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Sunday, June 2, 2013

A True Story of Double Standards. The Journey of Losing a Child

A few weeks ago I was having one of those long girl talks with a good friend. You know one of those talks that you wish could last forever. You’re solving all your problems and the world's and also learning new things you never knew about each other. In many ways you feel like a teenager who has unlimited time with no responsibility. Only realizing the next morning you are too old to survive on three hours of sleep with all the things you need to complete on your to do list the same day you go to sleep.  I think we started talking about 8pm (I just called to ask a simple question) and before I knew it was 3:00AM. Those “wee hour” talks with a friend cost you a little sleep, but can save you money from ever having to go to a psychologist. Think about it.
One area we shared with each other inspired me to write from my heart today. She lost a precious adult son to eternal life a few years ago and her heart is still broken. The pain of losing a child is something no parent should have to experience. Her son so young had no plans to leave this world and he had no money left behind to bury him. The family decided to have him cremated and to this day she still has his ashes with a hope one day to have his ashes buried and put to rest.
I listen to her as she explained the reasons why she still has her child’s ashes and it took me to a place (while listening) in my own life in which I could understand her dilemma with compassion. After she told me her story, I then shared my story with her. Wow, it seems like yesterday it happened, and as I write this from the heart, it has been 16 years.
“Me too….. I’ve got some ashes of a child in a special keepsake box and my plan is to have her ashes placed in my casket when I am called home to eternal life.”
After I shared my story with her, she said; “You need to share this with the world….. This is an amazing testament to the Sanctity of Life.”
Pondering her words in my head for several days, I knew she was right and wondered why I had never shared this on my blog. Sure, I had shared it over the years in my circles of friends and family and even on a local level at a Pregnancy Crisis Center Banquet. Who knows it could speak to someone’s heart, which have found themselves in a crisis pregnancy and really do not understand the facts. So, this is my story………..
My husband and I decided early in our marriage that we really could not afford more than two kids. Society had taught us well, that to afford the better things in life for your children, one needs to analyze what it takes to raise a child. Sports, Dance Lessons, Piano Lessons, Private School, Day Care and College are costly and if we have too many kids we will be jeopardizing their wants and need. Sorry to say… it really made good sense to us. Sure, we had already made a few mistakes living in an adult world and we did not want to make any mistakes in raising our children. (Funny now, looking back how stupid we were) Our goal was to work hard and provide to the “best” of our ability for two children. Our views of this pattern of life to follow society has changed over the years and wish we would have heard the other side of the story before starting a family.. That’s another story and I will not go there this time.
After our second child we really never discussed a birth control plan. For some reason to this day and I do not understand why…. It was my responsibility. I think that is another of society's “thinking”. It’s up to the women, in many cases, to figure these things out. I tried the pill and it made me sick, an IUD and I got an infection, something called the rhythm method ( was not educated enough in the method to trust) and on a few occasions my husband would use a condom and complain the whole time how it took the pleasure out of the love making.  After all the failed attempts to find a way to have “Safe Sex” I suggested to him to have a vasectomy… my dad had one and so did an uncle and they survived. “NO!” was his answer… no, ifs, ands or buts about it…. NO! This left me to no other choice… if we were going to be like “society” had trained us to be and have 2.5 children. I decided to have my tubes tied….which meant cutting me open (surgery) and tying those tubes so the sperm and egg would never meet again and make a baby. I was 26 years old when I had my tubes tied…
Life was good, we made it through the terrible two’s (twice), the independent four’s (twice)…… kindergarten,  Jr. High and we were now on the last stretch of the race, high school, and things were looking good.
We were living in Pennsylvania during our two kid's high school years and I was working part-time. My story begins in late January, it was cold and it had been snowing (as usual) and I had been fighting a head cold that I could not shake. Then I started feeling like it was more than a stuffy nose, my stomach was upset, I had no energy, a constant headache and my digestive tract felt as if I had gastritis. I had experienced gastritis a few years prior and was given some meds that helped, so I wondered if I needed to see my doctor. I did drag my feet before making the appointment just because of reasons that I will not get into here. Another story… It was the first week of February on a Friday (I was off work) and I finally went to see my Family Doctor. Told him all my symptoms and he totally agreed with me that I was experiencing “gastritis” and he would give me some meds that would calm down my stomach. He advised me if I did not feel better in a few weeks, we might need to do a scope. I agreed with him and he started writing my prescription…… as he is writing he says; “I need to do some blood work on you today, because these meds can cause birth defects if you were pregnant.” My reply; “Pregnant!!!!!  No way…. I had my tubes tied and it is impossible.” He replied; “Oh, well since you did have your tubes tied, I’m sure that is not an issue…. But, I still have to do the blood work, to be safe.” “Whatever”…was my reply, as I took the script out of his hands. All that was on my mind was getting home…get my meds and feel better. He said to me as I was leaving; “I will call you and do not get that prescription filled until you get a call from my office.”
I returned home and as I am walking in the door my phone is ringing. Rushing to answer it and a little out of breath….. “Hello!” …… Reply; “Mrs. Jewels this is your doctor’s office and we need you to get to the hospital immediately! Your blood work shows us, you are pregnant. Since you had your tubes tied, the chances are it is a tubal pregnancy and depending how far along you are and the size of the fetus your tube could rupture and create a serious situation.” As I am retrieving and processing this news my husband opens the door…. He is off work early and comes “be bopping” in with a smile on his face…it’s Friday and the week-end is here. Am looking at him, as I tell the doctor’s office; “yeah I understand and will get there immediately” and hang up the phone. “Who was that?” as he is hanging up his coat. "Well, you want believe this…..  I’m pregnant and they want me at the hospital ASAP, because my tubes could rupture since I had my tubes tied."
It was a quite drive to the hospital and it became even more silent as my husband and I were put into the sonogram room together. The Tech silently moved the probe over my tummy taking pictures of things we had no clue about. We patiently waited as she gathered all the information for the doctor. It wasn’t long before he entered the room and to our surprise the news was good. Doctor: “You’re pregnant and the baby made it into the womb.” Oh my….. Cannot explain in words all the emotions we both were feeling at that moment. How could this be? I was beginning to relate to Sarah in the Old Testament and even to Mary the Mother of God.. Now, I knew this was not an immaculate conception… but in my eyes and heart it was a miracle. Why would God in this time of our life, allow a baby to be conceived? How did it happen? Funny thing was….. Now we had proof to share with our teenagers….that there really is no such thing as “safe sex.” We both left the hospital glowing and feeling so blessed and could not wait to tell everyone the news….. especially our kids.
We all soon rejoiced in this gift sent from heaven and reminisced what it was going to be like having a baby in diapers and a child in college. We all fell in love with this gift, this little one, now growing in my womb. We did have fears concerning my age and health….. and we tried not to dwell on those fears. My first OBGYN doctor appointment I heard the heart beat (8 weeks) and still could not believe this was happening. My doctor informed me that he would like to do a test, no later than my fourth month to make sure the baby was not Down syndrome. I told him it would not matter if the child was DS, because we would still keep it and did not want the test. I also did not want to know the sex…. To find out the sex to me was like opening a Christmas present before Christmas. My husband and I were in total agreement about the testing.
We figured I was around 8 weeks when I first heard the heart beat and the baby would be due in October. By April I was getting a little belly and I was finally feeling good… no more gastritis. As we entered the month of May, folks who did not know me, begin to notice my womb with the signs of a baby. “Are you pregnant?” a few would ask. Glowing from ear to ear I would say “YES!”
We were heading into the 5th month at the end of May. I had made it four months and was feeling pretty good. Then I woke up one morning feeling a little nauseous (Wednesday) and headed to work. Eating a few crackers seemed to settle down my stomach some, but could not wait for the day to end. Got home from work and got violently ill…. Throwing-up several times. Called my doctor and he assured me it was most likely a virus and if I did not feel better by tomorrow call back.  The next morning (Friday) I felt great! The nausea was gone and I felt like eating a horse. My next check-up doctor’s appointment was in a few days. It was the beginning of the next week, Monday. Could not wait to see how much I’d gained and grown in my tummy.
Monday arrived and I had an afternoon appointment with the OBGYN Doctor for my 18th week check-up. Driving to my doctor’s was about 45 minutes and I made sure I left my house on time, did not want to be late. I was excited to get the opportunity to hear the baby’s heart beat again and the thought of finally entering into the second trimester meant October was getting closer.
Arriving at the doctor’s office, checking in and waiting for the nurse to call my name…. Finally after waiting they call me. They weigh me and “yes” I had gained a little, blood pressure check is okay, then they ask me to wait in the room for the doctor… He enters; “How are you feeling?” “Great!” is my reply. “Well, let’s see how your baby is doing and listen to their heart” the doctor continues to say. He puts the monitor on my belly, moves it around and there is silence, moves it to another area and there is silence, moves it to another area, “TOTAL SILENCE” engulfed the whole room. You could have heard a pin drop. He did not have to say a word… I knew what was going on and I wished in that moment I was dreaming. Silence seemed like it lasted forever in that space of time and when it was finally broken it was the first time in my life I really did not want to hear what he had to say. The doctor trying to find words to use, to direct my attention to this fact and with words to try to smooth over this new phase of my life, I was now entering into… not by choice. “I cannot find a heartbeat…. Sorry… for reasons unknown the baby has died.” He went on to say; “You have two choices; #1. You can let nature take care of it and in time you will go into labor and deliver. #2. I can perform an abortion and remove the baby without you having to go into labor.” My reply: “Nobody is going to pull my baby’s “parts” out of my womb… I will deliver my child.” The only thing I did request of the doctor was that he induces my labor. My history of childbirth was not good in the area of labor starting on my own. I always needed help with drugs to get it started. Once it started it went very fast. I delivered both our children naturally and intended to do the same for this child.
I do not remember much about my drive home, only the dread of having to tell my husband and children this gift was now taken from us. I was to return the next day to the hospital and after a few tests to make sure the baby was dead, and then induce me into labor. The return home is a blur in my memory too and can only remember getting a few things in order, for the few days of my absence, away from home.
We arrived very early the next morning at the hospital. Deja vu all over again…same ultrasound room we had learned we were pregnant, with a baby that had made it into the womb. Now an ultrasound to confirm the baby has died in the womb. The room seemed darker this time and silent with only an occasional beep as the tech took pictures of our baby. The ultrasound confirmed the doctor’s suspicions and yes…. the baby had died.
We were taken to labor and delivery, given a private room and they started the drug into my system that would in time start up contractions, then labor and then delivery. It did not take long for it to start working and I labored for a few hours and then delivered our baby. It was a girl and she seemed so perfect. We named her Jamiee Alice after my little brother and my husband’s grandmother. They weighed her…. She weighed almost a pound and she was 10 ½ inches long. The nurse then dressed her in a little outfit. Then wrapped her in a blanket and let us hold her. “Take your time” the nurse said. The scene that will always be stuck in my mind is seeing her daddy cradled her in his hand and it was amazing. She was so perfect and her features developed to maturity. So tiny…. She was a miniature human, so perfectly formed. We said our “hello” and our “goodbye” that day and it was so hard. In just four short months we had fallen in love with our child and now what do we do with this “love” we have lost? Why, God, have you taken us here?            
I do not remember how long we spent with her…..it’s all a big blur. The nurse did ask us before she took her away if we planned on having a funeral? Funeral? Our minds never went there until she asked. “Oh my… what do you suggest?” My mind quickly thought about aborted babies that go into dumpster…. My baby the same age as many aborted babies was given an option. If we did not have a funeral or plans for her body she could end up in a dumpster. After much discussion we decided on a memorial service and have her cremated. Why cremation? We were living far from our family in the south and we knew in time we would be returning to the south. If we buried her in PA she would be left behind. If we cremated her we then could take her ashes with us. I do plan to have her ashes placed in my coffin when the Lord calls me to eternal life. The day was over, they took her and we will not see her again until we all meet in heaven. This is my hope.
I woke the next day in my hospital bed, empty handed. I was still on the maternity floor and could hear the shuffle of baby beds rolling down the hall with new babies crying and being wheeled to their mothers to be fed. “Why Lord?” A nurse enters my room with many things for me to take home. To my surprise she has all these "goodies" to give me and with each item she handed me she ripped my heart in many pieces. The blanket we held Jamiee in, the outfit she wore as we held her, pictures they had taken of her and impressions of her hands and feet. “Why do you want to give me these things? They hurt to look at, we are going home empty handed and these things remind me we lost our Jamie Alice.” She replied; “Did you know this blanket was handmade by ladies that want you to have a keepsake to always remember your time you held her? This outfit was given to your baby so you could see her all dressed up when you said your goodbyes. All these things I know hurt right now, but one day they will be items that will help you move through the grieving process in a healthy way. We’ve learned over the years that we have (medical profession) harmed more women by denying them the chance to say goodbye to their babies. Many women never had the chance to see their babies at all. The hospitals would dispose of their babies without giving them the chance, out of sight- out of mind. Many women, who have lost a child like you, never got a chance to work through the grieving process and in time it could cause mental health issues like depression. They become depressed later in life…. Not knowing why. They were never given that opportunity or permission to grieve.”
A huge lump was in my throat and tears streamed down my face as she handed me all my keepsakes of our time we spent to say “Hello” and “Goodbye” to our Jamie. I was emotionally choked-up to the state I could not speak and even tell her; “Thank-You." I accepted her gift with a few gestures to let her know I did appreciate them. It was the best I could do.
Jamiee's blanket that someone made just for her.
Jamiee's little outfit we dressed her in.
Jamiee's feet and hand prints the nurses took.
This picture might be hard for many to look at, "yes" it's our Jamiee all dressed up and laying on her blanket. The photographer took this several hours after we said our goodbye. Her coloring was better when we held her.
Soon after my husband arrived at the hospital to take me home, the reality of it "all" was in high gear and impacting my hurting heart in ways I can not explain with words. I just wanted to crawl up into a fetal position and never face the world again. A few glances of new parents and babies on the maternity floor as we left my hospital room stabbed my wounded heart. “Why Lord?”         
It would be at least a year before I could handle seeing pregnant women or a mother with a new baby. I also for years would see children that would be the same age as my Jamie, if she had lived and the pain would return. This May 28th, just a few days ago, she would have been 16 years old. Cannot imagine today what it would be like to be raising a teenager. We are also new grandparents to a little baby girl (6 months old) and if she had lived, Jamie would be an aunt.
When I finally arrived home I did crawl up into that fetal position and stayed in bed for several days that turned into a few weeks. They did not give me any type of medication to stop my milk from coming in and for many days my breast longed to nurse my baby. During those first few days and weeks I could not see a future without a broken heart and how would I ever get over this broken heart? How would I ever feel the joy of living again? “Why, God, did you make me go through this?” Was a question I asked often… “Lord, I was not even trying to get pregnant and thought I could not get pregnant and why? Why did you put me through this, with so many women choosing to kill their babies, because their babies are unwanted, we wanted our unplanned pregnancy.”
I did pull myself together for a memorial service a short time after I got home from the hospital. It was a top priority to give this precious life a proper “respect” to being “real” and a person, a life created by God. We decided to make it a private service in our home with our children and the pastor of the church we were attending. I feared that our Pastor could not give enough honor to her life.
He never knew her as we did and I wanted her memorial service to express how important she was to our family. In the quiet space I had retreated, locked up in my room, away from the world, I retraced in my mind her short life in which we witnessed and I wrote those memories into words to share at her memorial service.
Hebrews: 1:14: Are not all angels ministering spirits to serve those who will inherit salvation
Hebrews: 13:2: Do not forget to entertain strangers for by doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
I know the creation of life between a husband and wife is a precious gift from God. Through our love for each other, He blesses us with a human baby designed and created by Him, but put together as a reminder of who we are in special ways. He also created the angels long before He created the human race. I want to keep this separated because His word tells us there are angels, and then the creation of human life. The Lord took me and my family to a place a few years ago. I was 39 going on 40 and for 4 1/2 months, I really believe we came as close as we will ever come to touch an angel. Though I know it is not so, God gave us a glimpse through a little one, 4 1/2 months in my womb. "His precious creation of an Angel."

She was the smallest angel we ever saw
Almost a pound, and ten and a half inches tall
Cradled in her fathers hand, her head rested on his finger tips
While her little legs dangled at his wrist
Sound asleep in eternal rest
Her eyes sewn shut like a puppy dog pup
Her body so perfect with its small detail
As I counted her fingers and toes, I noticed her little nails
Her eye brows were beginning to grow
Along with her ears, lips and little nose
They were all there in a distinct array
In time the Master could have finished our clay
For reason we do not know
The Master decided to finish it as not earthy works
Only in heavenly places, that are unknown
I think she was the only and smallest angel we'll ever touch
I just wish we had her for a little more time
We are longing and looking forward to the day we will all arrive
My first agenda on that very special day
Will be see how He finished our little clay
I purchased this new born doll soon after Jamiee's death because it is 10 1/2 inches tall. This picture is a visual of what she looked like resting her daddy's hand.
I do have to give credit to our Pastor who put together a wonderful agenda of Scripture readings (without our input) in a printed keepsake. I can still remember to this day how the Holy Scriptures in which he had chosen, ministered to my broken spirit and I could draw strength from them. It was a beginning to see glimpses that life will go on for me and my family.
This was the Memorial Keepsake our pastor put together.
I know it is to small to read, will share a few things written on it that I will never forget.
Memorial Service for Jamiee Alice
June 4, 1997
A beloved child delivered immediately from the womb to the light of God's Presence.
2 Samuel 12:16-23
16David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. 
17And the elders of his house arose, and stood beside him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. 
18And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead; for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he hearkened not unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead! 
19But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; and David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. 
20Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel; and he came into the house of Jehovah, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. 
21Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. 
22And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who knoweth whether Jehovah will not be gracious to me, that the child may live? 
23But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.

Life did go on and with the help of my husband, children, family and friends, hours turned into days, days into weeks, and weeks into a year and years into today. Time does heal and that’s okay. I slowly got out of my bed and me and my husband would drive the picturesque back roads of Pennsylvania and we slowly healed. There is nothing like the beauty of those back roads to heal one's soul. It was a process and I am so thankful for those whom God put in our path to help us (including the nurses) move on. I am thankful for those who told us to take our time in grieving.

In closing; I still to this day question “why?” This is normal, but I thank my God for the pain in which He taught me so much. In a world in which society tells us we can control our destinations in life, including family planning. I’ve learned society is wrong and if God has a plan for a new life, who are we to stop God from creating?  Sixteen years ago was not that long ago and society today is “foreign” even to the thinking back then. I would have never dreamed how far we have moved into rationalizing “reasons” why some abortions are needed in this world. Even in Christian circles abortion is okay …IF…
Our family walked through the “loss” of a baby and was encouraged by many, including the medical world, to grieve that life. Our child we held, dressed up and cradled in her blanket and she was the same age of those who are killed every day in this world with the act of abortion. Double standards are the way I see it. We were married and financially could afford our child; our child was an unplanned pregnancy like so many other children are today. We embraced this gift, when others take their child’s life. The medical society knew this was a life that had died in the womb and encouraged us to take our time and go through the grieving process. The double standard: a baby that is aborted is called a fetus, a baby that is aborted, the parents are denied to grieve. My question is why? Why was our Jamiee honored and respected by the medical world? Why are the unwanted babies aborted denied that respect and thrown in dumpsters? Lord have mercy on our society. Maybe Jamiee’s purpose in life was to teach us how to look at the double standards. For those who could be reading this and are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy…. It is not a mistake you are reading this. God has brought you to this spot for a reason. You are not alone and God does have a plan for your child. He created that child for a purpose and there are many solutions to consider. Killing your baby is wrong. For those who could be reading this and you went through an abortion, maybe you did not have all the facts, maybe you did. God still loves you and He has been waiting for you to be healed. You were denied the grieving process and He will meet you where you are and forgive you. Many who have gone through an abortion have a hard time forgiving themselfs, even when they know God has forgiven them. I recommend you contact a ministry called Rachel Vineyard; http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/

They will help you begin the grieving process and in time you will be healed.

I thank my friend who I stayed up with in the wee hours for encouraging me to share my story and I pray many will see God’s heart for the "Sanctity of Life" in my true life story. It is a life and a baby… It has a heartbeat and feels pain just like us.
Jamiee's ashes
We were even given a birth record from the hospital..... wasn't she special?

We were also given a death certificate.... Jamiee's death is recorded in the State of PA. Makes me sad to think of all the babies that loss their lives in abortions, no records that they ever touched the lives of this world.
My keepsake box of all my treasures in which a little one touched our lives forever and into eternity!