Patchwork Pregnancy: A True Story of Miscarriage

By Kara Ranck

When I found out I was pregnant, dreams began to form in my head while new life was forming in my womb. I dreamed about our child. Who would our baby be? What was their personality? Who would they grow up to become? My whole perspective changed. I began to plan our nursery and prepare our home for this new life. My heart was set on having a quilt for the baby. The old time vintage look but with modern colors. I started shopping, but soon realized that baby quilts were a bit pricey so I put this dream on hold. I thought about making my own, but felt too overcome by nausea and fatigue to tackle a new project.
At 10 weeks, we went to our first OB appointment. This is the period of time a baby’s heartbeat can first be heard using a Doppler machine. While my nurse midwife moved the wand around, we listened expectantly for the sound of life. But we heard nothing but the hum of the machine.

These are the kinds of moments when you become apprehensive—fearing things may not be as they seem. So we headed to the hospital with unsettled hearts for an ultrasound that evening. After waiting at the hospital for what felt like a very, very long time, the doctor called with my results. We had not heard a heartbeat because there was not a baby in my womb. Instead, there was a large amount of tissue that appeared to be irregular in nature. The doctor sent me directly to the lab to have my blood hormone levels checked. Waiting for the tech to draw my blood, I sat and cried while my husband held me.

And just like that, the pieces of my patch work dreams fell like rags to the floor. When I found out I was no longer pregnant, my whole perspective changed once again. My plans unraveled. Would I ever be able to carry a healthy pregnancy to term? Would we have our own children or need to pursue other avenues to grow our family? Was it ok to mourn even though I did not actually carry a baby?

While it felt like my life was falling apart, God was actively working to sew pieces back together. The next day, my body began to miscarry. I think when my mind knew I was not carrying a baby, my body began to release the tissue it had been holding. Late that night, my OB left a voicemail saying my hormone levels were elevated as though I had a baby growing. When I spoke to him the next day, he said he feared this may be a molar pregnancy [1]. This kind of pregnancy occurs when an abnormal tissue forms instead of or in addition to a baby. If the tissue is not removed, it can spread to other body organs and become malignant. It is then treated like a cancer with chemotherapeutic drugs.
Even though I was miscarrying, my doctor made it clear that I needed a procedure to remove the tissue that could harm me. So that Friday, August 2, 2013 I entered an OR and came out without a baby. Upon discharge from the hospital, I passed the Safe Haven bassinet that is in the lobby—a place for people to leave unwanted babies safely without fear of punishment. I remembering praying, “God, there are people who do not want their babies, but I wanted mine. This is not fair.”

After miscarrying, I suddenly had a lot of time to fill and thoughts to occupy. Even though I did not sew very much previously and had hardly used a machine, I decided to make the baby quilt of my dreams. Honestly, investing in that project and praying as I worked helped keep hope alive that one day a baby would be snuggled under that blanket. As I designed, cut and sewed the quilt, God worked healing—restoring and stitching me back together physically and emotionally. Sparing specifics, the results were inconclusive as to whether I had a normal miscarriage or partial molar pregnancy. But, God was healing. Also, in the midst of my recovery, my very healthy husband had a very scary and random seizure with no known cause and lost his license for six months as a result. After much testing, he was started on medication for a two year time period. He has since been off medication and has not had a seizure since. Again, God was healing.

Several months after our miscarriage, my husband and I decided to attend an anointing services at our church to pray for physical healing in both our bodies as we moved forward with beginning a family. God answered our prayers in a miraculous way. On Friday, August 1, 2014, I left another operating room with a beautiful baby girl. This is exactly one year to the day I left the operating room without a baby. Much like the quilt I made, God designed, pieced together, and created a story more beautiful than I could have imagined.

As the pain of those memories has faded these past six years, I could choose to bury this experience, but it serves as a reminder to me that I am not a mother by accident. God has created and placed my children in my home on purpose. On the days parenting is hard—it feels like we have more of those than I anticipated—I remember my children are a gift. But it’s more than a thought, I feel it because I also felt the pain of an empty womb and empty dreams. On the hard days, I can hope and pray that God is once again piecing together the lives of my children into "beautiful quilts," and I will someday stand in awe of his finished product.

Kara Ranck lives with her husband, two preschoolers, and 100 cows + 100 heifers on their family dairy farm in Pennsylvania. Kara  curates The Rock + a Hard Place Blog, a collection of essays giving testimony to how God (the Rock) meets people in their hard places. You can follow on Instagram @therock.and.ahardplace, Facebook @hopeinhardplaces, or the blog at


Popular posts from this blog

Grieving with Hope

Lean Not On Your Own Understanding

Clinging to Christ When Your Child has Cancer