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Working Through the Anguish of Miscarriage

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“The cramping was getting worse through that day,” Preslee recalled. “Once I started to bleed, I thought we have to go to the hospital. So, by that point, I was in excruciating pain.” Matthew and Preslee Gooch had already been through one miscarriage. Now, in December 2020 at 20 weeks, Preslee feared it was happening again. “I started feeling this cramping and I was talking to Matthew, I told him, I said, 'I’m not feeling the baby. I haven’t felt her in a couple of days.'” The expectant parents went to a local ER where the staff performed an ultrasound on their baby girl they had named, Isabel. They couldn’t find a heartbeat. 

Moments later, the couple were taken to a delivery room where Preslee was induced and gave birth to Isabel, who was stillborn. “I didn’t want to see her right away because after all that I had just been through, and then knowing I’m going to have to hold my dead child, I just couldn’t bear it at the moment,” recalled Preslee.

Matthew recalled, “Once I was ready, we got to hold her and process that she didn’t make it. It was the saddest moment of my life. Once they, they took her and put her in like a blanket, that’s when I started realizing the reality of the situation. It was the most traumatic thing I’ve ever seen or been a part of. I’ve never experienced that kind of darkness before.”

The family held a memorial service for Isabel that in many ways brought comfort to the couple. But days later, they were overcome with grief. Preslee recalled what she had felt weeks after the stillbirth. “I questioned like, why did this have to happen? Why did I have to get sick? Should I have done something different?” In his own pain, Matthew said, “I felt like God owed me. I just felt like He owed me another girl, because I serve Him and I’m dedicating my life to Him. I want this.”

In the days that followed, family and friends showered them with words of encouragement and prayer. One of them was Matthew’s mom, Karen Peck, of the award-winning gospel group, ‘Karen Peck and New River Band.’ A close friend had shared what she believed was a word from God for the couple. “She said, 'I know that God will,'” Karen stated. "'He will give them a harvest of joy eventually.' So, I started reading in Psalm 1:26 that if you sow seeds of sorrow and grief, eventually you will have a harvest of joy, and that harvest would be the sheaves.”  

As prayers continued, so did the couple’s struggle with their loss. Matthew, who was back on the road as guitarist for his mom’s band, says it felt like God had gone silent. “I fasted and prayed trying to get back to, you know, feeling the Holy Spirit touch me. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill me and try to give me guidance and to give me peace and relinquish the pain.” 

Four months after they lost the baby, both say God broke His silence. It was Mother’s Day and their church was having a baby dedication. Matthew recalled the moment. “To me, that was the breaking point of...we are sitting here, and we would’ve had Isabelle here, and we don’t have her here. We were crying and it was just a heartbreaking moment. Our pastor was up preaching, and that was the day that I, I felt God had spoken to me. He said, 'alright you know, it’s been six months. It’s time for you to move on and it’s time to start healing.'”

Preslee recalled Matthew telling her what God had told him. “He told me, 'we have to move on. We can’t sit in this place forever.' I thought, you’re right. We do.” Weeks later, they discovered Preslee was pregnant again. As the pregnancy progressed, Preslee and Matthew prayed for God’s peace and protection. “What comes along with that for the third pregnancy is a lot of fear and anxiety,” said Preslee. “I struggled. So much fear had consumed me of getting sick again and something going wrong.”

This time Preslee carried her baby full term with no complications. On January 7, 2022, she gave birth to Isla Grace. “There’s just nothing in the world like it,” Preslee exclaimed. “I mean, knowing that this baby is alive and warm, it was just perfect.” Matthew's sentiments were silmilar, having said, “The first time I laid eyes on that girl, I mean, it brought tears to my eyes. I felt like something broke in me that day when Isabel was born, but something healed when Isla was born.” 

A month after Isla’s birth, ‘Karen Peck and New River Band’ released their Grammy nominated album, “2:22.” One track is especially close to the family. Inspired by the word her friend received from God and scripture, Karen wrote a song titled “Sheaves,” dedicating it to baby Isabel. Matthew and Preslee have since had another baby, a boy they named Jack. They say God is using their story to minister to other couples dealing with grief. “God has smiled on us, and He’s given us favor,” Matthew said. “But I feel like part of that is believing that He’s going to make things right and He’s going to do things as if it never happened to you.”

Preslee shared. “Our prayer has always just been that to use us for His glory and whatever He was going to walk us through, we knew that He would lead us through, and that one day He would fulfill His promise to us of having this beautiful family.”

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About The Author


Morgan Costner is a features producer for The 700 Club (2023) and formerly the Production Coordinator for The 700 Club (2020-2023). Morgan and her husband, Thomas, both work for the Christian Broadcasting Network and actually met while working together on a project. They serve as the Young Adult Directors at their church, Harvest Assembly, and are in love with their sweet pets, Percy and Julia.