

  1. Sarah,

    I am so, so sorry for the loss of your son. Thank you for sharing and for being an encouragement to continue putting our trust in God, even in the hard times. I thought maybe my story could encourage you as well if you want to read it. https://thestrategichomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/12/


    (Saw you on YHL this morning)


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