A personal testimony from Shelby Sheene
I never imagined myself sharing this portion of my life in intimate detail other than with those select few people who would guard my heart, understand the pain, and shield me from any judgement for the way I handled myself during my storms. But it's time to be set free. My heart has healed already but I feel as this is the last step to that process. God has used me and blessed me and He has taken away and He is still Good. It's my duty to share this with you. So I'm baring my soul. The raw "me" here.
I had perfect pregnancies. I mean of course I dealt with nausea and aches and pains but we were healthy and perfect. Birth went flawlessly with both. We decided to try for a third baby and that same cycle we succeeded. It was that easy for us. Which may if I'm honest have made it a little less sacred and cherished having never known struggle. It was there in my safety net where it all began to fall apart.
It was my oldest's third birthday party. It went so well. I was 6 1/2 weeks along and people were already commenting on how I was showing so soon and how I was glowing etc. It felt good and perfect. Nothing could go wrong I had no health issues to concern myself with. Loss only happens to unhealthy women, right ? Wrong. I was so wrong.
The next few months that ensued were the worst of my entire life. I say that with no exaggeration. The night of her party after everyone had gone home I began bleeding. I had no cramps, I felt fine but the second i ran to the bathroom and I saw the blood I just knew I had lost my baby. It didn't hurt any less that I was "only" 6 1/2 weeks along. We were already talking about names and excited to tell the baby's big sisters. This baby was already a part of our planned family in our mind. I went to the ER where they confirmed the baby had in fact had ceased growing and was beginning to pass. They told me it was normal and it happened with no health concerns and it was just a fluke. In a way that made it worse. It wasn't normal for me it was devastating. I was perfectly healthy there was no reason for this. It just was. So they sent me home with all the care info and I stopped bleeding. I ended up needing a D&C because my cervix closed up and refused to flush the pregnancy out. Here's where my shame comes in.
I grew angry at God. Depressed and hateful. My husband had sole responsibility of the house, the kids, and still worked a 40 hour a week job. I didn't want him to touch me but I wanted him to hold me at the same time and friends would come over with food and make me eat. The stress and grief wreaked havoc on our marriage not in his part but on mine. I became a shell. All I did was lay on the couch or in the bed for days and cry. Wishing I could erase this pain and the evil thoughts that would enter my mind. I was angry at God for taking away my baby when there are so many born to drug abusers and mothers who don't even want them.
We were told by the doctor to wait 3 months to try to conceive again. I set my mind to researching healthy conception and decided that the only way to heal was to have a baby. I loaded up on the supplements.... I was taking so many pills they covered my palm. I checked my cervical fluid and cervical position daily. I devoted an entire calendar to my cycle days. I went crazy. We tried again and "easy as that" we were pregnant. Or so I thought.
Freshly wounded with grief from the previous loss we immediately called the doctor and scheduled our beta. It came back way too low. So I had to go back every 48 hours for the next week and still my numbers weren't enough. Something was wrong again. We scheduled an ultrasound where they found that the baby had planted itself in my tube. An ectopic pregnancy. Again they explained it as a fluke. And there was absolutely no reason for it to have happened. I had to go to the ER yet again to get 2 intramuscular shots to end the ectopic pregnancy. Although the baby would have passed on its own if you allow an ectopic pregnancy to get far enough along it could burst your tube and you could either bleed to death internally or lose your tube and possibly your fertility based on the extent of damage.
Even with that information I struggled hard with this. The devil told me I was aborting my baby. He called me a killer. I know the devil is a liar and a destroyer but I was so low. I knew the baby had zero chance of life and I couldn't allow the pregnancy to kill me and orphan my two daughters and widow my husband. I was already wounded but this was too much to carry. I wished to be numb. But my core was struck deep. I was damaged. They told me I would not see anything as the shots were made to dissolve the tissue. In a sense that was a relief. The night before Christmas Eve at a family gathering I excused myself to use the restroom. It was then that I passed my clearly visible sac complete with what I assume was the beginning of my baby. Merry Christmas. I was just so lost now. Why me, God? Why would you make me endure this? What did I do wrong?
For the first time He reached out to me then. Or maybe I stopped blocking Him. He reassured me that he would use me and use this to tell His story of mercy. I had faith renewed that shoved the pain a little deeper. Enough to make me ignore it. We tried again after a 3 month break the doctor again suggested. Bam we were pregnant again. I hardly even allowed myself to smile. I didn't exactly rejoice and more or less adopted the "we will see" policy. We were overly cautious. With every cramp I would start crying and every time I had to go to the bathroom fear overtook me as I expected to see blood in my underwear. But it never showed. And my numbers kept growing. I was getting more optimistic and trusting.
The day we heard her heartbeat the tech had to try several times because I was crying so hard with joy. The heartbeat was what we never got to hear with our two babies previous. It was a sign that this could actually happen! Around 10 weeks or so I knew it was a girl. Just knew it. I had a blood panel done and at 13 weeks they confirmed it was a girl. I just laughed. Welcome to our estrogen filled house you'll fit right in baby girl. We de decided to keep her name a secret. It was so unique and I wanted absolutely no negativity spoken over her or her namesake. So we needed a nickname.
With my older two I did a baby shower and nursery theme of an animal that played off their name. Jayden giraffe and Zoey Zebra. This baby Girl started with an S and for the life of me I couldn't find an animal that fit her. Then God showed me his vision. He sent me a dream. The one He had seen play out from the very beginning.
The miscarriages were the ugliest part of me. They smudged me and made me imperfect. But the story wasn't over. That was just the beginning of what God was doing. It was the ugly duckling part to my tale. This baby was the Swan. The white and flawless blessing to bring this tale full circle. So she was dubbed "Baby Swan." This became her name while she was growing in my womb. It was so meaningful to us. On a year to the day of my second loss I went into labor 2 1/2 weeks early .
Our baby swan was born the EXACT DAY that I had lost the last baby. She made the day renewed. A day to bless and not curse. Merry Christmas. When they laid her on my chest I felt the Holy Spirit bind up every wound I had endured and completely washed my soul of pain. We spoke her name and the tears flowed. Her name was Story Jayne. It means "the tale of Gods grace, mercy, and favor." And every time we say her name we speak that prophecy over her. I know know that her siblings in Heaven paved the way for her. Without them we wouldn't have her and I can't imagine that life.
So I've grown to be thankful. Thankful that I can share my hardships and my own weakness to help encourage other women. To help them see that God sends struggles to us to benefit us even when it's impossible to see. I'm so thankful for this little girl who has completely captured my heart to the fullest capacity. She was worth every trial. She's HIS story of the greater plan when we don't see it and I'm blessed to call her mine. These trials brought me closer to my Creator and made me realize how much I need him as my comforter. They caused me to dive into motherhood with a new vigor.
I was now more passionate than ever about being a good mother to these souls God entrusted me with. The very ones He knew needed me and I needed them. So much about my approach changed. I'm more gentle than before like the calm sea after a raging storm. I'm more appreciative of the messes and never ending "mommy!!!!" Yes, I get tired and sometimes I feel overwhelmed like any mother does but God opened my eyes to motherhood in itself being my truest calling. My losses didn't define me but they were necessary for God to step me into this role. I am beyond blessed. Hardships, blessings, low points and highs included. I am thankful for my storms.