What Could've Been

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” –John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I grimace in my sleep. My eyes open immediately. Oh gosh, I’m in so much pain. It’s the kind of pain where you break out in a cold sweat. I get up out of bed. What time is it? It’s 4 am in the morning. Why does this kind of stuff always happen at the most ungodly hours of the day? Oh, the pain is so much that I can’t even stand up straight. I look over at my husband in the bed. I hate to wake him up. We have had such a wonderful vacation with our family in Florida. We still have a couple more days to go. Maybe if I lay on my belly the pain will go away. Nope, that doesn’t work. Nothing I do works. The pain is so sharp, it’s not easing up at all!

Geez, it’s probably my appendix. Where is my appendix? Is it on the right or left side? Well, I know that something has to be done because no matter what I do, this pain is not going away. It’s a stabbing throbbing kind of pain, and the sooner I can get it to go away the better. I roll over and pet my husband. Well, at least I thought I petted him. I must’ve punched him instead because he sits straight up in bed. “What’s the matter??”

 I tell him that I think I need to go to the emergency room. He looks nervous. We haven’t been married even a year. And, boy has it been a year. We moved…twice, blended a family, and now we are expecting our first baby. We don’t waste time around here. I’m used to a chaotic life of children and uncertainty. But, poor thing, I really don’t think he can handle too much more.

We wake up my parents who are vacationing with us, and tell them that we are going to the hospital. They assure us it’s all ok, and that they’ve got the kiddos. We are searching around for a hospital. I know we saw one not too far. The whole time I’m thinking, well, what if the shrimp and grits that I ate last night were rancid? That’s probably it.

We get to the hospital, and we go through the whole process. You know, name, date of birth, recent surgeries, 3 months pregnant. All that jazz. They admit me and give me the most amazing thing: morphine. Ahhhh…relief. Thank Jesus for pain relievers. Good thing they didn’t give me a drip or I would’ve been pressing that button all night long.

They take blood and run tests. Of course, I’m worried about the little baby. We had an ultrasound before we left for vacation and it all looked perfect….lil heartbeat and all. If it’s my appendix can they operate even though I’m pregnant? The young doctor comes in. He looks very official for is young age. He’s got a clipboard in his hand, wears a white coat, and even has extra pens in his pocket. He then proceeds to say that all the tests look good! Well, that’s news I like to hear! But, what could it be? Then he gives me his medical opinion. This is a bad case of…..GAS. Wait. What the what? Did he just say that I have a bad case of gas? I’m all in a tizzy! I want to demand to know where he went to school. Did he put 50 bucks in the mail and get a medical degree in return?? GAS?? I’ve had gas before. In fact, I’ve had gas a lot, trust me, this is not gas. My husband looks at me with that “are you kidding me” look.

When we leave the emergency room, I still can’t stand up straight because the pain is so bad. This is ludicrous. I have to go back home to my real doctor. We went back to the vacation rental and packed up our things. My kiddos are worried, but they are with my parents. They will stay and finish their vacation. Then my husband and I make our way back. We won’t make it in time to see the doctor today, but we have an appointment first thing in the morning.

We wake up the next morning to go to the appointment. My sharp pain is just a dull soreness now. Not too bad, but I’m still going to go in and get checked out. When we get to the doctors office, the first thing that they do is send me to get an ultrasound. I turn towards the black screen to watch it light up and see the little baby. But, I don’t see anything. Uh oh…this can’t be good. The technician leaves the room and brings the doctor in to see me. The doctor keeps telling me to lie down, but I don’t feel like lying down. I just want to know what is going on. She takes my blood pressure: 70/20. What? How can that be?? What is happening? She explains to my husband and I that I am going to have to be rushed into surgery for an ectopic pregnancy that has ruptured. Huh? We just saw the baby last week. It wasn’t a tubal pregnancy. The doctor then tells us that we had twins. One was tubal and the other one was not. What are the chances??? Well, it’s actually 1 in 30,000 pregnancies if you really want to know…go figure.

She tells me to go directly over to the hospital and she will meet me there to perform the surgery. Without it, I will die. Oh my gosh…this is really serious! It’s all kind of a blur. They don’t even admit me to the hospital. They wheel me away to prep me for the surgery. I get a sharpie and write my name and birthdate on my arm…just in case. I really didn’t want to wake up with a leg amputated or some kind of surgery meant for someone else. The last thing I remember is my husband holding my purse while they whisk me away towards saving my life. He looked so small standing in that huge doorway.

Even though that was years ago, it took me a while to come to grips with the loss. I wasn’t pregnant long, but I had already come to love that little one. You know, everyone knows what to say when you lose a parent or an uncle. But, no one really knows what to say when you lose a pregnancy. You hear things like, “It’s better off this way” or “Don’t worry, you can have another one” or “be thankful that you have the 2 you have.” I’m sure all the words were meant to be soothing, but it really didn’t help much. But, no one really has the words to express what to say to someone who has lost what could have been. It was like losing a dream.

It would hit me in waves…the sadness, I mean. I would think I would be okay, but then, all of the sudden, I would get down. I would just get kind of sad. I couldn’t really explain it. I remember months had gone by and my cousin who was trying to have a baby got pregnant. When I was told the happy news, I just cried. But, I wasn’t crying because I was so happy for her (although I really was happy for her) I was crying because it reminded me that my belly never got big and round, and that my arms were empty. Then, I would feel that weirdo guilt of not being 100% giddy with joy because I felt selfish of my loss. Emotions are really confusing. Geez Louise!

I don’t really know why these kinds of things happen. There is such mystery in loving our God. I feel like I have a whole list of questions to ask Him when I meet Him face to face. This is just another one to add to the list. However, I do know in every pain that we face here on earth has Jesus promises to make it for our good. I know that someday I will get to meet those little ones. I know that although they never got to run and play on this planet, they are dancing and singing with Jesus. And, I’ll get to see their faces and hold them on the other side. It gives me hope and anticipation really. It’s just one more thing to look forward to when it comes my time.

 “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.” Colossians 2:2



  1. The Flip Of The Switch on January 27, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. xo

  2. marybeamiller on February 19, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I will have 2 in heaven who I have not met in this life. I know it’s weird, but I think about the family dynamic, and how Abe will feel to have a big brother and not be the oldest! That stuff probably doesn’t happen in heaven, but like you said, there are mysteries……..

    • sdcarpino on March 3, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      It’s really amazing to think how different life would be if everything went as planned. So thankful that the Lord is in control and not us. Hope you are well!

      • marybeamiller on March 3, 2016 at 3:56 pm

        We are well, Shannon. Thank you. Life in Wales without my children would never have been on my radar, let alone a choice I would make, but here I am 8 years in, and still chugging along! Don’t ask me what I’m not capable of. Obviously I do not have a clue! Or maybe it’s just that I can do ALL things in Christ!

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