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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Compassion International

Many of you know that we sponsor a boy in Brazil through Compassion International. I recently signed up for Compassion's What I want for Christmas program. I am committed to finding a sponsor for one child by December 31.The little boy's name is Andres Fuentes Nunez. He is 7 years old and lives in Peru. Andres lives with his mother and 2 siblings. His mother is only employed some of the time.

Sponsoring a child means a financial commitment of $38 per month, plus you get the pleasure of exchanging letters with them. (I just received a letter from our child today!) If you would like more info about Compassion International, please go to My boss recently attended an event where the president of Compassion spoke, and she was lucky enough to go on a tour of their Colorado offices. She was very impressed!

I know we are all facing financial hardships right now, but I still wanted to pass along this information in case any of you would be interested in sponsoring Andres or if you might know of someone else who would be interested. Please keep Andres in your prayers and pray that I can find a sponsor for him. If anyone out there is interested, I can mail you the info you need in order to begin your sponsorship. Thank you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Unforgotton Children

I still have two copies of Kristie's book, Unforgotten Children, available to give away. Please leave a comment with your email address if you would like one.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baby Names

While we were in the Outer Banks over Thanksgiving, I had the chance to walk the beach alone and spend some time in prayer. I was specifically talking to God about our baby. I asked Him to take care of our little one and to guide me in helping others who have experienced this kind of loss.

Along the way, I picked up a stick and wrote the names Claren and Nolan in the sand. Since I miscarried at 8 weeks, I don't know if our baby was a boy or a girl. Claren is the name we picked out for a little girl the first time I was pregnant. The name is in memory of Eric's favorite grandfather, Clarence. Since we have two sons, we never got to use this name. When we told our sons that I was pregnant, we asked them to come up with a boy's name because we didn't have any in mind. They came up with Nolan. Eric and I really liked it.

I think our sons wanted a little brother, but I just have the feeling our baby was a girl. I always thought we'd have two sons close in age and then a daughter a few years down the road. Our boys are 2 1/2 years apart. They would have been 14 and 11 1/2 when the baby was born. (That's a little more "down the road" than I expected!) When I imagine what our life would have been like right now, I see a baby girl with her big brothers doting on her. I see pink clothing and little hair bows (even though I can't do hair!). I hear her "oohing and ahhhing" over the Christmas tree lights. This would have been her first Christmas, and I can feel the excitement of celebrating the season with a new babe in the house.

I know God has his reasons for keeping our child with Him and that he or she is so blessed to be in His presence right now. But I still long for what might have been.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: Unforgotten Children

Kristie Verret is the author of the new book Unforgotten Children: A Testimony of God's Healing Through Miscarriage.

I have only met Kristie online. In April of this year, I read an article that she had written on Christian Women Online. To my surprise, she replied back to me. Then I think I checked out her blog, she read mine, and we began corresponding via email. Kristie invited me to do a pregnancy loss Bible study with her online. I accepted. (Although, I still have 2 more chapters to do!)

She had told me that she was writing a book about the loss of her two daughters, Elizabeth and Sammi. Although the official release date of Unforgotten Children was December 1, I was able to order a copy early. It is a quick and easy read (not emotionally easy), and I think it will speak to every mom who has lost a child due to miscarriage, still birth, or early infant loss.

Kristie is quite candid about her thoughts and feelings regarding the loss of her two daughters...two beautiful babies born to Heaven. I miscarried last year during the 8th week of my pregnancy. Even though my circumstances were different than Kristie's, I could relate to everything she felt and went through during her own tragedies. In fact, I marked 25 pages in the book where Kristie wrote something that really spoke to me. Some of these pages are marked in more than one place!

Kristie speaks out about how she felt that people belittled her grief because a "miscarriage isn't as bad as losing a real person". She expresses being frustrated with her husband because he didn't seem to understand her feelings. Then there is the questioning of God; "What was the point of that?" Also, there was the feeling of being punished; the anguish of seeing a baby that was the same age as her daughter should have been; trying hard not to cry and actually dreading the tears that she wanted to shed. All of these things are feelings and emotions that pierced my own heart during my grieving process. Naturally, some of these things still haunt me a year later.

If you are a grieving mother, I highly recommend reading Kristie's story. She is doing what I hope to do...using her losses to help other hurting parents. In fact, because I love this book and have been blessed by Kristie's own generosity, I would like to make my readers an offer. If you would like a copy of Unforgotten Children, please let me know via my comments section. I will purchase one copy each for the first 5 people who make a request to me for the book. Don't forget to leave me your email address so that I can contact you in order to get your mailing address. This offer is open until I receive requests from 5 different people.

If you would just like me to pray for you, I will do that, too. Sadly, we are all a part of a club that we never wanted to be in. May God bless and comfort each of us by bringing us together to help one another.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

Moms, please allow God to allow Kristie to help you make your way through the desert and to be your stream in the wasteland. He is definitely at work through her!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. For those of us who have lost a precious little one, today is a day to remember them. Although, we remember them every day. Not one day goes by that I don't think about the 5 month old baby we should have in our home right now. The baby I should have in my arms.

I think about how our boys (and the dog!) would be interacting with their little brother or sister. I think about how I would be a stay-at-home mommy again. Oh, and all the baby stuff that would be around the house! I think about having a third chance to get this parenting thing down right...all the things I would have done differently with this child. As we're parenting teenagers right now, I think of what it would have been like to have an 18-year-old in the house when we're 62!

For the past week, I have been wearing my ribbon pin that commemorates today. Not one person has asked me what this particular ribbon stands for. I'm rather surprised. I am thankful for the article Chatty Kelly wrote about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. You can read it here.

Tonight, families around the world will be lighting a candle for the baby (in many cases, babies) they have lost. It breaks my heart to have to be one of these families.

Please visit the the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day website to learn more about this day and other support they have to offer.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


On Tuesday, September 22nd, it will be one year since I had my first ultrasound and we saw our baby. It wasn't good news though. The baby was only measuring at 6 weeks gestation when it should have been measuring at 8 weeks. It was too small to pick up a heartbeat. I tried to have hopeful thoughts. Maybe I got pregnant later than they thought. After all, the time period they estimated the conception was during a time my husband was out of town! The very next night I began miscarrying.

This morning I was reading Psalm 42 and realized that this is exactly how I felt for several months after the miscarriage. I was downcast and angry with God, yet I thirsted for Him at the same time. I feel compelled to write out this psalm here. For those of you who are not believers in God and maybe don't own a Bible, perhaps this will speak to you.

Psalm 42
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and
6 my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
11 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Keeping Up

I haven't kept up with this blog like I thought I would. Trying to write 2 blogs isn't as easy as I thought it would be. Now that school has started and I'm back to work, it will be even more difficult.

I do want to share a few things tonight though. I'm still in the process of going through a pregnancy loss Bible study with my friend, Kristie. It has been a slow go just because I've been busy and Kristie just gave birth to a baby girl! Congratulations Kristie and family!

I was doing Lesson 8 tonight. One of the things it asked me to do was to name my baby if I hadn't already. Since I was only 8 weeks into the pregnancy when I miscarried, I have no idea whether our baby was a girl or a boy. This is how I answered that question:

If our baby was a girl, her name would have been Claren Jacalyn Johnson. My husband’s favorite grandfather was named Clarence, so that’s where Claren comes from. My middle name was Jacalyn before I took my maiden name as my middle name.

The week before the miscarriage we told our sons that I was pregnant. We told them to come up with a boy’s name because we didn’t have one. In less than an hour, they came up with Nolan. I’m not sure what his middle name would have been.

In my gut, I feel it is Claren who is in Heaven. I haven’t asked Eric if he has a feeling either way as to whether our baby was a boy or a girl. I just always pictured us having 2 boys first and then a little girl further down the road.

I was also asked to write a letter to God about our baby. Here is what I wrote:

Dear God,

I know you are taking care of our child and I thank you for that. Please hold her and rock her and let her know how much we love her and miss her. Tell her that we’ll never forget her and that we can’t wait to meet her someday in Heaven.

I wish she was here for us to cuddle with. I would have loved to have seen her with her big brothers! She would have been spoiled by them! I wish we could see her smile and hear her giggle. I bet she is blue eyed and blond like her brothers.

I would finally have had someone to share my favorite childhood books with…Little Women and the Little House series! And all the pink in the house would have driven her brothers crazy! She would have kept her dad and me young seeing that we would have been 62 by the time she graduated from high school!

Please make sure that she knows my brother and her two little boy cousins. I pray that they are playing together and keeping each other company until the rest of their families are with them.

And please God, keep your hands of hope and grace resting upon the shoulders of Eric and I, especially when our grief washes over us as we go about our days. Someday we will understand Your ways and know the good that has come from our loss. Please give me the words and ways to comfort and minister to other grieving mothers.

Lord, we have given our child over to you. We trust that Your ways are best and that You will be a far better parent to our little one than we ever could have been. Please make her feel safe and secure and most of all, loved.

Thank you God for this third child that I always knew was meant to be, even though she wasn’t meant to be here with us physically. She will always be in our hearts and our spirits.


I also want to take this opportunity to plug Kristie's book here. Her newborn baby is actually her fourth daughter, however, the middle two were born straight into Heaven. Kristie has written a book about her experience of suffering through two miscarriages. It is her hope that sharing their testimony of healing will help others going through the same thing. The book is entitled "Unforgotten Children". You can go here to order it through Tate Publishing. It will actually be released in book stores on December 1. Kristie is much younger than I am but has a lot of wisdom! Also, please visit her blog!

I pray that my words here and Kristie's words will help those of you struggling with the loss of a baby. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments. I really want to minister to families who have faced this kind of loss.

Blessings and love to you all!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Group B Strep

If you'll notice on my side bar, I have a link for Group B Strep International. I was surfing the web last night and discovered that July is International Group B Strep Awareness Month. I decided to add it to both of my blogs because I was diagnosed with Group B when I was pregnant with my younger son.

Three months before he was due, I began feeling like I had a vaginal infection. My doctor tested me for Group B and it was positive. In 1997, this wasn't a test that was routine. I believe it is screened for more now, as it should be. If the mother is left untreated during labor and delivery, the risk is high for the baby to die or be sick or left with a disability.

At age 2 1/2, my younger son was diagnosed as hard of hearing and has worn hearing aids ever since. I can't exactly say that his hearing loss is due to Group B Strep, but I can't rule it out either. I was given antibiotics during labor and delivery, but I still wonder about his disability. I just want to make others aware of this infection with the hope of preventing any of you and your babies from having to deal with this. If you're pregnant, PLEASE request Group B Strep testing! It's a very easy test to have done and well worth it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today's "Walking With You"

Over at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace we're supposed to share our experience after we heard the news that changed our lives. I think what I shared in my earlier post this week covers this topic. Remember, I'm kind of combining the Walking With You with the pregnancy loss Bible study I'm also doing. Please click on the Walking With You button on my sidebar if you'd like to participate in this program with Kelly.

If you have any questions or comments for me, please leave them in my comment section! I pray that my story and words and Kelly's stories and words will be a comfort to you. I believe God wants me to help other moms who are suffering due to the loss of a precious little one. Bless you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bible Study Week 2

This week's lesson was much longer than last week's, so I'm only going to share my answers to a few of the questions. In some cases, I may repeat things that I relayed in My Story in my first post. I pray that you can bear with me and that the relaying of my experience will be a comfort to others who are suffering because of their own losses.

The first question was: Where do I go to find out the truth?

I was really just kind of numb for several weeks after the miscarriage and didn’t want to talk about it much. We did tell our Pastor, and he asked to meet with us about a month after it happened. He wanted to see how we were handling it. His concern was that a lot of people didn’t know about it and that we were dealing with it alone. The first thing our Pastor asked was how we were doing. My husband just started talking, rambling really. I don’t really recall what he said, but I think he got off topic. Finally, our Pastor turned to me and asked me the same question again. I said that I was upset, but not as upset as I would be if something had happened to one of our boys. He then asked how the two of us were doing together. Eric spoke right up and said things could be better.

To be honest, I was really angry with Eric during this time period. About 2 weeks after we lost our baby, Eric’s brother told him that he and his wife were expecting. Eric didn’t relay this to me in the most sensitive of ways, and I was ticked with him. He also couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy for his brother and sister-in-law. So he was right when he said that things could be better.

I think our Pastor asked if we wanted to have some kind of memorial for the baby, but we declined. Part of me felt it was silly because I had only been 8 weeks pregnant, and part of me didn’t want to go through some sad memorial and display my emotions publicly.

Can I ever understand why? Here I was supposed to list questions I have regarding my miscarriage:

Why did God wait until I was 43 to let me become pregnant again?

Several years ago, why did my oldest son tell me that Jesus told him that I would have another baby?

If I wanted a third child so badly, why did I cry when I found out that I was pregnant (and they weren’t happy tears)?

Why didn’t I have more faith in God about the health and well being of this pregnancy and child?

How can God help me deal with losing my baby? There were three Bible verses that I was asked to look up and then I was to list at least one way God will help me based on each of these verses.

Jn. 14:15-18 He gives us the Holy Spirit.

2 Cor. 1:3-4 He will comfort me in all of my troubles.

Rev. 21:4 He will wipe away my tears. I will not mourn or cry anymore.

How did you experience God's comfort at the time of your loss? How would you like to be comforted now?

I experienced God’s comfort through the ladies I work with. I know they were all praying for me and my family. I received emails, card and hugs of love from them throughout the entire school year. My one co-worker brought over chocolate chip cookies on the baby’s due date. One couple we know sent us flowers when I miscarried. I really didn’t find my husband comforting until we approached the due date. He knew I wanted to do something as a tribute to the baby. Together we came up with the idea of getting a heart shaped emerald ring. The baby’s due date was May 2 and emerald is the birthstone for May. One change I did notice in my husband after our loss is that he has opened up more spiritually.

I don’t know how I want to be comforted now. I feel I want to reach out and comfort other moms who are suffering due to the loss of a child. I think that will give me comfort. Going through this study will allow me to comfort other moms in the future.

This week's lesson ended with these two Bible verses to give each of us hope:

Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Moms, and yes you are a mom even if all of your children are in Heaven, I pray that God's Word will comfort you. I pray that He will use me to guide you to Bible passages that will bring you some understanding of what you've been through and that will bring you some peace. I pray that you will feel His presence in your life and His loving arms around you, cradling you just as you would cradle your own child.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Story

This week I began doing a pregnancy loss Bible study with an on-line friend. She was kind enough to offer to lead me through this study since she has completed it once already. She will be leading a group of women at her church in the fall. K has one child and then miscarried twice. She is currently experiencing a healthy pregnancy with baby # 4. I am so thankful to K for doing this with me!

The book we are using is entitled Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy by Teale Fackler & Gwen Kik. When I ordered a copy of this book, the company accidentally sent me 3 books for the price of one! Rather than sending the 2 extra books back, I paid for and kept them. My husband and I feel it is a sign from God that eventually I will lead other women in this study.

As I said, we just began the study this week, so we've only done chapter 1. We're going to do a chapter each week. I decided that I would post my answers and thoughts here to the weekly discussion questions. My hope is to help another mom who is going through the anguish of a lost pregnancy or infant. I've also decided to join Walking With You over at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace. You can click on the button on my side bar to join in on what Kelly is doing over there. As I go through this journey, please feel free to comment and ask me questions.

In the first week, we were to tell our story. This is what follows below.

I found out I was pregnant the Friday of Labor Day Weekend 2008 (rather ironic!). My period was a week late, but I didn’t seriously think I could be pregnant. I was 43 and would turn 44 in November. I was too old!

I had always wanted three kids and had pictured having two sons closer in age and then having a daughter further down the road. I also wanted a May baby. Well, we had our two sons 2 ½ years apart. I would have liked to have gotten pregnant again when our younger son was 3. However, when he turned 2 ½, he was diagnosed as being moderately hearing impaired. Therefore, we had a lot on our plate as far as getting him hearing aids and early intervention services. He ended up being enrolled in a preschool class for deaf and hard of hearing children as soon as he turned 3. The class was 45 minutes from our home. Up until a few months before he started the class, the county had another one of these classes at the church right behind our house. Unfortunately, the county decided they didn’t have enough kids at our end of the county to continue this class. So Cooper attended the other class for 2 years.

I decided that because life was a little hectic due to his disability, that it wasn’t the right time to get pregnant. We even had an ENT ask us if we were going to have more children. We said we weren’t sure. He then stated that if we were we should have genetic testing done to see if our next child would be at risk for this. Quite frankly, this comment turned me off of this doctor!

If truth be told, my husband only wanted two kids, so I was quite surprised by his reaction when I told him I was pregnant again. He was calmer than I was. I, in fact, cried about the pregnancy, which I am so ashamed of! All I kept thinking was that our kids would be 14 and 11 when the baby was born in May and that Eric and I would be 64 by the time the baby was 20. Our family was settled into our way of life, and a new baby would disrupt all of that. Plus, we have no baby stuff left at all in the house! Still, at the same time, I wanted this baby.

When I called my OBGYN to get an appointment, I couldn’t believe that they didn’t want to see me prior to 8 weeks into the pregnancy! I told the lady on the phone that I was 43 and had been on thyroid medication and an anti-depressant for several years. She said that the thyroid medication shouldn’t be a problem. She told me to call my other doctor about the anti-depressant to see what he wanted me to do. She wasn’t concerned at all about my age. She could tell I was upset and tried to be reassuring over the phone. I called my other doctor and we worked out a plan to wean me off the anti-depressant.

During the next four weeks, I napped every day after work and could feel each stretch of my womb. Being pregnant at 43 is much different than being pregnant at 32! I never felt sick though, and smells only bothered me for one day. Due to the lack of sickness, I felt that something was wrong. I also had a tiny bit of spotting one or two times, which I never had with either of my other two pregnancies.

My husband didn’t want to tell anyone, including our kids, about the baby until my 8 week appointment. Now our oldest son is very intuitive and asked several times if I was pregnant. I told my husband that we needed to tell the boys, so we did at 7 weeks. They were so excited! We knew if it was girl we would name her Claren, but we didn’t have any boy names. So we told our sons to come up with a name for a little boy. They did so very quickly. The name we all agreed upon was Nolan.

Two days before the appointment, I spotted some more. We called the OB’s office the next day, and they said to come in right away. An internal ultra sound was done. The baby was there, but they couldn’t find the heartbeat and the baby was measuring at 6 weeks rather than 8 weeks along. This all happened on a Monday, and I was told to come back the following week.

I went to work on Tuesday, went to bed that night only to wake up to a lot of cramping. I also started bleeding a lot. We called the doctor in the middle of the night. He said it sounded like I was miscarrying. He said I could take something for the pain and then to come into the office in the morning.

I was up for quite awhile that night having to go back and forth to the bathroom. I couldn’t believe the amount of blood that I passed. I had also never realized that having a miscarriage is like going through a mini labor and delivery. We went back to the OB in the morning and had another internal ultrasound. I couldn’t even look at the screen. Eric was the one who told me that nothing was there anymore. I kept passing blood for several more days and had to use a heating pad for the cramping.

As I sat on the couch the rest of that week, I went back and forth between sadness, guilt, and relief. I was sad over the loss of the baby and the indignity that our baby was basically flushed down the toilet. I felt guilt over my initial reaction to the pregnancy and because I was also feeling somewhat relieved that our life was not going to be changed.

Later on I felt angry. I was angry that for my husband it just seemed to be something that was done and over with. After all, he wasn’t the one that had to go weekly for about a month to have blood work done in order to be sure my hormones returned back to normal. That was a constant reminder to me. He also wasn’t very sensitive when he broke the news to me that our sister-in-law was pregnant with twins.

I was angry with God because it had seemed like he was giving me what I had wanted and then took it away. I also felt I was being punished for my initial reaction to the pregnancy. When I was about 36, my older son out of the blue said to me, “Mommy, the next time you have a baby, I want to go to the hospital with you.” I told him I didn’t think I was going to have another baby. He thought about it for a second and replied, “Yes you are because Jesus told me so.” I was floored by his response! Sam was right, so how come my baby was taken from me?

At this point, 9 months later, I’m not so much angry with God as I am just asking Him, “Why? What was the point of that?” The only answer I can come up with is that He wants me to help others who have or will experience this.

We didn’t have any type of Memorial Service for the baby because we didn’t want one and not that many people knew I was even pregnant. We still haven’t even told our parents about it.

I don’t have a strong inkling either way as to whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I guess I’ll have a surprise waiting for me in Heaven.