Miscarriage and the Love of our Father

I was just over 13 weeks pregnant when I miscarried this time.  Because of a previous miscarriage, my doctor ordered an early sonogram to set my mind at ease.  I saw the heartbeat of my precious baby at 8 weeks.  Already this child was beloved.  Regardless of that vibrant heartbeat, my child died shortly after the sonogram.  I found out at 13.5 weeks when I started to show symptoms of miscarriage.

Years earlier, the first time I miscarried, I was a newlywed.  I didn’t know my faith and wasn’t practicing it.  My husband’s and my reaction to becoming pregnant progressed quickly from surprise, to fear, to elation.  And then I miscarried at 13 weeks.

Without faith, losing my first child was just one big awful painful experience that I tried to stuff inside of me so that it wouldn’t swallow me.  I wept until there were no more tears and then I tried to focus on the future.  No one knew what to say to me and just about everything they said hurt me.  “Oh there will be others,”  “it wasn’t meant to be,”  “there must have been a deformity, better that it wasn’t born.”  In hindsight, through the eyes of faith, I know that all of their comments lacked the intended consolation because they didn’t acknowledge the baby that I lost, the viable life.  They didn’t acknowledge that I was entitled to grieve this loss because it wasn’t a just a medical term, a miscarriage, it was a baby.

I stuffed it all in after the first miscarriage and thought I was coping very well.  Life was back to normal for a while until out of the blue I became deeply sad.  I was on the verge of tears for several days.  I couldn’t understand why I felt like weeping until I realized that it was the week of my due date: my body, my whole being, was missing my child that was to have been born.  Recognizing and admitting the cause of my sadness helped to alleviate it some and gave me some peace.

Over the years I gave birth to 3 beautiful healthy children and, praise be to God, my husband and I began to learn about and live our Catholic faith.

However, despite now being a faithful Catholic, the second miscarriage was still heartbreaking.  Although I had never held this child in my arms, I believed that she was a girl and I had felt her presence in my womb.  Her hormones mingled with mine, leaving me nauseous and lethargic.  I anticipated her birth and met her in my hopes and dreams.   I felt her loss in the depth of my soul.  I wept.  Although my husband handled it differently, he was deeply affected as well.   And now I couldn’t just stuff it all inside of me, I had 3 children who had lost a sibling and were also grieving.  So I prayed and I tried to be strong.   A kind priest said something that I found comforting: “A baby is a baby no matter how small.  Some are born into our families and we raise them.  Some go straight to heaven to intercede on our behalf.”  His words brought me comfort because they acknowledged my baby as a person and a member of our family. They also reminded me that this baby had not been erased, that although she would not be a part of our family on earth, she would still be a part of our family through the communion of saints in heaven.

The priest also quoted  John 11:35 And Jesus wept.  I appreciated the scripture, but at the time its meaning escaped me.

Two days after the miscarriage my husband was scheduled to travel for business.  I told him that he should go.  I wanted to try to get back to normal and really didn’t think there was anything he could do for me at home.  He left for the trip.  The night he left, after I put the kids to bed, I regretted encouraging him to go.  I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief.  Through my tears I prayed in a desperately demanding sort of way.  “Lord, intellectually I know that you are there, but right now I really need to feel your presence physically.  I need to feel your comfort, your embrace.  I need you to hold me.  I need a big strong shoulder to cry on.  Please Lord!”  And then I cried myself to sleep.

In the morning I went to daily mass for the first time since I had miscarried.  My grief and fluctuating hormones left me feeling emotionally unstable so I didn’t want to be near anyone.  I sat in the very last pew.  The closest person was at least 15 rows ahead of me.  Then a few minutes after Mass started, a young man and his son came in and sat directly in front of me.  The man was extremely tall, at least 6’ 6”, and his son seemed to be around 8 years old.  My thoughts were not particularly charitable: “REALLY??? There are 30 empty pews and you have to sit right in front of me.”

During Mass I couldn’t help it; I began to weep softly and silently.  I was distracted and looking off to the right when I felt something touching my left knee.  I turned and saw that it was the man’s hand.  He bent backwards just enough to reach me.  I have to say that having a stranger place his hand on my knee would normally have upset me, but oddly I felt comforted by this stranger’s gesture.  Then at the sign of peace, the man effortlessly leaned backwards and embraced me. I felt consoled, physically.   After Mass he knelt beside me in the aisle and told me that he was praying for me.

Immediately I knew that our Lord, in his great compassion, had answered my prayer and had sent this man to comfort me.  He was so tall, and so compassionate.  I felt our Lord’s embrace and our Lord’s love and comfort. I prayed with gratitude in my heart for this tangible answer to my previous prayer.

A few days later a woman who had been at that Mass approached me.  She wanted to know who the man was that had knelt beside me.  I told her that I didn’t know his name but it seemed that he had been sent by God.  She told me that she had been in line behind him to greet the priest on the way out of Mass.  file000871375277She said that he was weeping.  I remembered, John 11:35 And Jesus wept.

Recently, John 11:35 was included in the Gospel for Sunday Mass.  The priest’s homily touched on why Jesus, who knew all and could change all would weep.  He said that Jesus wept out of compassion because he knew how painful death was and that, but for the fall, death wasn’t meant to be.

I know with both my intellect and my heart that Jesus was with me every step of my struggle through these miscarriages.  He was grieving with me and helping me to carry the pain of losing my babies.  I find great comfort and strength in that.  It makes our heavenly Father’s love so tangible to me.

Yes, I have lost two babies, but I have also received a gift.  If you have ever miscarried, please take any part of my story as your own.  Know that our Lord was with you as well and wept for the loss of your baby also.

Together, my children and I named their two siblings, Jack and Lily.  There is great dignity in having a name.  We registered them in The Book of Life at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, dedicated to the memory of children who have died unborn.  They sent us a certificate that we keep in our family photo album.  I believe that Jack and Lily may be our most powerful intercessors.

Adoption: A Miracle, Not a Last Option

I was fortunate enough to be raised in a great Catholic family. I was one of 8 children, so we did get the Catholic large family comments. I always knew that I wanted to have a larger than average family, too. I was also very lucky to meet my future husband who decided he wanted to join the Catholic Church.

My husband and I took a class in NFP before we were married, in spite of the offer my husband got from a friend to teach him about contraception for our wedding night (he knew we had abstained from premarital sex). We decided to use NFP in an attempt to postpone pregnancy for a year or two.

When we decided we wanted to start our family, it was exciting at first. After all, I thought, with NFP you can get close to pre-determining your child’s birthday. I had fun thinking about when our baby would be born and I even bought a grandchild birthstone charm for my mom’s collection.

After a year of trying to get pregnant, we were frustrated and depressed. My husband and I tried to work through it together. We both dealt with infertility very differently and it caused much tension in our marriage. My husband was optimistic and happy to keep doing his part to achieve pregnancy. I, on the other hand, dreaded the impending period every month and saw “achieving” pregnancy as a chore.

My married siblings were having children every 1.8 years and my husband and I spent longer than that trying to get pregnant. Friends were having “surprise” pregnancies. We heard all of the talk about IVF. One reason I didn’t tell people that I was trying to get pregnant was because I didn’t want to hear their recommendations about trying IVF or other methods not conducive to God’s plan for life. I just wished I could become a mom. Mother’s Day (which happened to be my birthday one year) was a little depressing. I even thought a miscarriage wouldn’t be so bad, because I would be a mom with a lovely soul in heaven. But I never saw that positive pregnancy test.

We sought infertility help from a prolife doctor and he was wonderful with us. We tried some medication and some natural supplements, but we still did not get pregnant. After exhausting what I saw as all of our viable options for a biological child, I wanted to proceed with adoption. When we got married we had talked about adopting some day, but we figured we would have biological children first. My husband wanted to keep trying to get pregnant, so we compromised and decided to try to achieve pregnancy for 6 more months and if unsuccessful, we would pursue an adoption. I was happy to have an end goal in mind. The monthly periods weren’t as depressing for me because they put us one month closer to an adoption. For those 6 months I became an adoption-information fiend and gathered information from wherever I could: internet, adoption agencies, and information sessions. We did not have any friends, family, or neighbors who had adopted so we had to look elsewhere. Adoption wasn’t a word we heard discussed at church and there wasn’t an adoption support group for Catholic families.

After 6 months of information-gathering and more failed attempts at pregnancy, we embarked on a new journey to adopt. We told close family and friends and they were surprised. I can remember telling my in-laws and the first response was, “Why would you do that?” We simply said, “Because we want to.” We didn’t feel that this was a back-up plan because our original plan hadn’t worked out. We knew this had been God’s plan all along, and we were now embracing it. I suppose He knew we wouldn’t adopt if we had started by having biological children.

We chose to adopt a child from Korea. We filled out the piles of paperwork and met other couples who adopted or were waiting to adopt. Right after our home study was completed we received a picture of our future son. He was beautiful! We told people we interact with regularly about him. People were happy for us but weren’t quite sure how to react. Do you throw a baby shower for a mom who is about to adopt? Do you keep asking if she has heard anything about when the baby comes home? I went to baby showers for pregnant women and expecting fathers at work. I didn’t look like I was expecting and we were hesitant to buy many baby things.

Life got very exciting when we received a surprise phone call that our son was ready to come home two months earlier than expected. A day later we were on an airplane to Korea. Meeting our son for the first time was the recognition of a miracle. Though we didn’t witness the medical miracle of birth, we knew that God had called this child to be in our family.

There wasn’t anyone to meet us at the airport when we arrived home. We didn’t even have a crib set up for him at home. There wasn’t a big baby shower with lots of baby items to doll up our son. But we were a happy family of three now.

We knew we would be back to Korea to do it all over again. And 16 months later we came home from Korea as a happy family of four. We witnessed yet another miracle child by adoption.

A year later we decided that we would pursue adoption again. This time God had a different plan: I was pregnant. Of course we were excited, but we were also disappointed that we had to stop the adoption process (we were not allowed to pursue adoption if I was pregnant). It was a sad call to the adoption agency to halt the process.

When we finally told people after the first trimester, they were elated for us. Friends and family were more excited than when we told them about our two adoptions. People figured we had finally gotten what we wanted – a child of our own.

Being adoptive parents has taught us that our children are not only ours. Our sons also have biological and foster parents who will always be a part of their lives. Ultimately, all children really belong to God, and, like being an adoptive parent, we are just given the privilege to care for them here on earth. We were looking forward to welcoming our third child a different way, but we knew that this child is still not our own.

We had always longed to be parents and we were blessed to experience both miracles of adoption and birth. No one method of becoming parents is better than another and no child is more special than another. In a way we were sad that people were so excited for us this time around. When our son was born we received a family heirloom blanket that was reserved for our “first child.” I was angry that people viewed our newborn as our first child. What about our other two blessings? All of our children were wanted and loved and we didn’t let ignorant comments from others bother us.

Three years later we followed God’s call to adopt our fourth son. Many people think we are crazy. If you know you can make your own kids now, why would you adopt? Why would you choose to have more than three children? We could easily limit the number of children in our family just by not signing piles of paperwork. If you can pick your child, why would you keep picking boys? The truth of the matter is that we don’t have a gender preference for our children and there are many more boys to adopt. We are so happy that we have been recipients of this most precious gift of adoption.

I harbor no resentment for those Catholic families who have children every 2 years. It is wonderful that they are open to the life God gives them. That was just not God’s plan for our family. He helped us to discover the miracle of children in a different way.

So how do we share the wonder of this gift with others? How do we shed light on the beauty of adoption and get it off the “very last option to become parents” list? We wish there had been support from our Church community during our adoption process, so we have started an adoption support group at our church. We need to combat the modern culture of ordering up a pregnancy through IVF, sperm banks, gender selection, and all other ways of controlling the biological process. We have the wonderful option of adoption so let us celebrate it and share with others. I will not claim that adoption is easy or that it is for every couple, but I wish more families would consider it instead of the “guaranteed results” at the fertility centers.

Dreaming of my Daughter

I was 24 years old, performing at a dinner theater. I had a graduate degree and a whole life ahead of me with aspirations of becoming an actress. That summer I was free as a bird and full of high hopes and dreams. It was sometime in April that I slipped up and spent the night with an old ex-boyfriend, who was no longer in my life. I had always had irregular periods, so I didn’t give it a second thought that it had been a couple of months since my last period. But something inside me made me go to Planned Parenthood to have a pregnancy test. The result was positive. I drove home from work to look in the yellow pages for “abortion.” Since I was close to 12 weeks along, I had to make a quick decision. I made an appointment for the next week, called my ex-boyfriend, told him he needed to come with me and spend the night to take care of me after the surgery, and pay for half. That was that.

Fast forward. Throughout my twenties, I anxiously wondered if I would ever get married and had a few relationships, but none were Mr. Right. I had become irritable, and I came to see that around June 1st of each year I was especially ornery, and I had developed a pretty bad temper – easily agitated, impatient, and intolerant. Constantly keeping busy to numb a guilt I had suppressed, my life was full. But the busy-ness was a mechanism to survive – suppressing the truth of the damage I had done to myself, my baby, and my relationship with God. I was a strong feminist – it was the 80’s after all, and women had rights.

After meeting and dating for four years an exceptionally kind man who respected my intelligence and independence, I married happily, looking forward to a life filled with blessings. He was not ready to have children and I had another four years of waiting. We ended up blessed with 3 boys, but somewhere along the way I was overcome by a great depression. I had visions of a beautiful little girl coming to me in mind’s eye. I knew I was meant to have a baby girl. She was going to be talented, maybe an actress, a dancer, a singer, or a writer. I yearned for her with excruciating pain. My desire for her to arrive was filled with angst and frustration. Why is God punishing me with only sons? Was I destined to live without the life-giving bond that happens with a mother-daughter relationship? Who would truly understand my needs and care for me in my old age?

I sought out other women in my church, to find solace and intimacy in a life filled with diapers and talk of babies. My faith began to grow and I attended a Cursillo, (a weekend retreat of faith talks, confession, and mass). It was there that the Holy Spirit revealed to me the true source of my pain, an unresolved death – I had killed my baby girl 17 years earlier, and she had been coming to me all these years to reveal her existence. She wanted me to know that I only needed to seek her out, come to know her, and I would be forgiven and peace would finally be granted to me. But first I was to undergo the deepest despair and depression I have ever experienced. I attended a Project Rachel retreat, where forgiveness and healing finally began. It took one full year of psychological and faith-filled counseling, several confessions, and much prayer, before I achieved any ability to reconcile what I had done with my faith.

I had been a victim of a society that had taught me that there are no hard values of right or wrong – our rights are a matter of personal choice, and we were to respect any choice. But what those lies don’t tell you is that when you commit a wrong, your conscience beckons until you ask for forgiveness, and then sometimes the hardest part is forgiving yourself.

It was the Catholic Church that provided me with the only true solace I could ever receive, the merciful and tender love of Christ, who took me right where I was and held me in His arms. Once I had embraced the cross with Him, and understood it would be my testimony to witness for His mercy and glory, I began to see a purpose in my suffering and have hope.

Today, with 3 grown sons and the joys and sufferings of their trials and tribulations, I rely on my faith to get me through each day. It is only by trusting that the Lord, in His infinite mercy, wisdom, and love, will work through my daily labors to provide the grace to see me through each day.

 

***EDITOR’S NOTE: If you or someone you know has been involved with abortion, or is having an unexpected pregnancy, please contact Project Rachel post-abortion healing or Gabriel Project pregnancy help for confidential support and assistance.

An Emptiness I Tried to Fill

I got pregnant at age 17.  Roe v. Wade was not yet the law of the land. However, a lot of girls were sneaking off to get illegal abortions or going to states where abortion was legal.   Who knows what I would have done if abortion had been legal, convenient, and presumed by all of society to be a “right.”  But since it was not, abortion never really entered my mind.  My choice was between keeping the baby or giving it away.

It was mostly family expectations and the sheer impracticality of raising a baby at my age that forced my decision to give it away.  But with every week that passed I wanted just the opposite, to keep and raise my baby.  I was extremely depressed for my whole pregnancy, an experience made much worse by the isolation and silence that surrounded my decision.  In those days there was little counseling on how to work through our thoughts and emotions, or on how to evaluate decisions. The only counseling I received was to bury this reality of my depression deeper and deeper inside, to deny its very existence.  I was sent away to a “home” where well-meaning Lutheran ladies tried to keep us busy (I hate crafts to this day) and gave us talks about how to keep our pregnancy secret from everyone, including our future husbands.  After giving birth we were not allowed to see or hold our babies.  They were trying to prevent bonding, but bonding actually starts during the pregnancy and in the delivery, so not being able to see or touch my baby only left me with an emptiness that I tried for years to fill with various addictions.

By the grace of God, however, I was freed from my addictions and brought into the Catholic Church.

More than 40 years after giving the baby away, I made a general confession and had many subsequent confessions with a wonderful priest. I was finally able to let go of that 17-year-old girl’s isolation and understand the whole experience as one of the mysterious ways God called me to Himself.  A few weeks after my general confession (no coincidence I’m sure), I received a call from a social worker who had been looking for me for a long time on behalf of the son I had given up.  Again, no coincidence I’m sure, the social worker had finally located me through my father’s obituary.  I have this picture of my Mom and Dad finally meeting up in heaven, saying to each other, we have some unfinished business.

My son’s first letter to me began simply, “I’m so glad I found you.” We have now been in contact through letters for over a year.  I can tell from his letters what a good and stable family life he has with his wife and children, and how much his adoptive Mom and Dad loved him.  I could never have given him that kind of stability.  He sent me a copy of the obituary he wrote for his Dad’s funeral recently and the closeness and intelligence and love of that family came through loud and clear.

We are making plans to meet as soon as possible.  I am blessed.

submitted from Virginia

Healing and Purifying my Past

I have been married for over 20 years. Before I married, I engaged in premarital sex. I was shy and didn’t know how to talk to guys, so I ended up drinking to get over that and that led to a lot of other troubles.  I mainly went to parties and nightclubs where drinking was common.  I would get drunk and end up going too far.

When I was 20 I had a baby that I placed for adoption. My boyfriend offered to marry me. He was a nice guy and wanted to do the right thing, but I did not think marriage was the answer. I found adoptive parents for my baby through someone that I worked for.  I met with the parents and we seemed to click.  When the baby, a boy, was born, they came to see me and the two families spent the evening together celebrating this new little life.  I was very sure that I had made the correct decision. My heart caught up with my head about 7 months after Eric was born. I mourned for a long time. A few years later I wrote to the adoptive mother through the adoption attorney. I simply wanted to know what Eric was like and if he was okay.  His mother wrote back and sent pictures. We continued to write and exchange pictures.

I was certainly not a great Catholic and I had no idea what the Church really taught about sex. But I did not like the idea of contraception. Outside of marriage, I did “dabble” in it. I was on the Pill for a month or so but I wasn’t comfortable with it and I learned that I had high cholesterol and that put me at risk for heart disease, so I stopped taking it. I also used barrier methods once in a while. My boyfriend(s) did not want a baby, so I went along with them. I wanted  to live a good life, but was easily swayed by the popular opinion of the time. I had a lot of ups and downs with attempting to live a chaste life, but I knew that it was what I should be doing. I longed to be a wife and mother. I didn’t understand how to live as a single woman.

When I met my husband, my life changed. My husband was not Catholic at the time, but he was open to life and wanted children. We got pregnant right away and were delighted. But because each of us had lived unchaste lives before marriage, there were some problems. I had always felt used by men, so that carried over into my marriage.  My husband could see nothing wrong with stripper bars, Playboy or racy movies. He no longer did any of these things, at my urging, but we argued about it anyway from time to time. One time he was expected to go to a bachelor party at a topless bar. It was the old argument that it was “one last time” for the groom,  my husband wasn’t interested but he was willing to do this for his friend. I think he had never been challenged to defend it before and when he tried to explain to me why it was OK, it changed him. HE was married. HE supposedly had said goodbye to those days. Lusting after women is a bad thing, especially in the case of a married man.  Wanting sex for its own pleasure is wrong.  It is not what God intended.  No one, other than me, had said to him that this was wrong.

Then I heard of Theology of the Body. I started reading about it and went to hear speakers explaining it. It made me think about things I learned in high school about contraception and why it was wrong. The Catholic teaching of marital love is so beautiful! It was what I had longed for but hadn’t understood.

My husband converted to the Catholic Church 15 years ago. What a blessing that was! My husband is my rock, steady and sure and once he makes a decision, he sticks with it. A few years back I read the book Every Man’s Battle aloud to my husband while we were driving on vacation. It was healing and tough. We talked about it at great length. I listened to the pain in his heart as he spoke about how men struggle with purity. I started praying in a new way. I asked Jesus to heal my past and my husband’s past. I asked Him to purify our memories. Our arguments about sexual issues ceased. We were on the same page. Slowly, my old memories stopped torturing me. My interest and desire for marital love increased. And it keeps on growing! I am thankful that God is the third person in our marriage.

We have grown so much in our marriage.  Thankfully, we were always open to life and now have 8 children! I know that God has blessed our union and continues to.  Being open to children has helped us be ready for the graces and healing that God sends us. We both would like more children, but time is no longer on our side. Having children, teaching them about the faith, going to daily Mass, reading books like Dressing with Dignity, meeting other Catholic women who were doing the same, all these things led me to a deeper understanding of how the Church views chastity.

We have no regrets about our fertility. We left it to God, trusting that He would send us as many children as He desired. God has blessed us with good health and steady jobs for my husband. We never found reasons to not be open. Many have asked us if we use NFP or assume we do. We don’t. We just trust in God. He has led us on a great adventure so far!

It Does Require Sacrifice

“Your vocation is to be a wife and a mother.”

I read and re-read my grand-aunt’s letter to me. She was a holy, elderly Carmelite nun who had given me a one-on-one retreat a couple of weeks before my wedding. I had just shared with her the great news that my husband and I were expecting our first child; she responded with joy and that simple statement reminding me of our talks.

I was a few months shy of graduating from my MBA program and both my husband and I were excited at the prospect of my working full-time and bringing in some much-needed income to augment his lowly salary. We were looking forward to vacations, new cars, and enjoying all the pleasures that money could buy. So when I read those words from my grand-aunt, I thought, “Is she crazy? Does she not realize how much we had to put in for me to finish my MBA? Is she asking me to abandon my education and become…of all things…a stay-at-home mom?!” I resisted the idea and put the letter away, but those words just kept gnawing at my heart. As my baby grew inside me and I felt every little movement of life inside my womb, I felt pangs of love and I couldn’t, for the life of me, imagine giving that baby to someone else to care for. Our families lived out of state and we didn’t have the emotional and family support that other couples may have had. As I grew closer and closer to my due date, I made the decision: I was going to stay home. My husband was disappointed with my choice but knew that it was the best for our family. I promised to start working once the baby got into school, but one baby followed and soon another and another. Before I knew it, 20 years had passed and I remained a stay-at-home mom. When people ask me if I regret that decision, I immediately tell them “No.”

Truly God is good! With my decision to stay at home, I was able to help support my husband’s career one hundred percent and we enjoyed a charmed life. With no career for me to worry about, I was able to follow my husband to Asia. We traveled around the country and vacationed for free. We saved enough money to get ourselves out of the debt that we incurred in the beginning of our marriage. We raised 4 beautiful children who are solid in their values and faith. Our marriage is stronger than ever, as we learned to prioritize our faith, marriage and family before anything else.

We may not enjoy the luxuries of a huge house, several cars, or fantasy vacations that would have been easily acquired if I had made a different career choice. But the blessings that came with that decision are immeasurable. A good and loving marriage, the joy of having children, and the peace that comes from submitting to the Father’s plan are truly treasures that money cannot buy! We were never in need of anything and even in the lean years and during the times when my husband lost his job, God always provided. Today, with my youngest in Kindergarten, I have finally started working full-time as a religion teacher. It is truly rewarding to be able to share the faith with other children, to be home when my own children are home, and to augment our income as expenses rise and college tuition is on the horizon. God is truly a generous Father and wishes to bestow on us all His blessings, but we just need to give Him a chance to do so. In all these years of walking in faith, I’ve learned that the more I say “Yes” to him, the more He blesses me. It’s not always easy and it does require sacrifice, but it has strengthened my hope and trust in His love and promises.

Bountiful Graces

My husband and I have been married for 26 awesome years. We have been blessed with ten children. From the beginning, we have been open to whatever God decided to send us. It wasn’t always easy to accept, at first babies came close together. For me, nursing wasn’t a natural spacer for children. I always tended to wish I had lost a few more pounds before the next pregnancy came! Before we knew it, we had six kids under the age of 8. I have to be honest. When I became pregnant with my seventh and my youngest was only 6 months old, I complained. “How can I do this!” I was overwhelmed. As always, my husband put everything in perspective. “It’s what God wants. Let’s just pray for a healthy baby.”

Our seventh baby changed our lives forever. During labor, my uterus ruptured wide open. My son was delivered fifteen minutes later by C-section. He had been without oxygen for fifteen long minutes and was severely brain injured. He would never swallow, sit up by himself, crawl, talk or walk. I don’t remember very much after I was rushed into surgery. My amazing OB took two long hours to repair my uterus. It had split from top to bottom, bypassing all major arteries. The residents and nurses in the operating room questioned him, “Why are you saving her uterus? She already has seven children!” Knowing my husband and I are devout Catholics he replied, “I know she would want me to.” Because of his heroism, we were blessed with three more miracles. The first few weeks of our son’s life the medical profession did everything possible to convince us to “let our son go. His life will never be worth anything. He’ll be miserable. You’ll be miserable.” Each day I came to the NICU, I was barraged. My husband and I stood firm and continued to defend his beautiful life.

Our son was only with us for four and a half short years. Every day brought immense challenges, yet he was such an incredible blessing for our family. He taught our children to give of themselves and to think of others first. They truly learned the meaning of joyful suffering by watching our son suffer every day with a smile. He taught our whole family the unfathomable depth of God’s divine mercy. We had no alternative but to trust in Our Lord. It became very obvious we were not in charge. Each time we were faced with an overwhelming obstacle, God truly did provide. He taught us how precious each and every life is and to be genuinely thankful for both our crosses and our blessings. Right now he’s in heaven arranging it so we’ll all be together someday. I feel his presence in our family, continually watching over each and every one of us. Bountiful graces have been bestowed upon our family because we were open to life. God really doesn’t ever give you more than you can handle.

Submitted from Virginia