March For Life

 

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Credit

 

There is nothing more empowering, more perfectly female, than the gift of pregnancy. As women this is something to be celebrated. I feel that in our push for equality, which is very important, we’ve become disconnected from a very important piece of ourselves, the gift to create life. This is our right, to embrace both our own body and the body of another. This is love in it’s purest form and why I’ll be Pro-Life for the rest of my life.

A Look Back At The Past Year & The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

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I have been silent for quite a bit of the past year. It has been one of the strangest years of my life. But I’m not writing this to rehash what has already been said, rather, I’m happy to share with you how this past year has changed me and while I could write a book on this past year alone, here is my small attempt at communicating the transformation I have gone through.

I’ve stepped back and looked at my life, a childless mother, a young caregiver, a victim, a survivor and I’ve asked myself over and over again, “Who am I?”

I’ve felt the weight of Brielle’s loss in a strange, almost surreal, way. Life went on and David and I were left with a gaping hole in our lives. Walking through everyday feeling as if she was only a dream. Asking ourselves if our reality is really real. I’ve dealt with the hard questions of, “Does God really answer my prayers? Does he really care?”

In the fog of my trauma and pain, I decided to pursue new relationships within my church, and signed up for a morning bible class and an evening bible class. I didn’t check the subjects we’d be studying. I didn’t expect much at all. As I sat there during the first class, a study on 2 Timothy (the Entrusted study by Beth Moore), I was shocked with how relevant the study was to my current season in life, but was also shocked at how seriously this church takes their bible studies. They weren’t messing around, these classes expected memorization, homework, deep personal and spiritual growth. We were going to dig in and root out the chaos of our lives and find our calling.

I watched myself transform as I dug into scripture, a true fire igniting within me. I have lived my entire Christian faith filled with questions and seeking answers. I would turn to those around me and receive criticism for even venturing outside of the confines of order, but I have always been spiritual and have felt a deep connection with God, could no one explain to me then why this was? Could no one explain to me my purpose? Could no one guide me and help explain to me the truly, spiritual, almost supernatural, things that have occurred in my life?

No, not one. In my search for answers, I have spent the past six years (previous to Brielle’s conception) in search of a church that felt alive. A place where I could feel God’s presence and see a sincere devotion to God’s calling. I wanted to see Christians who sought to do good and who were transformed by Christ. The unfortunate truth is that our nation, our world, is largely disconnected from it’s spirituality and Christians do not always behave in a Christ like manner. In the church we call this a Form of Godliness.

I walked out of class a month ago, hurriedly walking to my car, when I felt the pull of God’s voice on my heart and mind, “Go back. Go back and ask them to pray over you.”

I swerved, “Uhh, I don’t know about that. That’s weird. That makes me uncomfortable. God, I’ll just send them an email.”

I felt that all familiar pull at my heart, “Go back.”

“Do I have to? This is weird.

“Go back and ask them to pray for you. Go back.

I stopped, awkwardly standing in the parking deck, turned around and stormed into the chapel. I grabbed one of the women whom I greatly admire for her candor, she would not mislead me or sugar coat things, I wanted to be corrected, I wanted Godly advice. She grabbed another woman and I another.

They sat me down and gathered around me as I spoke to them of my past, the loss of Brielle, and the conviction on my heart. I asked desperately for discernment as I faced new paths in my life. They placed their hands on me and prayed over me. Praying for freedom from those who have prayed against me. Praying for freedom from my pain and trauma. Praying for discernment, blessings, and healing.

As they spoke, I felt a warmth encircle my head and spread through my brain. I felt it move through my body and felt a weight disappear from my shoulders. I could breathe easier. I could smile easier. My aches and pains, my heartbreak, my world, glowed in a pure sense of happiness and relief. I felt free for the first time in my life.

They directed me towards scriptures that would aid me through this process and I returned home. David was astonished, he had never seen me so carefree. My therapist was happily shocked and my scores for depression, anxiety, and anger have reduced by more than three times.

I happily joked about how ridiculously crazy I sounded. I laughed at how many would mock my crazy spirituality. And I found joy. Over the past three weeks I have watched my life transform into something sincerely beautiful and full of life, joy, and happiness. God has filled me with more joy and blessings than I could imagine. He has revealed to me my calling in life and set me on my path. I have experienced things that I had only read about in the New Testament.

My heart is free. I can begin again. And as I reach the milestone of Brielle’s first birthday, I find myself joyful. I have work to do. I have growing and learning to do. I still have memories that I need to confront and grow from. But I look forward to all of this. I have been given a remarkable gift, I can begin again. My life, my world, is renewed and I can find joy in the knowledge that I can rebuild my life and myself into something beautiful, loving, and filled with happiness.

I say this often, but I have no idea why God has been so good to me. I have no idea why he has kept me safe for all of these years. But I am thankful. I would be lost without him. I look forward to a new year of love and happiness and discovering who I am in Christ. And, while I am not ashamed, I hope I won’t scare you all off. 😉

 

 

Why I Fight So Hard for DeKalb Medical and SeeBaby

I spent a lot of time at DeKalb Medical while I was pregnant with Brielle and, while I can’t speak for the rest of the hospital, the staff in the Women’s Center were incredible. They were attentive, compassionate, empathetic, knowledgeable, motherly, warm, inviting, I could go on and on. From Jamie and her incredible kindness, to the nurses, to the NICU nurses and Dr. Armand. I just couldn’t say enough about them.

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Sweet Jamie! Let me know if you want me to take any of these down.

Jamie coordinated everything so that our day with Brielle would go as perfectly and seamlessly as possible. She mothered me when there was no one there to mother me. She loved Brielle and treasured her. She guided me through one of the hardest days of my life. I truly believe God sent her into my life and Brielle’s and that the day could not have happened without her. She is, truly, one of DeKalb Medical’s greatest assets.

Dr. Armand learned as much as he could about how he could treat Brielle and keep her brain tissue viable after her birth. He supported me, when even the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta denied Brielle care. He wanted what was best for Brielle and held onto hope for her, hope for a better outcome. He stood by and watched the delivery, ready to care for her if needed. Unfortunately, Brielle’s brain tissue was in very poor shape, she never had a chance. But, Dr. Armand and DeKalb Medical, can help other anencephalics who may have a chance.

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Jamie with little Brielle.

The nurses and staff at DeKalb Medical and Dr. Bootstaylor worked together in perfect harmony. They respected each other and their work was beautiful. That kind of partnership, that kind of heart, is incredibly rare. It is something that should be encouraged and nurtured. And I, as well as many others, felt that it is a partnership worth fighting for.

I hope DeKalb recognizes what a special hospital they have, and I hope they weed out those who wish to do it harm, and lift up those who give wholeheartedly and selflessly.

DeKalb and Dr. Bootstaylor could operate separately and everything would be okay, but, again, this partnership is something special. I hope SeeBaby and the staff of DeKalb Medical know how much I love them all and support them.

I talk about my love of DeKalb here as well.

Posts About The Care We Received From DeKalb 

Part One: The Day Brielle Was Born

Part Two: The Day Brielle Was Born Continued

Part Four: Brielle Meets The Family

Our Last Day In The Hospital

 

This Mother Has My Full Respect: More Reason to Support Dr. Bootstaylor

I want to share a video another Atlanta mom made of her first birth experience and why she chose SeeBaby (Dr. Bootstaylor) for her next pregnancy. I’d ask that you really sit down and listen to this story, it is so telling of how current OB’s operate, and the best part is really at the end.

Current DeKalb Medical Head of Obstetrics information here and here. I think it is becoming clear why Dr. Bootstaylor is being targeted and who (or what group) is targeting him. This is completely unprofessional and ethically wrong.

What this doctor did is illegal and violates this mother’s inherent rights. No one should be treated with such barbarity and callous disregard. I have a deep respect for this woman, her bravery, and determination to do what is right, and speak out against obstetric violence against women.

Why You Should Care About Dr. Bootstaylor

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Dr. Bootstaylor encouraging me as I read to Brielle for the last time.

So why does SeeBaby and Dr. Bootstaylor matter to Loving Brielle followers? Why am I so outraged? Why do I care if you care?

You all need to keep in mind that if Dr. Bootstaylor had not been an advocate for Brielle, if he had not been our doctor, that our standard of care would have been:

  • Encouraged fetal termination
  • Potential to be dropped as a patient and denied OB care because Brielle had anencephaly
  • Denied routine maternal care
    • My polyhydramnios would not have been monitored closely and safely.
    • Basic, routine, care would have been denied or discouraged.
  • Denied birth plan of my choice
    • This would have meant I could not have a family centered cesarean.
      • I would have never held Brielle alive, she would have been taken from me.
      • David would not have been allowed to video her birth.
    • I would not have been allowed to carry her as long as I did.
    • I would not have been allowed a bereavement doula (Lauren Bishop).
  • Brielle would have been denied standard fetal care because she “would die anyways” and take time away from healthy babies.
    • We would have never been allowed to meet with Dr. Armand (DeKalb neonatologist) or Jamie Ray. We were connected to Jamie by Dr. B and his practice, SeeBaby. And Jamie coordinated everything on the DeKalb Medical side. Jamie made sure everything was perfect for Brielle and I.
      • Jamie loved on Brielle as if she were part of her own family.  I love this picture of them.

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    • We would have never had routine or specialized ultrasounds.
      • We would have never had 3D ultrasounds of Brielle or watch her play in my tummy.
    • We would have never had a consult with neurosurgeons.
    • We would have never been allowed to believe Brielle had feelings and emotions of her own, likes and dislikes. In fact, we were laughed at by other practices.

And that’s just an overview of some of the ways Dr. Bootstaylor and SeeBaby took care of Brielle.

Sure, we can make this political, we can make this a woman’s rights issue (and it is), but that may make you uncomfortable. You may prefer to just stay out of it.

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But what about Brielle? Will you care because of her? Will you help me fight for her legacy? Dr. Bootstaylor is a part of that. If it weren’t for him, none of you would know me or Brielle.

You don’t have to physically be in Atlanta to make a difference. Just talk about it. Share your outrage that this man has become a target, merely because he is a good man. Draw attention to the injustice circling Dr. B.

Dr. Bootstaylor wanted to help Brielle, he cared about her. Maybe that’s taken for granted, but for me? Brielle had a short amount of time here. And everyone who stood in her court and defended her, those people are precious to me. I will fight hard for those people. They loved my daughter. They valued her.

And all we, all I, have left is her memory and legacy. I’m not going to just throw that away, or turn a blind eye to another’s suffering, because it might make me or others uncomfortable.

It’s fundamentally wrong, no matter your personal or political beliefs, to let a good man be shot down and discouraged because he stood up for pregnancies like mine. Because he made other doctors jealous and uncomfortable.

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What kind of people are we if we let this happen?

I can’t make any of you care, but I’m begging you to. I am begging you to recognize all of the good this man did for our sweet Brielle. I am begging you to help me stand up for him. Please, for a few days, just unite and join me in defending a man who gave Brielle her best chance.

Just Some of the Stories About Dr. Bootstaylor:

Introducing Dr. Bootstaylor

Family Centered Cesarean 

Brielle Has a Membrane!

What Happened In The Hospital (my hospitalization due to polyhydramnios)

Brielle’s Last Ultrasound

Part Two: Brielle’s Birthday Continued

Part Three: The Delivery