Tag Archive: baby


one of the aims of the ‘Taboo Topics’ series was to have real people sharing real stories about topics that people don’t speak a lot about – up til now i have had people share as themselves but i fully understand with a topic like this, that my friend did not feel comfortable sharing her name and i totally get that… so to those reading this, it is an anonymous story of someone who had an abortion, but i know who the person is and so it is once again a shared story or a real person and i trust it will help others out there who have been struggling with having gone through a similar experience:

It is now three years and 5 months after the day I decided to have an abortion.
And at times I feel fine…and then out of the blue it hit me…I will see a baby or here a song or just a smell or a normal doctors appointment and it feels like a ton of bricks come smashing down on me.

Everything happened so fast and I felt so overwhelmed and confused at that time. I had a very abusive relationship with my mother, and even though I loved her I was so scared of what she would do if she found out I was pregnant. I can remember the one thing my mother always told me was that if I ever get pregnant before I was married I will have an abortion. I can remember how over the December holidays I was soooooo sick and alone. I felt crammed into making a decision…I worked at a school at that time and getting pregnant without being married would get me fired because of the nature of the school added to that neither I nor the dad could afford to raise the child…all these issues threw me into a desperate frenzy.

I felt so alone.

I ended up making the biggest mistake of my life and had the abortion. I can remember each small detail from leaving for the clinic to the doctor’s face …everything of that day. That same day my parents wanted me to come and visit so even though I felt horrible physically and was a mess emotionally I had to pull myself together and make like nothing happened. A week later work started. It was so difficult! Seeing the little children running around and knowing that my boy/girl would never be able to do the same! I blocked everything out for about two years and then my life started falling to pieces. I felt so guilty and the “what ifs” drove me insane.

At the beginning of the year I decided enough was enough. I went for counseling and decided to accept God’s forgiveness on what I did. I made a journal of a letter I wrote to my child, what I missed of him/her (for example I would never she him/her smile, or their first step…or first day at school…I would never be able to tell them how much I loved him/her) I wrote in verses and poems and then Bible verses reminding me that God has forgiven me. The one is: Isaiah 1:18 Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. On paper it sounds so easy but talking to someone about what happened (since I have so far only shared this with three people in my life) and giving it up to God and making the choice to not let my baby’s death be an end of my own life but a mistake I made which will bring me closer to God, was such a hugely difficult process.

To those who have been in this position. I know how isolating it can be. And how little help there really is for mothers who have chosen to go this route and realized afterwards just how much they really lost. But I can assure you that in Abba Father there is healing. You never forget your child. But God can change even your worst mistake into something that will make you grow closer to Him.

And to those who are faced with having an abortion or not. Please please please don’t rush it! Think carefully about what all you will be losing really. And talk to Godly people. Listen to advice. Don’t shut yourself off and make that decision on your own.

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I have wrestled with writing this for a while now as it is a very sore spot but I know that God can work through this whether to help me heal or to help others know they are not as alone as we often feel in this situation.

My story starts not after I got married to my amazing hubby but a few years before. I was about 20 when I found out that I had a tumour on my pituitary gland (under the brain in the centre of the skull). This tumour, thankfully not cancerous, created havoc with my hormones and gave my body the impression I was pregnant without actually being pregnant but with many symptoms including all day sickness (not just mornings), weight gain, lack of periods and even milk production when the tumour got quite large. I ended up having brain surgery to remove the tumour and was under the impression that all was good and I no longer had to worry about tests and tumours.

My now husband and I then got engaged and later married and at this time had discussed that we would both love to have children but we felt (due to our younger age but also due to seeing other marriages fail from not building a strong foundation to the marriage) that we would wait 5 years before trying for kids so we could build a good solid marriage with God at the centre so we would have a good foundation to bring our kids up on.

Six months into our marriage I started feeling sick again with all the same symptoms and my first thought went to the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy which was scary but we knew we’d be ok and even though I was on the pill if I was pregnant then it was part of God’s plan for us. After going for all the necessary tests and more we found out that unfortunately my tumour had grown back again. I then went through medication that did nothing except make me feel worse, a second brain op and radiotherapy to try get rid of the tumour of which none of these gave a permanent solution. I changed Neurosurgeons for the 3rd time and was put onto a new medication which would shrink the tumour and keep it under control but I would have to stay on it the rest of my life to keep the tumour under control as it would not kill or get rid of the tumour but as long as I stayed on the meds I would have no problem falling pregnant and should also have no complications in a pregnancy according to the dr’s.

We’d been married for about one and a half to two years at this stage but decided that with everything that had happened we would rather start our family sooner. Month after month went by and all we had was disappointment after disappointment. Months turned into a year and still nothing. We eventually consulted with a fertility specialist and blood tests showed that my hormones were not all at the levels they should be at. we tried medications to get me to ovulate and to try balance my hormones but each time we’d try something it would seem to mess the hormones up even more. After a few more tests the fertility specialist told us that the only way we would be able to have a child of our own was to go the IVF route at a cost of something like R45 000 excluding medication. We agreed that there was no way we could afford that or go into debt by taking out a loan and then bring a child into the world that we couldn’t afford due to the debt.

For much of this time we didn’t say much to many of our friends or family as each time we would say anything we would be told to “just relax” or told about so and so who went on holiday and fell pregnant. What none of them understood was stress had nothing to do with it. We tried to “just forget about it” and “relax” but still nothing happened, we even agreed that we would put it aside and said maybe God is telling us to wait till we were married for 5 years as we had originally decided. We never did anything to prevent pregnancy and decided that if I fell pregnant then I did but if I didn’t then in time we would maybe go for another opinion.

Our 5th wedding anniversary came and went and still there was no pregnancy. Thankfully the medication was still working on the tumour and I was living a normal life with no restrictions or problems. We discussed things again and went to see another fertility specialist as well as an endocrinologist to see if we could sort out the hormones and try fall pregnant without going the costly IVF route. All we got was more and more bad news, my hormones were at worse levels than before and now medication is not even an option. IVF was still the only option given by the fertility specialist and even then he said he doesn’t see that we would have a very good chance, according to him we have a less than 1% chance of falling pregnant and even then it will be a very high risk pregnancy. So now we have agreed since we have a slim chance of falling pregnant even with IVF we are not going to keep going to dr’s and getting bad news but rather now are trying to build our marriage even stronger than it is. We shared with my hubby’s family what the dr’s have told us and even though it was difficult I’m glad we did as my Father in law reminded us that even though we have a longing to have kids of our own we didn’t get married to have kids, we got married because we love each other and that will never change as God has walked us through so much more than just these issues I’ve mentioned. We do in all this praise the Lord for His healing hand over my life as about 18 months ago I went for my annual MRI to make sure the medication was still working and that there were no changes to my tumour when instead we got a surprise and were told that the tumour the dr’s said I would have to live with for the rest of my life had now disappeared, unfortunately due to the affects the tumour had on my body and my hormones over a number of years this has not changed the chances of pregnancy and my hormones are still very low and bordering on menopausal at the age of 30.

Over the years I’ve battled with wishing I could fall pregnant just so I knew it was possible for my body but having seen friends go through miscarriages at different stages of their pregnancies I prayed that I would never have to deal with that.

People don’t understand what you are going through at times like this and so often try the “just relax” approach or the “I have a friend or a friend who was struggling and as soon as they adopted they fell pregnant” approach. It also becomes difficult to discuss what’s going on with people who have not experienced infertility as they think they should protect you by not involving you in their children’s lives or exclude you from functions because there will be kids there. For me I know I often battle with wanting to be able to make my own decision about whether I am strong enough to attend or not but this is not always possible as people try “protect” you by not involving you which often hurts more than dealing with infertility hurts.

We’ve just recently celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and I don’t know what God’s plan is for our lives and our marriage but we know that through Him we are made strong to deal with the situations that come our way. Some days are definitely easier than others and yes I get angry when I hear about another teenage or unmarried pregnancy. I have even often shouted at God and told Him it’s not fair that we did things that we’d been taught was the right way and yet other people who do things the wrong way get blessed with a child. I’ve shed many tears for the children we may never have but I have also been able to say that I have been blessed with friends who don’t exclude us from their childrens lives and even though they are not our own children we still get to experience the joy of a child being happy to see their “other mommy”. We will continue to take things one day at a time and continue to try leave the situation in God’s hands as only He can really say when and if a life will be created.

God bless.

Bettina.

Itʼs July, Mauri phones to tell me the news, weʼre pregnant again. Whoohoo! We had been trying and Mauri had had a dream in which a date for a birth of a baby was given. So the news was, well, wow perhaps God had spoken to us about the actual birthday! We did a calculation and due date was in the ʻdate proximityʼ. Sure it was very early days, but God had spoken hadnʼt he, and so we started dreaming: is it a boy or a girl? What will they look like, be like? And how will they play with Kristen?

A couple of weeks later Mauri comes into the lounge with an anxious, slightly panicked look on her face, she is spotting and the bleeding was getting heavier. The next day we are in our doctorʼs surgery and he confirms our fears. A miscarriage.

Itʼs only a miscarriage, just a miscarriage, we carry on with life, right? Hey in the old days no one would have even known, and the bleed put down as a late period. Thatʼs what some have said. I begin thinking along those lines too: itʼs not like weʼve lost a baby. Or have we? Almost as if right there and then i have the wrestle of our time: when does life begin? Iʼm struggling to know what i should be feeling in the midst of Mauriʼs emotions, strengthened by hormonal changes in her body. I write to a mentor of mine and his wisdom to us is that we need to name the baby and say goodbye. That shouldnʼt be too difficult? Mauriʼs instinct was that it was a girl. We had a name we were going to use if we had another girl, and so we named her Bethany, had to name her Bethany because to choose any other name would be to discount the life that had been there. It was at that point that Mauri and I wept together. I was so surprised by how pained i felt, how disappointed I was.
It was so much harder to say goodbye that i had imagined.

Itʼs so easy for me to delegitimize my feelings because otherʼs have had it much harder. Which is true. But thatʼs not right either. When life is formed it is only right for us to expect that, that ultimately life will be birthed. When it doesnʼt there is the sense of something stolen, of an incompletion. I sometimes still cry when i have to think about or share that experience (like now) and know the deeper pain of many others who have lost their babies.

Mauri fell pregnant, quite unexpectedly, not long after that and our little boy, Jesse is about to turn 2. I canʼt imagine life without him but sometimes wonder how Bethany would have fitted into our family.

Shaun and I had been married for a couple of months and decided to start trying for a family. Imagine our excitement as we found out I was pregnant. At about 8 weeks things didn’t seem to be quite right so found a gynae and went for a check-up. I had terrible pain and was bleeding a little. After some scanning and much to our surprise the doc couldn’t find any indication of a pregnancy in my uterus. It was confirmed that I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (where baby is growing inside the fallopian tube and not the uterus) and was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery. We didn’t have too much time to process all this as I was whisked off to theater and when I woke up was told that all was fine and there was no permanent damage. Yes, we were relived that my tube and uterus were intact but what about our little baby we would never get to meet. What was probably the worst for me was the comment people made like “oh well. You can try again” and “it wasn’t really a baby anyway”…to us it was!

A couple months later we fell pregnant again and I was terrified… I didn’t ever fully enjoy my pregnancy and it was filled with complications. I eventually had to have an emergency caesar at 35 weeks. God blessed us with a wonderful little boy. As I was already heading for my mid-thirties we decided that we didn’t want too much of a gap between the children so fell pregnant again when Merrick was about. 9 months old and things seemed to be progressing well.

Then disaster struck. I started bleeding again at about 6 weeks. We were on holiday in Plett and drove straight back to CT to see my gynae. She couldn’t find a heartbeat but said that it was perhaps too early. Blood tests, bed rest and a 2 week wait. We went back..a perfect little sac was seen on the inside but no baby… It was called a blighted ovum. In other words something had gone wrong during fertilisation and the foetus had not developed properly. Not some people don’t even consider this to be a baby. But we did..as we believe its our child the moment conception takes place. Another procedure to remove the remains of our pregnancy. And more comments of “it wasn’t a real baby”. “You’re so lucky cause you already have a baby” , “your age gap would have been so small” and lots of other insensitive things like that. Guess people thought they were being helpful but all I really wanted to hear was “I’m sorry for your loss”.

Often I think situations like this are more difficult for the husband as the loss is not physical but emotional and we know how most men are not so good at dealing with their “emotional side”. We were blessed with a gorgeous little man and had the courage to try again a couple of months later. We are now the proud parents of 3 beautiful children here on earth and two little souls up in heaven. I guess people may think that it was “just a miscarriage” – but not to us. We know God has reasons for these things happening but that doesn’t mean that we are always able to look at the big picture and see things the way God wants us to. Yes I get upset when I think about them, yes I get angry when I think about the thinks people say and yes I am thankful that God gave us more children.

This may not make a whole lot of sense but perhaps someone who reads it can relate..its okay to be angry, its okay to be sad but mostly its ok to talk about it.

Love Heidi xx

[Heidi and Shaun Hudson-Bennett]

My second daughter, Zoe, was stillborn at 37 weeks on 24th March 2007 in London, UK – we had no warning, one day she was well, with a strong heartbeat, head down, ready to come into the world, and two days later, she was dead. It turns out that Nicole has a blood condition that pre-disposes her toward clotting, and the best guess is that there must have been sudden clotting in the placenta/umbilical chord which starved Zoe of oxygen. We didn’t know this until after Zoe was born but because our first daughter, Janel, had been premature, Nicole had been under closer observation than a normal pregnancy, including specialised prenatal care, so there was nothing more that could have been done under the circumstances. Nevertheless, you plague yourself with “what if” questions – what if I’d taken Nicole the emergency room the night before when she first commented that Zoe wasn’t moving regularly, what if Nicole had noticed earlier that something seemed to be wrong?

The church community we belonged to were amazing and really rallied round, providing us with meals, doing laundry, taking Janel out so we could be alone. We were put in touch with a charity called SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) who invited us to a meeting of parents who had lost their children. It was just incredible to meet with other parents who had walked a similar path to us and who could tell us that there was some light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long and dark it might prove to be. When we returned to South Africa, we looked to find a similar support group, but saw that none existed. As a result we started Born Sleeping and have had the privilege of supporting, and being supported by, many couples both in Cape Town, where we live, but also around the country via email and Facebook.

The issue of my faith in relation to this experience is a difficult, complicated, and ongoing one – in the weeks after Zoe’s death, we felt God’s love and comfort expressed to us by his people and we truly felt that, somehow, it was all going to be alright. As a bloke, I was in full strong-man support mode for Nicole, we had a 18-month old daughter to take care of, I had a job to go back to after a couple of weeks, we were preparing to move home to South Africa, etc and although I had the opportunity for some counselling, I don’t think I was able to fully engage with the enormity of my grief and its impact on my faith. When we moved back to Cape Town, we struggled to find a worship community where we felt comfortable – going to church itself was not a happy experience, when you have deep questions about the goodness of a deity who would allow a child to be created only to take her back before we could know her, it is not easy to be surrounded by people singing His praises. The best advice we were given in this time was permission to miss church, to stop feeling duty bound to attend if it was damaging our relationship with God. In spite of this respite, for many months, I would go through phases of truly hating people who had an open, easy faith, because they had what I no longer could claim to be my own.

Truth be told, my relationship with God had been on a downward trend for some time before Zoe died, but the questions that her death raised for me became stumbling blocks which I couldn’t overcome and although we settled in a church and joined cell groups and I even began to lead worship again, my personal spiritual life was essentially dead. Matters came to a head one Sunday morning when God, through one of his children, lovingly confronted me and said that I could not continue like this, struggling on my own and hoping that things would improve, that I needed to seek help. And so I re-entered counselling, and have made progress – Zoe’s death has become the scalpel God used to cut through layers of tradition and habit to uncover fundamental flaws in the way I view God and how I relate to him. There is much work to be done still, but I have hope again that at some point in the future I will be restored as God promises, I will be able to say with Spurgeon “Oh Blessed Hurricane that drives me onto the Rock of Ages” and mean it.

Next month it will be 5 years since Zoe died, and although we have been blessed with a son in that time, I still think of her often and am surprised by how close to the surface the grief remains. In writing this, I have been reading through some of the messages we wrote and received at the time, and the tears have flowed freely again. You never “get over” a loss such as this, but you learn to live with the pain. You never ever quite work out how to properly answer the question “How many children do you have?” but you stop feeling guilty when you say 2 instead of 3. There is life after stillbirth, but it is never the same as before.

Graeme [Graeme Broster and Nicole Masureik]

Born Sleeping Website – http://bornsleeping.wordpress.com/
Born Sleeping Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Born-Sleeping/150344014978601

many of you already know the history, but for anyone who may not…

in the beginning there was Jack Handey and such winners as:

“It’s sad that a family can be torn apart by something as simple as a pack of wild dogs.” [Jack Handey]

“Maybe in order to understand mankind we have to look at that word itself. MANKIND. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words “mank” and “ind.” What do these words mean? It’s a mystery and that’s why so is mankind.” [Jack Handey]

and so i set out to try my hand at handeyesque humour and brett andy’s were born… mostly not nearly as good, but every now and then i hit on something that works and you can see them all here if you have not… however, a year or so on and i am still trying to figure out how they work and could really use your help and so if you don’t mind taking a minute to read the next 15 and feeding back on any of them that made you smile, grin or even send some kind of liquid you were drinking straight through your nose… so leave a comment with maybe your top three or more if there were and thank you for your time… speaking of which…

“I HEARD ‘THYME HEALS ALL WOUNDS,’ BUT WHEN I RUBBED SOME OF IT INTO MY CUT LAST NIGHT IT JUST LEFT ME WITH THIS NASTY RASH.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“MR POTATO HEAD TOOK ONE LAST LOOK AT HIS REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR, BUT NOTHING COULD CHANGE THE TRUTH STARING BACK AT HIM. HIS HEAD WAS ALSO HIS BUTT.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“AS THE BLIND LADY ENTERED THE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT, SHE PONDERED THE IRONY.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“TWO ROADS DIVERGED IN THE WOODS AND I, I TOOK THE ONE LESS INFESTED BY HIDDEN ROBOT NINJA ZOMBIE ATTACK DOGS. AND THAT HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“AS SPRING CONTINUED TO PROGRESS SOMEWHAT MEDIOCRELY, HUMPTY DUMPTY REMINISCED ABOUT THE GREAT FALL HE’D HAD JUST MONTHS AGO.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“I’VE ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT THE GNU FAMILY CELEBRATES ON JANUARY FIRST?”

[BRETT ANDY]

“AS THE CLOUDS STARTED TO GATHER, YOU COULD TELL BY THE LOOKS ON THEIR FACES THAT THIS WAS GOING TO BE ONE SERIOUSLY INTENSE MEETING.”

[BRETT ANDY]

‘ “STOP THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER!”  HANK KNEW THAT HIS WIFE WAS RIGHT. THAT WAS THE THIRD BABY THEY’D LOST ALREADY THIS WEEK.’ 

[BRETT ANDY]

“AS THE UGLY DUCKLING CAUGHT SIGHT OF HIS REFLECTION IN THE POND, HE SMILED QUIETLY TO HIMSELF. NEVER AGAIN WOULD HE BE CALLED THAT. AND HE WAS RIGHT. FROM THAT DAY FORWARD IT WAS ‘THE UGLY SWAN’ ALL THE WAY.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“HIS FRIENDS WATCHED AS BILLY’S LIFELESS BODY SLUMPED TO THE GROUND, EACH OF THE THOUSAND BLOOD DROPLETS EVIDENCE OF A CORRESPONDING CACTUS SPIKE. AND THUS TREE-HUGGING WAS PROPOSED.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“NICE GIRL,” THOUGHT PRINCE CHARMING TO HIMSELF, AS THEY DANCED CHEEK TO CHECK, “ALTHOUGH KINDA SMELLS LIKE PUMPKIN!”

[BRETT ANDY]

THE BLEEDING STOPPED. FROM THEN ON, IT WAS SIMPLY “RUDOLPH.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“AS I FINISHED JOINING THE DOTS AND STOOD BACK TO ADMIRE MY HANDIWORK, I WONDERED IF MY COUSIN LAURA, PRESENTLY RECOVERING FROM THE MEASLES, WOULD APPRECIATE IT AS MUCH AS I DID WHEN SHE WOKE UP.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“AS TIM UNWRAPPED HIS LAST CHRISTMAS GIFT, HE SUDDENLY THOUGHT TO HIMSELF, “PERHAPS I SHOULD HAVE LEFT THAT TO THE PEOPLE I BOUGHT THEM FOR.”

[BRETT ANDY]

“THEY SAY YOU SHOULD GRAB LIFE BY THE BALLS, WHICH IS TRUE, BUT ALSO NEVER CONFUSE LIFE WITH ANOTHER MAN.”

[BRETT ANDY]

i thoroughly enjoy stories of hope and unselfishness and here is one of them… inspiring stuff…

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