She Will Go Beyond You

We went to Mass the next day, with two of our friends. Glorious rays of sunlight poured into my lap as I listened to the beautiful music. I felt in my heart that this baby would be gentle and sweet—a real gift and treasure.

That first week passed blissfully.

During the second, I started bleeding and having stomach pain.

It started on a Friday, and continued through the weekend. Strong cramping. I wasn’t even six weeks along yet.

I tried calling my doctor, but she was out of the office until Monday. My brother-in-law, a PA, gave me some advice and told me to hang tight.

This is it, I told myself. Our baby’s not going to make it.

By the time I arrived for my ultrasound the next week, I was a nervous wreck.

The ultrasound tech applied blue gel and starting searching for our little one.

I ran my fingers over the rosary tucked in my jean pocket. Please, Lord.

“I can see the baby,” she said at last.

I let out a sigh of relief. “We still have a chance!”

“Yes,” my doctor said afterwards, during my appointment. “However, there is an issue: you have a subchorionic bleed.” This was a slow bleed inside the womb, between the baby’s sack and the placenta, she explained. “Usually this issue resolves itself later in the pregnancy, but you’ll have to be very careful until that time.”

My doctor gave me strict physical restrictions: no heavy lifting, including carrying my toddler-aged son. No strenuous exercise. No movements that could cause additional bleeding.

These restrictions were limiting and frustrating, both for me and for my husband. In combination with “the Prog” and morning sickness, they prevented me from completing many of my household duties.

Yet my husband didn’t hold any of this against me. Rather, he embraced the challenge of serving me and our family. He bought the groceries, put gas in the car, and stocked the nursery. Pope St. John Paul II once said, “suffering releases love”. It certainly released it in my husband.

That fall, we waited anxiously for each monthly ultrasound, hoping for the baby’s good health and an end to the worrisome bleed.

On Thanksgiving, we did a gender reveal at my parent’s house. We gave my niece and my son a paper bag turkey, to discover…a Princess Leia doll!

Our little baby was a girl!

But would we ever make it to her due date? Would April 2020 ever come?

#

My December ultrasound revealed that the bleed had finally resolved itself. For a few weeks, then, we were happy.

But then the January ultrasound revealed something strange: placental lakes.

“They might not mean anything serious,” my doctor reassured me. “But since you had placental issues before your son’s birth, I want to screen for potential issues during this pregnancy.”

She scheduled me for a special 2-hour ultrasound at the hospital. Ugh.

Of course, as soon as my son was asleep that night, I looked up all the things that could go wrong with the placenta. Placental previa. Abruption. Acretia. The symptoms? Premature labor. Fetal infection. Fetal or maternal death.

My eyes went wide as saucers. With a scowl, I snapped my phone shut.

That’s what you get for consulting “Google university”, I scolded myself. Remember, the doctor said it could be nothing.

Everything might be fine.

But what if it wasn’t?

#

That February, I wrote a fantasy piece, Fiona’s Choice, for a local author’s collection. It’s a tale about a mother who makes an impossible choice to save her husband and sons. The story begins with domestic happiness and peace; it concludes with tragedy and heartbreak. In the final scene, Fiona’s only remaining choice is whether or not to love.

As the news about the pandemic hit our home on March 11, and the schools, churches and businesses closed a few days after, I began to feel a lot like Fiona, the young mother in my story. My pregnancy had been difficult, sure, but I was happy. I had a loving and caring husband, a sweet little son, and another baby on the way.

And then COVID-19 came, changing everything about our lives and our world with alarming speed.

On March 23, the governor of Michigan issued a stay-at-home order. We weren’t to leave the house except for groceries, medical appointments, and exercise.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was buzzing with questions. How would we keep our family safe? Who would watch our son for us when I went to the hospital? What if we got sick—with anything, even a cold, and my husband couldn’t stay with me while I gave birth? What if there really was something wrong with the placenta?

My fear and anxiety pressed down on me, crushing me with uncertainty.

All at once, I received this insight: “she will go beyond you”.

From where I stood, in the pandemic valley, the whole world was shrouded in darkness. Our baby girl would be born in that darkness, but she would not stay there.

“This child will go beyond you—her life, her mission,” I wrote in my journal. “You will care for her when she is young, and then she will grow—she will increase, and you will decrease.”

I needed those words. I needed courage. I didn’t know it yet, but the storm had only just begun.

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Thank you for reading! Join me next Wednesday to hear more of Elizabeth's story.


About the Author


From Army public affairs to convent life to marriage and motherhood, Mary Rose Kreger’s journey has been filled with twists and turns. Wherever she’s journeyed, she’s always been writing stories. She lives in the metro Detroit area with her family, where she writes fantasy tales for teens, and blogs about her spiritual journey: before, during, and after the convent. Mary also shares faith-based posts and fantasy quotes on her Instagram account, @faithandfantasy1.

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