10 October 2017

In a Year's Time

As I sit here just seven weeks away from giving birth to our second son, I can’t help but reflect on the fact that I’ve been pregnant for over a year. Your eyes do not deceive you, I said I’ve been pregnant for over a year. I know it seems unthinkable, but it’s true. Let me explain…

It had been a month since we celebrated Cannon’s (our first born) first birthday when I found out I was pregnant again. While we were excited, we were also shocked because it had been six years between our first [ectopic] pregnancy and Cannon. We had been preparing to start trying again once Cannon turned 18mos old. Well needless to say, God had other plans for our family. He obviously wanted to let us know that there was no need to worry ourselves over needing anything except his Grace and Mercy to get pregnant again.

I’ll admit, I was petrified to have two kids under the age of two! This baby was due less than a month before Cannon’s second birthday. The thought of it gave me such anxiety that I was losing sleep at night! While overwhelming, the thought of being a badass tandem-nursing Mama did excite me. I worried so much about being prepared for another baby; about Cannon being ready to be a sibling. I don’t think I’d ever been so confused with my emotions. I wanted and prayed for this baby, but I was SO  afraid of everything that came along with being a Mom of two under two. Nonetheless, we pressed forward and set an appointment with our midwives to confirm the pregnancy.

At about 6wks we went in to have an ultrasound to be sure that this embryo had implanted properly. At that ultrasound, there was evidence of a fetal pole, but no heartbeat yet. We were advised that it may be too early for a heartbeat or we may be dealing with a blighted ovum and asked to return in two weeks. We proceeded with our lives as if we were having another baby in a few months (read: we still had no wine in the house), but were emotionally preparing ourselves for the possibility that this pregnancy would not yield a baby.

During that two-week wait, we lived our lives in prayer. We prayed that we were able to accept God’s decision for our family and that we allowed Him to use us as He saw fit. We’d told our families and close friends that we were pregnant and what was happening with us. They offered their prayers and we accepted. I read countless stories of this happening to women and they go back at 8wks for another ultrasound and there was a healthy embryo with a beating heart. We were optimistic.

A day or so before our second ultrasound, I spoke with my dad. I explained to him how I was feeling and how optimistic I was because I trust God. His words to me were the most empowering I’d heard in this trying time. He said “Well Babygirl, God can and will turn anything around.” That let me know that as unemotional as my dad is, the last thing he wants for his girls (I have three sisters) is to hurt. I keep those words close to me as we approached our second appointment.

At the appointment, we saw more of a developed embryo, but still no heart beat. We were crushed, but knew that God had a plan for us. Once we were done with the ultrasound, the doctor spoke with us and told us that there was no cardiac activity and that more than likely this pregnancy would end shortly. He gave us the option to spontaneously abort (wait it out to miscarry), have a D&C, or to take a prescription drug that would encourage a miscarriage in a few days. We told him we wanted some time to think it over, so he led us into the lobby while he wrote the prescription in the event we wanted to “get it over with.”

While we waited, I turned to Keenan and said to him with tear filled eyes, “I want to birth my baby no matter what. This is our baby and I want to give him or her a birth. Who are we to make this decision for our baby when God has a plan for us and them.” He accepted my words and my choice and we left the office with the prescription in hand (just in case we changed our minds).

A month or so later, Keenan had a work trip planned in Las Vegas, so I took that as an opportunity to get away and relax for a few days (this was my first time leaving Cannon overnight). I drank a little wine at that point because I knew that this pregnancy was no longer progressing (although my uterus was still growing) and I needed to really relax. I had been bleeding off and on for over a month and was exhausted. Still, I wanted to give my body a chance to do what it was designed to do.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years had come and gone and I started thinking that I was crazy for waiting out this miscarriage for so long (at this point, I would have been in my second trimester).  I was tired of wondering when my body would expel the pregnancy, so I decided I would make one last appointment with my doctor to discuss my options again. I called on a Monday and they had an opening for me Wednesday of that same week.

That Tuesday, my mom and I were out shopping and I started cramping like crazy. I was passing blood clots every time I used the bathroom. I was pretty sure this was it. This was the birth of my baby. We decided to go home, so I could lie down and relax some. The entire ride home was gruesome. I used the Hypnobabies techniques to get through the pain as much as possible, but I couldn’t wait to get home, so I could stretch out and do what my body was telling me to do. (I texted Keenan to let him know what was going on, but told him I thought I was ok and to stay at work. He left about 2hrs early anyway.)

Once we made it back to my house, I ate something and took some Advil to help with the pain. I was in a daze. I was happy to be alone (my mom was tending to Cannon). I was happy to be birthing our baby. I was in agony (nothing like giving birth to Cannon), but I was elated at the same time. As with birthing Cannon, movement was the best thing I could do for myself. I swayed and squatted for an hour or so and spent most of the time in the bathroom. Once my body gave me the go ahead, I was able to lie down and rest with very little cramping and slept for a while.

By the time Keenan was home, I was still sore, but I felt a sense of invigoration that I made it through. I was able to take it easy and rest up for our appointment the next day.

At our appointment, we decided to go ahead and schedule a D&C to be sure everything had been eliminated. We were on schedule for the procedure a few days later and I can honestly say that I was ready. I had given myself the time I needed to accept and grieve. I gave my body a chance to work based on Gods design. I had given myself the freedom to follow my heart. With that, I didn’t even think of the D&C as anything more than an outpatient procedure as opposed to the first time we lost a baby in the hospital. The first time I felt robbed. Robbed of my choices. Robbed of my rights. Robbed of my time.

Needless to say, I had one menstrual cycle before we were pregnant again. Ironically, Cannon was about 19mos old when we found out this pregnancy. I felt ready this time. Ready to have two children (still scared as hell even now, but ready). Ready for what God has asked me to do. Ready to celebrate all of our children. I am ready.

So that is how I’ve been pregnant for over a year.  

12 July 2016

The little guy and the breastfeeder

 I used a midwife practice that had a maternal fetal medicine specialist and an OBGY in their office (they were mandated to do so by the state). Because I had some procedures done on my cervix well over ten years ago, I had to see the MFM who was concerned about my lo's measurements and size. As my pregnancy progressed my appointments with her increased (I still saw the midwives as well) because my son was at risk to have interuterine growth restriction or IUGR, (my placenta wasn't "nourishing" him properly). At 34ish weeks she threatened that we would need to induce at 37 weeks because he was below average in weight. All the while, none of my midwives or ultrasound techs were concerned. I cried and cried at one of the visits because I felt like I was faced with deciding whether or not to let him be or deliver him. I was scared out of my mind for that moment because I had done so well my entire pregnancy. I hadn't allowed ANY negativity to enter my mind, but THIS? This had me shook. 
One day it dawned on me, I'm 4ft 11in ,140lbs at 9 mos pregnant, my mom is 4ft 9in, my dad is 5ft 6in. My in laws are about the same and my husband is a whopping 5ft8in!!!! I decided that I wasn't going to let this woman get the best of my positivity. I went and got a second opinion and that doctor said "You have to pay attention to who you are being measured against. These 'percentiles' are based on babies born to parents of Anglo Saxon decent in the Midwestern portion of America. Babies born to parents of African and Asian decent are often misdiagnosed with this because they are not accounted for in the 'population' of babies studied. Your baby is fine, you are small and so is your husband. If you still are concerned, you should have the option to induce, but it should be your option, not forced upon you." 
My husband and I thanked him and considered changing practices, but I was about 37 weeks at the time. and didn't have the energy to do the footwork and get to know any new midwives.  Once the mfm caught wind that I had a second opinion, she changed her tune and "cleared" me to wait until my son was ready to be born "because my husband and I aren't large people". He was born naturally at 39w4d weighing 6lbs 2.5 oz. 20inches long. There was even concern after he was born about his weight gain. I was encouraged then to supplement with formula, but I  refused and kept at breastfeeding or two weeks. He ended up gaining and was perfect and has been since then. 
My point is trust yourself and trust your higher power (for me that's God). You are equipped to do what it is your body is supposed to do. Sometimes it just takes patients and a little self evaluation to realize you are just fine and it really is mind over matter. BFing is not for everyone just as natural birthing isn't, but if it's your hearts desire you should have it. I pray that this  is nothing but encouraging to the preggo mamas that are nervous about BFing and the mamas discouraged at this point. Don't give up, keep searching for someone that can help you.

24 August 2015


SURPRISE, I HAD A BABY! Yep, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy boy 6 weeks ago today. It seems just like yesterday that I was wondering if I would ever see the day where I would be called mama. Of course my little one isn't quite old enough to talk, but just the look in his eyes when he hears my voice or the calm in his breath when I pick him up is prize enough.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for his role in bringing my son, Cannon into the world. Even in the wee hours of the morning, I'm grateful to be waking up with Cannon to feed or a diaper change or sometimes just to cuddle. Its all such a blessing to watch him grow and change everyday and beyond that, its so awesome to see God at work 24 hours a day.

With that said, I really want to share my and Cannon's birth story. Let me start out by saying that I started preparing myself after the loss of our first baby for Cannon's birth. A client of mine referred me to the book "Supernatural Childbirth" by Jackie Mize and I've read and given it as gifts ever since then.  Most recently (as in 4 months into my pregnancy), I purchased "Ina May's Guide To Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin and read the stories of many of the women that gave birth on "The Farm". These stories were so empowering for me and filled with such  intensity, that I didn't finish reading the entire text. I do, however, believe I got out of it what God intended for me. As my pregnancy progressed, I started the "Hypnobabies" home study program and Keenan and I attended a four week "Birthing From Within" course all of which had us extremely prepared to give birth they way we wanted to.

On the morning that my birth started, I told Keenan, "We are going to have a baby within the next 24 hours." I decided to sit and bounce on our exercise ball for 20 minutess or so that morning as well as later that afternoon. Around 5:00 that afternoon, I decided to take a short walk, but since it was so hot at that time, we waited until about 7:30 or so to go out. I told Keenan I was having surges, so the walk may be shorter than expected. My mom went with us on the walk, but I didn't want to tell her I was having surges (she would have panicked and caused me to do the same), so I decided to power through them on our walk. Once we got back home, I had a very powerful surge and thought "Oh boy, that one was pretty serious!" I told Keenan that I thought this may be it, so we decided to get our room even more ready than it was and make sure we had everything we needed for the hospital.

Once we were done packing bags and cleaning, I decided to sit and bounce on the exercise ball a little more while I twisted my hair. We were watching a movie that happened to be a comedy and I found myself laughing at the funniest parts. That's when I started doubting if I was actually starting the birthing process; I thought maybe I had a UTI or bladder infection because that's kind of what my surges felt like. I told Keenan I wanted to shower to see if they stopped or if it would help, so he helped me get in and waited there for me as I let the hot water beat on my belly. Let me tell you, that was a genius idea at the time! It helped keep me calm and focused on what was happening.

After the shower, I told my mom I was surging and thought I was in the early phases of birthing, but not to panic. She called my sister, who came over within minutes and I went back to our room and Keenan and I started timing the surges, but they were irregular. Some were 2 minutes apart while others were 11 minutes apart. Not to mention, they didn't seem to last an entire minute (I was attempting to follow the 5-1-1 plan). Keenan got a little nervous because of the unknown and insisted we call the midwife. At this point, it was probably around 11:00pm and when we spoke to her she said it sounded like I was in the early phase of birthing and to give it more time. She did end the conversation with "If you disagree with me, feel free to go to the hospital. Just call my cell phone when you're on your way." I, for one, was content with her assessment and advice (I didn't want to go to the hospital to only be sent home), but after a few more minutes of watching me have the surges, Keenan thought it would be best to head to the hospital and I complied because I didn't know where I was in the process. Before we left, I asked Keenan to go to the grocery store (for what I can't remember) and he was back within what seemed like 5 minutes. He packed the car and we headed to the hospital with my mom and sister following behind us.

There was a certain electric feeling in the air as we were driving...it began to rain as we got into the car and lightening began to scatter across the sky. It was absolutely beautiful! Beyond that and Keenan calling his parents, I don't remember much about the car ride to the hospital.

When I got into a triage room around 1:00am, the nurse checked my cervix and I was 2.5 cm dilated, which I wasn't happy to hear because I had been told that the active part of birthing starts at around 5-6 cm and anything lower than that, you may be sent home. I continued to surge as the nurse and administrative staff came in and out of the room asking questions and giving us forms to fill out. Once it got quiet, Keenan left the room to get our bags out of the car. While he was gone, I asked about water birthing and the triage nurse asked for my certificate. *What certificate?* I needed to take a course and receive a certificate in order to have a water birth. Talk about deflated...that was the first tear I shed since I began the birthing process. I was so devastated and when Keenan got back into the room, I just lost it completely. My mom thought it was because of the surges (because that was her experience), but it truly was because my birth plan was being derailed and I had just gotten started. Meanwhile, she advised me to try to walk the halls of the hospital for two hours to see what happens. It was about an hour until I became anxious to find out my progress and returned to the triage room. A few minutes later, the nurse came back and checked me (I was then 3 cm) and informed me that most of the time when patients are less than 5 cm, they were sent home with a mild sedative and asked to come back the next day, but we would wait for Gloria, the midwife to arrive and asses me. Needless to say, I started praying right then and there. There was NO WAY my birth plan could go wrong this early in.

My mom and sister decided to go back home since there was no telling when things would pick up for us. No sooner than they left, Keenan's parents arrived. They'd come to say hi and to let us know they would be in the waiting room (by this time, it was about 3:30am). 

While we waited on Gloria to arrive, I decided to change positions in the bed to all fours and turn my "Hypnobabies" program on. I believe I fell asleep until Gloria arrived, at least an hour and a half later. When she came into the room I was so relieved to see her simply because I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. She checked my cervix and I was at 5cm!!! She said "Let's get you admitted." I immediately asked about the water birthing certificate and Gloria told us to get online, do the course (read pay $30) and she would print our certificate out for us.  Keenan borrowed his mom's iPad and "did the course". *YES!!! My birth plan was back on track!!*

While we waited to complete admission paperwork, the surges continued on and I knew it was time to really implement what I'd learned in our class, through my readings, and Hypnobabies. Keenan had to leave the room for a few minutes and while he was gone someone came in for me to sign some documents. When they left, I was still there alone. I decided to take the advice of our class coach and straddled the the toilet backward (of course I cleaned it first because I'm a little crazy). As I sat there rocking back and forth I remembered that my mom always told me to recite Psalms 23 when I felt the need. My granny had told her to do the same as she was growing up and became an adult.

As I began to recite what I could remember at the time, tears began to flow again. This time it was because I really felt the presence of my granny there and moreover, God. It was at that moment that I knew my birth plan would go as I had prayed and worked so hard for. When Keenan got back, he found me there, straddled the toilet with me and rubbed my back. It was at that point I decided that I wanted to talk to my body, specifically my cervix. I started grunting and chanting the phrase "OPEN UP!" As I did that Keenan would chant along with me and we used that phrase throughout the birthing process. Not long after that, I was wheeled to the delivery room followed by Keenan and all of our belongings. 

The second I got situated in the room, I decided to try the shower again. A friend of mine mentioned that the shower was amazing for her once she was in active labor, so it was pretty much a given for me to give it a shot. I have to say, at this point, in between surges the shower was awesome, but during surges,  not so much. I can't explain why the feeling wasn't comfortable for me, but I tried it, and I'm happy I did because now I know what will work for me and what will not. Not long after getting out of the shower, Gloria came to check me again and I was 7cm!!!! I asked her when would be a good time to call my birth photographer, and she advised me to ask her to come at that moment. So, I did. I also called my mom to let her know I was 7cm and that she and my sister better had come back soon. By that time it was about 7:30 am, the surges were coming back to back and Keenan and I decided to walk the halls again while we waited for the birthing pool to be prepared. 

As we walked the halls and chanted our phrase, Keenan would remind me to continue to keep my voice deep and to allow it to vibrate throughout my abdomen. As the surges came, I would let Keenan know I was ready for his support and we would chant, squat, and rock together as I held on to him tightly. In between the surges, we would walk and hold hands and talk about our future with this baby. Whenever I felt like supporting myself, Keenan would rub my back or I would lean into him and chant, squat and rock alone. During one particular surge, I remember his closeness giving me the feeling of intimacy. I began to cry and tell him how much I loved him. Again, this birthing process was exactly what I prayed for. 

We went back into the room and the tub was almost full, so I jumped in. MAN, WAS THAT AMAZING! My birth photographer, mom and sister all showed up at the same time. Since I was comfortable and had company, Keenan went to chat with his parents in the waiting room and his mom brought us some breakfast (I only ate hash browns because I had no appetite) and Keenan some coffee. I had become so comfortable with this process that in between surges I would have a full conversation. When a surge came, I would stop talking, chant and rock and go right back to what I was saying when the surge was over. I'd become an expert at getting through the surges! Gloria came in to check me once again and I was then at 8cm! I couldn't believe it and I thought "OMG!! I'm going to have a baby really soon!" After that victory, I was in the mood for music, so I asked my sister and birth photographer (who is a great friend) to find "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" by Tupac and Snoop Dogg on their computer. Don't judge me, I felt so empowered because I knew the end was almost near and I had done what I'd set out to do. 

After my song request was played, I decided I was tired of being in the pool and got out to walk the halls once again. Keenan and I continued with our song and dance with each surge. After a few laps, we went back into the room because Gloria and her student midwife was there to check me again. This time Gloria said I was about 9cm, but my water had pressure on it from the baby's head. Sort o of like squeezing a full water ballon, but it not bursting. She made the decision to break my water at that time and low and behold, not only did it burst, it burst all over Gloria. I'm talking face, hair, scrubs. Everywhere. She said "Well in my 30+ years of doing this, this is the first time someone's water has been that full." I apologized, but took note at how warm and cozy the baby must have been in there because that was the most comfortable temp I'd felt all day. 

As Gloria left to get cleaned up, Keenan and I did our song and dance a while longer until her student midwife came in and asked if I wanted to be checked again. Naturally, I said yes and I was 9.5cm! She told me there was a little scar tissue in the way of my cervix dilating completely to 10, but asked me if I wanted to try to push a little to see if I could get it to move. I was ready to meet my baby, so I complied. As I felt surges coming along, she would apply pressure to my perineum muscle and the feeling of the surge would disappear and I would push. We did that a few times and we were successful at getting the scar tissue to move. However, I was tired at that point and we took a rest for a few minutes and she checked me again and the scar tissue had moved back over. It was then that she asked me if I was interested in a sedative. She explained that the sedative would last an hour and wouldn't harm the baby. Its purpose was to give me an hour of rest and allow me to sleep some during the surges although, I would still feel them. Resting would also give me energy to really push when it was time and being relaxed would allow me to dilate completely. I asked if I would be confined to the bed, and she said yes. I wasn't too happy about that since movement had been my friend up until this point, but Since Keenan and I had learned about this sedative in our birthing class and spoke to a friend about it, we decided to give it a try. As I was being prepared with an IV, the nurses cleared the room except for Keenan. Which was a relief, because I wanted some time with just the two of us again since it was so beautiful when we walked the halls. 

Once I got the sedative I was to lie on my left side for half an hour and roll over to the right for a half an hour after that. I did as instructed and managed the surges quite well while on my left side. When I turned over to my right side, all hell broke loose. I was *finally* in real pain and not happy about it. I couldn't get out of bed and move around with the surges because of the IV and when I did try to move, things got worse! I did sleep in between the surges, so I suppose it was worth it at the time (although I don't know if I needed to sleep). Gloria and the student midwife came back at the hours end and checked my cervix once again. This time I was complete and ready to push. The sedative had worn off for the most part and the surges begin to feel "normal" to me again. Somehow, my mom and photographer knew when to come back and were there just in time for me to start pushing again. 

Just like before, when I was still only 9.5cm, the midwife would apply pressure to my perineum when a surge came and I would push. Both midwives were coaching me saying "push like you're having a bowel movement", and I would, but nothing was happening. I would push the baby down a little and somehow suck him back up. I even asked if I could try an alternative pushing position and they complied. It didn't help, but it was worth a shot. After what seemed like a couple of hours, the midwives asked if I was interested in a birthing bar and a mirror. The bar would help support me in the squatting position (I didn't want to lie down) and the mirror I hoped would motivate me to push properly. It took a while for the mirror to get there and when it did, the nurse that brought it was asking Gloria if she ordered a mirror. HUH?! I DEMANDED THAT SHE GET OUT! At that point, I was finally at wits end and tired. Our birthing coach from class explained to us that every woman gets to that point during birthing and that it was normal and not long after that we would be meeting our baby. One of the hospital nurses went into the hallway and got the mirror and placed it where I could see as I worked to push this baby out. Everyone in the room would tell me "There's his head, you're doing great!" 

Unfortunatly for me, not even the mirror was motivation for me to push properly, so I asked them to take it away. I was even over hearing the motivational chants coming from everyone in the room. I felt deflated and I was tired and overwhelmed at this point. The surges were no longer an issue because I figured out how to manage them, not to mention whenever one started, the midwife would apply pressure to my perineum and I could no longer feel the surge. The real issue was fatigue and delirium.   Keenan had gotten so overwhelmed that his nose started bleeding. That added even more concern to my situation and I felt like I couldn't push any longer and that I just wasn't good enough at it. My legs were cramping and I even asked the midwives to try an alternate route to get him out. I was begging for everyone in the room to help me, just reach in a take him out, or do whatever it would to get him out. It was then that Gloria grabbed each side of my face and said "Carlisa, this is YOUR job! We can help you, but we can't do it for you. YOU have to do this!" While I wanted to slap Gloria, I knew she was right and I put on my armor and went at it again. 

By this time, Keenan's nose had stopped bleeding and we were ready to start pushing again and I had found a little more strength to keep going. This time, I have no idea where the strength came from, but I pushed his head to the point where I *finally* felt like I needed to take a really bad poop and I knew that I was near the end! THAT'S WHAT MOTIVATED ME! Once, the Midwives said, "Let's take a little break." To their surprise, I told them NO WAY, I because I felt him coming out. With the next few pushes, I felt the "ring of fire", his head come out, the Midwives turn him, and the rest of his body slip out. When I opened my eyes, Keenan was holding the baby up for me to see (since he caught him) and the nurse called out TOB 4:05pm.  I was so relieved that he was out I couldn't even believe it. I couldn't wait to feel his little squishy body in my arms and see his little squishy face. 

He was placed on my chest immediately and through his tears Keenan repeated "We did it, babe. He's here". He then fell to his knees in tears and prayer and thanksgiving to God for this miracle we waited so long to see. I kissed his little face and touched his little arms and legs as he screamed to the top of his sweet little lungs. I examined him as quickly as I could before the nurse took him to weigh, measure and run his APGAR test.  While he was being tested and I birth the placenta, my mom ran to the waiting room to tell my dad, in laws, sister, and nephew that he was born and gave his stats. Of course they all came back to the room, but the men had to stay out for a while until I was decent. It was then that I asked the midwife had I torn, and to my surprise she said I hadn't. She also said that everything was perfect including my placenta. 

Once I was decent and before the medical staff left the room, I told Gloria that she was the first midwife I'd seen at the practice and I liked her right away. I added that as she was walking out of our exam room that day, I asked if she still caught babies and she said "I couldn't imagine my life doing anything else", and I told Keenan that I wanted her to help me birth this baby. The realization that everything I asked for, I received from God caused me to cry and once again, the entire room was in tears.  

*Cannon latched perfectly immediately after birth
*We elected to do delayed cord clamping, circumcision, and bathing
*We also declined initial shots and eye ointment
*The hypnobabies program suggests that if we change out language regarding birthing, we change our minds about the process as well.

A special thanks to Intown Midwifery for guiding us throughout our pregnancy and keeping us sane through the process.

10 May 2015

The Mothers We Are

So its Mother’s Day and most mothers are getting flowers, a spa day, and breakfast in bed. Usually when we are mothers ourselves, we get a dose of reality on this day and an even larger dose when our mothers have been called to glory.

There are so many types of mothers to be honored on a day like today. There are the birth mothers, adoptive mothers, aunts, grandmothers, Godmothers, and the list goes on. I’d like to recognize mothers like me. I am the mother that has longed for a child for quite a while. God blessed me once with the miracle of life and shortly there after, He had different plans for my husband and me. I won’t get into the story, but you can read it here.

This experience made me realize a lot of things about Mother’s Day as a holiday. I’d always had heartfelt feelings for those who’s mom had been called to glory, because they would be surrounded by everyone else celebrating their mom and I’d imagine that had to be quite the task to deal with.  What I didn’t realize is that Mother’s Day would also be a task for me. Year after year I would be reminded that I’d lost a baby and was not pregnant again. I hid behind being grateful for my mom and mourning my bestfriends mom. Not that these feelings for our moms wasn’t real, but it erased my feelings of failure, emptiness and expectation for a few moments.

For a few years, waking up on Mother’s Day was dreadful. I felt that I deserved to be called mom. After all, I had been pregnant. I also knew there was something not quite right with my pregnancy, and I loved for my child with out limit. That’s what mother’s do, right? In general, they have these experiences and feelings about their children. My mother has always known when there was something not quite right with me, she gave birth to me, and she truly loves me without a limit. I see other mother’s follow this same model, but somehow I was left out of the equation because my child was not physically present to anyone except for me.

Last year I decided to acknowledge that I was a mom. I realized that hiding my pain was no longer an option for me. I’d suppressed my feelings for far too long and I no longer desired the discomfort that I had on Mother’s Days following my loss. Despite the fear of judgment, I acknowledged that God had made me a mother and there are others like myself. We were mothers and no one knew it. Or counted us. We deserved to be counted.

I told my husband “I am a mother!” I saluted others and myself like me because we deserved it just as much as the mothers with physically present children. Our love is not any less deep than those mothers. We felt the same guilt that other mothers feel when things didn’t go as planned for our children. We still lost sleep at night concerning ourselves with our children. We missed our children when they’d left the nest. Yes. We are mothers.

Since then, God has blessed with and many others with children after a tragic loss. We still love our angel babies and will never forget the experience of loving and losing in this way.

If you know someone that has lost a baby at any point during gestation or after, please let her know she’s not invisible, that you see her and love her. Give her the Mother’s Day she’s dreamed of. After all, all she wants is to hear the words Happy Mother’s Day.

03 September 2014

The Ultimate Betrayal

A little over a year ago, I joined an online community of women that share similar experiences to mine with regard to fertility.  While under the care of a fertility specialist last year, I wrote this letter to my body. It was meant to be jovial, but meaningful to the other women within the community. They got it, and I hope you will too.
-Love and blessings to all in the "struggle".
Gen 30:22

Abbreviation Key: 
AF- Aunt Flo aka Period 
CM- Cervical Mucous
CP- Cervical Position
TPW- The Pregnant Wannabe
Gen 30:22

14 July 2014

Good Grief!

Two days after losing the baby, Keenan and I attended the Christening of our first Goddaughter. Somehow, I was able keep my mind on what I was asked to do that day. In fact, I don't remember shedding any tears that day. I do remember thinking, "I'm going to be ok. God is in control."

A few days later a friend of mine that I hadn't spoken to in a long time randomly called to say hi. She didn't know about the baby yet when I  asked her about one of her friends. She told me the friend had recently miscarried her first baby. My heart sank! She went on to say that she and that friend hadn't really spoken much in the months past because the friend thought she wasn't supportive enough during her time of need. My response to this was "Allow her to grieve the way she needs to. Losing a baby isn't easy and we are looking for answers and wish the world would stop to help us find them. Don't abandon her now, continue to check on her every so often even if she ignores you. She needs you. The truth is, I don't know if there will ever be enough support for a woman who looses a baby. Be there anyway. She's grieving. Forgive her."

That was as honest as I could be at the moment. I knew exactly how the friend felt. For me, hurt couldn't be verbalized and it ranged from 1-100 at any given moment. This kind of hurt is different, though. Its coupled with hormones. My body believed I was pregnant and my heart so desperately wanted to be. It was hard to push through day to day. Prayer got me through.

The year I graduated college one of my moms best friends passed away. It was then she said to me "Grief is so personal. No one will understand how you feel; two people can loose the same person and respond differently. It doesn't mean one is grieving more or less than the other." It wasn't until my Granny died that I was able to semi understand what she shared with me. My world was turned upside down in a way that had never happened before. The day she died I called Keenan and told him "My granny died and I'm going to need you". I didn't know how long or in what capacity, but I knew I needed him. I would go to bed praying to dream about her just to see and touch her again and for the first three years on the day she passed, I would ball up and wail as if I had just gotten the news. To this day, I still cry when I think about myself during that time. It was like an out of body experience. I didn't know who I was.

Eventually, the wailing turned into tears of gratitude and joy. Joy that I had know exactly what unconditional love is. There was someone in my life that I could never disappoint. NOW I know what being enough really means. My grief had turned good on me!

Same thing with our baby. I felt that I truly had someone that would depend on me, and what I gave them would be enough. I would never feel used and abused because giving her him/her would be giving to me. The grief was unreal. However, God sent people to me that needed to hear my testimony. Like my friend that called that day; she'd never lost a child, so she wan't able to comprehend what her friend was going through. Their friendship is was on the mend not long after we spoke that day. There's countless stories of women that have crossed my path that needed my testimony and I gave it to them. My grief turned good on me! Again!

I am still unappolgetically hurt by the loss of our baby and if I could change it, I would. What God has given me in return, is good for my heart. Knowing that I have spread His word through giving hope to others is good for me. I asked Him to use me and He is.

07 July 2014


I've been sitting with my laptop for a few hours now and still cannot decide how to start this. I guess I'll start with stating my purpose: As you read this, I want it to be known that what you read isn't just about me. In fact, I don't believe any of it is about me. I believe that God is using me to help others the way I've asked Him to for the better part of five years. In a short time, I've learned what its like to gain and loose only to gain from loss. Its the most powerful feeling I've ever had. I mean, how on earth can I loose the one thing I've ever wanted and still feel I've gained the world at the same time. I guess that's what motherhood does to you.

Yep, I said motherhood. What many people don't know is, I've been pregnant once and it was the best three weeks of my life. I can recall the day I found out as if it happened this morning.

That morning, on the ride to the train station, my husband was driving my crazy just because we were in the car together. LOL! I couldn't stand him and couldn't figure out why. It was 5:30 in the morning and I had a major attitude with him. Once I dropped him off, I missed him as if he'd been gone for three months. I went on to work and on my way home from lunch, I called my husband and without giving it much thought, I told him I was going to take a pregnancy test because "what God had for us is for us"; he agreed and we hung up. When I got home (I lived 10 mins from my job and had a 2 hr lunch), I decided to use one of the Dollar Tree test I had tucked away and left it on the counter to fix myself some lunch.

As I stood in front of the fridge I began to feel disgusted at the thought of having a sandwich because that meant I would have to eat bread so I opted for a salad. After I ate, I went back to the bathroom nearly forgetting about the test. When I glanced at it, there were two pink lines! I hyperventilated for what seemed like an hour...I called one of my best friends to ask her what she'd told me about dollar store tests; she'd told me that they can give false negatives but are always right when they're positive. I couldn't believe my eyes or my ears! She was the first person I'd said the words "I'm pregnant" to. Pacing around my bedroom, and asking her 100 more questions, I finally realized I needed to call my husband.

I'll never forget the feeling of telling him he was going to be a papa. The love in his voice will stay with me forever...Since my lunch break was so long, I opted to run a get a few more tests. They all read the same thing "pregnant". I'd told my sister the weekend before that I thought I was pregnant, so it came as little surprise to her when I called to confirm. My mom was over the moon and I hadn't told my dad yet. The next day, my mom and sister went to the doctor with me for a confirmation appointment. I was only about three weeks along and was set to go back at six weeks to hear a heart beat.

For the next two weeks, throwing up was a pleasure and I was happy to have crackers at my bedside for when I woke up in the wee hours of the night hungry. It didn't take me long to discover that if I didn't eat in a timely fashion, I would get sick. I remember one Sunday morning calling my mom just to say "I threw up! This baby is already running my life!" She was elated and so was I. Hunger was just as constant as fatigue and it boy was it ferocious, but I loved it. I'm pretty sure I drove my husband crazy with my demands in that short time, but he was beyond happy to meet all of them.

One afternoon during lunch I noticed some light spotting. I called my doctor's office and was assured by someone that the spotting was normal, but if it intensified or was coupled with cramps, to call back. The next day, it intensified, I called back and was told if it turned bright red to call back. I called my best friend who had a 5 month old and told her I didn't feel pregnant anymore and that I was bleeding. She told me that I will not always feel anything and reminded me she bleed during her first trimester. That conversation gave me some reassurance, although I was still quite sure things weren't going to end well.  By the next morning the spotting was bright red and when I called the doctors office, I was told to head to the ER if it turned more into a period flow. That night after work, my husband and I headed to the ER because I was not comfortable with what I'd been told especially since I hadn't spoken directly with my doctor. We left before I was seen because I was horrified with the smell and appearance of the waiting room. The next morning, when I got up to vomit, things were different and I knew it. The bleeding was much worse and I called my boss and told her I was headed to the ER again.

It was an early Friday morning around 5 or 6 am when my husband and I got into the car and headed to the ER (we decided on a different hospital). On the way there, I remember praying to God that His will be done and that I survive the outcome no matter what. I told Him that I trust Him to do what is best for me and my family. When we arrived, I was seen almost immediately. After my vitals were taken I was wheeled into a dark room for an internal ultrasound. I asked the technician if she could see anything, and she simply said "the doctor will go over my findings with you". I looked at the screen to see if I could determine where my baby was, but I didn't know what to look for. I lay there praying with all my might that my baby was ok and that Gods will be done.

Once I was wheeled back into my room, my husband asked if everything was ok, and I simply said "I hope so". It seemed like a good while before the ER doctor came to speak to us about the baby. He explained to us that my pregnancy was ectopic and that I would need to be administered a shot that would dissolve the cells of my baby. He would call my doctor and go over his findings, but was sure that she would agree. Not long after, my doctor arrived to confirm what the ER doctor said to be true and to have me roll over so that she could shoot me in the hip. Just like that, I was stripped of motherhood.

I've only wailed like that one other time in my life, the day my granny died. Only this was worse, because I knew one day she would be gone. I was certain of it, I just wasn't prepared when she did. I never in a million years expected to be pregnant for two weeks and five days before I would ultimately have to say goodbye to my baby. I was supposed to hear a heart beat that following Monday. I've never felt so robbed in my life! I felt robbed of my choice. It all happened so quickly and I grew to resent that doctor and hospital for a long time.

Over the course of the weekend, I got various calls and someone came by to take me to the mall. I truly felt that I would be ok; in fact, I knew I would because I'd prayed for it. The following week, I was advised to stay home from work and rest. During that time, I don't recall getting off my couch very much. I do remember telling my husband that I felt blessed that I was able to keep my fallopian tube and that I was happy that I listened to my body. I remember praying most of my days and asking God to help me move forward, telling Him that I know the He was my only way out of the abyss of hurt I was feeling.

After a while, I began to start my morning with some stretching, deep breaths and prayer. I would ask God to use me in a way that people would know Him through me. I believe he did and still is in many ways. I'm just a few weeks short of 5 years since I had to say goodbye, but I still love our baby. I suppose that feeling will never go away, unless I allow it to and right now, I don't want to. I'm not holding on to the past, I'm holding on to my present. My gift.

I was diagnosed with PCOS as a teenager and told I would need help getting pregnant. I wasn't concerned then, but as time moved on and I got married. When my husband and I decided we were ready to be parents I went to a holistic doctor and she gave me some dietary instructions and an over the counter product to use to regulate my cycles and within three months we were expecting a baby. That was nearly five years ago. I've seen numerous doctors since and have researched PCOS backwards and forwards to no avail. All the while, crying and praying almost daily for peace.

I've found some peace as I had a revelation not long ago that all this time I've asked God to use me and He is. For me, it is heart warming to actually see God using you. At times its painful, but who am I to deny God's gift that I asked for? I know how He's made me. He didn't make me to be full of shame and doubt. He didn't make me strong either. He made me to be His. He's given me a task, and I'm up for it. I've always wanted to be helpful to people and in many ways, I feel trampled on trying to quench that desire. I know now that being helpful does not always mean I will see the results nor does it mean I will always be appreciated. I've become increasingly ok with that because I know what I am made of and with each day, I am becoming less and less concerned with being appreciated.  I KNOW in my heart He has chosen me to spread His word in this way.

With all of that said, I've decided to share the last five years of my life. I'm giving Him glory with my story!