Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"180" Movie

Please take a half an hour out of your day to watch this thought-provoking documentary entitled, "180." Be sure to become a fan of the "180" facebook page. From the website: "180 Movie is a project that has the potential of changing a nation's views on abortion." After watching, let me know what you think. You can purchase "180" products here. Pass it on and share it with your friends and family. Be blessed.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lil Angels Hankies

About a month ago, a friend sent me the information to the wonderful ministry, Lil Angels Hankies. Tricia makes FREE customized embroidered hankies for mothers who have lost babies. I requested one for Lily and Luke and received them in the mail a short time later. You can request the color stitching you want, as well as what you want it to say. It is really nice to have something else to add to Luke's memory box and Lily's memory chest. What a special thing to know someone is thinking of your baby and taking the time to make something in honor of them.  If you have a baby in Heaven, check out the website and request yours! Also, stay up to date by becoming a fan on the facebook page. :-)


Monday, February 27, 2012

Get Educated on Abortion!

During the time I was considering having another abortion, I started researching the different abortion methods. I read articles and watched videos. I pored over story after story of women with broken hearts after choosing to have an abortion. I realized just how ignorant I had been. God opened my eyes and I was overwhelmed with the depth of the darkness of abortion. He allowed me to see that is is an evil abomination. Here He was, stirring my soul, giving me a passion to give those a voice who have no voice. I had initially starting researching when I was considering an abortion for myself, when God turned my world upside down and lit a fire in my soul, showing me just how precious each life is to Him. He gave me a heart for all unborn life. What a God I serve and love.

I realize that most people are ignorant on the issue of abortion, just as I was. I realize that most people don't have an inkling as to how evil it is. Maybe you don't really want to know what goes on. But, just because you don't care to know, doesn't mean it isn't happening day in and day out at a clinic down the road from where you're sitting now. It makes people uncomfortable, but that's a good thing. It should make us more than uncomfortable. It should break our hearts. It should stir our souls to action. It should change our lives. The fact that it makes people so uncomfortable should be an indication that something is wrong in it. Those who are Pro-Choice like to think it's a "woman's right to her own body." Yet, they don't acknowledge that there are precious, tiny bodies being ruthlessly slaughtered.

Please, please, please take the time to educate yourself on the different abortion methods. We need to know what is happening in our culture, in our cities, to our families, to our friends, to the matter how hard it is to read, hear, or watch. Allow yourself to be moved. Allow yourself to see the truth of abortion and then allow God to show you how He wants you to act!

Click here to educate yourself on the different abortion methods.
Click here to read the testimonies of former abortion providers.
Click here to read stories of men and women affected by abortion.

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into Eternity


Friday, February 24, 2012

the BLESSING of a photo

About two weeks ago, somehow I found my way to the website stillbirthday. As a believer, I know it was not by coincidence, but the very hand of God that led me there. I clicked on the link that shows photos of the different gestational ages of babies who were miscarried or stillborn. They are listed so parents can know what to expect if they know beforehand they will be experiencing a pregnancy loss. Or, if they already had a pregnancy loss and never saw the baby, they can see about what size the baby would have been.

I scrolled down the page and saw a photo of a 6-week gestational age baby that was miscarried. My breath caught in my throat as my mind wonders back to February 2009, to thoughts of my own 6-week gestational age child. I clicked on the photo and it led me to Bethany's blog. The photo is of her precious child, who she has named Blessing, that she miscarried.

Although it is a photo of Blessing, it feels as if I am seeing my Luke Shiloh. God wanted me to see it because it has brought me to a whole new place in my grief journey over the loss of my little precious child. I am so thankful Bethany shared it. I have only ever seen textbook images of babies this gestation and now, because of her sharing this photo, the Lord has brought greater healing and closure. My heart was very heavy when I saw the photo, yet I felt a deeper connection to this baby in Heaven and like my mind now understands in a deeper way that this was a real person.

"A person's a person, no matter how small." -Dr. Seuss

Seeing the arms, fingers, head, is so powerful, beautiful and amazing. I pray that whoever sees this photo, whether you are Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, that your eyes and heart would be opened like never before. This is not tissue or a blob of cells, this is not a choice. This is a precious, valuable, sacred LIFE. An unmistakably human life. Look how our God forms a baby in a matter of just 6 weeks in the quiet, secret place of his mother's womb. It is such an incredible miracle to behold.

Blessing's life was not in vain and neither is my Luke Shiloh's life. The Lord is speaking volumes through each of their lives, telling the world how precious each unborn baby is to him. Blessing and Luke Shiloh are together, dancing eternally with the Savior, on streets of gold.

If you've had an early miscarriage, I pray this photo brings you healing. If you've had an abortion early in your pregnancy, I pray this photo will bring closure and that you will look to Christ to bring you the healing only He can give.

One single picture speaks what a thousand words cannot.

"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Please take the time to leave a comment on this post to help me win a blog contest! Whoever has the most comments wins. Thanks! :)

I am also hosting a blog contest, that ends on Lily Katherine's second Heavenly birthday, March 16th. Feel free to enter!


babyblessing2 (2).jpg


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Which would you choose: Your own life or your baby?

My mom showed me this article about a woman who was faced with this very question. Please take the time to read the precious story of Tricia, a mother with cystic fibrosis who chose LIFE, even when it would have been easy to choose the other way, saving herself. All the doctors advised Tricia and her husband Nathan to consider "terminating" their long-awaited, long-prayed-for pregnancy, yet, this selfless mother said, "We'd prayed for years for a child and now couldn't tell God, 'Thanks, but no thanks."

There is much more to the story and I don't want to give it all away. Click here to read the article, featured in Ladies' Home Journal. I pray it brings hope and strength to whoever reads it and opens our eyes yet again to the sanctity of unborn life and the sacredness of each day. Each moment is a gift. This story reminds us that God gives and God takes away ~Job 1:21. It is Him who calls us home and no man. His timing and ways are always perfect. On her blog, Tricia said, "At the beginning, it was not recommended for me to continue my pregnancy, but I held onto God's promises. I held on with all my strength to my faith."

Look what our Great God has done!

Read Tricia's blog here.
Read Nathan's blog here.




Monday, February 20, 2012

Featured on 'Accepting Abundance'

What an honor to be featured on Stacy Trasancos' website, Accepting Abundance. Stacy has written for LifeNews, a popular Pro-Life website and has appeared on several Pro-Life radio programs. She is a regular contributor at The Integrated Catholic Life, Catholic Lane and Catholic Sistas. She is also Chief Editor at Ignitum Today.

This is what Stacy Trasancos wrote about me on her page:

"A young woman on a journey wants more people to hear her story. She was confused by the messages of our culture, led into darkness, cried out for light, and found it in a glorious, yet heartbreaking, way. This is her essay. She would like for you to read it. Please also browse the website of this young and vibrant pro-life woman and new writer, who doesn’t seem to be growing quiet any time soon. A sister I can relate to in many ways."

Click here to see the post. And also be sure to visit the homepage to see a slider image she made. It is so exciting to see how the Lord is opening up doors to share my story! This is all about Him and His glory. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

After Abortion Website

I'm honored to have my little blog featured on the website - After Abortion. It was posted on Sunday, February 12, 2012. I pray that the Lord would lead people to my page and my story that are hurting from an abortion and in search of search of Jesus, whether they realize it or not. He is enough. Run to Him.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Poem in honor of Lily written by my mother

Originally written and posted in 2011. Missing my sweet Valentine today.

By Ginny Bain Allen - 2011

In my daughter's womb, grew her gift from above.
We readied a room, for her wee one to love.

On our merry way rejoicing, to a glorious celebration.
Expecting our flower’s arriving, Jesus' tears hid the sun.

God had bid her go before we said, "Hello."

Goodbye budding life. Goodbye shattered dreams.

Goodbye precious babe lying still in our arms.

Goodbye sweet nursing and soft cries.
Goodbye to rocking and lullabies.

Goodbye wonder and curiosity.
Goodbye to kissing who you would be.

Goodbye to hearing "Dukes" and "ma-ma" too.
Goodbye to discovering wonderful you.

Goodbye snuggling you to our hearts.
Goodbye tore our lives apart.

Goodbye to our pure Lily Katherine.
Goodbye ‘til we meet you in Heaven.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I have a heart for those affected by abortion, women in unplanned pregnancies, unborn babies, and the families that have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, and other infant loss. Below are the different links to resources I have found helpful. I hope you will be blessed by them as well.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Faces for LIFE!

The stories listed below are the stories of men and women who have been affected by abortion. It is such a big thing in our world today and lives are touching abortion more than most realize. It is not a political issue, but an issue of life and death. Please open your heart and read these testimonies. 

The faces represented are...abortion survivors, women who were conceived in rape, women in unplanned pregnancies, women who have chosen life for their baby and either chose to parent, place for adoption, or had a baby born into Heaven, women who have chosen an abortion and see the heartbreak it brings, a nurse who held an aborted baby in her arms while he died, men whose girlfriend/wife chose an abortion, and women who received a fatal diagnosis for their baby, were told by doctors that "terminating" the pregnancy would be best, yet decided to carry their baby until Jesus took them to Heaven. Some of these families that got a fatal diagnosis for their baby chose not to abort, like the doctors told them was best, and ended up having a perfectly healthy child. I am better for knowing them all.

Though these men and women are affected in many different ways, there is something that binds them. They know sorrow and pain, yet they speak to the world the redemption and healing that Jesus Christ brings, to any and all situations! These stories show God's heart for everyone affected by abortion, the babies, parents, grandparents, clinic workers, etc...He desires to heal, redeem, transform. No matter how one is affected, He is greater!

I pray that through this compilation of stories, hearts will be stirred, people will begin to grasp the sanctity of all unborn life, babies will be saved, and lives will be healed and changed!

Hannah Rose's Story

Bonnie's Story

Bex's Story

Brittany's Story

Holly's Story

Myah's Story

Amanda's Story

Pearl's Story

Jill's Story

Tricia's Story

Sarah Mae's Story

Destiny's Story

Juda's Story

Carrie's Story

Angie's Story

Pam's Story

Rebecca's Story

Gianna's Story

Sue's Story

Amanda's Story

A Missionary's Story

More Abortion Survivors 

More Stories of Post-Abortive Men and Women

If you want to share your story of how you've been affected by abortion and how the Lord has delivered and healed you, please email me at The more stories we can share that show the different sides of abortion, the more hearts will change and the truth will be seen! Many blessings!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Carrie Fischer's Story

The lovely Carrie Fischer has written a guest post, sharing her story of surviving an abortion and how the Lord has brought beauty from ashes in her life! Be blessed!

Aborted But Survived
 By Carrie Fischer

If you ever want to know what a miracle looks like, just look at me. Hi, my name is Carrie Fischer, and I would like to share my story with you. Abortion almost claimed my life… BUT GOD!!! Miracle of all miracles, I survived an attempted abortion on my life…in other words, I am an abortion survivor!! My mother already had my two older siblings when she dated my birth father. One day she realized she was pregnant and told him. He told her he wanted nothing to do with the baby and walked out of the relationship. My mother was devastated and didn’t know what to do. She felt hopeless and abandoned and thought abortion was her only option. She went to a clinic and had an abortion procedure performed. She would soon find that the abortion had failed and that she was still pregnant. Then, on June 10th, 1969, I was born.

I would not learn about the abortion until I was in my teens, but I remember as a little girl, the recurring dreams I had of a baby in the womb fighting for its life. I could hear the cries and screams of this baby, and it frightened me. I had no idea that the baby I was dreaming about was me. The dreams continued for several years until my grandmother told me one day that my mother had tried to kill me, and that my birth father didn’t want me. I just couldn’t help but wonder what she was talking about. Why would my own mother want to kill me? I finally sat her down and asked her about all this, and mom started crying,  and that’s when she explained to me about my birth father and the abortion. 

Because of the effects of the abortion, I was born with a facial disfigurement. Doctors also told my mother that I wouldn’t be normal, and that I would be mentally retarded. Society had labeled me as ugly and unacceptable. I was made fun of all during school, and even the teachers made fun of me. I was a nobody and I didn’t matter. I was told I’d never have a normal life, never have a job, date, or get married and have a family. I thought I may as well just give up on any dreams. I’d never be much of anything anyways. I heard those lies so much, I believed them and they became my identity. I was bitter and angry. I hated life and I blamed God for all my pain and hurt. In my thirties, I attempted suicide. I swallowed a bottle of anti-depressants and drank a whole bottle of wine. I laid down hoping not to wake up. BUT GOD!!!

I woke up the next morning like I normally would, and amazingly, with absolutely no effects at all from the pills and alcohol!!  It was then I realized God had a destiny and plan for my life. God began a work in me and restored my self-confidence. I could say I was wonderfully beautiful and I truly loved me. I would no longer believe the lies I’d been told. I’d discovered who I was in Christ. I had been healed and set free from the hurts and pains of the past, and God is making many of my dreams reality! Today I am happily married. My husband and I are both very pro-life and we seek to take this message of hope and healing to the world. 

Back to the abortion and how God gave my mother (who I’d lived with until my marriage), and I the strength and courage to share our story. Abortion causes unspeakable guilt and pain. It took my mother years to forgive herself and accept God’s forgiveness. Abortion leaves scars that take years to heal. It took me a long time to get past the hurt, anger, and pain. By God’s mercy and grace, I am free to share my story. My hope is that by doing so, lives can be saved, healed, and restored. I know there are many who have been affected by abortion. My message to you today is that there is hope and healing after abortion. I would love the opportunity to come and share my story in person and minister words of hope and encouragement to those who are struggling. Please feel free to contact me for more information about Wonderfully Beautiful Ministries, or to schedule a speaking engagement with your church or group. 

Thanks and Blessings!
Carrie Fischer
Wonderfully Beautiful Ministries
4638 Primrose Circle
Maryville, TN 37804


Monday, February 6, 2012

Luke Shiloh's Story

All my wrong choices caught up with me in a way I couldn't escape, though I tried. 

February 6, 2009.

Before that week, I never knew such pain was imaginable. The deepest parts of me were shaking, screaming. My soul was crying out for a Mighty Rescuer. Inside of me, I knew the gravity of what I was doing. I tried to run from those feelings that suffocated, but the tears were evidence of a heart broken.

My heart was shattered...and in the deepest pit of despair.

I drove to Planned Parenthood that Friday morning. It seems odd now that it's called Planned Parenthood, like I could somehow change the fact that I was already mothering a babe in my womb. The nausea I was feeling day and night was a constant reminder of this. I had never planned for this. I had never wanted a baby before marriage. I never thought I'd have to deal with such a thing. Funny how nobody ever facing this situation ever thought it would happen to them...

Two of us entered that nineteen-year-old, selfish, sinful, broken self and my six-week-old child. Only one of us was able to voice what we wanted. Only one of us made it out alive.

I lost my first child to an abortion. I can't stand that word. I wish there was a prettier word I could use to talk about it. There's not...

I took what was God's and decided I knew what was best. A loss I'll live with the rest of my life. My hands are empty, with nothing tangible to grieve the loss of my first child, flesh of my flesh. Yes, Lily was my firstborn, but not my first child...With Lily, I have her footprints and handprints, photos, a lock of her hair, among many other things. But not with my first child, the very soul that rendered me a mother. It deeply grieves me when I so desperately want to honor and remember this life.

(I don't agree with all of these lyrics, for I believe it's important to name the child and they not go "nameless." However, I can relate to the song in other ways)

My mind often goes back to that place, that place that's hard to go. There's healing there now. But, the what if's will remain. What would my baby be like today if I had chosen LIFE? What color would his eyes be...would he like trains or dinosaurs...what shape would his nose have...what would his first word have been...who would he have grown up to be...a mighty man of God...a voice for unborn life...

(I don't agree with all the lyrics in this song, but I can definitely relate in a lot of ways)

This gift of life...we take it for granted because it's a given, we all have it. But, what if someone took your life before it ever truly began? What if someone screamed so loud they wanted their way that your silent scream, your plead for a chance to live and be loved was smothered out?

Ever thought of it like that?

For this child, my child. And for all the other helpless, innocent ones may we...Be the voice that can't be heard. Their silence is a voice in itself, speaking volumes if only we'd listen. It tells of the lives that never got to be, but were.

They were.

And even if you explain it away, these are souls, not just bodies. And they need a voice. And HE is that voice. And HE is to give me that voice.

I'm hooked. One thought of these helpless lives, and a warrior rises up in me.

My heart bleeds for each of these silent ones. I will not remain silent. I will be a voice. Their voice. His voice. his voice. And I will tell the world of this.

I say his voice, though I was only six weeks gestation, much too early for doctor's to discover the gender. But, just as the Lord showed my mother heart that Lily was a girl long before any doctor could tell me a thing. It was like He said, you have a little girl. Her name is Lily. She's to be a symbol of your renewed innocence and purity in Me. In the same way, He's shown me from the beginning my first child was a boy. I somehow always knew I'd be the mother of a boy first. 

It may seem strange that I would address this child as my son, this child that I aborted. This child that my actions spoke to the world of how I didn't want him. It's important not to forget him. He will always be a part of me, he will always be my first baby. Even though I've been sharing my story and God has brought so much healing, He's shown me that I haven't really acknowledged this child as my own, the way He desires me to. There's still so much more healing He is desiring to work within me. Deep healing. In a way, I suppose I was rejecting this child as my son. There was still a part of me that didn't really believe he was a person. Was it easier just to move on and forget? 

In the last month or so, the Lord has brought that deep healing that I didn't even recognize wasn't yet mine. Not until I recognized and acknowledged that I was and am and always will be his mother. Not until I took that first step and called Planned Parenthood to get my records. I had wanted to do this for more than two years. I hoped to find out more information about my first baby and really hoped for an ultrasound photo. My friend Holly greatly encouraged me and gave me boldness to step out and take that first step in calling them. She shared with me what I should say and that helped a lot. So, I called and said I'd be in town and wanted to stop by to get my records. I had no idea whether they'd have an ultrasound photo or not...I mean, I remember getting an ultrasound, but don't recall them printing anything off. I think part of the reason I put it off for so long is because I was scared they wouldn't have one and that would break my heart. 

I went to Planned Parenthood on the afternoon of December 29, 2011 and asked for my records and said I wanted any ultrasound photos that they might have. Holly told me they usually leave this out when women ask for their records unless you specifically ask for them. The girl looked at me strangely and I could tell she was uncomfortable. I was shaking and so nervous, but prayed for courage and the words to say. The Lord gave me confidence. I was waiting in anticipation to see if they had any photos and I saw her go over to the copy machine. I was so happy! Then, I asked if I could have the original copy and that's when the woman who had counseled me when I had my abortion came into the room...she had pulled in right after me. I see that was God's perfect timing. She said they have to keep the original on file for 10 years and I asked if I could have them before they throw them away and she said nobody has ever asked her that and that she'd have to check for me. Then, she asked, "why do you want them?" She looked alarmed at first and asked if I needed to see somebody about this and I said, "no, the Lord has brought me total healing, but having this photo is very important to me to grieve healthily and honor his life." I felt that was my open door to share a shortened version of my testimony with her...with the very woman who was there when I had my abortion! I even mentioned my blog and she wrote it down and said she wanted to read it. The Lord truly put the words in my mouth and it was beautiful to feel His presence there with me. It was very difficult to go back in there after all this time. Then she said she is going to ask if I can have the original copy now, without waiting 7 more years! I truly feel this is a gift from God to have this ultrasound's another step in this journey of healing and grieving the loss of this precious life. 

So often I've wondered when his due date was and could only guess sometime in late September. Now, I know it was October 1, 2009. What a gift in knowing. Forever I will remember him on this date. 

After getting the ultrasound photo, I knew it was time to name my baby and respect his life in that way. In order to have a name or an identity, one must exist. To exist can never be past tense. The Bible tells us to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). My dear child not only existed at one time on earth, growing quietly hidden from all eyes within my womb, but has since existed in my heart. And now exists in Heaven with the King of all Kings. In knowing Him, I know my first child. My child who now exists in the only perfect place there is. My little boy who is now with his little sister, Lily. When I meet him there, I will know more than just his name...

For a couple years, I've wanted to name him, but didn't want to do so until I was sure the Lord was revealing to me the gender of the baby. Now that I have peace in that, I didn't want to name him until I was sure it was a name God was giving me, not just any old name. It was frustrating because I didn't want to rush naming him, but also didn't want to keep referring to him as "my first baby." I prayed it would be as beautiful and orchestrated by God as my daughter, Lily Katherine's, name was.

Well, there were two names that kept coming back to my mind. The middle name was one that I never would have considered naming my child, but it just kept coming back. I decided to look up the meaning of both names and was in awe over the beauty and depth of the meaning. It couldn't be more perfect for my story. I see God's fingerprint all over it. 

The name is  ....

Meaning of Luke: The root exists in Greek as well: the word (leukos) means (1) light, bright, brilliant, of sun light, or (2) of color: white. In the sense of white, the name Luke is related to the Hebrew name Laban, except that the Hebrew root that gave rise to this name never means light-giving. This Greek word for white shows up in words such as (leukainos), meaning to make white, and an enormous array of words like that - from having white blossoms to having white arms or to be with white horses. The noun (luchnos) denotes a portable lamp, and the very fair word (amphiluke) denotes the morning twilight.


In the midst of my darkness, my sin, my sorrow, God has brought light. He lifted me up out of my pit, cleaned me off, and set me on a firm Rock. My story looks like one of utter darkness, yet look how the Lord has redeemed it and turned it into a beautiful story! Only HE can do that! I am whiter than snow in the eyes of my Jesus because of His cloak of righteousness around me. He has made me white. He has brought light out of the darkness of my abortion. After the darkness, comes the morning twilight. After my abortion and living in sin has come beauty and redemption, unlike any I could have dreamed. 

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." -Isaiah 1:18 

"So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." -Romans 13:12b...I saw this Scripture a couple days ago and it was confirmed that this is my baby's name. I have put aside the deeds of darkness in my life, my past behavior and have put on the armor of light. What the enemy meant to destroy me with, God has brought light out of it. As we are willing to bring what is in darkness into the light, the Lord heals...

Meaning of Shiloh: Hebrew-Peace. Possibly a symbolic name for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The Lord has brought complete peace and healing to my heart. Things that would take those in the world many decades to heal from, Jesus Christ brings healing with a single breath, a single word. He defies all darkness. Also possibly a symbolic name for the Messiah. It serves as a reminder that He is coming and will wipe away every tear and we will have complete peace for eternity with Him. And I will be reunited with both my babies that glorious day.

Luke Shiloh, this is because of honor of you...

I'm sure there are many reading this that wonder why I so openly and honestly share this raw and deeply personal part of my story. Nothing in me desires to show what a wretched sinner I am, yet I write because I am compelled. With everything in me, I declare Jesus is Victor, always and it is my desire that whoever reads or hears my story will walk away with that truth in their heart...

Any darkness can be overcome by the precious blood that the Lord Jesus Christ shed for us. And it is only by His blood that we even have testimonies to share! What an honor and a responsibility it is to share hope, truth, and life with those who don't know Him. With each breath, I will sing Him praises and tell of how He transformed my heart and breathed life into my being. I share my story with you because He has told me to do so...He has made the desire so deeply engrained in my heart that I have no choice but to proclaim to all who will hear how He has saved a wretch like me! This isn't my story, it's His story, the story He's chosen to write for my life. I am weak and I am nothing without my precious Lord. Oh, but what a blessing and an honor to be chosen by Him to be the words in His redeeming story of LIFE. I am so incredibly humbled that He would speak through my story.

I will always and forever be the mother of two children that now wait for me in Heaven. No matter how many other children I have in the future that the Lord allows me the blessing of raising them on earth, I will always first be mother to a little boy, Luke Shiloh, and a little girl, Lily Katherine. As their mother, I feel it is my job to keep their memory and their legacy alive. That's why I'm their voice. That's why I share as I do. That's why I make hospital care packages. That's why I have my photography.

All is not lost...Luke Shiloh's life had meaning and purpose and God is using it, even though he's not here. Because of his life, people are seeing how abortion affects women. People are seeing how precious each life is to our God, through the stories of both my precious children. The cry of my heart is that the Lord would use the life of my Luke in the life of another. That through this story, someone else might choose life for their baby. I pray that whoever is reading this will see the gravity of what this all means. Maybe you are in an unplanned pregnancy right now or maybe you will face one in the future. I pray you remember these words, this story, and CHOOSE LIFE. The Lord has you here, reading this, for a purpose. I can truly say I get it because I do. These are not empty words, but words from someone whose walked in those shoes. Twice. The first time, I chose an abortion. The second time, I chose LIFE. And even though my daughter died at fullterm, I would never choose another way. The loss of her is so different than the loss of my son. She died with dignity. My abortion grieves my heart much more intensely than my stillborn daughter. I promise you the Lord will give you what you need to choose life and obey Him. Take it from someone whose chosen both ways.

My first child who matters deeply to me and to God. My first child who I will openly grieve the loss of.  My first child, who should be over two years old today.

I pray that through my story women and men will see the healing God can offer your heart after an abortion. One in four women have had an abortion. That means that many men have been involved in it as well, whether they realize it or not. Because it is something that happens so often, I am sure that there are people who will read these words of mine who have been in these shoes. Don't be afraid to accept your child as your own. It is so important to name him/her. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what gender your baby was. Ask Him what his/her name is. I can tell you from personal experience how healing this is. It is so important that people talk about the issue of abortion and not leave it hidden in the dark. It is not a political issue, but an issue of life and death.

There are women that have lived with the pain, shame, and regret of it for decades. It is time to bring what is in the darkness to the light! It is important we pray for the end of abortion, by praying for hearts and laws to change. I fight for unborn life, but, I also fight for the women in the unplanned pregnancies, as well as those who have already chosen to have an abortion. There are many people that are hurting. I feel that the culture and so many people put the face of a monster on women who've been involved with an abortion and the enemy uses this to keep these women silent. These women are not monsters! And don't pretend like you understand their situations until you walk a mile in their shoes. It is easy to agree with beliefs, never being tested by them yourself. No, these are precious men and women who are loved by God as much as these unborn babies are. He has a plan for both. He desires to heal, redeem, transform. No matter how one is affected, He is greater! Be available to these men and women as a listening ear. Pray for them!

This process of accepting our aborted children may look different for each of us. For me, naming Luke Shiloh and getting his ultrasound photo were the first steps. First of all, I would suggest going to the clinic where you had your abortion and ask for your records and specifically your ultrasound photo. I know this can seem intimidating, but it truly has been very healing for me. I cannot guarantee they'd still have yours, but it doesn't hurt to try. And they only hold it a specific amount of time, so the sooner you try, the better.

Then, I got a plaque for him at the National Memorial for the Unborn. The memorial has an indoor granite memorial wall in honor of babies lost to abortion and gardens outside with brick pavers in honor of babies lost to stillbirth and miscarriage. There is a pregnancy center in the other half of the building and it all sits on the site and in the same building where an abortion clinic was for many years. The entire site has a sacred essence to it, especially the room that is honoring aborted babies. I felt such a deep feeling of reverence in there as I was overwhelmed by all the names on the wall and the special things left behind by grieving family and friends of these lost little ones. It was so moving to read all the letters and poems. I went to visit for the first time on Mother's Day of 2011. What a special gift to be there on that day! A time and place to honor and remember BOTH my babies at once, the only place on earth where I can tangibly do this. What was once a place of great sorrow where thousands of babies were killed is now a place that honors and remembers these lives, a place dedicated to the Lord, a place of hope and healing. Getting this plaque was a huge step for me. It feels like I'm acknowledging he is and always will be my first child. If you've had an abortion, seriously look into getting a plaque made here. You can do it completely anonymously, if you so choose. It is a place of healing, closure, and saying, yes this life mattered and this life truly existed.

This is what my plaque says:

Luke Shiloh
February 6, 2009
Darkness to Light

His name, the day he went to Heaven, and the three perfect words to describe my story and what God has done...I am so excited to receive my copy of it in the mail! And I am planning a trip out to Chattanooga to place the plaque on the wall myself at the service I'm going to have for Luke Shiloh. (Yes, you are able to have beautiful services when you place your plaque and/or brick!) After the service, I will receive a Certificate of Life for him. I plan on video-taping the entire memorial so my future children and husband can be a part of it. I will also be placing the brick paver there in the garden dedicated to miscarried and stillborn babies for my daughter, Lily Katherine. It is so special to have a place to honor and memorialize both my babies at once!

I also am putting together a "In Honor of Luke Shiloh Memorial Box." It is a small, wooden box that my mom has had for several years and gave to me for this purpose. The things I have in it thus far are Luke's ultrasound photo, a hankie with his name embroidered on it, a tea-light candle to light in honor of him on Mother's Day, his due date, and the day he went to Heaven and a tiny painting that reminds me of both my children. I am planning on adding other things to it and will post pictures as I get it more together.

Another way I've chosen to honor Luke's life is by getting his name written at To Write Their Names In The SandCarly Marie writes baby's and children's names in the sand under gorgeous sunsets on a beautiful beach called Mullaloo Point in Western Australia, near Perth. It's a way to honor and remember children in Heaven. You can get your child's name written and a tribute post for free. But, you can also purchase the high-resolution images to help continue all the work Carly Marie does. I got Luke's and Lily's names written and will be printing them on canvas to hang on my wall! Carly Marie has literally written thousands of names, in honor of babies and children from all over the world. I am so thankful for these beautiful pictures!

There are also retreat weekends to attend to find healing, such as Project Rachel. A lot of pregnancy centers offer post-abortion Bible studies. If you'd rather do a Bible study by yourself, I recommend "Forgiven and Set Free" by Linda Cochrane.

A balloon release and candle lighting ceremony can be healing ways to honor and remember aborted babies as well. As well as writing your baby a letter or poem. Sharing your story and getting it into the light will bring so much healing and it will show you that your baby's life still can have an impact and purpose, by showing people the truth about abortion and that it destroys lives. It can save other baby's lives!

Again, this process may look different for each person. These are suggestions and ways that the Lord has brought healing into my life. I encourage you to ask the Lord how He's leading you to healing. Remember, it is okay to grieve the loss of your precious baby. The world may tell you it's not okay. I understand that it's the silent grief. Forbidden grief. The enemy wants to keep your abortion in the dark and keep you silent. Don't let him have his way. Only when what is in the darkness is brought to the light can Jesus' healing touch reach your heart and life.

Jesus will meet you where you are. You don't have to live with the sorrow that leaves you breathless, the shame that cripples. You are not alone. If you need someone to talk to as you begin walking down your path towards healing, I am here for you.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." -Psalm 147:3 

"There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." -Corrie ten Boom


Sunday, February 5, 2012

March 16th, 2010

(Originally posted in April 2010)
(Revised in February 2012)

"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." ~Job 1:21

"I would rather have had one breath of her hair and one touch of her hand, than an eternity without it."

Tuesday morning, March 16, 2010, I woke up at 2 a.m. with contractions. Could the time finally have come that I would go to the hospital and meet my daughter? My body had gone into labor and it was time. The night before, I had been watching television with my mom and brother. I was sitting in the green chair. Happily, I told them that by that time the following week, Lily would be enjoying with us in that very room. Little did I know what lay ahead of me in the hours, days, and coming week, Where I actually was a week later was a place I never imagined I could end up. 

I remember all the tiny details of that night. Laying in my bed, praying to my God. He had flooded me with such peace. I didn't know why. I had been getting extremely nervous and stressed out just thinking about the whole labor and delivery thing. I didn't know if I could do it. I didn't have strength. I was praying and seeking God and asking Him to give me peace about it.

He did.

Drifting off to sleep, I was resting in the arms of my Heavenly Father. It's like He had whispered to my soul, my worried soul, that I should not be afraid. He was with me.

He was always with me.

He would take care of me, sustain me, and give me everything I needed to get through the labor and delivery. I had no clue as I fell asleep that night just how much peace and strength I would need. Or just how faithful my God would be to supply it.

A couple of hours after I went to bed, I awoke to cramps coursing through my abdomen and as hard as I tried to go back to sleep, I met with no success. I wondered if these contractions could be real, as I was beginning to question if I would even recognize true contractions when they came. I had been having a lot of different pains and cramps in the previous days, weeks, and months. But, these were it.

These were real.

Soon, I got up and went to wake my mom. When I explained how I was feeling, she assured me that the time was here and suddenly the excitement and the reality of what was to come in the next few hours settled into our hearts. She began keeping track of all my contractions in her journal, when they started and how long they lasted. They were already five minutes apart and lasting one to two minutes. I was so confused because I didn't know it could happen so quickly.

I'm not sure why, but I was expecting the pain to stop, like it couldn't possibly be real or something. I thought the pain would subside and I would soon be able to go back to bed. During my entire pregnancy, I kept saying that I didn't want to go into labor in the middle of the night. It's exactly what I dreaded. Although, looking back now, it worked out just right.

I was going to try to wait it out as long as I could. After reading up on pregnancy and childbirth, I was under the impression that labor would last hours before I actually needed to call my Dr. M. And I didn't want to be "that person" that calls the doctor in the middle of the night, being dramatic. 

I was getting grumpy from the pain and taking it out on my mom. I feel bad about that now. She kept telling me to tell her when they started and stopped so she could write them down. And I told her I didn't really know. I told her it was hard to explain and the pain wasn't completely going away in between contractions. How was I to know this wasn't normal? I had never been through labor before. At the hospital, I would find out what this meant.

I kept trying to get comfortable on the green couch. Sitting up one minute, then laying on one side, then the other. We started thinking about preparing for the hospital. My bag wasn't completely ready. I was regretting that at this point. The minutes and hours passed quickly. Contractions were now four to five minutes apart and getting progressively stronger. I was having a hard time breathing, so mom kept reminding me to breathe and offering different techniques to do so. It seemed to help some. She said that I needed to breathe so that Lily would have oxygen. Contractions were really starting to hurt and I realized that I really did need to call my doctor. I decided to wait until 5 a.m. Mom told me that all these pains were worth it, because I had my little girl to look forward to at the end of it all. She prayed that I would picture Lily's face in the midst of contractions and it seemed to ease the pain some.

At 5 a.m., we called Dr. M, awaking him from his sleep. He said he would head over to the hospital. We started getting ready too. I put on the bright pink shirt that I had gotten at LifeCare a few months back. It read, "Coming this Winter." I was so excited my winter baby was finally almost here! Mom helped me finish packing and getting ready and then I sat on my bed and waited while she got ready. My brothers, sister, and dad all woke up by this point. The pain was getting pretty intense and I kept yelling up to my mom that we needed to go! My mom, sister, Emma, and I finally headed off to the hospital a little past 5:30 a.m. I remember looking over at my mom and noticing how tense she looked driving. I'm sure my moaning and groaning from contractions didn't help anything. She was driving as fast as she could, without breaking the speed limit. I thought to myself, maybe we should take a picture or video of us on our way to the hospital. But, it was still dark out and I didn't want to fuss with it. At 6 a.m., we arrived at the hospital, with no idea how drastically things would change within only a matter of minutes.

We pulled up to the REX birthing center, where I had seen so many women being pushed out in a wheelchair, with their precious new baby in their arms.

It was finally my turn.

Finally I was going to be the one with babe in my arms, proudly showing her off for everyone to see. We would get to put Lily in her pink car seat with butterflies and take her home. Mom went to get the wheelchair to take me in because I was in too much pain to walk. My sister carried my stuff in for me. We told the security guard at the front desk that we had already let Dr. M know we were coming and he checked with the people upstairs. They were all ready for me. My mom would just leave her car out front until we got all settled into my labor room.

The elevator took us up to the second floor and we were instructed to wait in the waiting room up there. As soon as we got in there, the nurse came to take us to our room. She wheeled me down the hall. I was nervous, excited, and more awake than anyone should be at that hour of the day. My room was on the end of the hall, situated away from most of the other women in labor. There was a room beside ours.

It was really nice and cozy. I dimmed the lights just right because it was still dark out, due to the recent time change. I had to change into my hospital gown right away. I remember looking down at my pink socks and pacing back and forth, back and forth. Mom noticed the birthing ball in the shower and was going to bring it out. We three were just thrilled and I was ready to get an epidural!

First, my nurse, Shannon, had to make sure I was eligible to get one. She took my blood, checked my heart rate and blood pressure, and then, just as they had done so many times before…that little monitor was put up to my swollen belly to check Lily's heart rate.

Why wasn't I hearing it right away?

The monitor was moved all over my stomach...high, low, left, right...still nothing. I looked at my mom, searching her eyes for comfort. I wanted her eyes to tell me everything was alright.

Perhaps the equipment is faulty, or perhaps Lily is in a weird position, we both thought to ourselves. At the same time, a thousand thoughts of what ifs were racing through our minds.

I was fullterm and babies don't die at fullterm, right? So, I honestly wasn't too concerned. We just needed my Dr. M in there to make everything better. I had been to his office so many times before and we had always heard Lily's heart beating so sure, so strong.

It was the sweetest sound.

Everything is somewhat blurred together in my memory until Dr. M came in to do an ultrasound. When he came in, right away I could tell he looked concerned.

Why is he looking that way?

Within seconds, there was Lily on the screen. I couldn't tell what was going on. Several moments passed. What's going on? Why isn't he saying anything? I looked up at Shannon and saw tears welling up in her eyes, threatening to spill over at any time.

I'll never forget those words, those dreadful words that will forever be burned into my memory...

"Hannah, this is where her heart is. And it's not beating anymore...I'm so sorry."

What? How could that be? Is this just a nightmare? When will I wake up? I just want to wake up!

But, I didn't wake up. It was real. I was so utterly shocked and frantic that I couldn’t cry at first.

All in a single moment, my whole world crumbled around me and my dreams were shattered. Shaking my head back and forth, the only words I could put together were “no, no no,” half wanting to plead with Dr. M to keep looking until her heart somehow started beating again and half wanting to cry out with tears in my eyes and my arms outstretched to the Heavens,

God can I please have her back?!

But, there was nothing my doctor could do and there was nothing we could do...just cry.

It all felt like a dream. A horrible, horrible dream. I glanced over at my little sister, just shy of sixteen at the time, having to carry this heavy burden of knowing her first niece had slipped away before she ever got to say hello. Seeing the quiet tears streaming down her face jolted me into this truth I had to face.

My little girl was gone.

Deep belly sobs rattled me to the core and for the second time in my life, I felt that ache in my heart that comes from knowing my child is in the arms of the Lord, rather than here with me.

Strong contractions coursing through my body were like salt on a wound, a bitter reminder that I had to deliver the body of my child who was already waiting for me in the Kingdom.

Thankfully, I soon had an epidural. I would have been nervous, but because of this news, I didn't care. I just wanted the pain to stop...the physical pain, emotional pain...the physical pain didn't seem to matter much anymore. It seemed so stupid now that I had been stressing about it. The emotional pain, though, was excruciating.

I felt myself perishing under the weight of this suffering, suddenly overwhelmed with the truth that I couldn’t carry such a burden alone. With all that was in me, I reached out and begged for strength from Emmanuel, God with us, like I had nothing else to help me live. I reached out and touched His face. He was with us. And He freely offered the supernatural peace and strength that flooded over me in a way I had never known. The presence of the Most High God moved through room 235.

My whole life I had feared giving birth to a child. And now, here I was, having to give birth to my daughter of Heaven. I knew I couldn't do it. I asked Dr. M if I could have a c-section and he said for my health and for the health of future pregnancies, he wanted us to continue with a delivery, as long as I kept dilating and labor continued to progress. I see the Lord's hand even in this because nothing in Hannah Rose would have said okay to this without a fight. Hannah Rose, the girl more petrified than anyone she knows about child birth...and now we were talking about child birth of a deceased baby.

My mom called my dad and told him what happened. He and my brothers had planned on coming a few hours later. They couldn't believe it. Nobody could believe it. I mean, I was two days past my due date, I had a healthy pregnancy, Lily was healthy, had a strong heart...everything was good. We had just had an ultrasound less than five days earlier and everything was set for delivery. Little did I know that was the last time I'd see her alive or hear her precious heart beating. So what happened? These thoughts and questions kept playing and replaying over and over again in my mind.

My mom, sister and I had quite a special time that morning, crying and talking. Jesus was giving us an abundance of peace and joy. It seems weird to say the midst of such tragedy, yet I had unspeakable joy. It's funny how I don't remember the specifics of that conversation, but will always know what a special time in the Lord it was. We noticed how cloudy and gloomy the day was and thought that the heart of God must be breaking along with ours. The weather outside was a reflection of how we felt, how God felt. We talked about how God had prepared us for this without us even realizing it and how we knew He would be faithful to carry us through. How blessed we are to have known Lily and all the wonderful times we had with she's changed us and how we're better people from being a part of her life. How we could see God working through her life now, and how He already had, and how we know He will continue to. Those moments together were beautiful. So tender, so special. Mom said looking in my eyes that day, she saw something she'd never seen before and hasn't seen sinse. She glimpsed Heaven in my eyes...

My sister whispered something into the quiet of the room, “3-16."

Confused, my mom and I glanced at each other and then back at her. Yes, the date was 3-16...but what did that have to do with anything? She further explained, "John 3:16."

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." ~John 3:16

I was in awe that my God would choose such a special day for my special princess to be born.

The Lord had given me the name Lily when I was still early in my pregnancy and before any doctor could tell me she was a girl. Somehow, I just knew. Lily means purity and innocence. She was to be a symbol of my renewed purity and redemption in Jesus Christ. When I was choosing her middle name, the Lord gave me Katherine. At the time, I had no idea Katherine also means purity. Both her names, both mean purity. Laying in my hospital bed on March 16, I was suddenly overwhelmed with how her name took on another meaning. She will forever be pure and innocent. Untainted. Spotless. God delights in the small things. He places such a sacred essence on things as small as a name. 

My mom called a couple people close to us to let them know what was going on. My sister told my cousin, Anna, and she let most of the rest of the family know. My dad and brother, Joseph, showed up soon. It was hard to see their eyes full of tears. I didn't want others to have to go through this pain of losing a niece, granddarling, friend, cousin. My dearest friend, Kala, came too to be with our family during this time. She was really dear that day. My mom said she and Kala hugged for a long time in the waiting room downstairs while she cried, surrounded by staring people. Happy people. Waiting for their sister, daughter, friend to give birth to a healthy baby. That was to be us...

Instead, we had a leaf with a teardrop hanging on our door, to inform nurses and doctors that 
whoever was inside that room has a baby that didn't survive. My mom was the first to notice it. It really broke her heart to see it. Another thing that broke her heart was hearing in the room next door, a baby's heartbeat...what I should have heard that morning. But didn't...

"The leaf with the teardrop reflects both intense suffering of loss and hope for the future. Though fallen, the leaf maintains its vitality, symbolizing hope. It cradles the teardrop with its upturned edges creating a sense of comfort.  As seasons change, so do feelings.  Just as there is winter and spring, there is sadness and hope."

We were all in that room together, sitting there. Still. Quiet. What was there to say? There were a lot of tears. A lot of pain. I was so tired, but couldn't sleep. I rested my eyes for a while. We listened to Misty Edwards and Fernando Ortega. I had the television on for a bit, trying to distract myself. I don't remember what was on. I couldn't pay attention at all. It was more like background noise...I would rather have that than that deafening silence. My head was pounding.

My nurse, Lanie, was absolutely wonderful. She took such good care of me. Taking care of my every need, she went above and beyond her call of duty. She made me as comfortable as I could be under the circumstances. I am so thankful for her compassion. Before going to the hospital, I was concerned I wouldn't 'click' with my nurses and I would feel uncomfortable with them. But, the opposite is true. I actually consider Lanie and Shannon my friends now. I could never thank them enough.

Time kept passing. The hours kept passing. Soon, it was afternoon. I knew the time was coming that I would have to deliver my baby's body. Her body was still in my body, but her soul was with Jesus. How strange it was to think that. She had seen His face...I wonder if she knew she was beholding her Creator when she first saw Him? All she will ever know is my love and the love of the Father. No sorrow, no sin, no salty tears on her cheeks. Only the beauty and perfection of Heaven.

I kept dilating and labor kept progressing at a good rate. At around 3 p.m., I was dilated all the way and my body felt ready to push. I put it off for a while because I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to have to hold her like that. I didn't know what to expect with the delivery. I didn't know how she would look, having already passed. By 4 p.m., it was time. Every one left the room except for my mom and sister. Lanie and Dr. M were both in the room. 

Within fifteen to twenty minutes of pushing, she was in my arms. 

Lily Katherine
March 16, 2010
4:24 p.m.
7 pounds 9 ounces
21 inches
looks just like her mommy :)

I remember the first time my eyes beheld her little body. It is an image that will forever be engraved into my mind. Lifeless. Quiet. Still. The silence was deafening. No screaming and crying, or squirming around. I just wanted to hear her little cry...I never got to hear her cry. My heart was breaking. The tears were streaming down my face. I had pictured this moment my entire life, always longing with everything in me to be a mother. But, I never pictured it like this. Her body felt warm, like she was alive, only sleeping. She was beautiful. Perfect. Every detail of her just right. She was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. Her little nose was the first thing I noticed about her, so tiny and adorable. It looked like a miniature version of mine. I memorized every part of her. Every part of her, forever engraved in my mind. Wow, God made this perfect little person in only nine months. He chose me to carry her...I didn't deserve that. She had stubby little eyelashes like mine, almost nonexistent eyebrows, chubby cheeks and the same chin as mine, and the cutest shaped heart lips. Mom said her lips were even like mine. Everyone said she looked like me. To this, I jokingly said, "poor thing." It was true though. Looking back at pictures of me as a newborn, I looked just like her. Her legs were even the same shape as mine. She had the same thumbs as me too. Her tiny fingers and toes were so cute. I couldn't stop staring at her. I had always imagined her bald like I was as a baby, but she had beautiful hair (the exact same shade as mine!), though not very much of it.

When I held her in those first few moments, I tasted her innocence, her sweetness, her purity...I saw God in a way I never have...How tender and sweet He is. I glimpsed eternity. It might sound weird, but birthing my little girl was a beautiful experience. I wouldn't change it. It made me feel more like her mother, more attached to her. I thank the Lord for this gift. I would have done things for her all her life, had she lived. But, she didn't, so this felt like one of the final things I could do for her. I just wish I could have heard her cry, seen her eyes, felt her breathe, smelt her sweet baby smell. But, would that have made it harder? Only God knows. I have to leave it in His hands.

"We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of Heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less." 2 Corinthians 5:4-5

That first hour spent with the girls club (me, my mom, sister, and Lily) was so special. I wouldn't trade it for anything. We talked about her, held her, rocked her, admired every part of her. She was here...the little girl we had longed for.

We took lots of pictures with Lily and a video. By this time, Shannon had come back for her next hospital shift and she requested to have me as her patient again, at least until I had to be moved to my postpartum room. Lanie told me she had also requested to have me as her patient that morning. Most nurses would have avoided a situation like this, but they had compassion on me and actually cared. Another nurse, I can't remember her name now, had come in and told me she had a stillborn baby twelve years before. She really understood my pain. It was good to know I wasn't alone and that other people made it through such a loss before me. Lanie stayed late and helped Shannon take a footmold of Lily's right foot. We could only do one of her feet because her feet and hands were so big! It took a few attempts because her little foot was so flat. They also helped with getting her footprints and hand prints (I am so thankful I asked for these), as well as a little piece of her hair. They dressed her in her little pink outfit that we had brought along for her to wear while meeting all her visitors for the first time. I still wanted her to look her best and oh, she did. The pink outfit had baby birds, baby chicks, and baby bunnies on it. She was swaddled in the matching pink blanket and had a cute pink hat on. It was one of my favorite outfits for her and pink is definitely her color. :) At times now, I wish I had dressed her myself...but she was so delicate and I didn't want to hurt her. They also took some pictures for me. I am so thankful that God was gracious enough to give me two wonderful, compassionate, sweet nurses who went above and beyond their call of duty. When Lanie left, she gave me an adorable little panda bear. I'll keep it forever with all of the other sacred keepsakes that remind me of Lily.

my mom with her precious granddarling

my sister, Emma, with her niece

Before that day, I looked forward to ordering dinner that night because I had heard the food was tasty. Lanie called and ordered a lot of food for me...eggs, sausage, bagel, even carrot cake. I could barely touch it. I had no appetite at all. When everyone came in to see Lily and me, I felt so proud of her. I felt so proud that she was my baby.

Around 9 p.m., I was taken to my postpartum room. I didn't want to leave Shannon. I didn't think I could possibly have nurses as dear as she and Lanie had been to me. Shannon placed Lily in my arms and I held her as I was pushed in the wheelchair to my recovery room. There was a blanket over her so nobody would see. She was so beautiful. I should be showing her off right now, I thought. Not hiding her. My eyes were already so puffy and I'm sure I looked horrible. I couldn't keep from crying. I saw people looking at me, wondering I'm sure what my story was.

The two nurses I ended up having in my postpartum room, Kitty and Catie, turned out to be very caring and sweet as well. I could tell they really cared about me and my Lily. They took excellent care of me, were very sensitive to my needs, and made me feel completely comfortable. I could tell they both were trying to keep from crying. They didn't want me to see them with tears in their eyes. I'm sure they thought it would only make me feel worse.

Everyone held Lily some more, we took more pictures, and I rocked her. It was painful to get up, but I had to rock my baby girl. Just once. I needed to. It felt so natural, holding her, rocking I was comforting her, when really I was comforting myself.

I didn't want all my visitors to leave that night. I didn't want to feel lonelier than I already felt. By midnight though, everyone was gone, but my mom. I was exhausted. I had been up for so many hours and was physically and emotionally drained. I was afraid to sleep, afraid of the stillness, the darkness of the night. Lily stayed in my bed that night with me. I'm so thankful to the hospital for letting me have her for that long. God knew I needed her with me that night. I held her all night. It was really difficult to sleep, especially with nurses periodically coming in to check on me. At one point in the night, I started crying, from the very depths of my soul. I woke my mom up and she cried with me. All she could say when I cried like that during those first few days was, "I know...I know." She said it softly, sweetly. Like it was the only thing to say. And I knew what she meant. I knew she understood. I knew her heart was breaking for her flower, because I had lost my flower. Only a mother's love...her heart was breaking as well because she had lost her precious first granddarling, long hoped for, long adored.

The chaplain, Carla, came in to talk with us that morning, March 17. It was St. Patrick's Day and I remember seeing people with green hats and shirts. Whenever someone new came in the room and I saw the way they looked at me, I couldn't keep from crying. Carla told us she too had lost a baby herself. I could tell we had a little special place in her heart. She knew just what I was going through. She talked with us and prayed with us. Twice in the hospital, I was told by staff that they had lost a baby. I began to realize just how many people live with such a difficult loss.

Catie kept coming in to tell me I could leave whenever I felt up to it, but I didn't want to leave. Leaving meant leaving the hospital...without Lily. Leaving meant going home with empty arms. I was alone with Lily for only a short amount of time during the stay at the hospital. But, in that time, I spoke with her, hugged her, kissed her, knowing these would be the only moments I would ever have alone with my little girl, my first born baby.

From the time we found out Lily's heart was no longer beating to the following afternoon, I couldn't decide if I wanted to have an autopsy done or not. I asked several people their opinion on what I should do. I wanted to make sure I could see her again in her burial outfit. It was supposed to be her going home from the hospital outfit, but instead it was her going home to Jesus outfit. I remember feeling like it didn't matter what the results of an autopsy would show because it wouldn't bring her back. I prayed that if the Lord wanted me to have one done that it would work out because I had no idea what to do. When I found out I could see her again, even with an autopsy, I said okay. Then, I found out medicaid wouldn't cover it and I knew I didn't have any money, so I said never mind. However, when we were packing up to leave, Carla came in to say she had talked with some people in charge and the hospital was offering to give me a free, full autopsy. I felt this was the Lord's answer.

Early afternoon, Catie came in and told me they had to take Lily away. I could tell it broke her heart to tell me this. I broke out in tears, asking if that meant I wouldn't get to see her again at the hospital. No. No. No. I can't let her go. She's mine! Just go away. Less than 24 hours with her...that's all I had. I had to fit an entire lifetime's worth of memories into less than a day. After a few moments alone with my precious princess, I collected myself and placed Lily in the little baby cart that I had seen newborns taken to the nursery in. But, she wasn't going to the nursery. A blanket was placed over her. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, to let go of her. In tears, I watched as they reeled her away from me, down the hallway and around the corner, out of site.

She was gone.

This is a poem my mother wrote:

Goodbye Lily Katherine
In my daugter's womb
Grew her gift from above.
We readied a room
For her wee one to love.
On our merry way rejoicing
To a glorious celebration.
Expecting our flower's arriving
Jesus' tears hid the sun.
God had bid her go
Before we said, "Hello."
Goodbye budding life.
Goodbye shattered dreams.
Goodbye precious babe lying still in our arms.
Goodbye sweet nursing and soft cries.
Goodbye to rocking and lullabies.
Goodbye wonder and curiosity.
Goodbye to kissing who you would be.
Goodbye to hearing "Dukes" and "mama" too.
Goodbye to discovering wonderful you.
Goodbye snuggling you to our hearts.
Goodbye tore our lives apart.
Goodbye to our pure Lily Katherine.
Goodbye 'til we meet you in Heaven.

I asked to have the blanket and outfit she was in and I'm so glad they were able to get them back to me. I'll keep them forever with Lily's things. After Lily left, I walked slowly down the hallway. Crying. I didn't know what to do without her there. My mind knew she was gone, but my body, my heart was longing for her. I couldn't explain to my body that there wasn't a baby to nurse, there wasn't a baby to hold. My arms were lost without her. I noticed on one of the doors a big pink ribbon. I figured a family was in there, happy. A new baby girl in their arms. It didn't seem fair. On my door, there was that dreadful leaf with a teardrop on it. How could this be me?

The nurses gave me everything I would need to physically heal in the coming weeks. And we packed up and left...with empty, aching arms and broken dreams and hearts. All I had was a small white pouch, with memories of my little girl. Proof that she was real. I asked to be taken out the main entrance. I didn't want to have to see all the happy new mothers with their babies in the birthing center. I wondered what I was supposed to do? Where I was supposed to go from there? How strange it was to get in the car and leave with less than what I had come with. I remember thinking I should be sitting in the back seat, with a precious new life beside me. Instead, I rode home in the front seat, empty car seat in back. On the way home, I heard the song, "Love Them Like Jesus," by Casting Crowns.

The gifts lie in wait in a room painted blue
Little blessing from Heaven would be there soon
Hope fades in the night, blue skies turn to gray
As the little one slips away

In the weeks before hearing the results of the autopsy I wrote this:
"We still haven't gotten the results and maybe we'll never have a medical explanation why. Sometimes, I think I need to know why. My human nature wants to know why. But, will it make it harder to know? Is it just some freak accident that killed her, and otherwise she would be a perfectly healthy baby? Maybe we'll understand more, maybe not. I realize I must leave it in God's hands. Whatever He wants us to know, we will find out. Now, we wait for the results. My doctor has no idea what happened. at first he thought perhaps something was wrong with the umbilical cord, or maybe the placenta? But, after examining them, he concluded they both seemed healthy. Lily seemed healthy. I made it all the way to forty weeks, so what happened?! How can her heart beat perfectly one day, and then just stop the next? We found out she had been dead for a few days because of the way her skin was and because the placenta was already separating from my uterus when I was in labor. That's why the pain didn't stop in between contractions. That's how we know it wasn't placental abruption. The cord wasn't wrapped around her either, so that wasn't it. Without the Lord in my life, I would be haunted by 'what ifs'? and many, many questions about her death. But, I know this was part of God's plan all along. And even though I didn't see it coming, He wasn't surprised like I was. He had planned her name and its meaning long before I ever knew what was to come. This has shown me that He is still in control, even when I don't understand. She was never meant to experience the pain and suffering of this world. All that's happened doesn't mean her life wasn't beautiful and she didn't fulfill the purposes she was sent for. He did what's best for Lily and for me."

At my six-week postpartum check-up, I sat in Dr. M's office, surrounded by all the familiar sights, sounds, smells of my pregnancy, of when she was alive inside of me. It was so difficult to be back in that office. 

Sitting across from Dr. M, he told us there is no medical explanation for why Lily died. Honestly, this is what I expected. I was just waiting to hear the words from him. God somehow spoke this truth to my heart, that He simply took her. I see that He has a plan and a purpose for all of this, far beyond what we can even see now. The Lord worked it out for me to have a free, full autopsy so He could bring peace to my heart. So I don't have to always wonder why she died, what the medical reason is. Because you see, God is much greater than "medical explanations." If He wanted her here with me, she would be. Because I know this, I also can rest assured that if I have more children in the future, they won't be susceptible to some medical condition. I know it's nothing I did wrong that hurt her and there is nothing physically wrong with me. 

I have complete peace in knowing what I know. She was alive one moment and the next she was gone, still. One moment she was in the earthly realm, and the next she was in the spiritual. My Lord breathed the breath of life into her and He took it away. He took her away, but in the most beautiful way possible. It may sound strange for me to say that, but God has a way of bringing beauty to any and all things. Beauty from ashes, sorrow to joy. He has a way of healing and restoring even the most broken of hearts. 

This is a poem I wrote after I found out that there was no medical reason why she passed:

He took her silently, He took her away
She was far too beautiful to stay
He took her perfect, He took her pure
She knew no sin, no suffering to endure
He took her painlessly, in the night
The only thing she knows is Heaven's light
He loves her more than I do and knows what's best
In His arms is where I'll rest
There is no reason, no one to blame
Still, I miss her just the same
I'm a mother who held her baby for just a day
But, in Heaven she waits, that's where she'll stay
I'll hold her again, kiss her, and love her
Of this I am sure

Another reason why I see the Lord had it planned for me to not have a c-section (not only the gift of having that experience with her) but also because of the delivery, I now know I have to have c-sections in future pregnancies. If Lily had lived, she would have had shoulder problems because she got stuck during delivery. In order to avoid any complications during child birth in the future, I have to have c-sections. So, the only time I will ever go through the birthing experience is with Lily. And I am so thankful to have that with her. The Lord has used her life to protect the safety of her future siblings.

"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." ~Romans 8:28

For a long time, I struggled with the fact that all I'll ever have of my daughter are a few precious memories and keepsakes. I dwelled on the fact that I wasn't offered the free, professional photography from NILMDTS. I felt envious of parents who had it. I wished I could go back and get more high-quality pictures of her hands and feet and every detail of her. I wished I could get more keepsakes and it was so hard realizing I could never go back and relive March 16, 2010 and change the things I wish I could change. Yet, I made the decision to be thankful for the things I do have and not harp on what I don't. When I made this decision, the Lord truly opened my eyes and has shown me just how blessed I am. Some parents don't even hold their baby or get a single picture of them. If this has never happened to you before, you don't know what to expect or what you need. And you have no idea the things you'll regret later. I had nearly a full day with my little girl in my arms! So many people only keep their baby for a couple hours. And I was blessed with 40 weeks and 2 days with her in my womb. I am so thankful I had the full pregnancy with her and that she wasn't born early. I am thankful that I didn't know beforehand that she would die, giving me that much time of complete and utter joy that she was with me! And yes, even though she died, I am so thankful she LIVED! And even though I don't have the pictures I wish I had, I am realizing how beautiful the photos are that I do have. I have come to cherish them more than I ever thought I could. I actually contacted a NILMDTS volunteer and asked if she could edit the photos I have and make them look their best. I am beyond pleased with how she edited them! I am so thankful that I have her hair, her foot and handprints, her footmold. I had FIVE ultrasounds when I was pregnant with her, when most people only have two. One of these was a 3d/4d ultrasound, when I found out conclusively she was a girl, and I now have it recorded on dvd so I can remember our reactions and see me up on that table getting my ultrasound. And I have a dvd recording of her squirming around, so I have seen her with life and can always watch it and remember she lived! I have many other precious momentos as well. All these things that are now tucked away inside her memory chest. I am so thankful. I am so blessed. 

Because of Lily's life, I started a photography business. I realized how precious each moment is and that tomorrow is never a given. So, out of her legacy, that was birthed. I also am donating care packages to the hospital where Lily was born. The boxes are filled with things to honor and remember their lost baby, as well as resources for the parents to make decisions that they will later be happy with. When you're in this situation, you need someone whose been there to think for you. 

I was told that my labor and delivery went as smoothly as it could go. Things could have been so much worse, but the Lord made it as bearable as possible. He was so gentle towards us, making my hospital experience an overall positive one. Everything seemed to work out just right, like He was truly orchestrating it all. And as a Christian, I know He was. It might sound strange to some for me to be praising God and thanking Him after my daughter died, rather than being angry with Him and questioning Him. I'm so thankful I'm not bitter with Him and it is only by His grace that I'm not. He has used this loss to draw me closer to Himself and teach me to lean on Him fully, to meet my every need.

So many flowers have blossomed because of the rain that's fallen in my life. I now see the beauty of life that I have never before seen. Through Lily's life, the Lord is showing the world that each life is so precious and valuable to Him and He has a plan and purpose for us all. Look at the beautiful legacy my daughter has left! The Lord used a little girl who never took a single breath to bring me back to Himself and radically change my heart and life! Her life has made more of an impact, never taking a breath, than if she had taken a breath. So, I gladly relinquish my dreams of meeting her alive into the hands of my Lord.

"The amount of time on earth matters very little: a man can live in greed and pride for 90 years and never find God, know Him, or accomplish His plan. A stillborn baby on the other hand, teaches people to love, brings people to the Lord, teaches us the tenuous nature of life and teaches us a faith that those who have not suffered loss can never know. A child who has never taken a breath can have an impact greater than a famous preacher. The purpose of a life is not ours to decide nor in our hands: it is brought about by God." ~Author Unknown

The Lord has shown me that He desires me to live each and every day like March 16, 2010. Desperately relying on Him for everything and knowing I am helpless without Him. Depending on His strength and trusting fully that He is sufficient for me. Every moment of my life, whether full of sorrow or joy, should be spent at His feet. He desires to be a part of all aspects of my every day. 

He is using me, weak Hannah Rose, to show others how He can provide strength to get through any and all things, when you call out to Him and depend on Him. Me, terrified of child birth, never thinking I'd have to birth my deceased child. I stand in awe, totally amazed, that I got through all this. At times, I find myself looking back on everything I've been through and almost not believing it really happened to me. I find myself wondering how I did it all. And He gently reminds me, you didn't do it. I did it through you. And I smile to myself and think, ah, yes, my precious Jesus, there through it all. And I realize I wouldn't have the strength to get through that today. I feel so weak. He reminds me that no, I don't have the strength to get through it today because I don't need the strength to get through it today. 

My mind goes to a conversation Corrie ten Boom (one of my spiritual mothers) had with her father as a young girl. Fear had come into her heart as she thought of the possibility of her father dying and she thought she couldn't live without him. Her father, Casper, then asks her, "Corrie, when we go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your train ticket?" "Why, just before we get on the train," she answered. "Exactly. And our wise Heavenly father knows when we're going to need things too. Don't run out ahead of Him, Corrie. He will give you the strength you need, just in time."

So many people have said to me they don't know how I've gotten through this and that they never could. It was never me, but my Jesus and I pray my story points all hearts to Him. I pray whoever hears this story will not walk away thinking Hannah Rose, or Lily even, but Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, for it is He for whom every heart is longing. I pray you will see that He gives us what we need the moment we need it, not a second before or too late. His "train ticket" of grace is there for us to face things we could never imagine facing before. It doesn't make things easy or take away the pain, but somehow it is sufficient to bear what would otherwise crush those who have not made the Lord their hope. Don't expect to understand or know today what you may face tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:34 If you're called upon to face something unimagineable, rest assured that grace ticket will be handed to you by our loving Father the moment you get on the train, not a moment before. God's strength is there for us when we need it and is not overcome by our circumstances. 

Count your weakness as a joy, a gift because it can draw you to Him and He can prove Himself faithful in your life!

"He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10

God's hand has been in every step of this journey. When I was early in my pregnancy with Lily and contemplating having another abortion, the Lord spoke to my heart that if I chose LIFE, I had no idea the beauty it would bring, but if I chose another abortion, I had no idea the pain and darkness it would bring. I never could have imagined it would turn out the way it did. Yet, despite all that has happened, I would never choose another way. Before losing Lily, I had an abortion and that pain is so much more intense because I must live with the fact that I went against God's plan. For a while, I wondered why the Lord would have me choose life, walk this road and love her so much, only to end up having her taken before she was ever even born. I know that I obeyed God by choosing life for Lily. I made the choice to let God be God, to let God give and God take away and I would never change that decision. I am incredibly blessed to have been chosen to be Lily Katherine's mother. I am incredibly humbled that the Lord would intervene in my life and fight for me! Lily died with dignity. The Lord took her away, but I let Him have His will, rather than having my own will and taking her life myself. It has been so much easier to let Lily go because I know she belongs to Him, I belong to Him and we are in His hands. I know she's with Him.

When I chose LIFE, the Lord brought peace to my heart and all the things that I had feared about the pregnancy no longer mattered. He was with me. And He would provide everything I needed to obey Him, to choose life. And oh, He did. He softened my families hearts to receive the news. He gave me peace, strength, joy. He provided for $20,000 worth of hospital and doctor bills and I am debt free! I didn't realize what a huge blessing this was until I heard of other families that had baby's that passed receiving hospital and doctor bills. It just seemed so wrong when they have nothing to even show for it. I realize how incredibly blessed I am that the Lord took care of all my needs. When you obey Him, He will give you what you need!

My Jesus has sustained me and provided for me more than I ever thought possible. Words cannot describe the supernatural strength, grace, peace, and joy He has given me on this journey. Supernatural is the only way to describe it. I never knew He intended me to have strength and peace like this. I fall more and more in love with Him every day. I stand amazed at the strength and peace I had on delivery day. I know it was not me. It was only my Saviour. And I am so thankful that He provided. He always provides...

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." ~Psalm 23:4-6

"The heart that made you a mother still beats within yours. It beats with every beat of your own." ~my best friend, Kala Waddell

Forever and a day, I will love you, my precious princess, my flower who was too beautiful for earth. Though you whispered goodbye before we could say hello, the Lord has changed my life with yours...

This is a video tribute, in honor of Lily.
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