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Trust My Choice

At my 10 week appointment, I learned that my fetus stopped growing. It was the second ultrasound so I was not expecting this. I did not feel different. I felt very pregnant. But to know that life ended and I didn’t even know is heartbreaking. I asked her what I should do. She said I can come back in a week and possibly my body would naturally remove the fetus, however if not, then I can schedule a D&C or take medication to induce the miscarriage.

I had choices. Not the choices I had hoped for walking into that appointment, but choices that made me in control of this terrible situation. It allowed me the opportunity to navigate what steps were right for me. When the specialist gave my husband and I some space to talk, my husband immediately told me its my decision and he supports me. He has always been my biggest cheerleader and he trusts me. In my decision making, he was not a deterrent but my supporter. In this current political climate, I am angry and scared where the discourse is heading. Conflicting definitions and perceptions are clouding reality. In my scenario, should a political policy interfere with my choice?

I recall some time ago when a woman could not get her medications filled because the pharmacist said that it was against his religion. Like me, the woman’s fetus had stopped growing. I remember hearing this on the news and becoming irate because that could have been me. The first few hours of finding out this dreaded truth are excruciating, piercing deep into one’s soul and testing one’s spiritual strength. In just a few seconds my entire life shifted directions. My husband knew that he was the first one to set the tone to either comfort or irritate. But if politicians have their way, someone that does not know me, my situation, my needs, my dreams and fears, can tell me what to do with my body. Take away my choices. Take away my integrity. Take away my right. Take away my voice.

The woman’s body is an extraordinary human vessel. Our bodies create and nurture life in the womb. We give birth and once our little one is in our arms, our breasts produce milk to nurse and the one innate ability that a baby can do for himself from birth is to suck. Ideally this is the perfect match. God gave woman all she needs to create and sustain life. And yet we are not free to own our own bodies. The woman’s body is a war zone. Constantly being mutilated by the world and man. In this country we fight so hard for the second amendment and not so much for reproductive and sexual health. Why do we fear the woman? Could you imagine if the woman had full rights to her own body? Could the world then be a better place?

Before my marriage, I never personalized these topics, but spoke hypothetically. Even though I have written about different aspects of women’s rights and identity, I felt exempt from this discourse because I felt protected in my own country. With the shift in mindset, the reality is my freedom is being attacked. It’s unfortunate that tragedy must occur to motivate many to action. I would never wish what I experienced on anyone, but I do hope that she is given the choice to choose what is best for her and not be judged.

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 0

Today is not your birthday

March 15. The date is seared in my mind. Of course, all the milestone dates of this pregnancy that ended too soon get counted automatically in the background of my thoughts. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also know the dates when we would have first heard your heartbeat, when we would have found out your sex, and when you would have reached the official point of viability. But today is the day we should have finally met you.

It isn’t your birthday, although it should be. I really wanted to recognize you out loud today, baby L, and for some reason the words haven’t come easily. What do we even call this day, the day you weren’t born? How can I speak of it when we don’t have any good language to describe this type of day?

It’s not a loss anniversary. That won’t come until July, the year mark of the date we found out that you were gone. And that date will be a hard milestone to pass. But your estimated due date is about something else. It’s not about losing you as much as it is about what we are missing now that you’re not here with us.

For the last 9 months I’ve thought a lot about what my life would look like on this day. Would we be expecting another baby? Or would we still be slogging along with IVF almost a year after starting? What would I be doing at work during the time I was supposed to be out on leave? What about our marriage? Has it weathered losing you? Are we struggling? Will we ever be able to feel happy and fulfilled again?

Truthfully, not a lot has gone according to plan. It has been harder than I could have imagined. In these 9 months we’ve transferred more embryos. We’ve lost two other babies and have had other embryos never implant at all. As each treatment cycle comes and goes I wonder if we will ever parent a living child. I wonder if we will make it through to the other side. I wonder if we will drown in this grief and never recover.

L, we wish you were here. And I wish we had a better word to describe the significance of this date, your would-have-been birthday. It’s a day I know I won’t ever forget.

Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 2

Going Blank

Here we are – another year, another birthday without a child here to celebrate.

I wrote last year that I just don’t want to do this anymore. And it’s true, I don’t. But I also can’t stop myself from remembering these days and feeling compelled to do (or write) something special.

The thing is, I don’t know what to say.

I’ve spent the last two days trying to think of something sentimental or clever or wise but it’s just not coming to me. To be honest, I haven’t even been emotional today which is unlike me. It’s not that I don’t care, because I do. But somehow it feels as though my feelings and thoughts have just been drained from my body.

The baby that was due on March 12, 2018, was my fourth, the one sandwiched in between my 2 healthy, living kids. The one we lost so early on at just 6.5 weeks. The one we never learned anything about. And while perhaps it seems that the brevity of that life is the reason I feel disconnected, I truly don’t think it is. The loss hurt as deeply as the others and that child is mine the same way they all are.

This blankness might just be a way of finally shutting down. Maybe, after 6 years, I’ve run out of things to say. I no longer feel the extreme emotions the way I did years ago, when it was sometimes a struggle to get through the day or to deal with the thoughts swirling in my head.

Maybe I am finally at peace. To my baby, happy birthday. I miss you.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


  • 2

Getting Closure

It can be very difficult to cope with a loss, sometimes the grief overwhelms you and leaves you wondering how you will make it. Other times you feel like you are getting better and then feel guilty, like you are doing something wrong. Grief is so deep, so complex I honestly don’t think anyone fully understands it. It affects every part of our lives, every fiber of our being cries out for our lost loved ones.

I have grieved four losses, each one vastly different than the rest. I cannot move on without closure. It can be different for each of us. For me, with my most recent loss, my closure came unexpectedly. I needed to know I wasn’t alone in the fact that my baby wasn’t given a proper resting place, she was simply gone, and those few seconds I held her, were the first and last time I would have a chance to say goodbye.

I had so many regrets on how I spent those precious moments. I didn’t get to say anything meaningful, I didn’t get to fully comprehend the magnitude of that moment before she was swept away and I would never get to see her again. I spent that moment holding her and crying, the only words I spoke were to tell my husband that this tiny thing was our long hoped-for and much loved daughter. I don’t even know if he responded. I was lost in my own world of pain and horror.

Hours of labor, unbelievable pain and loss, I look back and think, was I in shock? Perhaps. A year later a fellow writer told me she too had the same thing happen and had also shared the same feelings that I had struggled so long with. The relief I felt was enormous. She went on to tell me it is very common from what she has found following her journey with loss. It didn’t mean I didn’t love her, it didn’t mean she never existed, and I wasn’t alone.

She will forever have my thanks for reaching out in the darkness and offering me this token of comfort. For the first time in a year, I felt at peace. It is not the first thing I think of when I think of her now and that alone has made such a difference in my life. I hope this helps others as it helped me.

Category : Julie , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 1

It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect

I spent so many years hoping for a child. I said goodbye to three during my long wait. During that time I imagined what motherhood would be like and promised myself I would never take a moment for granted. I thought I knew exactly how I would react to being a new mom.

Now that it’s been nearly three months since welcoming my second miracle baby, I’m facing something I never thought I’d struggle with. I’ve been diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. Some days it’s so bad I don’t want to hold the children I spent so much time praying for. Most the time I can handle the depression and not let it affect the kind of mother I am. But the days I struggle are made worse when I think about how lucky I should be feeling, instead of fighting the impulse to run away.

It’s in these moments I remind myself that this is motherhood. The WHO reports at least 13% of new mothers struggle with a mental disorder. That’s a much larger percentage than the 1% of women who experience recurrent loss or Cholestasis of pregnancy like I did. I’m not alone, and I’m in good company. I’ve sought help and am getting treatment. It’s not ideal or what I wanted after my struggle to have children, but it’s the narrative of so many women. I can hold my head high knowing it’s ok to struggle, and it doesn’t make me ungrateful or a bad mom.

Category : Stacey , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 2

“Pro-Life” Redefined

Winter snow, such a beautiful sight. I think the one thing I love about winter snow is the purity I feel when I see it. The color of each flake falling, the childlike feeling of snow days, mama making her famous hot chocolate for my sister and I as we sit patiently waiting by the fire. It’s such a beautiful image for me. I also love how Isaiah 1:18 tells us that our sin will be made white as snow – “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

This means something to me. It tells me that my faith is in a savior who delights in my freedom from my own sin, freedom from pain, freedom from grief and freedom from the sins of others. As I reflect on Isaiah 1:18, it reminds me that 1) we are sinful human beings 2) we have the freedom to choose Him and to be made pure.

Just like most people, I scroll through a social media that is flooded with separation of this country. The New York abortion bill passing was not exempt from this division. People pointing fingers, calling women who abort murderers, and women who abort standing their ground at any verbal cost. I’m not normally one to talk about politics or throw my opinion out there, but as I was praying on what to write about in this beautiful space allowed by this amazing team here at Through the Heart, I felt the Lord impress on my heart that there are many of us mothers who tend to get a little sting inside when it comes to abortion.

Yes, there are many women who choose to abort – we can’t judge them. Yes, there are many who abort due to medical issues – we can’t decide that for them. Yes, there are some of us who were not given that opportunity to choose life because our babies were taken from us at no choice of our own. It hurts – it hurts to think about a woman consciously choosing to abort their baby. We can’t fathom that thought because of the pain we experienced after miscarriage, but…… to choose life is to choose love.

Many of us believe life should always win and should always be what is chosen. However, we can’t be pro-LIFE but then speak DEATH to the living. We can’t ignore the sin of our own tongues as we speak or think judgement. We must continue to love. We must continue to encourage. We must continue to speak LIFE to women who have aborted. We don’t know their story. We don’t know their why. We don’t know what road they traveled to come to the decision of aborting. We don’t know what lies the enemy whispered in her ear as she realized she was pregnant and not ready.

But what we do know, is that with Christ – all things are made new. We still have a responsibility to help build the Kingdom. If our words are proving to be deadly, then we have possibly turned away a woman who has aborted or a woman who believes in pro-choice, and marked her spiritual DEATH due to the poor example of Christ we set. People turn away from God when they see hatred.

You can’t be pro-life but then speak death.

We still have a responsibility to show the LOVE of CHRIST and to show forgiveness. Even if it hurts your heart because you have miscarried or because you are experiencing infertility. Trust me sister, I feel your pain. I have struggled with this. I have felt anger deep within me at the thought of a woman choosing a death sentence for her child when I wanted LIFE for my miscarried baby. It hurts. It stings.

But God….

God wants you to walk in freedom from that pain and bitterness. He wants you to set an example of a Christ-filled woman who LOVES others more than herself. He wants us to remember that Christ lives in us and because of that…..there is no room for hate. We all sin.

So, I encourage you today to set down the anger, pain, bitterness and deadly words. Pick up TRUTH, remember LOVE and TRULY be pro-LIFE. Forgive.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Category : Cryssie , Volunteer Bloggers


  • 3

Moving forward through the pain

On February 12th, I celebrated my second son’s 1st birthday. He brings so much joy into our lives. He loves to cuddle and give kisses. He is my little musician who loves to dance and play the piano. My heart is full and the long, hard road we travelled to get to this point was worth it all.

Once we married, my husband Anthony and I immediately tried to start our family. For us, it was not easy and after a year of trying, we sought help at a fertility clinic. It took two years and 8 treatment rounds before my 1st son was conceived. Because of my age, I was considered high risk and monitored very closely until I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Everyone told me that this pregnancy would open the flood gates for more children and my husband and I decided to not use birth control and let nature take its course. But after a year and half, I did not get pregnant. So back to the fertility clinic.

At this point in our lives, we moved and established care about another fertility clinic and this time the specialist wanted to treat the root of the problem, which is PCOS. Within 3 months, I found out I was pregnant. We were elated. We immediately told our family and friends. This was early December so this was an early Christmas present for us. Our first ultrasound was scheduled after the new year. I was about 7 weeks along. We heard her heartbeat and immediately my family of 3 was now a family of 4. I do recall the doctor commenting that the size of the embryo was smaller than expected and she adjusted my conception date. We scheduled my 10 week ultrasound and we left the office with the sonogram of our little one.

The next few weeks went great. I felt pregnant. The cravings for pickles resurfaced. I couldn’t keep my eyes open past 10pm. This experience was very familiar to me. I started planning our family vacation around the due date. I started thinking about my work schedule and maternity leave. I was already envisioning this little bundle of joy in my arms. My stepdad called me and told me that he had a dream of a little girl with long brown hair and similar features of my son and she was running towards him, calling “Grandpa!” This warmed my heart.

We arrived at the 10 week ultrasound appointment with no agenda other than to hear her heartbeat. When the doctor and nurse came in, we were all in good spirits. Anthony stood beside me holding my hand while I laid on the exam bed. The doctor started the exam and an image appeared on the screen, but she started to look worried as she moved the probe over my stomach.  She turned the screen away from us. Anthony quickly went to her side and asked what is wrong. She said that she couldn’t locate a heartbeat and asked the nurse to check the measurements.

After a few minutes, she said the embryo stopped growing about two weeks ago. Before she continued, she gave us a few minutes to ourselves to reconcile this news. Immediately the tears began to flow and Anthony held me. I don’t recall any words between us. Just the tears. I had started building my life around this little being and the possibilities of her life were real and yet in an instant disappeared. When the doctor returned, she expressed her condolences and told us the next steps. We had a few choices neither one better than the other, but this was the only decision I had to be in control. Before we left the office, Anthony asked for the sonograms.

I have experienced bouts of depression  earlier in my life, which emotionally and spiritually paralyzed me. Flashes of the past of me curled up on the bathroom floor, balling my eyes out, scared me so before we left I told the doctor that I planed to continue with treatment. Soon after I went to my parents’ house and I told them there was no heartbeat. I did not know how else to describe it. Her heartbeat was our only lifeline. It was pumping our dreams into reality. It was fueling our desires of growing our family. My mother was very perplexed. She repeated over and over again that she didn’t understand. I remember leaving and my younger brother ran outside, without any words, he embraced me. A hug of disappointment. A hug of compassion.

My little sister arrived at my doorstep the next day and once we were in the kitchen, she couldn’t get any words out and started to cry. I hugged her. Actually I started to console her in that moment telling her we will be okay. Like me, she was hurting in our loss. Like me, my mother couldn’t comprehend this news. My loss did not just affect me, but all our loved ones. They too had started reconstructing their realities to include this new addition. I realize now that the best thing for me were the hugs and tears. I didn’t need or want any words. I know the typical words of comfort, but most times they feel empty when they come out.  No one really knows what to say when someone experiences a loss especially a miscarriage as if life lived only exists outside the womb. I heard her heartbeat. She lived.

I must have spent days Googling what could have went wrong. Maybe it was my self consciousness trying to find an answer that did not point the finger at me. It is so easy to blame myself, but I was not going to fall into that mental trap.  So I changed my search question, “How does one resume life after a loss?” We did not have a funeral. I never had the chance to hold my little girl in my arms. But I did have on thing, the sonogram. It is on my work desk alongside the pictures of my son and other loved ones. My husband keeps a copy in his wallet. I realized that I had changed. Something inside me shifted. My new normal includes two babies, one on earth and one in heaven. I knew that I had to embrace my loss to readjust my reality.

When I was ready, I reached out to a selected few I knew I could trust and shared my story and feelings so that my words could breathe back life into me. Surprisingly God led me to someone who experienced a miscarriage at the same time I did and she didn’t tell anyone. We confided in and encouraged each other and I felt a sense of resolve. Why do we do this? Stay locked within ourselves? Lonely in our pain when the truth is we are hurting.  There are many women stuck in this place of sorrow after a loss and this is not the time to blame yourself or lose hope. This is the time to lift each other up and push forward together because this is not the end of your story.

Many years prior, after several failed fertility rounds, Anthony held me and told me as long as he has me that is all that matters to him. And he is a man of his word. I trust him and know that God always finds favor with him. Anthony’s strength gives me the ability to love past my pain. He gave me a sense of security that we will get through this together. I remember Anthony’s grandmother said that funerals are not a place to reunite with loved ones. She is absolutely right. When we celebrate life together, intertwining our lives to inspire and encouraging one another, lifelines are created. And in those times of need, we can pick up the phone, send a text or email, or give a hug when times are difficult to handle on one’s own.

I was able to lean on the good times we created as a couple and a family, establishing traditions like annual family vacations, participating in the breast cancer walk, and game night with friends. Building into our family, into ourselves one day at time strengthens us, and prepares us for the unknown so you do not lose yourself in dark times. I did not want to self sabotage. I did not know why this happened to me, but I was hopeful to keep moving forward and see where the road would lead me and my family because my life masterpiece is still in progress. Today I am the mother of 2 sweet boys and I know their sister watches over them.

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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If you've come to this blog, it likely means you have suffered a pregnancy loss of some type. We are so sorry you have found yourself here, but hope the stories of life after loss can help you on your road to healing and recovery. Remember, we are all in this together!

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