There’s Hope

By: Chaunte McClure

For most women I know, that time of the month when Aunt Flo pays a visit is almost always unwelcoming. She tends to bring unwanted guests like headaches, cramps, and bloating. Now, there are cases when Aunt Flo’s visit is a sigh of relief because it’s a sign that a woman is not pregnant at a time when she’d rather not be.

I’ve heard women share stories of being excited about missing a period when they’ve been trying to get pregnant. Then getting a positive pregnancy test sends that excitement into overdrive because within the next nine months, a sweet little baby will be born.

I’ve shared that excitement over and over again with my friend Schrendria (Sha-ren-dree-a) Robinson. The first time she and her husband were pregnant, we took a spontaneous couples daytrip to Charlotte after church one Sunday, where she announced at the dinner table that they were expecting. After a few seconds of celebrating in my chair and trying to maintain my composure in a public setting, I got up from my seat and hugged her. (I’m sure her husband got a hug too, I just can’t remember. Sorry, Marcus.) Nevertheless, we were so happy for them! I probably started thinking about a baby shower and the selfish part of me probably thought about how different our friendship might be after the new addition. I’m sure at some point I thought about dresses and bows because I love spoiling little girls.

Pregnancy Infant Loss RibbonWell, weeks later she got that unwelcoming sign no pregnant woman wants to see. Blood. I remember getting a text or phone call I never would have expected to receive. She lost the baby. She’s very persistent and has a lot faith, so she tried again and got pregnant. And again, she miscarried.

As a friend, what do you say to this grieving mother? All I had was silence. In spite of two losses, family and friends remained hopeful and continued to pray and trust God. Yet for the third time, she got pregnant and for the third time, the baby did not survive.

I just had to believe two things: God was going to bless her in a mighty way and this was going to be her ministry. I had no idea in what form the blessing would be, but I knew there was no way God allowed her to go through these storms without having something in store for her (and not necessarily something tangible).

You can only imagine the pain and frustration that comes with multiple losses, but through it all God held her close.

Now she and her husband wake up every morning to three handsome little boys – a two-year-old and four-month-old twins whom she conceived naturally. (Yeah, so much for the bows and dresses.)

family pic

I pray her story gives hope to someone who is trying to conceive. Schrendria has started a blog, Baby Please!, and a Facebook group, with the same title, to encourage and support other women suffering from infertility. To protect your privacy, Baby, Please! is a secret Facebook group and you have to be invited to join. Inbox Schrendria on Facebook to notify her of your interest in joining the support group.

Her story reminds me of the main idea of a production I saw last month called Finding Hope in the Struggle: In the struggles of life, there is always hope. Keep in mind, our hope will not always come in the way we expect.

If you are a mother to an angel, I pray that you will always find comfort in God’s word.

psalm23

Thanks for following along the past few months as I shared my personal experiences through the Baby Talk series. This is the final installment of the series. In case you missed any of the previous posts, here are links to each of them: There’s Something to That, When Are You Having a Baby?, Some People Say the Darndest Things, You Have the Right to Remain Silent, The Joy of Being a Godmother.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

By: Chaunte McClure

When our friends need a shoulder to cry on or someone to console them, many of us may think words have to accompany our presence, but that is not necessarily the case.

I came to this realization after visiting a friend who had one of the worst experiences in her life. For years, we’ve shared some great experiences. We’ve laughed together, had deep girl-to-girl conversations, prayed together and supported one another, but on this particular Sunday night when she needed me most, I was speechless. I was numb and I kept wondering what to say as tears occasionally streamed down her face. I wanted God to give me the words that could comfort my friend who desperately wanted to be a mother. She was lying in bed, crushed because her pregnancy ended shortly after it began. She had a miscarriage – for the second time.

Weeks later, I remember her husband sending a message to thank others and me for our support during that difficult moment for them. I acknowledged his gratitude and told him I felt like I didn’t do enough. The fact that I was lost for words bothered me for a few days. Then one morning I found comfort in hearing God say I had the right to remain silent.

Through her tears and sadness, my friend recognized my silence, but rather than thinking less of me, she understood. She expressed it in a handwritten thank you card:

thank-you-card

Being there for someone doesn’t always mean we have to be vocal. Just being there is a wonderful ministry. Your presence alone can bring comfort to those who are grieving, and silence will position you to actively listen to what he or she has to say. On the other hand, speaking can add insult to injury because we tend to say the wrong things. Remember, Proverbs 12:18 says, “reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

If you find yourself in a situation where you are lost for words, remember, when you don’t know what to say, you have the right to remain silent.

I’ll introduce you to my friend soon in what I think will be my last installment of ‘baby talk.’ In the meantime, be sure to catch up on my previous posts: When Are You Having a Baby?, There’s Something to That, and Some People Say the Darndest Things.

Miscarriage

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

I will never, ever forget that day – Friday, March 16, 2007.  I was 11 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child and scheduled for a routine ultrasound.  My nerves were a wreck.  My husband had been away for 3 weeks working a shift of border patrol for the SC National Guard, and I had experienced some spotting during that time.  It was nothing major and the midwife had assured me that if it stopped on its own that everything was most likely fine, but we would make sure when I came in for my appointment on the 16th.

The nurse came to the door and said that my doctor was running late after his shift at the hospital; I could either reschedule my appointment or wait.  I immediately said that I wanted to wait because I’d been having some issues and wanted to make sure that everything was okay.

When he arrived, we went back in the exam room and my OB started the ultrasound.  At 11 weeks, we should have been able to see some sign of the baby, but couldn’t.  He switched from the external ultrasound to the vaginal ultrasound, thinking maybe my dates were wrong and I wasn’t as far along as we had originally suspected.  However, our fears were realized when he said that while the gestational sac was present, there was no baby; it had not developed.  Tears flooded my eyes.  I was heartbroken.  I was devastated.

My OB-GYN and his staff were absolutely wonderful.  They hugged me and offered their condolences and words of consolation and prayers.  The decision about how to proceed was left to us; we could wait for my body to realize that there was no baby to support and it would begin the miscarriage process on its own or I could schedule a D&C.  The uncertainty of when that might happen, combined with the fact that Pierce was only 15 months old caused us to schedule a D&C for the following Monday.

We left the doctor’s office in tears and headed back to my office.  I couldn’t face anyone right then, so my husband went in to tell my co-workers what had taken place and that I would not be back that day.  We went home and made the phone calls to our immediate families and our closest friends.

I just didn’t understand why or how this had happened.  I had had such an easy pregnancy with Pierce; I was, literally, the woman other women loved to hate.  I never had morning sickness, no spotting, no swelling, and minimal weight gain.  Pregnancy had been so easy for me – how could I now be on the cusp of miscarrying?  I blamed myself.  Surely I had done something that had caused this situation.  I thought that maybe even God was punishing me for things I had done in my past.

That weekend I experienced the worst physical and emotional pain of my life.  Emotionally, I was drained, devastated, and just wanted to get everything over with and get back to “normal.”  Physically, my body began to miscarry and I wound up in the Emergency Room.  Monday morning came and I underwent the D&C.  God bless my doctor, the nurses, the anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist; they did everything to make me comfortable, put my mind at ease, and to keep me from getting sick after surgery.

The partial ending of this story is that about 5-6 months after my miscarriage, I became pregnant with my precious Smith and my pregnancy with him was, like my pregnancy with Pierce, pretty easy and enjoyable.  Other than the initial concerns, until we heard his heart beat, and saw him growing well in utero, it was a great pregnancy.  Unfortunately, my miscarriage also had a profound negative effect on my marriage and less than 4 years later, I would be divorced.

I share my story with you because as women we all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but did you also know that October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day?  Too often, we neglect pregnancy and infant loss, because we are uncomfortable with it – we don’t know what to say.  The truth of the matter is, pregnancy and infant loss is just like the death of someone else that you dearly loved.  The biggest difference is that in most instances, you never knew the person that died; you may not have even known that the little person existed.  But, to the parents, that little person had a name, hopes and dreams attached to him or her.  That loss is just as important to the parents as the loss of a spouse or a parent or sibling; it can be devastating.

Even more so as, in most circumstances, there is no funeral or memorial service during which to say final goodbyes; no real opportunity for “closure.”  Well meaning individuals try to console us by proclaiming that there can be other babies; they insist that something must have been wrong with the baby; or, that it was just simply God’s will.  Their words, while well intentioned, often serve to lessen or negate the loss.  Many feel that we should just be able to move on and live life as if the loss had never happened.  Unfortunately, those losses have the power to transform families; some positively, others negatively.

For those of us who have loved and lost children we did not have the chance to ever know, we take a moment today to reflect and remember those tiny lives that touched us so immensely.