October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and below is a blog authored by Kelsey Himes that I posted almost 5 years ago. It’s a touching story and provides a message of hope. As you read you’ll note that Kelsey’s desire was to create a support group for others in our area who suffered a similar loss. Today, Kelsey and her husband Bryan, continue to honor Anna’s memory and help others who are dealing with similar tragedies through Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support. The group meets the first Tuesday of each month in the Medical Plaza Classroom at 6:30 pm and you can get more information by visiting GVMH’s Facebook page.
My husband and I decided to start trying to start our family what seems like forever ago. We were high school sweet hearts so as soon as we got married, started our careers, and bought our first house I could hardly wait to start trying to get pregnant! We both are very blessed to have come from great families, have jobs we love, and a love for each other that I feel is rare these days. It never once crossed my mind that we were about to embark on what would be the most difficult and most trying days of our entire lives. After all, we are good people right?
After getting off the pill and a few months of preparing my body we quickly became pregnant. We were on cloud nine! We swore we wouldn’t tell anyone for a while, that lasted a whole two minutes. I was beaming with sunshine! I couldn’t believe I was going to be a mom! There was nothing I wanted to be more. No job or career was ever more important to me than the job of being a mother. Then, about a week and half later on my birthday I began to bleed. All the hopes and dreams I had for this child were gone. As quickly as it happened, it was gone. We had to explain to people what had happened. I remember crying in the middle of Wal-mart when I ran into someone who congratulated me. This brought on a couple of months of questioning about God’s plan for us. We did everything right. We are good people, why would he allow this to happen to us?
I prayed and I prayed. I prayed for healing and for the Lord to bless us with another child. I remember telling him, “If you choose to bless us with another child, I promise to teach that child about you and your wonderful ways.”
3 months after the miscarriage we were pregnant again. We were again ecstatic! I JUST KNEW that this child was sent from God and he answered our prayers. We were a little hesitant to share the news. But as time went on the pregnancy kept progressing with absolutely no problems at all. As my belly grew so did all of our hopes and dreams. We decorated the nursery, imagined what she would look like, fought over names, talked to her, felt every kick, finally picked out her name ( I won), and had 5 baby showers….yes I said 5! We couldn’t imagine life without her. My pregnancy was very normal. I literally had no problems. We both seemed very healthy.
When I was 38 weeks along (2 wks. From my due date) I suddenly didn’t feel her kicking. I quickly called my doctor and they told me to check into the hospital to make sure everything is okay. As odd as it sounds, I really wasn’t that worried. People talk about the same thing happening to them all the time and everything is fine. Besides, God wouldn’t do that to me would he? Let me carry her for 9 months and then take her away.
The nurse put the wand over my swollen belly and 2 doctors are staring at the screen, whispering back and forth as they try to determine what is going on, I am looking at their faces trying to search for a glimpse of hope. But nothing. The poor doctor had to tell us every parent’s worst nightmare had come true. As my eyes began to fill up with tears my husband embraced me and we laid there together on the hospital bed numb and in disbelief for what seemed like eternity. This night is etched into my head forever. The sounds, the smells….everything. Even the sounds of screaming woman in labor and then hearing the babies soon after. It was heart wrenching to say the least. I cannot put into words the amount of pain we felt. The term “broken hearted” always seemed like just a phrase to me, but my heart literally hurt.
About 24 hrs. later and a rather easy and natural delivery, Anna Lynn Himes was born into the arms of Jesus on Friday February 12, 2010. Weighing 8lbs. 3 ½ oz. and 20 in. long. Surprisingly I was overwhelmed with joy. Even though the circumstances were what they were giving birth to her was one of the best days of my entire life. I am so glad we got to meet her in this life. She was perfect. She had her daddy’s red hair and my button nose. At this point the doctor’s could not determine what had happened. I do have to add since I am writing on Craig’s blog that we received EXCELLENT care from all of the doctor’s and nurses at GVMH and the clinic. They were so comforting to our situation and went completely out of their way to care for us. I truly feel I have the best doctor in the world and have great confidence in him that he did and will do everything in his power.
As we left the hospital and faced the “real world,” nothing was the same. We came home to a house full of baby stuff and all I was left with were empty arms and swollen breasts. I kept thinking to myself, “I don’t even know where to begin with God.” I thought he had answered my prayers? Why would he do this to us?
Well my friend, I still can’t answer that today. But what I do know is that God has given me strength to endure and get me through the days even if that means getting me out of bed to take a shower and brush my teeth. Some days that was all I could do. I have learned that we aren’t meant to know his reasoning, which is by design. He is so powerful that we cannot even begin to comprehend him. We are not guaranteed anything in this world, but he does promise one thing. If we believe in him, we will one day enter into his kingdom and be saved. I believe no matter what happens in our lives, no matter how awful it is, it is an opportunity to bring glory to him. I know my Anna is in heaven, I have no doubt about that. She is with the one who created her. He may not have given Anna life, but he gave her eternal life and that is so much sweeter. Our time here on earth is so much shorter than the eternity we will spend with our loved ones in heaven. I hope you believe and one day get to walk in his presence.
Through my grieving process I tried to find a support group in this area and I found nothing. I thought this was a great opportunity for me to start one for grieving families who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Through the support group I would like to raise enough money to put together care packages for families in the hospital who go through something like this. In the care packages there will be information about the support group, references to books, websites, blogs, and even songs that have helped me heal, a copy of the book I Will Carry You By Angie Smith, a locket to put a piece of baby’s hair in, and what I am MOST excited about is I have talked with a local photographer and he is willing to be a part of an organization called, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It is an organization that photographers become a part of to volunteer their time to taking professional pictures of sleeping babies in the hospital or funeral home. In the hospital and even days later you are not in any condition to be thinking of the details. Had my wonderful family and friends not thought of doing some of this stuff for me I would have never had a locket of Anna’s hair, or professional pictures of her. You only have one opportunity to do it, and I cherish them so much, as that is all we have left of Anna. I don’t have all the details to this lined out yet, these are just ideas. But it is something that I am going to do, not if. I want to heal a little more before I take on a lot of other people’s grief as well. But in time I hope to reach out to families, and hopefully I can be a voice for Anna and share the love that she has brought into our hearts that will never die.