Four Years In Heaven

Oh my baby, how I miss you. Every day, every minute for these past four years I have ached for you. That chamber of my heart that is only Lucy shaped remains empty. I know how your biggest brother Liam feels in my arms, how your big brother Asher feels in my arms and how your baby sister Nora feels in my arms, but I don’t know how you feel and my arms ache for you. A mama’s arms belong around her babies. I wish you could be here to play with your little sister Nora, you would love her so much. Your absence in our family is felt every single day. I see the space where you should be that nobody else sees. I miss you.

I miss you.

It has been four years since Lucy’s heart stopped and mine was irreparably broken. It is a feat, surviving four whole years without your child. I feel like I should be awarded a medal just for still being here, four years later, without her. The beautiful thing about living this life with my God is that He has more for us on this earth than just surviving. The past four years have been the saddest and most difficult of my entire life, but they have also been the most beautiful, the most redemptive, and the most productive years of my life.

As most of you know, when Lucy died I was told I could not have any more babies. It felt like an extra cruel blow because of who God had created me to be. He made me very maternal from infancy. I have always been obsessed with babies. They were the best thing in the world to me. My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood Education. I was told that a degree in Elementary Education would be more useful so I eventually agreed to go one more semester to also get my Elementary Ed degree, but all I really cared about was getting that Early Childhood degree because I just wanted to teach the babies. My whole life I waited and dreamed about having a baby of my own. I wanted to fast forward time until I held my baby in my arms for the first time. My greatest wish for my life was to have a big family; LOTS of babies. For God to allow my baby to die and then to leave me with a pregnancy condition that would repeat itself and make my pregnancies “fatal” seemed so cruel. It felt like a custom made attack, designed to destroy the most beloved part of who I was.

I couldn’t even look at babies after Lucy died, they physically nauseated me. During my counseling sessions I had therapy for PTSD and had to work through the most terrifying scenarios like, “You’re at the grocery store and suddenly a woman comes around the corner carrying a baby, what do you do?” I remember being on a flight only a couple months after losing Lucy and there was a baby next to me on the airplane. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. Every sound she made caused a physical pain in my chest. I could not believe how agonizing this adorable baby next to me was. My pain originated from my deep love for babies, especially my love for my baby girl who had been killed by my own body, and the love I had for my future babies who would never exist because of anti-kell antibodies. Every baby I saw reminded me of my dead dreams for my family and my dead daughter. And if I’m truly honest, they represented the lie that for some reason God loved those other parents more than He loved me because their babies were alive. The parents of the baby next to me on the airplane seemed to sense my discomfort. They probably thought I was just one of those adults who gets irritated with loud babies on planes. If only they knew the truth.

If only I knew the truth, that God was not using my tragedies as a custom made weapon to destroy me. God was going to take my little Lucy’s life and my tragedies and He was going to fashion them into a custom made ministry just for me. And guess who God has me ministering to now? Women and their BABIES. Beautiful babies who are possibly in danger like Lucy was. Babies in Pakistan, babies in Canada, babies in Australia and Egypt, babies in the UK and the US, babies in Germany and Israel, Cambodia, Switzerland, Russia, France and even babies right here in Alabama. I get to help babies every single day and it is some of the most rewarding work I have ever done. I get to encourage and empower women who have babies in the womb, women who have babies in heaven, women with babies waiting in their future, women with newborns and women with broken hearts. I love these women, and I desperately love their babies. God uses every single one of these parents who reaches out to me and He uses every single baby to restore a small piece of my broken heart and to restore my hope in Him.

Here I am four years later, and now I am able to look at a baby and see redemption, hope and the greatness of God. Oh the redemption that God has brought through these babies and their moms!

And so, without any more delay, here are some of the beautiful babies that have been helped through Lucy’s story and my blog. Thank you Jesus, for each one of these lives that has been touched by my Lucy’s.

COOPER cooper

CLAIREclaire

EVAeva

JESSA JADEjessa-jade

TYLERtyler

JACOBjacob

KRISTIAN (in heaven with Lucy) and MIKAHkristian-and-mikah

JULIA JOYjulia-joy

SAGE (in heaven with Lucy)sage

KETHRYNkethryn

ROSE with big brother and sister Logan and Havenrose-with-big-brother-and-sister-logan-and-haven

SHUA, ARI and MOSELLEshua-ari-and-moselle

LIAMliam

ELLIEellie

MILAmila

MATILDAmatilda

LUCY ANNElucy-anne

GABRIELLA GRACEgabriella-grace

OSCARoscar

WESLEY JAMESwesley-james

SKYLAR ROSEskylar-rose

AVAava

BRIANA ANNEbriana-anne

LANGSTONlangston

OWEN BLAKE (being born right now, on Lucy’s birthday!)owen-blake

HADRIANhadrian

BABY BOY ROBILLIARDrobilliard

ASAIAHasaiah

NYAHnyah

And of course, NORA JULIET who would not be here if it weren’t for Lucy

And this is baby Hudson, whose mom did not come across my blog until a few days after her son was stillborn this past December. This is why I push so hard to get Lucy’s story out into the world, because Hudson would be here today if only the doctors had provided the right monitoring and treatment. Lucy would probably be here today if she had been given the correct monitoring and treatment too. I will keep telling our story and fighting for the Hudsons and the Lucys who deserve to be here with us.

“I wish I had read your blog whilst pregnant because I would have had the knowledge I have now and possibly could have saved my baby Hudson who was born sleeping on 29th December 2016 due to Anti-K antibodies and having no close monitoring – I was totally unaware of what most of it all meant until I read your blog.”

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The love I feel for these babies is unreal. The very tragedy I thought would push babies out of my life has brought so many babies into my life that I have a deep affection for. They are my “yes” from God.

For anyone who feels like God has turned His back on you, for anyone who has suffered unimaginable loss and for those whose lives have not turned out the way they planned, just decide to trust God anyway. Because I am convinced that when there is great loss combined with great trust in God, miraculous things happen. Yes, even a one pound baby girl who never took a breath outside of the womb can leave a legacy that reaches throughout the world.

Happy fourth birthday in heaven, Lucy Dair. I am proud to be your mama. You were worth it all. Four years closer to having you forever. Despite all the pain and agony of waiting to have you, I absolutely love being your mama.

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Ripples

“Mommy, do you want to die in an explosion so you can go to heaven and see Lucy?” Five year old Asher caught me completely off guard with his question. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry but his face was earnest and he really wanted to know. I told him I didn’t want to die in an explosion but I was excited about being with Lucy one day when I do eventually get to heaven.

Lucy’s death had such an immediate, violent impact on my life but the rippling effects are really hitting the boys now. Liam and Asher are suddenly old enough to comprehend that their little sister is dead and it is heartbreaking to watch them work it out in their minds. The boys are so obsessed with Nora and they love having their baby sister with them. I think they are just now understanding all of the beauty and wonder and love that they are missing without Lucy here. I found this drawing at the bottom of Liam’s backpack the other day.

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I asked him about it and he said it was a bad guy freezing the whole world and all the people died but Lucy (who is the tiny dot in the upper left hand corner) survived. Lucy survived. Our ultimate fantasy scenario. Liam also told me yesterday, “Mommy, I’m sad about a daydream I had where all the babies are trying to be alive, like all the babies in their mom’s bellies, and the ones who don’t win die but only the winner gets to be alive.” The boys have asked us about having another baby and we told them that if I had another baby in my belly we don’t know if that baby would live like Nora or die and go to heaven like Lucy. Asher asked me today how old Lucy is and I told him she is about 2, almost 3 years old. I hesitated, though, because I honestly don’t know how aging works in heaven. Would Lucy grow up, year by year like she would here? Or is she still a newborn waiting for me to get there so I can watch her grow up? Or is she an adult? If she were here on earth she would be turning 3 years old this summer. She would be exactly two years older than Nora, just like Liam is two years older than Asher. The boys always have a combination birthday party in February/March and I know Lucy and Nora would have had a combination birthday party every July. I hate that Nora doesn’t have her big sister here with her. Such a huge loss. The boys are so sad that Lucy isn’t here with them. Asher asked what she looks like now and I had to tell him I wasn’t sure. He looked so sad and asked if she looked just like Nora but had a different name and I told him I didn’t know. He said he wanted to be in an explosion so that he could go see what Lucy looks like. I know some of these thoughts seem morbid, but they are just a peek into five year old and seven year old minds trying to understand death. I hate that death is such a big part of our family and part of the boys’ childhoods.

Asher always includes Lucy in our family. He was very wounded this past Christmas when I didn’t hang a stocking up for Lucy. I promised him that next year we will hang a stocking up for both of his sisters. This is his latest family drawing:

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He is holding Nora and up in the sky is Lucy in her mansion in heaven. She is looking out of the window at us. He insisted that I hang the picture up on the wall above Nora’s crib because he drew it for her. Oh how my heart hurts when I think about telling Nora one day that she has a sister that she will never get to meet until she gets to heaven. Watching the boys deal with Lucy’s death now, three years later, is a reminder that this terrible tragedy that happened to us in 2013 isn’t just over, even though we are continuing to heal. The harsh reality is that the tragedy continues and the ripples continue to bruise us, to cut into our hearts, to reopen old wounds. There are facets of our loss, our life without Lucy, that have yet to impact us. One day when Nora gets older she will wish she had someone to play My Little Ponies with; a sister to tell secrets to and do each others hair and share clothes with.

It is hard to go through life without such a vital part of our family. It is hard for siblings to comprehend their sister being dead. Their sister will never be a part of our family here in the flesh. But goodness, she makes heaven so much sweeter and more tangible. When Asher builds things with Legos he often constructs a scenario here on earth and then one in heaven too. “Mommy, these guys are in their house having a meeting and this guy is in heaven.” Thanks to Lucy, heaven is a very real place to us. She has gifted us with an eternal perspective on life and a joyful anticipation of heaven. I used to dread the end of my life on earth. I feared death. It made me feel anxious and panicky. Now, I look forward to it; not in a suicidal way, but in a very sweet, excited way. I feel peace about dying and I can’t wait to get to heaven. The boys are excited about heaven too and they look forward to meeting their little sister and seeing the mansion that she lives in.

The rippling effect of our loss and heartache will continue to hit us throughout our lives. I know one day when all the 2013 babies start kindergarten I will have an intense ache in my heart…and when they graduate and when I know she should be in college and when I see a beautiful bride her age walk down the aisle and when I meet my grandchildren but none of them are Lucy’s…I will continue to be wounded again and again and so will her Daddy. As her brothers grow and understand more and more about this great gaping hole in our family, they will continue to be bruised as well. BUT these destructive ripples are confined to this earth. They will not follow us to heaven. They are harmless in light of eternity, and that is why I look forward to heaven so much. I just can’t wait to see my first girl and to see all of my children under one roof.

This Little Light of Mine

PSALM 22:10  WHEN I LEFT THE WOMB YOU CRADLED ME; SINCE THE MOMENT OF BIRTH YOU’VE BEEN MY GOD.

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Three years have passed since my baby Lucy went to heaven. It always seems a bit ironic to me that the worst day of my life was the best day of Lucy’s life. Since I haven’t experienced heaven yet myself, this is just a theory, but I imagine that for all of the citizens of heaven, the best day of their entire lives was the day they arrived. That was the day that their pain was erased, their bodies were healed, their sadness replaced with joy, their losses redeemed and their fear completely swallowed up by Love. From the slum to paradise. Such a sharp contrast. I’m trying to be happy for my baby today, but my heart aches from such a long separation. This day always brings back devastating memories of how she died and what we all went through on that day. A friend of mine recently lost her two year old daughter to cancer. She told me that some of the hardest daily things to deal with are the flashbacks. I know she didn’t mean that to be encouraging, she was just telling me how she was doing, but it has encouraged me so much. It reminded me that Lucy died ONCE. She experienced severe anemia, fetal hydrops, heart damage and death ONE TIME. It’s over and she is experiencing pure peace and joy right now. But over the past three years I have experienced her death over and over and over again in my head. Just the other night at Chickfila I saw a woman who had been pregnant the same time I was pregnant with Lucy. When I saw her healthy two year old run onto the playground it triggered so many terrible flashbacks and feelings. While she enjoyed watching her son play on the playground I saw Lucy dying all over again. I felt like my insides were being washed with the heaviest sadness that still lingers, several days later. But it is comforting to remember that the flashbacks are just flashbacks. No matter how real and painful they are to me, they are not happening to Lucy. She only experienced it ONCE and she will never experience it again. I’m clinging to that truth today. She is safe.

When I was pregnant with Nora several people warned me that going from two to three kids was a hard transition. But the truth is, I already went from two to three kids in 2013. When Lucy died she didn’t stop being my daughter and I didn’t stop being her mother. The most agonizing transition for me was going from having all of my children under one roof to having one in heaven. Even though Lucy lives in heaven, I have been parenting her these last three years, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I parent Lucy in a completely different way than I parent Liam, Asher and Nora.

What does it look like to parent a child who lives in heaven? For me, it means I grieve my daughter well. I acknowledge her life and her absence instead of pretending that she never existed. Even though her milestones are different from her brothers’ and sister’s, I celebrate them just like I celebrate my other children’s milestones. I appreciate life more and I empathize with others who are grieving. I allow Lucy to continue impacting the world through me. I ask God to use my pain and my loss for good. I try to honor Lucy by using her life and death to help other people. One way that God has been able to do this is through my blog. I never would have started this blog if it weren’t for Lucy, obviously. I wrote my first blog post shortly after we lost her and thought, “There is NO WAY I can share this private, painful part of my life with the world.” But God (and some faithful friends) urged me on. When I clicked “Publish” for the first time I literally felt like I was going to throw up, I was so nervous. I don’t enjoy being the center of attention, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. But isn’t that just part of being a parent? Doing hard things and sacrificing our own comfort for our children? Yes, I decided I could do that for Lucy and for God. And through this blog I have been able to let my little Lucy light shine. I am so proud of my baby girl. She only spent 20 weeks in the womb but she continues to impact the world even three years later. Did you know that because of Lucy, other babies have been saved? Broken hearts have been comforted and those who are weary have been encouraged to hope.

Today I want to brag about my baby Lucy. I get to show off my three earth children every day, whether it’s pictures on Facebook, smiling proudly when we are out in public together, telling their Daddy about something cute they did or celebrating their lives at their birthday parties every year. I wish I had better pictures of her but I didn’t have a camera with me at the time and I was in shock. I only took a few quick pictures with my cell phone. Here is my sweet, one pound Lucy.

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Only one pound but she touched so many lives. I want to share with all of you some of the stories from people she has helped, like baby Mack. Mack’s older sister died after being attacked in the womb by antibodies, like Lucy. His mom, Tiffany, found my blog and reached out to me when she was pregnant with her rainbow baby. I was able to get her the information she needed to fight for her baby Mack and I was able to connect her to the Facebook support group where she received even more support. Mack almost lost his life like his sister but he made it and is now completely over the antibodies and doing great!

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When I see babies like Mack it brings me so much joy. I get to watch God bring good out of my worst nightmare. Here are some other people who have been impacted by Lucy:

I learned about Kell with my first pregnancy but she wasn’t affected by it. When I got pregnant with my second child, I had a very strong feeling that she or he would be affected. I just had an intuition. Everyone told me NOT to search the Internet about this disease and that everything on the Internet would scare me. Every night I searched and searched trying to find some answers on what anti Kell was exactly because even my Drs didn’t have clear answers. Either way, I knew it was a scary thing. I searched high and low….I just wanted to find someone else who knew what I was going through. Even my own husband wasn’t interested in learning more about it. I felt very alone. Finally I came across a blog a about a little angel named Lucy and her mother Bethany who had these Kell antibodies as well. As I read more and more I had to find Bethany and ask her questions….I searched her name on Facebook and wasn’t sure if it was the correct Bethany, but I thought let me message her – what have I got to lose. A few weeks later, I got a message back after she found me in her “others folder”. We both realized we were a week apart in our pregnancies and we’re both having girls. She told me about a private Facebook group that was filled with other mothers who had the same antibodies and issues that we both faced. I couldn’t believe it! I was so happy!
Throughout my pregnancy my family, friends, Drs said to stay away from the group because it will scare me or seeing depressing stuff would be bad. It did the EXACT opposite of that. These girls and Bethany in particular saved me, saved my sanity, and saved my daughter! I was so grateful to go through my pregnancy with people who understood ! I didn’t share my pregnancy with most people in my life because I wasn’t ready to explain the problems and complications I was going to have. My daughter was born 6 weeks early and needed 2 post birth transfusions after having 3 in utero. The ISO moms were there for me no matter what! I still pray for each of them and their babies every single day! Thank God for Lucy leading me to this group! Here’s a picture of me and my ISO baby- she is now a healthy 7 month old.- Amy Dell KochIMG_0701

 

For me, Bethany, you were MY savior during the most difficult part of my life. You helped me grieve and you also helped me feel not alone and not weird. I honestly don’t think I could have made it through some of my darkest days if it weren’t for you standing by (with an email). My husband always mentions you. I always felt that my Grace and your Lucy must be up there – watching over our pregnancies and our miracle babies. I am so thankful for what you did for me. I hope in some small way I have been there for you too. ~Callista Puchmeyer

 

You don’t know me (I live in Saskatchewan, Canada), but I stumbled on your blog a couple of years ago, when I lost my son, Elijah(June 22, 2013). I was 18 weeks pregnant. We don’t know for sure why he died, but we discovered last year that I have a uterine abnormality, called a partial uterine septum. It is essentially extra tissue at the top of the uterus that doesn’t have good blood flow. If that baby implants there, they can experience growth restriction, the placenta may not be receiving enough blood/nutrients etc., and eventually it can lead to death, preterm labour, or placental abruption. The suspicion is that that is what happened with Elijah. I just had the surgery to fix my uterus earlier this month, so hopefully someday in the future we will have a “take home baby” of our own. I long to have a pregnancy that ends in the birth of a healthy crying baby, instead of silence and grief. It has been a long, painful road of missing Elijah, struggling with infertility, struggling with anger and resentment, and struggling to be the lone infertile/childless couple in a very fertile church family and community.

So even though I don’t have a antibody problem, it was wonderful to me to stumble on a blog where someone else was voicing all the hurts and prayers that I myself was expressing…especially when I felt so isolated and alone. Even my close Christian friends didn’t really understand how the grief of a child gone to heaven could influence every part of my life for years to come. Even though many would agree that “a unborn baby is still a baby”, I don’t think (even Christian) society REALLY views it as being the same/similar to losing a child who was born alive, unless they experience it themselves. So people expect you to get better much more quickly, put your grief behind you, and so on. And I couldn’t. I still think of Elijah every day, many times a day. All the important date anniversary’s are hard, certain months of the year are hard, holidays are hard. Of course I feel much more joy in my life these days; I am not depressed any longer. I enjoy life. But I lost my Dad when I was 16, and my grief for Elijah is just as strong and has permanently changed who I am as a person. So many people don’t understand that! I really struggled with God (and still do at times) over this loss and our infertility, and I don’t usually feel free to express that out loud, because I feel like people are sort of like “still? Maybe you should see a doctor if you are still hung up on that?!” Ultimately my faith was strengthened through our experiences, as yours was.

Anyway, what I’m getting at in all that rambling, is that it really helped to read about how you also struggled with your faith, with the ‘why’s” and with continuing to miss Lucy and your other babies, even though you didn’t get a chance to know them. I was thankful for the scripture you quoted, and for seeing the process you worked through, and that God was working IN you, through all of it. It really helped. I check back on your blog often, to read about how you are making out with your dear Nora. 🙂 So happy for you guys! God is great. Even in the dark times.

So yes, Lucy definitely touched my life, and so did you! Absolutely. Many tears were shed over your blog, for you and also for our own situation. You are a blessing to me. 🙂 Thank you!

~Katie

 

Lucy’s story was the only thing I could find 3 years ago when I got pregnant with my first iso baby. That’s where all of my research started and eventually led me to the Facebook group so for that I’ll always be grateful! Even though I’m not as educated in this subject as other mamas anytime I find anyone who has been sensitized the first place I send them is to read your story so they can see that it can get bad but there is hope! And this is my baby Dante he is my kell+ baby and even though we didn’t need any intervention during pregnancy he has been affected since birth. He is 4 weeks now but still having problems with his bili levels. He is also off of oxygen and just starting to grow out of his newborn clothes and diapers! ~Nancy Mendoza

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I am not sure how I stumbled across your blog but I have been very touched by your story and your faith. I am very sorry for the loss of your precious daughter but am glad you have your three living children to dote on in this life. ~Vivian

 

I only wish I’d found you before Joey was born! You’ve helped me so much you’ll never know. To finally have found others who 100% understand what we went through is such a nice thing to come from something awful.
Here’s my anti-kell ‘baby’ dressed up as a Box Troll! ~Alison Brooks

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Your words on the blog got me through some tough days dealing with kell. I’m so grateful God used your story to help others. It’s been a blessing to see Nora’s story now that came out of Lucy’s life. Thank you for giving us all hope! ~Adria Whelan

 

I don’t have a picture for you to share but I am so thankful for finding your blog as we begin our journey with anti-Kell! You have been such a great resource for me already!!!    ~Nicole Gunderson

 

Greenleigh is due June 13, 2016. When I found out I was anti-k I came across your blog which led me to this group. It was nice knowing I wasn’t the only one in this situation and hearing all the possibilities of what could happen, both good and bad but especially the good because it gave hope. My first born is K positive but has a different father and my second child is negative since her father is negative and none of our future babies will be at risk thankfully. The hospital even mailed me a card to carry saying I’m anti-k in case I ever need a blood transfusion which is nice since that can be dangerous. You guys taught me a lot so when we didn’t have our answers it kept me positive and hopeful.         ~MaKayla PriceIMG_0698

 

Your blog is so amazing in so many ways! I felt so alone when I found out about KELL and I actually had nurses who told me to google the story of baby Lucy. After I lost Julia you were there for me and could relate and I’m grateful to you! I know our baby girls are playing up in heaven together! Happy birthday Lucy! ~Susan Marie

 

We were so blessed when we found your blog. We referred to you as Lucy’s mom in normal conversation at the supper table, with our coworkers and even with our Drs. Who knows what would have happened to our miracle Madon if we wouldn’t have found you. We can never thank you enough. ~Jillian Huber

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I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now. I first stumbled upon it after I had a miscarriage at 9 weeks on August 26, 2014. At the time I was feeling devastated (my husband and I had been trying for a while to get pregnant with our second), and your raw honesty really encouraged me through a very dark time. One thing I really appreciated about your posts was that I felt like you understood (through all of the stories you shared from others) that all pregnancy loss is difficult, whether it’s at 6 weeks or full term. The thing I heard the most from people after my miscarriage was that it was so common, which made me feel like my loss didn’t matter because so many women experience it. Reading your blog helped me to see that other women were just as devastated, but that there was hope to try again. The other area where you encouraged me was that you already had 2 children, and yet you really grieved over Lucy. Another insensitive comment from people was that I just needed to focus on my other daughter, when in reality I needed to focus on the one that I lost in order to grieve in a healthy way. Now, over a year later, I have my rainbow baby (born on August 28th, 2015). What a beautiful gift from God, but I do know that not everyone’s stories end so happily. I just wanted you to know that your strength through your many challenges (to put it lightly) has inspired me to keep going through my own.

~Vanya

 

I found Bethany through the ISO FB group. I had already been through 1 ISO pregnancy, resulting in my beautiful baby Shea. Luckily I found the group shortly after becoming pregnant with my second. I thought that after all that I dealt with having Shea. Induced at 37 weeks, a stay in NICU, phototherapy, not beng able to hold my new baby was bad. I was upset and it took time to learn how to deal with what happened. I was blind-sided at 30 weeks to discover that I had this antibody issue. Little did I know that that was absolutely easy (not nothing, as every journey has its challenges) compared to what I went through to get our second Rory here. I knew I wanted to try to have another after Shea but was terrified. Rory was a fighter from the start, he is 2 months younger than Nora. While I am blessed never to have a loss like Bethany went through with Lucy, I absolutely understand how these horrible events can happen to us ISO mums. Bethany’s pregnancy with Nora was similar to mine with Rory. She went through the IUTs and delivered before me and I used it as an inspiration of what was to come. I remember vividly reading the post of Nora’s birth story to myself and crying in fear and joy. I later read it to my husband with the same result. Rory arrived on September 25th, 2015. My warrior baby. Even his delivery was similar to Bethany’s with Nora. Scary for a while then quick, fast and I can’t believe this beautiful baby is here in my arms!!!! I had so many dark days, sleepless nights, times when I could not control my emotions or tears. Thank you Bethany for going on this journey with me and Rory. Thank you for sharing both Lucy and Nora with us. Thank you for being so open about your struggle and journey. Thank you for commenting on so many of my emotional posts with words of love. Thank you for taking something so tragic and seeing goodness all around. Thank you for being such a light in such a dark time in my life when I feared daily that I would lose my baby. Thank you for your strength, open heart and faith. ~Ainslie Treleaven

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After the loss of my son due to kell I did not know much about this antibody. On top of the grief I believed that I never would be able to have another living and healthy baby…then I researched and found your blog. You helped me so much with information, hope that it would be possible to have another baby and I found this great facebook group because of you! Lucy must be so proud of her amazing mummy and tell everybody in heaven how much you have done for other pregnant and “antibody-mums”. I cannot post a baby picture right now because I am only 18 weeks but I hopefully can as a belated birthday present for Lucy in May/June when baby is here. Thank you so much! ~Fee Munkler

 

Lucy has held a place in my heart from the first time you shared her with us through your blog. I grieved (though at the time in ignorance) with you and your family. I appreciated your honest wrestling and I was blessed by your continued reliance on God’s promises even when trust was hard.

Then when Dominic died, you reached out to me and became a safe harbor where I could rest when the storm threatened to overwhelm me. Almost twenty years my junior, you have taught me so much.

And now, I am encouraged to share my journey of losing an adult child because of your boldness.

Dominic was always so good with little kids. They loved him. I feel joy when I imagine them together waiting for us to join them.

I would NEVER wish the pain we carry on anyone. But you have shown me that it can be redeemed.

Love you dear one. May God continue to open doors of opportunity because of Lucy.

~Melanie

 

I was 9 weeks into my first pregnancy when I first heard the term “anti-kell.” Even being in the healthcare field, I was lost. My OB even admitted that I would probably know more about it than her by the time it was all over. So off to a MFM I went. It was very scary because NO ONE knew what I was talking about. The best information I could find online was from your blog. It was information that I could actually understand and process in a time of so much uncertainty. I am so thankful for your story and for your willingness to share something that is so personal because it has definitely touched so many lives! Grant was born on February 13th at 36 weeks due to anti-kell risks, slowed growth, and preeclampsia. He was 5 lbs, 4 oz and only delt with high bilirubin and some eating/breathing issues. Thank you for always being a source of support for so many! ~Lindsey Holtcamp-Koors

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I found you after my daughter was stillborn and my adoption plans fell flat. You reflected alot of things I felt but couldnt put into words, which I found very comforting. If you could survive, then maybe so would I. Your blog has also helped me know that it is okay for me to talk about and love my Sinza, just as much as you talk about and love your Lucy.

Happy 3rd heavenly Birthday, Lucy!  ~Celian

 

Your blog helped me navigate anti-k and really understand what was going on with my body and how to find the medical attention I needed… I was sensitized after I had my boys and have now had two healthy girls…

Thank you for your transparency and support.
I cannot imagine all you have been through. Thank you for sharing your story and educating so many people, so we know how to advocate for our babies. I’ve also been in touch with Dr. Moise who was very helpful in helping me communicate with my MFM on some things we didn’t agree on, early in my second sensitized pregnancy. ~Rebecca Ware

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I don’t even know how to state how much Lucy has given me. You and Lucy and God got me through my loss of Luke. I love knowing Luke had a sweet, pretty friend in heaven. Your wisdom, tears, frustrations and encouragement in her loss have mirrored and cushioned my own hurt. There are not strong enough words to even say it, friend, but you know. I love Lucy SO much. I wish she were here for the cake and presents too, but then I would not have found you. I would be missing a most precious friendship. And i know God is going to turn our ashes into crowns of beauty and all will feel right when we get to His kingdom. ~Sara

 

I am Lucy’s grandmother. Her death has been the very worst thing that has happened to me. She left a hole in our family which will never be filled on this earth.
On her third birthday, I would like to think about the gifts which she has given me.
* Heaven is sweeter and more real now. Lucy has a joy-filled life there with the Lord Jesus and some day I will join her. As the years go by, I realize that it is my true home, not earth.
*On the day that I saw Lucy, my heart was broken and I did not understand why this happened. But I did feel God’s help and strength. I know that he will always be there even in the middle of great pain, and this gives me courage for the future.
*I think that Lucy gave me a more compassionate heart. When someone tells me about her grief, I am more attentive and sad because I can feel some of her pain. When Bethany and I lived at the Ronald McDonald House in Houston last year, every child there had a life-threatening illness. It is a great comfort to another to enter into their sorrow with them and I often was able to do that. It was because of Lucy.
I am very thankful for our Lucy. She is a gift from God.
Just before Jesus died, he told his friends, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22)
Someday the sorrow will be gone, and the joy will stay forever.

 

And the story that is most dear to my heart…the story about a miracle baby named Nora who only got the treatment she needed because her big sister died. Nora would not be alive if it weren’t for Lucy.

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Happy 3rd Heaven Birthday, my beautiful Lucy Dair. I will continue parenting you the best way I know how until I can scoop you up in my arms and mother you in person. I am so proud of you.

Three years closer to having you forever.

 

Remembering Our Babies- Conner and Benjamin

Every baby is special, every life is important, and every Mom wants to show off her baby. For those of us who lose our babies too soon, we don’t ever get to show them off and we rarely get to say their names or tell people about them. In our country, thousands of babies are stillborn every year, roughly one every twenty minutes. There are even more miscarriages. Here on my blog, I want to remember all of the lost babies and give their parents an opportunity to show them off. These Mamas are so proud of their babies and are going to share them with us here. We honor these little lives by acknowledging their presence with us, even if it was for a very short time. Do you know how these babies are loved? Do you know that each baby was cherished by their families, even if they left only after a few weeks? Do you know how these babies are missed every single day? Please pray for these families, who have to live every day without their precious children.

CONNER AND BENJAMIN SULLIVAN 

I was a happy mama. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy, but that does not mean it was uneventful. I was sick for 16 weeks, and my baby boys were good eaters. I lost a lot of weight in the first trimester. I twisted my ovary (still the worst physical pain I’ve felt, including labor and childbirth). But, I was HAPPY. Little baby “A” and baby “B” were floating along in increasingly cramped quarters but were active little boys who I’m pretty sure would have made really great gymnasts or hockey players. I was trying to be diligent of their kicks and movements, waiting patiently for those butterfly kisses that everyone says that they feel. That is not what my boys gave me. Roll…roll…PLOP! They sure liked fighting for a prime piece of real estate. Even so, I could tell they were best friends. They reacted to each other’s movements and slept and woke at the same time. We even had an ultrasound where they were kicking away… and both stopped at the exact same moment. Two sleeping little babies, blissfully unaware of the world outside of the womb but aware of each other. I often imagined them plotting their escape together with every powerful kick. Two minions, eating their bananas (no joke), laughing hysterically at the fact that mama would have her hands full with two bouncing and somersaulting boys.

On Tuesday, January 7th, the day after my 29th birthday and the day after the boys turned 22 weeks old, I started feeling contractions. Here’s the thing though: who the HELL knows what a contraction feels like if you’ve never had them before? I didn’t. And no freaking way was I looking for signs of preterm labor this early. It was the start of the new year. Their due date wasn’t even until May 12. Chalking them up to round ligament pains, I slept through the night. And just to be clear: I am the type of woman who called the doctor’s office when I was pregnant when I was coughing. Twice. It never crossed my mind these were contractions. I watched Despicable Me 2 that night, laughing at the thought of my boys being curious little minions and wreaking havoc.

Wednesday, January 8th. I felt contractions through the day, but sporadically. Here’s what I know about contractions: the movies always show some poor sweaty woman threatening to kill her husband. Here’s what I felt: uncomfortable for five seconds.

But that night, the contractions starting getting closer together. My best friend urged me to call the doctor. Dr. D didn’t sound worried. “Let’s meet at the hospital, just in case.” No problem. I called my husband to come home from the FD, with a plan to make him get me a smoothie on the way home. We would be home, hop into bed, and laugh that I thought this was anything significant.

I was two centimeters dilated when we got to the hospital. They handed me a horse pill to stop the contractions, but less than an hour later I was at a full 10 centimeters. I had already been unnerved, trying to swallow the guilt of not coming in earlier or knowing what contractions felt like. The bitch of a resident OB told me that I had no cervix left and it was time to move me. That was all the information I got from her. Any questions I asked were promptly followed with, “Let’s wait until Dr. D gets here.” She was a robot. Absent of emotion or caring, she made me feel like a waste of her time. Was she insane? I was a mother on the brink of giving birth to her babies. No one had to tell me that they weren’t at the point of viability; I already knew. But in that moment, hormones crazy and the unacceptable happening, I wasn’t thinking clearly. Thank God my doctor was on his way. I found out later that he rushed to the hospital, scared he wouldn’t make it in time. How wrong we were…

They wheeled me into a labor and delivery room. Up until this point, I had been given almost zero information on what the hell was going on. Maybe, just maybe, there was hope. I could lay here, cervix open, until the babies were bigger and ready to come out. It’s 2014. They can do all kinds of crazy things that used to only exist in science fiction. But then, as I was being wheeled in, I glanced to my right and saw a baby warmer. FUCK THAT BABY WARMER. That stupid fucking baby warmer. I knew what that baby warmer meant: we were going to deliver my babies. I was hysterical. My husband tried to calm me down, and with the lack of information we had been given I think he was still holding on to hope, too. Here’s what I learned about emotion in that moment: it is completely possible to be numb to a situation due to shock, and still feel guilt, anger, and overwhelming sadness. When my doctor arrived, he looked distraught. He explained that I would probably deliver that night. My contractions were a steady at 2 minutes apart, I had dilated quickly, and nothing was going to stop it. At this point, the contractions were worse. Way worse. I was starting to feel like I would be one of those insane movie women. Did I want an epidural? There was a chance, he explained, that when I got the epidural that I could break my water. That was enough to bring clear my mind. I had to get it together. I was a mother. No epidural. I had to give these boys a chance.

Thursday, January 9th. No babies. I was still having contractions, this time every 3-5 minutes. But it seemed like my body had stalled. Dr. D was floored. He stayed all night, prepared to deliver. Dr. F (my other ob – the are partners in their practice), came in. He called the MFM in to talk to me, as they both believed I had an infection. At that point, I had “soft markers” for infection. It wasn’t until later that day that I started to get a fever, a high heart rate, low blood pressure, and an incredibly high white blood cell count. They both decided not to play God. I could tell they wanted to get our boys to 23 or 24 weeks. I did, however, finally give in for the epidural. I made Dr. F promise to stay outside the room in case my water broke. That stuff is liquid gold. Not only did it not cause my water to break, but it finally ceased to feel like a miniature world war was taking place in my belly.

My poor boys. I was so terrified of making my water break, I had stopped rubbing my belly. They loved it when I rubbed my belly. Whenever they were kicking away furiously, I would rub my belly and it would put them to sleep. I feel so guilty – they probably wanted their mommy’s comfort right then, but I just remember not wanting to move an inch in an effort to buy them more time. By this time, Tim and I had decided to name them Conner and Benjamin. I wasn’t going to have them be born baby “A” and baby “B.” The high risk ob, Dr. Z, came in. She explained their chances of survival. Hospitals consider 24 weeks to be viability. They have a chance of survival, but this is not without high risk for profound or severe disabilities. However, at this hospital they can save about 10% of babies at 23 weeks. Again – this is just a survival rate. This 10% can live with seizure disorders, never walk or talk, have cerebral palsy, be blind and/or deaf, require round the clock care… the list goes on. At 22 weeks, they have no chance. Most are too small for intubation. They would attempt to resuscitate them at our request, or we could swaddle them and make them comfortable and have them die in our arms.

To this day, I still have no idea how I was thinking so clearly. Maybe it was the same feeling I had when I initially denied the epidural, a motherly instinct. I just wanted to make them comfortable and let them pass, straight from my arms to Jesus. There would be no brain bleeds, no IVs in their head, no organ failure, no struggles to stay alive in an incubator. We knew if we requested that they try save them, it would only add, at most, days to their life. Those hours would be filled with pain, drugs, and isolation in a plastic world. And for what? So we could selfishly have more time with them? We could never do that to them. What if the intubation didn’t even work? We would have done ugly damage to their trachea and pained them for nothing. Dr. Z said, as a mother, she respected our decision. It was an easy decision for me, but also the most heartbreaking. I can’t look back at this  without thinking that I gave up on my boys. I also think if we had made the decision to try to save them, I would regret that as well. I loved (love) my babies. They were and still are my whole world. I had to hand my babies over to God.

You would think that the thought of heaven would be reassuring or relieve some of my pain, but I have to say that on most days it doesn’t. It was not their time yet. They should have been brought home, stolen pacifiers from each other’s mouths, played with their fire trucks, gotten dirty in our backyard, gone to school, graduated, gotten married… they should have done all of those things before going to heaven. They were 22 weeks. Their eyes were still fused shut. They wouldn’t even have a chance to see the world around them for their short time here.

Friday, January 10th. 4:30 a.m. Baby B’s water started to leak, and the rest happened quickly. Our pastor arrived at 5:30 a.m. so that he could be there to baptize them. Contractions got stronger and closer together. I felt like I needed to push. By then, it was evident that I had an infection. The babies could not survive the infection, even if I could carry them a couple weeks longer. The decision was made jointly by Dr. Z and Dr. F that they needed to break Baby A’s water bag to deliver. Dr. F couldn’t even look in the eye when he told me that. I could tell it was breaking his heart to have to do this. We knew what the end result would be. I told the nurse I didn’t want my babies cleaned before she handed them to me. We didn’t know if we had minutes or hours with them, and I wasn’t going to let them take time to clean them if that was the only time we had with them. Then it was time to push. Our pastor cried. We cried. I think our doctor cried. The boys were born into a bright hospital room, full of crying people.

Conner Timothy was born at 11:27 a.m., weighing 1 pound 2 ounces and measuring at 11.5 inches. I cried at every push, knowing that every effort my body made to get them out into the world was the same energy that was bringing them closer to their deaths. Tim cried and told me he looked like me, sounding like a proud daddy. Conner came to me, swaddled and perfect. I know I told him he was perfect, beautiful, and the best 22 weeks of my life. I know I told him I loved him. I know I told him how sorry I was. He was baptized in my arms. And then it was time to hand him to Tim so that I could deliver his brother.

Benjamin Michael was born at 11:43 a.m., also weighing 1 pound 2 ounces and measuring at 11 inches. Tim laughed as he told me they looked exactly alike. It wasn’t until we looked at them side by side that we realized they looked nothing alike. Benjamin looked more like a mix of both of us. I told him all the same things I told Conner, making sure that they both felt equally loved. Benjamin was baptized, and I couldn’t help thinking that God better hear this prayer and come get my babies before they struggle or suffer. I delighted in the fact that I had two sons. I sound crazy, I know. I knew the circumstances. But there is no way to look at your children and feel anything but joy. I was so proud of them.

Conner and Benjamin both passed quietly. Tim was holding Benjamin, watching his heart beat slower and slower until it finally stopped. Benjamin passed first. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him. The nurse took them over to that baby warmer that I hated so much to hear their heartbeats. Tim quietly came over to me and told me Benjamin was gone, but Conner was still with us. He handed Conner to me, and I sobbed quietly, then loudly, over his body. I didn’t want to know when he passed, so I didn’t watch his chest. I wanted to be saved of this agony. I silently asked God to take him before he suffered. Both of them had lived about 2 hours. The whole time, I worried about what they were feeling. Their nervous systems so immature, every source of stimuli probably overloaded their tiny bodies. They had taken a few breaths, and while it was incredible and beautiful to watch, I could not help but think how awful it was to take in such precious air only to be denied it immediately afterwards. Their skin was thin, and the warmth of the blankets were nowhere near as warm or as soft and soothing as the womb. The nurse and doctor said they were not suffering. I begged to differ.

Before they passed, Tim and I cradled our babies and told them how much they were loved. I may have said I’m sorry as many times and I said I love you. I stared at Benjamin’s beautiful face, thinking how much he reminded me of his father. His features were so well defined and delicate, with his little hand always reaching for his face and his head snuggled into his shoulder. I couldn’t bear to hand him to Tim, but I needed to spend time with Conner. Conner had made a couple of noises that sounded like hiccups. I wish I had a recording of this sound. It was beautiful: short and sweet, but it was probably a struggle for air. He stuck his little tongue out, almost in a playful manner. I had always worried with IVF that there might be an embryo mix up, but if Conner wasn’t my kid then I don’t know who else could be. My baby boys were so brave, so strong, and so handsome. Yes, every mother thinks their babies are the best looking babies in the world. But seriously, these boys deserve some sort of award.

Angel babies – we will meet again. Mommy can’t wait to hold you. Until then, may you never go a day without knowing my love for you.

 

Thank you to Krystal for sharing Conner and Benjamin’s story with us. Her writing is so vivid, I felt like I was there. Her boys sound like amazing little daredevils, full of energy and love. I imagine Lucy likes playing with them in heaven because they probably act a lot like her brothers on earth. I can’t imagine having to make such a heartbreaking decision of whether to try to keep them for several extra days with tons of medical intervention, or to let them pass peacefully in their Mommy’s arms. What a loving and selfless choice she made. Conner and Benjamin are lucky to have such a wonderful mother.

If you would like to share your baby’s story, just e-mail me at bethanysk55@yahoo.com You can share whatever you want about your baby, and you don’t have to include your name if you don’t want to. Also, I think your baby is just as important if you lost him/her at 6 weeks or at 40 weeks. Even if you never knew the sex of your baby, you might have had names picked out, a due date and lots of hopes and dreams for that child. All of that is important and is welcome here.

Remembering Our Babies- Baby Bohn

Every baby is special, every life is important, and every Mom wants to show off her baby. For those of us who lose our babies too soon, we don’t ever get to show them off and we rarely get to say their names or tell people about them. In our country, thousands of babies are stillborn every year, roughly one every twenty minutes. There are even more miscarriages. Here on my blog, I want to remember all of the lost babies and give their parents an opportunity to show them off. These Mamas are so proud of their babies and are going to share them with us here. We honor these little lives by acknowledging their presence with us, even if it was a very short time. Do you know how these babies are loved? Do you know that each baby was cherished by their families, even if they left only after a few weeks? Do you know how these babies are missed every single day? Please pray for these families, who have to live every day without their precious children.

BABY BOHN

My husband and I got married Aug 20, 2011, three days before my 30th birthday. Everyone asked us right from the get-go when we were going to have kids. My husband’s coy reply was always “In 2 years”, even after we’d been married for a year! We had discussed that we wanted to wait 2 years to try for a baby, so around Christmas 2012, we decided that since it usually can take up to 6 months to conceive once you actively start TTC, we were going to start trying in May 2013.

May came and went with no BFP. The 2 week wait that month was the longest 2 weeks of my life! June and July also came and went and I started losing hope that it would be as easy as we thought it would be.

In August, we had booked a hotel room in the Twin Cities for our anniversary/my birthday. We had a wonderful time and were relaxed and at ease the whole week. September 4th, I was supposed to go to work, when I woke up with a terrible tooth ache. The whole side of my face was swelled up and I ended up calling in to work and having to get my tooth pulled. I remember the dentist asking if I could possibly be pregnant. Since it was during the 2 week wait for that cycle, I told her yes, even though in my heart, I was seriously doubting it since I’d been disappointed the previous three months. Just to be on the safe side though, I told them it was possible and they took all the necessary precautions. I was then given Vicodin for pain relief and sent home. I only took the medicine twice because the pain wasn’t that bad, for which I was grateful. The rest of the time I used 2 ibuprofen, and that was only a couple times.

On Sept 9th, I called my mom and mentioned to her that my period was due the next day and that if I didn’t get it, I would test the following morning. I told her my breasts were tender, but that was normal right before my period. Sept 10th came, but my period did not, so the morning of Sept 11th, I took the pregnancy test. I wasn’t expecting much, but I just wanted to be sure. I laid it on the counter, cleaned up the bathroom a little bit, and when I went to look at the test, there was my faint second line! I was so shocked that I didn’t believe it. My husband was at work and wouldn’t be on his lunch break for a couple more hours. I ran to Walmart to get another test, a different brand, just to make sure that it wasn’t a false positive. Sure enough, another faint line!

At that point, my first emotion was despair and guilt… why would God let me finally get pregnant when I had been using these drugs that could harm the baby?! I burst into heart-wrenching sobs and just cried out to God until I had no tears left. Then, once I had control of my emotions again, I started to feel this unexplainable joy begin to blossom in my heart. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! My whole life, from the time I was old enough to know what babies were, I knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother. That had been my only dream for my life, above career, location… everything else paled in comparison to this longing in my heart.

I gathered up the positive tests and text my husband that I was going to come to his work and have lunch with him. Because we talked daily about whether the next test would be positive, when I showed him the positives, he wasn’t really surprised, but he was excited!

I went to the doctor that morning just to confirm that I was indeed pregnant. They told me that yes I was and my due date was May 17, 2014. I was walking on air during the whole appointment and the nurse was laughing because I couldn’t quit smiling. I was so excited because the timing was perfect. Since our wedding was in my birthday month, I wanted our baby to be born in my husband’s birthday month. My due date was 10 days after his birthday! It couldn’t have worked out any better than if I’d been able to plan it all on purpose!

I made a mental list of everyone I wanted to tell and in what order to tell them. I called my mom and told her I wanted to have lunch. We met up at a thrift store for some girl shopping time and I had the positive tests sitting on the passenger seat of my truck. I told her I had something for her in the truck and to come get it. She looked in there, picked up the tests, stared at them long and hard and said “Really?? I’m gonna be a grandma?!?!” We laughed and cried and hugged and she was just as excited as I was!

From there, it was a series of telling other family and friends. My aunt and family friend were the next to find out later that day. I wanted my dad there, but I wouldn’t see him until a few days later. It killed me to have to keep quiet until then, but I wanted him to be one of the first to know. He was so excited for us and it was worth the wait! Finally I was able to post it on Facebook after we told my husband’s family. Everyone we knew was so happy for us, knowing how badly I wanted a baby.

My only symptoms in the following weeks were extremely sore breasts, food didn’t taste good and my appetite was cut in half. My mom told me that was all that happened to her when she was pregnant with me, so I was hoping that would be the extent of my symptoms for the duration of the pregnancy. I told everyone at work that I was expecting, partly because I couldn’t keep it to myself and partly because I worked in retail and it can be very physically demanding at times.

Everything was going smoothly and I was keeping daily track of the fetal development. At 6 weeks, I posted on Facebook that the baby’s heart started beating that week! I was thrilled that in a few weeks, I’d be getting my first ultrasound and would hear the baby’s heartbeat!

At 7 weeks along, on the morning of Sept 29th, I got up for work and gave my husband a hug goodbye. I told him that it was weird, but my breasts didn’t hurt so bad that morning. I was glad because it was getting hard to cuddle with him when I couldn’t even rest my chest against him without extreme discomfort. I went to work and felt fine all morning. I had some mild cramping, but I had had that since I found out I was pregnant and mentioned it to the nurse, who said it was normal. Around noon, I went to use the restroom, and I saw there was a noticeable amount of blood in my panties. My heart dropped to my stomach and started to panic. I calmed myself down enough to leave the bathroom and decided to take my lunch break early so I could call the nurse hotline. The nurse said that I should go home and rest and if the bleeding got worse, to go to the ER, but that he didn’t think it was anything to worry about. But I knew that he was wrong. I knew that I was having a miscarriage. I went back into work and called my manager and told her that I thought I was having a miscarriage. I started crying while I was telling her and told her I was leaving for the day and I would keep her updated.

I called my husband and told him that I was bleeding and that I thought I was losing the baby. He told me to just get home so I could rest, so I got off the phone with him and called my mom. Her landlord worked at the hospital and she told my mom if I was bleeding, it was a good chance that the baby was already gone. My mom and I cried together on the phone until I got home, then, weeping, I fell into my husband’s arms and we just stood there, mourning the moment. I cried until I was exhausted, knowing that my dreams of becoming a mother to this child were shattered.

Throughout the afternoon, evening, and into the next morning, my body expelled all the tissue that had been sustaining the little life in my womb. Every hour I would get out of bed and collect more of what came out, so that I could bring it to the doctor the next day. As soon as the clinic opened that morning, I called and made an appointment. I cried through the whole thing. The midwife looked at the tissue I had brought in and said that it was definitely placental tissue and that it was evidence of a miscarriage.

I felt so empty. I felt like it must’ve been my fault for using the medication I’d been given for pain before I knew I was pregnant. The midwife assured me that miscarriage is just one of those things that happens more often than most people are aware, and that there is nothing that I did to cause it, and nothing I could’ve done to prevent it.

I went home and grieved through the day with my husband. The next day, we started calling our family and posted on Facebook that our baby went to be with Jesus. All our friends and family were as devastated as we were. We had a lot of support from everyone we knew, and people started telling us how they had gone through similar circumstances. It was so hard, but I was very grateful for the people God had placed in our lives, and their compassion for us in our darkest hours.

A few days later, my mom came over to keep me company so I wouldn’t be alone, and I told her the details of what happened. I told her that I didn’t think the baby had passed yet, or if it had, that I had missed it, and that it made me sad because if I had the baby, then I would be able to have a feeling of closure. Later that day, after my mom had left, I used the restroom, and one little piece of something came out that was different from everything else that had passed initially. It was the right size and shape to have been my baby, and I’m 98% sure that it was. I had a strange peace after that. I felt fiercely protective of this little life that never made it past 7 weeks formed.

That week, my husband and I took our baby, wrapped in a brand new blanket, and we buried our firstborn beneath a tree in my mom’s woods. We didn’t name our baby since we didn’t know the gender, but I know that God has a name for every life that He creates, and He has given our baby the perfect name in Heaven. I can’t wait to meet my child!

It has been almost 9 months and my baby’s due date has come and gone. It was a bittersweet time for me because of all the “could have been’s”. But I know that my baby is happy and healthy in God’s arms and if they can’t be in mine, there’s no other place I’d want them to be!

My husband and I are still trying to conceive again, but as of yet have been unsuccessful. I have surrendered our situation to the Lord and we are waiting on His timing. I praise Him that I got to be a mommy to my tiny little one even if for only a few weeks!

 

Thank you to Baby Bohn’s mommy for sharing her precious child’s story with us. I love seeing proud mama’s honoring their babies, regardless of how early they lost them. For all of you reading this, I would like to ask for you to pray for Tanya. Will you pray that God gives her a healthy rainbow baby SOON? I know how hard it is to wait and wait and wait for your baby of hope to come after losing a child. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Please pray that she doesn’t even have to wait one more month and that this next baby will end up healthy and screaming in her arms.

If you would like to share your baby’s story, just e-mail me at bethanysk55@yahoo.com You can share whatever you want about your baby, and you don’t have to include your name if you don’t want to. Also, I think your baby is just as important if you lost him/her at 6 weeks or at 40 weeks. Even if you never knew the sex of your baby, you might have had names picked out, a due date and lots of hopes and dreams for that child. All of that is important and is welcome here.

Our Baby Pax

It has taken me a while to write about our baby Pax because it was just too painful at first and I needed a little privacy to work through my fresh grief. I’m feeling healed enough now to share a little bit about our baby Pax.

Pax is our 5th child, who we lost to an early miscarriage in October. We thought he/she would be our rainbow baby after losing Lucy and Jude, but it wasn’t to be. We were so excited to get another positive pregnancy test, but very cautious with our hope. The exact same thing happened with Pax that happened with Jude in July. I got a positive pregnancy test, and another and another. I even tested with a few different brands to make sure it was right. After several days I noticed the second line on the tests stopped getting darker and a few days after that I noticed them getting lighter. We lost the baby at the exact same gestation as Jude. Strangely, I had a lot of peace the whole time. I think I’m learning to hold my children with an open hand (or maybe I’m just getting pessimistic.) Either way, God blessed me with peace as I was losing my third baby in eight months. That is a miracle.

My doctor reminded me that this early loss is not connected to anti-kell antibodies at all, since that can’t affect the baby until about 16 or 17 weeks at the earliest. The doctor couldn’t find any reason for this miscarriage, just like my last one with Jude.

We decided to name our baby “Pax” because it means peace. I always wanted to name one of my babies Pax, but Josh said absolutely not because Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have a kid named Pax and he didn’t want people to think we were copying them. Well, after we lost this baby he said we could use the name, so I finally got my baby Pax. I always wanted five kids and now I have them. I feel blessed, but it feels strange for my children in heaven to outnumber my children on earth.

Unfortunately, I never got an ultrasound picture of the baby, but I do have pictures of me while I was pregnant with Pax. Here I am with my boys (and baby Pax) at the Memphis zoo. It was a fun, sunny day and I remember feeling so happy, almost buoyant. I am blessed to have this one happy memory with my baby Pax (and my other two lovies, of course.)

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Pax was due on June 15th, my Dad’s birthday. It has been hard to see other women who are due in June announce their pregnancies. It is hard to see their bellies grow round with the life of their child while mine, yet again, remains flat. And it is hard to see my boys lose the heart to keep praying for a baby they can keep. Losing a baby is so hard, at any stage. Losing THREE is devastating. But God, He is my redeemer and He has given me peace. Nothing can separate me from His love and nothing can separate my children from His love. Even though I am not full of joy right now, it is well with my soul.

“JOY”  -One of my favorite songs since losing Lucy. I cry every time I hear it.

Ornaments for Lucy and her friends

The other night we put up our Christmas tree. It wasn’t as sad as I thought it would be because the boys were so excited and their joy was contagious. I did have a breakdown when I saw this ornament, which should be Lucy’s this year (It says “Baby’s 1st Christmas” at the bottom.)

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But instead I ordered this ornament for her and it looks so beautiful on the tree.

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The next day, the boys and I painted ornaments for Lucy and her friends in heaven. They still don’t know about their other two siblings in heaven, so I just included them as two more of “Lucy’s friends.” photo-19photo-20photo-21

Painting these ornaments for these babies made me so happy. Not much about Christmas this year has made me happy, but this did. The boys loved hearing all the names of Lucy’s friends, especially Liam. He understands much more than Asher and thinks heaven is a very cool place with cool people in it (and he’s right.) It seems to comfort him to know Lucy has friends to play with. He asked several times, “Mommy, tell me all the names again.” I love saying these babies’ names because they are not said enough. They should be said for a lifetime, but very few people hear their names spoken. They were spoken in my house on this day and it sounded beautiful to my ears.

We made ornaments for Simon, Milly Brandon, Lucy, Jude, Pax, Calvin, Luke, Rylan, Esther, Taidgh, Aubrey Rose and Ann Reese (both represented by the AR) and baby V. photo-18There were so many other babies I wanted to make ornaments for and I almost went back to Hobby Lobby to buy more ornaments to paint, but then I thought, “Where will it end?” I would have to buy several packs of ornaments if I wanted to make one for every baby that I know who has been lost. I don’t even know if they would all fit on my Christmas tree. That thought made me sad because how can so many babies die? How can so many parents and siblings go through this pain? So, this year I decided to only make as many ornaments that came in the pack I bought. As I worked on each ornament I prayed for the family who is missing their precious baby this Christmas. Every time I see these ornaments on the tree now I pray for these families. Liam was so excited about hanging all the ornaments on the tree and wouldn’t let anybody else do it.photo-23 photo-24photo-22

And of course, he hung them all at the very bottom of the tree 🙂

photo-25Merry Christmas Simon, Lucy, Jude, Pax, Luke, Rylan, baby V., Aubrey Rose, Calvin, Milly Brandon, Ann Reese, Esther and Taidgh. I know your first Christmas in heaven is going to be so much more amazing than all of our Christmases on earth put together.

*Edited to add- I just realized that this is not Ann Reese’s first Christmas in heaven. She died last Christmas Eve, so technically this is her second Christmas in heaven, although it’s not any easier on her family I’m sure.