Chris’ Story

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Tell us about your pregnancy loss(es).

From the time I was a teenager, I was told that getting pregnant would be difficult, if not impossible. I didn’t care until I got married when I was 30 and we wanted children.

We went to a reproductive endocrinologist where I was diagnosed with PCOS. We tried various medications and types of fertility treatments. On May 12, 2003 we finally conceived. The day we found out I was pregnant, we had movers at our house for a military move from MD to CO. We were so very excited!! My pregnancy was great until the last month when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and put on bedrest. But even then it wasn’t bad. He was a very active baby and we cherished listening to his heart beat and watching him do flips in my belly.

The day we went to the hospital for a planned induction was a sunny January day in Colorado. His birthday would have been 1/23/04. Everything was going ok. We watched a couple of movies. I had to have the epidural twice because the first didn’t take. Then. Then the nurses couldn’t distinguish my heart rate from his. Either mine was too fast or his was too slow. Things were a blur from then. I was rushed to the or for an emergency c-section. I was put under and my husband was left outside watching through the small window. When the doctor opened me up, my uterus had ruptured and our son was dead. He was still alive an hour before the c-section.

I remember waking up in recovery and seeing my pastor, parents and husband. Scott’s eyes were red from crying. He told me Luke was gone.

Due to the type and severity of the rupture, I was not able to get pregnant again. We tried so hard to get pregnant and he was gone.

What do you remember most about the initial stages of grief immediately following your loss? How did you feel? What were you thinking?

Initially I was numb. I escaped to a family cabin for a couple of weeks. I forced myself to take a shower and get dressed every day. I tried to go to church but usually left the service in tears.

Then I stuffed everything and put all my energy into adopting our two children. I missed Luke every day, but let myself not feel the grief. I should have been over it according to “people.”

The pain of pregnancy loss doesn’t ever go away. The waves of grief seem to come and go throughout time. Do you have a story to share of a moment when grief hit you when you weren’t expecting it to?

When we moved to NC, six years after Luke died, grief hit me hard and the pain was unbearable. I hit rock bottom and was hospitalized for a few days. Now, I accept it, acknowledge that it is ok to miss him and remind myself that he is in heaven and we will be together again. The pain is still there, but the path is well worn and more easily traveled after all this time.

Approximately 1 in 4 women experience pregnancy loss. What would you like someone who has never experienced it to know?

It is different for everyone, but the best thing to do is to just be there. No words need to be said. Don’t expect your friend to reach out for help. They can’t in the midst of the grief. Even after you think they should be ok, the grief is still there. They still need a friend to just be there. And to let them know their baby meant something and was loved.

–  Chris

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Weather Update!

Thank you for all of your prayers today!!

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This was the sky as we wrapped up our photo shoot. Can you believe I started today off freaking out about rain and thunderstorms? Abba Father, thank you for your blessing on this ministry!

Weather – A Prayer Request

Friends,

I don’t usually pray about the weather, but today I am. I have 10 brave women, their friends and family, several precious rainbow babies, my talented (and BUSY) husband and my incredible parents scheduled for an outdoor photo shoot today. Our first TSC photo shoot. The photos will be used in our very first photography project, raising awareness for Pregnancy Loss.

Organizing around everyone’s schedules was no easy feat. Rain, rain please go away!! This is such important work and I know God has prepared each step of my journey putting this all together. “The waves and the wind still know his name.” Please, Father, let these clouds part so we can do this important, loving, and healing work for you today! ❤ ❤

Will you join me in prayer?

Thank you!
Heather

The FB post that started it all.

So that idea I had the other night? I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I called my sister, Miranda, the very next day. Unfortunately, she knows the pain of miscarriage all too well. She, too, experienced a pregnancy loss – her first girl after 2 boys – lost at 16 weeks gestation. She loved the idea immediately and agreed it was so needed. So for the next hour or so, we bounced ideas around until my vision become even clearer and the project even bigger. I wanted to give women a safe place to come and share their stories. Their feelings. Their hurts. Their experiences. I wanted to give them a place to open their hearts without fear of judgement. And pregnancy loss was first on my list.

Before I really had much time to think it all through or feel any fear about what I was about to jump into or what would happen if I failed, I updated my status on Facebook. I just wanted to see if anyone else would be interested in working on this project with me. Would any other women want to share their story of pregnancy loss?

It was the night of April 1st when I wrote:

Dear friends who have ever experienced the loss of a wanted pregnancy, Rich and I are going to work on a photography project raising awareness for pregnancy loss and would love your help. If you’re interested in learning more about the project and how you can help, please email me at info@RaeElle.com.

There is no cost involved, except a bit of your time. Must be local to the Charlotte, NC area (or willing to meet us here!) Feel free to share this if you know other mamas who may want to participate. Thank you!!

That post will now forever remind of of this quote.

20-seconds

It was my 20 seconds of courage. I just threw that status up there and God used that to put something really great into motion. 18 women in total emailed me. They poured out their hearts. They bravely told me their stories. They told me of their precious babies, lost much too soon. Some before the first ultrasound. Some well into the second trimester. Some were born directly into the arms of Jesus. My heart broke wide open reading their words and despite any fears I now had, I knew this project was so important.

Just a spark of an idea.

So, I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time. An idea that I couldn’t quite bring into focus, but one that I knew involved using our photography for something important. Something meaningful. Something that would bring awareness. I’ve been ruminating on that thought for a few years, but I kept setting it on the back burner because I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

Then a few days ago I was tossing and turning in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. I was in bed with my husband on one side and our 9 month old baby boy, Oliver, on the other (co-sleeping is the best!). I started thinking about Oliver and how grateful I am to have this little boy in our lives. We waited a long time for him. Even in the few days right after our second daughter was born, I remember feeling so clearly that our family wasn’t complete yet. And by the time she was about to celebrate her first birthday, I was already feeling some major baby fever for our third. Little did I know it would be 8 more years and 2 more pregnancy losses (we also lost our first baby shortly after we were married) before we would welcome baby #3. So I can’t feel complete gratitude for him without remembering the losses too. I can’t fully feel the joy without remembering the pain along the way. I look at him with so much love my heart feels as if it might burst, but also simultaneously feel a pang of sadness for the three babies we lost. As I thought about all of this, I realized April is quickly approaching. April is a tough month for me.

Our first baby, who we lost at 12 weeks, was due on April 24th and the second baby we lost, we lost on April 25th. Each year…no matter how many years have gone by…those dates still hit me hard, especially when they kind of sneak up on me and catch me by surprise. All of these thoughts swirled together and brought to mind a recent conversation I had with my friend, Marilyn, who had recently experienced her first miscarriage. She had reached out to me for some advice, knowing I had been through it too. She asked me how long the waves of grief come and go. I told her it’s normal for it to hurt for a long time and while it will lessen, it will never go away. I said, as mothers we love our babies from the moment we know they exist. How can we not grieve their loss and long for the day we will meet them in heaven?

She told me I was right and thanked me for letting her know she’s not crazy. Did you catch that word? Crazy! How many women had I talked to over the years that expressed that same feeling? That worried they were crazy for just how deeply they grieved a baby they lost during pregnancy? Myself included. Any loss is extremely difficult, of course, but there is something different about pregnancy loss. Moms who experience it tend to grieve in silence. Quietly, almost secretly, because nobody really talks about it. I had noticed this startling trend before but this recent conversation with my friend just further shattered my heart. With approximately 1 in 4 women experiencing a pregnancy loss at some point in her life, why isn’t there more information out there about the grieving process? Why do so many women go through it feeling so alone?

Suddenly, I felt God nudging me to do something about it. To minister to other women going through a similar experience, and I immediately knew what I wanted to use our photography for. That vague idea that had been on the back burner for so long came into such crystal clear focus. I was so excited about the idea I had to refrain from waking my husband to tell him! I knew I needed to put together a photography project that would raise awareness for pregnancy loss. The feelings. The grief. The pain. The eventual hope. All of it.

I’ve never done anything like this before…so please join me in prayer that I allow God to lead me, and I do it well!

With love,
Heather