Is God Enough?

The story of my miscarriage

Jon and I conceived our third child just weeks after losing his mother to cancer. We hadn’t always planned on having a third, but the Lord put the idea on each of our hearts–separately–and, once we admitted it, we embraced it wholeheartedly.

With two previous pregnancies under my belt, the doctors’ appointments became “old hat” and I typically went alone to all but the first appointment and the ultrasound. On this particular morning, the nurse and I chit-chatted while she took my blood pressure and I peeked at my weight gain. I saw several familiar faces passing through–the doctors who’d delivered Rae and Lauren and a nurse who’d been there as long as I could remember. This was a comfortable, albeit a time-consuming, place for me.

I eventually made my way back to the examination room and tried to cover up with the scant stiff paper they call a “robe.” The doctor couldn’t pick up the heartbeat with the audio equipment, but I wasn’t concerned; this happened in the early stage of all my pregnancies. Inverted uterus. I knew well the hallway that led to the sonogram room. This will be even better, I thought. I’ll get to see the baby instead of just hearing him.

I pushed down the voice of fear and inwardly comforted myself with a reminder that this is my “normal,” as I awaited the cold wand to touch down on the dollop of sticky jelly. The sound of swishing came immediately and my gaze locked onto the doctor’s face as he carefully searched the screen. I detected the slightest trace of recognition, then it disappeared as quickly as it had come. “Sam, it doesn’t look good.”

My eyes leapt to the monitor where I spied the baby’s form while my ears struggled to keep pace with the flow from the doctor’s mouth: “Stopped growing….four weeks ago…nature’s way of taking care of things…”

His next words snapped my mind to attention: Your body still thinks it’s pregnant. It hasn’t caught up to the fact that the baby is no longer alive.”

Betrayed by my own body. No spotting. No cramping. My heart staggered inside me, still reeling from the sucker punch. What was worse: I’d taken a hit when I was already down. Death – 2 Livingston – 0.

Later that day our baby was vacuumed out of me. I was supposed to have been unconscious or Jon wouldn’t have left to pick up the kids before returning for me. The only problem? I stayed awake.

It was mostly a blur. Except for the sound. The machine whirred as it fulfilled its purpose and the memory etched itself into the landscape of my mind. Such a final end for hope embodied. A future down a tube and into a plastic waste bag.

If ever God was not going to be enough, this would be the time.

I dared to ask the nurse what was probably, to her, a ridiculous question, “Could you tell the gender?”

“Oh honey. It’s just parts at this point.”

“Oh…” My thoughts trailed off as I fought back tears.

Weeks later, the full-length mirror couldn’t disguise the bulge that still remained. The audacity! I was gonna have to work to lose the weight gain that I’d rather have been adding to.

I cried. I talked to friends. I cried some more. It sucked.

It would’ve been easy to sink into a victim mentality. Wall up and shut down. The path of least resistance. I was faced with a choice: abandon the God I knew or stay the course in spite of my disappointment. The first would keep me angry and swallowing bitterness, the second would leave me desperate and seeking His face.

I dragged myself to church where a familiar song took on new meaning. The words, at first, so hard to sing, became a declaration of victory somewhere along the way. Week after week, I began to cling to a new sound: that of my own voice making a costly choice to praise. I remember thinking, to what other god could I turn? My heart knows too well. There is none like Him. And so I allowed His strength to lift me up.

Still sad that I’d been alone through the worst of it, I later found myself praying my way back to that dilation and curettage procedure. I asked Jesus to show me where he’d been. At my side? Near my face? I sensed it was neither of those. Between my legs he’d played the position of a catcher, and the Spirit, the inner lining of that bag. Plastic was never the end for that baby. It had always been the Father’s hands. And, for such a time as this, that had to be enough. In fact, He was More Than Enough.

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

This is a five-part series and I’m adding links to the titles as I post them.

  1. Are You Enough?
  2. Are They Enough?
  3. Is He Enough?
  4. Is God Enough?
  5. Enough is Enough!

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But that's enough about me…what about you?

How has God revealed Himself to you in spite of painful circumstances?

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  • Kelly

    Oh my Samantha, what a heart-breaking but beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. And may God continue to bless your family as you encourage women on this “earth” journey!!

    • Samantha Livingston

      Thanks so much Kelly :)

  • Misty Underwood

    I very much feel your pain. I have had 6 misscarriages. Each one as painful as the one before. But my only comfort was my Lord and Saviour. God bless you and may you continue to give hope to others dealing with this very painful tragedy.

    • Samantha Livingston

      I can’t imagine Misty. I’m so sorry for your losses. So glad He’s comforting you.

  • Susan

    We lost our third child to miscarriage also. I can so identify with your story! Thank you for writing it out – that must’ve been exhausting! Your description of what REALLY happened during that procedure – I’ll be thinking of that for a long time. I’ve written about our loss, on our family blog, only a few times. It seems hard to write about, at least it is for me. Thank you again, and may the Lord continue to bless you!

    • Samantha Livingston

      This makes me smile. I guess it was a bit exhausting. Healing too. Thanks so much for sharing Susan.

  • Karen Schaap

    Our first baby, a boy, was stillborn at 38 weeks. We went to the hospital with the anticipation that every young couple must feel with their first baby, only to find out that his heart had stopped. It was a surreal experience as first the nurse, then the doctor, tried to find a heartbeat. I just knew they were mistaken. I had felt him move just the day before. The timelime is blurry for me, but at one point I remember being left alone in the room so I started praying. I REALLY wanted God to make this all a bad dream. I KNEW that God could make my baby live. However, I also knew that sometimes God cries right along with us so I also prayed for strength to get through whatever came next. At that moment, I experienced what can only be described as the “peace that passes understanding.” I’m not saying I got over the experience. It will be 26 years this December and I still think about Jacob and what kind of young man he might have been. About three years later I suffered a miscarriage at 3 1/2 months which brought back the old grief like it was new. My husband and I were blessed with two lovely daughters, and I think of how fortunate I am that they are strong and healthy. My heart goes out to you and other women who’ve suffered the loss of a child. Thank you for writing about your experience. I think so many times, we don’t talk about our loss because we don’t want to make other people uncomfortable but talking about it to someone who understands can be so helpful.

    • Samantha Livingston

      Amen to that peace. Thanks so much for sharing your story Karen. It amazes me that God brings such peace in times of great pain. It can only be Him!

  • Barbara Ann

    I had two miscarriages between my second and third child. My doctor explained to me that it was nothing that I had done that caused the miscarriage but it was where the egg had attached itself and when the egg is attached in the lower part, it will result in a miscarriage. That afternoon I went through the D&C and when leaving the hospital, it was the most empty feeling. The first two times I was admitted to the hospital, I left with a baby in my arms. This time I was wheeled out empty and lost. Days were difficult but with a strong faith, realized that I can do all things through Christ.

    • Samantha Livingston

      Difficult indeed. I think some of our pain won’t be completely removed until heaven. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kim

    It is always amazing to me no matter how much time passes each and everytime I read a story of this nature I am immediately conected with the same emotions I felt so many years ago. My fifth child was delivered at 36 weeks a stillbirth. I remember stating to those around me “God would not allow this if He didn’t have something I needed to learn” I truly have never felt closer to God than during that time I could feel Him close when all I wanted to do was crumble. Like Karen stated inher post there is a “Peace that passes all understanding” and I too experienced it as well. One thing which did amaze me were all the women who offered comfort whom I had never known had suffered a loss of htis type they literally came out of the woodwork and God used each and everyone of them to bring healing salve to my broken heart. I pray our words will comfort those who read to realize God is always near even when we feel He is not.

    • Samantha Livingston

      I love to see and hear about God’s daughters comforting one another. It feels special. Thanks for sharing Kim. Words can’t quite do justice to your experience with your fifth child. I’m thankful for a God who gives the gift of peace even in a devastating loss.

  • Karen B

    I too had a miscarriage. It was very early in the pregnancy(8 weeks) but my husband and I were so excited about another baby. We even had names picked out. With time, I found peace. There were tearful prayers and unanswered questions, but the peace came.
    It seemed God had to get my attention again about a year ago when I was arrested for a crime I did not commit. It was like walking through a nightmare. I kept waiting for someone to tell me it was all a big mistake. Being handcuffed, fingerprinted, treated like human garbage was horrible. After I was put in a holding cell, I had the time to seriously talk to God. When the tears had dried (temporarily) and I calmed somewhat I realized Jesus was sitting right there with me. No, I didn’t see him or feel him. I just knew. That’s what got me through the horror of the law and the court system “at its finest”. I know Jesus is there. I know there is a reason for this experience as well as the miscarriage, I just have to be patient and let God do his thing.

  • Leighton

    Sam- So beautifully done. I am so touched by your story and all the sweet women that also shared theirs in the comments. How awesome that every one of your blogs creates a whole new community.Love u! L