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Ink Slingers Leticia Loss Respect Life Testimonials

Every Child Deserves a Name

There are many innocent babies killed by abortion every day in this country. It is my opinion that many of the women who get abortions and the many who work in those clinics are not evil. That is not to say that some are, but for the most part they are victims of a society that says that abortion is a perfectly logical choice when you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. A lot of post abortive women do not ever even let themselves ever think about the day their child was lost. I do not know what it is like to purposely go in and have someone take life out of my womb. But I do know what it is like to detach yourself from that kind of loss. I do know what it is like to walk around with a baby in your womb and make yourself forget that it is a child. A life. A soul.

 On this Feast Day of the Holy Innocents I blogged about my second child; my nameless child, who up until a year ago I had refused to allow myself to even think of, and this is that child’s story.

I was 18 when I moved to Houston. Some crazy drummer talked me into moving to the big city and getting out of Amarillo. I was so scared but I did it anyway. The day I left Amarillo was the first time I had ever taken a Taxi, or flown on a plane. It was the first time that I had EVER left my mom and done my own thing as an adult. She could not do anything but wish me well. That was a weird feeling. I had runaway plenty of times, but always knew that she would come after me. Not this time, this time I was an adult.

I loved Houston. It was the most beautiful city I had ever seen. I had never seen so many tall buildings in my life. There were so many people, so many things to do. I will always be so grateful for that drummer talking me into moving there. Life as an 18 year old in Houston Tx was so much fun.

I moved there in November of 1996 and I met my first husband in May of 1997. I had just turned 19 and I believed in true love and fairytales. When he told me he loved me I believed him. I still believe that he was telling me the truth. I told him if he loved me then he needed to marry me. I never really thought he would do it. He was not the “Ok I’ll marry you after only knowing you for 2 weeks” kind of guy. Both of us were broken and wanted to be loved. We found that in each other and so we got married. I didn’t even know what my last name was going to be until they issued us our marriage license.

There has been a lot of heartbreak and bad times since the day that we got married, but I will never regret marrying him. He was my friend and husband for 8 years. I loved him and still wish him the best in life.

As soon as we got married we wanted a baby. After having gotten pregnant at 16 without a husband I was ecstatic to be doing it right this time.  We got pregnant right away. It was awesome. Ben was working, we had our own place, he loved Anthony and Anthony loved him. It seemed like everything was perfect for the first time in our life. Anthony loved having his own room and a swimming pool. I worked part-time and spent most of my time growing the baby and taking care of Anthony.

One day, when I was in my 5th or 6th month,(I honestly don’t remember exactly how far along I was) we were at the pool and Anthony fell in without his floaties and was not able to swim. So I panicked and jumped in to save him. He was fine and we went into the apartment and everything seemed to be ok. A few days later I noticed that the baby was not moving. That was weird because by this time the baby had been doing somersaults. I told my husband and we decided to call the Doctor. The doctor said for us to come in and he would check me out.

The day of my appointment I had a bad feeling. I did not want to go in to the doctor’s office and I kept thinking “this is bad”.  The doctor gave me a sonogram and I could see a perfect little baby. Head, hands, feet and everything, and looked so much like the pictures of Anthony’s ultrasounds. Only difference is there was no movement and no heartbeat. I knew it before he ever even had a chance to tell me. That may have been why I didn’t hear anything he said except “I’m sorry, your baby is dead”.

I think that a huge part of me died along with that child that day. Even now I do not want to think about it, I do not want to write this blog and I’m so angry. I’m angry that a doctor who just told a 19 year old girl that her baby is dead did not have the God given sense to send me to grief counseling. That he made me wait a week to have a D&C. That he didn’t ask me if I wanted to know what the baby was, or if I wanted to bury him or her. Nothing. He did nothing, it was just another day at the office for him.

For me it was a nightmare. I had learned at a young age that if something breaks your heart you just shove it deep down and pretend it is not happening until it is over. It was my fault. Everything was always my fault. I had put myself here, I had gotten knocked up and I had had the nerve to think that *this* time I would be happy. I knew better. Happy was not for me. That was for people who God actually cared about. And that was not me.

On the way home Ben asked what he could do to help me, how could he help. I said I just wanted a cigarette and to go to sleep. For the next week I ate Tylenol PM’s like candy and slept until the day I went in for my D&C. I never said the word “baby”.  And nobody ever talked to me about it other than the stupid people who had the guts to say “Well maybe God didn’t think it was the right time for ya’ll to have a baby” NO SH@*! That’s what I wanted to say. But instead I went to bed. I slept for weeks and weeks. When I wasn’t sleeping I was crying.  My poor Anthony, he would sit in bed with me and read me his favorite book.

Finally one day he crawled into bed with me and said “Mommy, I am sorry that I killed the baby”. I just looked at him and said “You didn’t kill the baby Anthony. Why do you think that?” and he said “Because I didn’t listen to you. I jumped in the pool without my floaties and then the baby died” I love my son and I was not going to let him think that it was his fault that this had happened. I told him it was not his fault and that it would be ok. I got up from that bed and I never looked back.  That child did not exist as far as I was concerned and I wouldn’t think about what had happened for the rest of my life.

That was the plan and I kept that plan until the day that I went to the abortion clinic to pray and met a woman who was pregnant. She was pretty far a long and didn’t even know that she was pregnant. I knew the minute that I saw her, but she was in denial. I talked to her and then gave her a ride to the John Paul II Life center. Dr. Kalamarides gave her a sonogram and that is when the lights turned on for her. That was when she realized that there was a baby in her womb. It was the complete opposite of what happened to me the day I was told that my baby was gone.  It was enough to make all the memories of that loss come rushing back, and I had NO idea what to do with them.

I cried and cried because I realized what a D&C was now. I know what they have to do to get a child that big out of the womb. I knew that my child was either a boy or a girl and I had NO idea which. I realized that I had not ever even acknowledged this child as my child. I was a horrible mother. The only place I knew to turn was to my Church. I had to tell God I was so sorry and I knew that the place to tell him in words, with my voice that I was sorry was in Confession. That is where I went.

Father heard my confession. I was really a wreck.  Father was so kind and caring during my confession. He cried with me, and he told me that God understands my pain. That it is not too late to start healing from my loss. He told me a lot of other great things; he is such a great confessor. One thing he told me is that I should name the baby, when I felt ready to do so.

On the Feast of the Holy Innocents, I was finally ready.  The name I choose is Mary Grace. I do not know if my baby was a girl, but I’m sure that my Blessed Mother has been holding my child in her arms for me all these years.

I now realize that happy is for me. God loves me, and all of those things that I thought about Him were so wrong.

In the memory of my child I would ask everyone to please pray for all the children who are lost to us before they are born; both by abortion and by miscarriage, and for their mothers. I pray that we can become a culture where every mother who is in the same situation I was in is given the chance to grieve for her child, and no other mother is expected to make the choice between her life and her child’s life.

May no other child’s life be forgotten. Every child deserves a name.

PS That baby I told you about earlier was born healthy and given up for adoption. I hope that he grows up to be a wonderful person.

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Guest Posts Loss Respect Life Testimonials

A God-Given Full Circle

Pregnant.

I never could have guessed just how much a single word could impact my life. The reading on the digital test couldn’t be right. And yet, it was equally impossible that three early response digital pregnancy tests could be wrong. My heart was in my throat and my head was spinning. I was engaged, not married, and my fiancé and I had succumbed to temptation, and that temptation resulted in pregnancy.

With sweaty, shaking hands I called my fiancé to tell him the news. After a long pause he responded.

“This is a blessing.” If one word could have a great impact, four could surely carry a greater weight. I immediately felt better about the situation.

The next few weeks were spent preparing; we moved up our wedding date with the approval of our priest, informed our parents, and we had our first prenatal visit. My fiancé had taken away much of the nervousness of being pregnant out of wedlock, and I was starting to experience some mild pregnancy symptoms. I was starting to grow accustomed to the idea of being an expectant mother.

But I still had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was excited and couldn’t wait to meet my child. Yet on the other hand, I was wracked with embarrassment and guilt. I knew an out-of-wedlock pregnancy would deeply embarrass my family, and I was not looking forward to the reaction of extended family and friends. Very few were made aware of our “situation,” mostly at my request, and these individuals were mainly our bridal party and a few very close friends. I alternated between crying out of joy for becoming a mother, and out of fear, trepidation, and embarrassment over the nature of the child’s conception. I was only starting to come to terms with it when I was around 9 weeks pregnant.

That week, I was visiting my fiancé who lived a state away. I was taking care of him while he was dealing with a pulled calf muscle that was causing him significant pain. He was nearly healed, and we were going to attend a marriage prep class the upcoming weekend. Our wedding was only about a month away.

Then I noticed something while using the restroom in the middle of the night…blood. I was awake all night worried about what it might mean, but did not want to overreact. Fortunately, we had chosen to have my OBGYN for my pregnancy be a pro-life physician in the town my fiancé lived in, since I was to move there after our wedding. I called him in the morning and went to the hospital where he was doing rounds as the head of the OB Triage unit. My fiancé sat down in the chair next to me and held my hand as the OB applied the ultrasound probe. We saw our baby on the screen. Our child was so much bigger than at the first appointment! It was amazing how much a baby could develop in those three short weeks. But something was wrong…terribly wrong. There was no heartbeat.

The rest of the visit with the doctor was a blur. There was talk of doing a D&C in a few days if the child did not pass on his or her own. There were quiet, sympathetic looks; considerate and kind words. But none of it registered. They had to be wrong. The machine just missed the heartbeat; I was sure of it.

But the bleeding grew more significant, and the contractions began. I was glad for the intense physical pain; it distracted from my emotional struggle. I was kicking myself. God had taken this baby away from me because I had not been positive enough about his or her presence. He was taking away the blessing he gave us because I hadn’t appreciated it. If only I hadn’t been so negative!

A day passed, as did my little one from my body. Not knowing the gender, but with my fiancé suspecting it was a girl, we named her Olivia Elyse. We buried her.

The first two months of marriage were made difficult by my depression over having both miscarried and not being pregnant immediately. Two cycles went by without a positive test. We were about to move cross-country and I finally decided to hand it over to God. I wanted a baby terribly, but I needed to start to let go. We said goodbye to friends and family, trekked across the country, and were waiting for our things to make it to our new apartment…a delay that caused us to spend a few nights on an air-mattress and eat takeout. And then I took “the test.”

POSITIVE.

We were elated; excited. We couldn’t wait! My nerves were a mess. I couldn’t bear for “it” to happen again. I couldn’t lose another baby. But we didn’t lose this baby.

Our baby girl was born nine months later, on the exact day that my first child left my womb.

I cannot explain the kind of simultaneous dread and anticipation that giving birth on the death date of a previous child brings. I know I will never forget that first baby, but I truly believe it was God’s gift to me to heal my heart by bringing my beautiful, healthy girl to me on the year anniversary of her big sister’s death. Now at nearly five months old, my daughter is the light of our life, and we simply cannot wait to make her a big sister sometime in the future. It has been well over a year now since I lost Olivia, but I no longer feel that incredibly sad ache in my heart. There are moments that I am sad and miss her, but sharing her story helps to give her life a purpose. To celebrate life from conception and to share how her life, though incredibly short, mattered and changed the course of our little family’s history.

St. Olivia, pray for us!

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A New Beginning

Well here we are…a few days before delivery…and so many thoughts are swirling through my head.

I am so blessed to be Meagan’s mommy. I think this has been meant to be for a long time.

Last Fall I remember feeling funny – Maura was still nursing, so I had no “typical” signs of being pregnant, but I just had a feeling. I took a test and sure enough, positive!  I was so excited – I didn’t really have an exact number as to how far along I was because of the nursing, but, I had a good idea.  I had very low progesterone with my previous pregnancy, so, I decided to call my doctor. She said to come right in so they could draw my blood and check.  They dated the pregnancy – I was due in early June 2011!

I remember a few days later getting the results – my Beta numbers (pregnancy horomone) was fine…but my progesterone number was abysmal.  I was immediately scared and worried.  She put me on progesterone supplements right away – but my blood draw two days later told me all I needed to know. My progesterone had not recovered – and now my Beta numbers were dropping.

I was going to lose this pregnancy.

I started to think – “How can this be happening?” I had three great, fairly “uneventful” pregnancies…and this was all new territory for me.  The worst part was the waiting – just knowing it was going to happen, and then waiting for the inevitable.  Knowing I’d never meet the life inside of me – not in this world.  It was such a hard week.

Being a musician, one of my “outlets” has always been music. Stressful times, sad times, disappointing times…they were always made better by me practicing and putting my emotions into that music.  Ironically, that next weekend, I had our Fall concert with the Symphony…all I could think about is “Oh no…what if I start to miscarry that weekend?? What will I do?

Sure enough, the Saturday of our concert, October 15, 2011, I started to bleed. I didn’t know what I was going to do, or how I would get through it.  I remember being at rehearsal – seeing all the smiling faces of my fellow musicians…hearing them laugh/joke around because it had been a while since we’d all seen each other. And all I could think about was my baby leaving me.  It was the hardest weekend I’ve ever had.  I had to sit there and play – and no one knew what was going on. I was not up for saying anything – it was all so raw.  Being pregnant, whether surprised or not, is natural. It’s what women are built for. Having the baby and not being pregnant anymore is also natural.

But being pregnant, knowing my baby was inside, and then knowing my body was shedding it – was just devastating.

On top of everything, Maura suddenly stopped nursing that weekend as well.  She would still nurse about 4 times a day…and in the previous days I had loved it even more. It brought me comfort in such a sad time. But suddenly, when I actually started to lose the baby, she would start to eat and then immediately pull away screaming.. or make faces like she didn’t like it anymore. My only guess was that the sudden change of horomones had also changed my milk and she didn’t care for it.  So the same weekend I lost the baby, Maura also quit nursing. It was a low blow emotionally.

After 9 days of bleeding, 2 weeks of cramping, and several emotional breakdowns, my miscarriage was “complete”…such hollow words.

No baby.

No due date.

No new baby items.

No nothing.

Brian and I did name the baby – it was still our baby – and was still alive in me – even if only for a short time. We always felt it had been a boy – and I had even dreamed of a little boy… so we named him ‘Jack.‘  There is not a day that goes by where we don’t think of baby Jack. The girls know about him – they know there was a baby in mommy’s tummy.. who went straight to heaven. They know they have a saint in heaven in baby Jack. They know that our goal for our children is to get them to heaven.. and.. baby Jack got called early by God.

There is nothing like going through the loss of a pregnancy… it is not only a sad feeling, but, a completely EMPTY feeling. It is an emptiness like no other – the emotions came in waves. The only ‘saving grace’ for me is that I know Jack is in heaven…My doctor (who was wonderful)  told me it was out of my control – because it happened naturally…babies who are meant to be born go to term… and babies that are not meant to be born, have something wrong with them – and our bodies know it – so God calls them to heaven early…I still have trouble with the phrase “naturally” though…I know my body failed my baby… but it just isn’t natural to have my baby ripped from my womb. It’s not natural for a mother and child to be separated… I will always feel empty for Jack because even if I have more children in the future, he was unique. He was the only baby Jack there will ever be. And I will always hold him close to my heart in everything I do.
Fast forward to Christmas time 2010…Brian and I talked, and we were ready to try again.  I remember being scared – everything in those first weeks was pins and needles now.  I took a test in late January, and I just “knew” I was pregnant. The test results were VERY light, but, I knew we had another baby on the way.  Of course this time I immediately called my doctor again. She brought me in for a progesterone draw – this time, my Beta numbers were fine, but my progesterone was very low – again.  She put me on supplements immediately, and we had to wait. I was extremely worried this one would end the same way as the last – but luckily, two days later, my second blood draw showed that my progesterone numbers had gone UP! Thank God — this looked like it was going to be a baby that stuck around! Even a better sign, I thought – was baby’s due date. After my initial appointment, my doctor said…ok! Everything looks good so far – looks like we will be having a baby on October 15th, 2011.
I remember being taken aback – October 15th?? Oh my… same day I started to miscarry last year. I started to worry and all the emotions flooded back. But then I also remember thinking
“Thank you Jack – thank you for giving me something to look forward to – so I could have a good memory on that day.”
The first trimester was nervewracking anyway – even after we saw the heartbeat, there was the fear. Then when we neared the 13 week mark and I could stop taking my progesterone, there was the anxiousness that my body would take over properly once the supplements stopped. It was a very nervous time.  I remember seeing the baby for the first time in such an amazing way at my 13 week scan. The baby was wiggling all over – two arms, two legs, body, head, facial features — baby was PERFECT! We were so elated, and relieved!
We pretty much carried this excitement into our 20 week scan. We were so glad to be past the “scary part” and on to what was a successful pregnancy. All the worry of miscarrying had pretty much left us, and we were so excited for that mid-way scan.  We decided to not find out the sex (we had 3 of our 4 be surprises and loved it).  We went in for our scan – and I remember the doctor going over everything with us – how perfect baby looked…all parts present…etc…and then the words…
“Baby has fluid in the brain – we are going to have to send you to a Specialist.”  My heart sank – not in disappointment about the baby or what could be wrong with her – because we would accept any child… but more in a way where all my emotions from the previous October came flooding back to me.
“Please Lord, I cannot do this again – I cannot lose the baby again.”
Now as I sit here ready for delivery, even with all we’ve been through, all Meagan’s issues, and all the uncertainties we have in the future with her…I finally realize why I was meant to only have Jack inside for eight weeks.  Because Meagan was meant to come to us – to our family.  She needed a lot – she had a lot of struggles, and God must have thought she needed to be with us.  This could have never happened without us going through the loss.  I realize now that the pain we endured last Fall was so Meagan could come be with us now – because we were meant to be her family.
I titled this post “A New Beginning” because it really is in so many ways.  We have a new beginning with a new baby after our loss last year.  We have a new beginning with Meagan’s journey – it’s not the end of a pregnancy, but, the beginning of Meagan’s life. We have a new beginning of an unknown chapter of Meagan’s journey…and we have a new beginning as a family with a new little girl to care for. It is also a new beginning emotionally – as we take all the emotions we felt when we went through with the miscarriage…all the emotions we have been through with Meagan’s diagnosis…and try to focus all that energy on carrying for Meagan and helping her develop to her greatest potential.
Baby Jack – watch over your sister and help her come to us safely.  Stay by her through surgery – and hold her hand while she is in the NICU recovering. 
We will always be your mommy and daddy. We look forward to meeting you one day in Heaven. We miss you and love you – but now we realize you are meant to be Meagan’s little Saint…
and we know you will be a great big brother to her.
Meagan – we cannot wait to see you. We are now just days…hours away from seeing you.  Know you have a lot of people praying for you – two parents here waiting to hold you…four beautiful sisters here waiting to smother you with hugs and kisses.. and one very special big brother who will be with you all the times we can’t.
**Molly can be found writing at Priceless Little Pearl, where she will take you on the journey of their newest daughter Meagan’s in-utero diagnosis of Fetal Hydrocephalus, through birth and going strong. In a world that is quick to abort at the slightest little inconvenience or medical hurdle, their story will touch your heart.**
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Ink Slingers Loss Marie Respect Life

A Wave of Light, A Wave of Love

Every year on October 15 the nation quietly pauses to remember lost babies. It’s a day that most people don’t even know about. You won’t find it marked on any calendar when you buy it in a store, or find cards for the occasion in even a tiny corner of Hallmark, but it’s an important day for those of us who have lost babies. The day has existed since President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation in 1988 and serves to, among other things, “inform and educate the public about pregnancy and infant loss.”

A tradition on this day is that at 7:00 pm in each time zone a Wave of Light will move across the country, and the world. All families who have lost a baby either by pregnancy or infant death should light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour. The wave of light will serve as a reminder that there are those of us who still remember – and those who have not suffered a loss pause to surround us in love. I will be lighting seven candles.

One of my favorite parts of being Catholic is that I don’t have to justify to anyone that my babies existed. I’ve told my story of their losses so I won’t repeat that today, but none of my Catholic friends have ever questioned their existence. I have friends of other faiths who have said “but it’s not like you were really pregnant, right? I mean, is it really a baby when you didn’t know that they were there?” But as a Catholic who believes that life begins at the moment of conception I don’t have to wonder who’s right.

Today a friend of mine posted this beautiful quote from the late Elizabeth Edwards, which I think is really fitting for the day:

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and…that is a great gift.” ~Elizabeth Edwards

Today I pause to remember my angels in heaven: Peter John, Annette Abigail, Matthew Luke, Elizabeth Teresa, Faith Marie, Patrick Alexander, and Charles James. Love never dies. Your Mom & Dad still love you and think of you often. Watch over us and hold us close.

If you are struggling today and missing an angel know that I am praying for you, know that you’re surrounded with love today.