Catching Up and Looking Forward

I gather you all had a wonderful holiday. Christmas through the eyes of a three year old is magical. Despite having croup, which turned to full blown cold for the little man; he surprisingly was in good spirits. By the way, overload of candy canes and peppermint patties cure all ailments!

For those that sent us notes in memory of Elodie, thank you. We had over 30 letters to read Christmas morning. Every single one of them blessed us. Some brought on the ugly cry and many tears of joy. We were so moved by your honesty and reflection on how Elodie’s life has impacted yours and we’re forever grateful. It was more than I could have imagined and it honored her memory profoundly during the first Christmas without her here. Thank you.

As we look forward to 2016, part of me can’t wait to put this year behind me…for obvious reasons. But by looking to a new year, it has also allowed me to reflect on this past year to recognize that in one fell swoop, September 24, 2015, changed everything. Life as I know it had been reset, in so many ways like a new year. A gift.

My prayer for 2016 is that I continue to see all things with these fresh set of eyes…that everything is filtered through the lens of purpose. Not the ‘do things that make me happy’ purpose. Or the ‘what have you done for me lately’ purpose. But with a heart that knows God started something through the taking of Elodie’s life and that out of obedience to His will and plan for my life, I look at 2016 with genuine hope. The kind of hope that moves me out of my ruts and old habits and moves me into a place that is good. Which may even feel inconvenient and actually difficult. Whether it be in my marriage to Mason. How we parent. Prioritizing family. Cultivating lasting friendships. My career. I pray that this gift I received this year carries us through the next and the next.

In the not far distant future, our initial prayer for 2016 is our decision to move towards having the transabdominal cerclage (TAC) placed. If you recall my post, Hope in the Fog, Mason and I had a phone consultation with a specialist in Chicago. The call went very well. So well that he was able to address all our practical questions/concerns before we could even ask them. Our next step is processing pre-certification with our insurance and then scheduling surgery. So far, we’ve felt the Lord led us down this path. From researching and finding connections online, to finding this doctor, and even the timing of the call. The timing bit even allowed us to change insurance carriers to one that typically covers this procedure…no questions asked. Don’t ever underestimate the “life event”.

I would be remiss to mention, we are approaching this decision independent of whether or not we actually try for another child. Whether or not we decide to give it a whirl, is still something we are prayerfully considering, but haven’t made a definitive decision. We ask that you join us in that, as we enter into a fresh new year with such promise and anticipation.


Merry Christmas My Sweet Girl


My Precious Elodie –

It is the day before Christmas Eve and I finally found some time to sit and write. Last night as I was falling asleep I “wrote” this all out to you in my mind…now I’m hoping I can remember all that was on my heart at the time…

Your big brother, Finn, is so excited for Christmas this year. This is the first Christmas that he seems to “get it”. If you ask him what he wants from Santa, you’ll get the same response he’s given to everyone else…a motorcycle. His excitement allows me to be excited for Christmas, even though my heart drifts to you…

I wonder what you would have asked for at three years old?  Then I start to imagine your first Christmas in Heaven and I’m overwhelmed…the birth of Jesus…celebrating His birthday in Heaven!  You also get to celebrate with those that we miss so dearly…Papa Lee, especially! What an extraordinary thought, a thought that’s really beyond comprehension.

Advent was something I tried to focus on this year, not because I wanted to be “in the spirit”, but because the longing and anticipation of Christmas is the same longing and anticipation I’ve had on my heart since the day you left us. How much you’ve taught me my sweet girl.

I also started to think of you as your Daddy and I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” last night. The premise is that an angel helps a compassionate but frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. Then it hits me…the Lord created you in this moment to alter the world as we know it. We may not know how, but I’m reminded once again that the Lord makes no mistakes and that He is using your life in such a way that is so much bigger than ourselves. And that…THAT gives me peace beyond understanding.

This Christmas is mixed with joy and pain. And I know for many, Christmas can be a very painful time. My prayer is that longing and anticipation return to all of us, not just at Christmas, but allows us all to focus on God’s ultimate Promise…that one day He will return and redeem all our pain and brokenness. Until then or until He calls us home…I pray that longing and anticipation of Christ never leave us.

We love and miss you so much. Merry Christmas!

Your Momma

Hope in the Fog

Fog is strange…every morning over the last few days there has been a dense fog as we woke. You can see, but not very far. There is light and at times extremely bright…it can almost blind you. And often times its grey and ominous. As you look ahead it looks so dense that it can be frighting…it causes you to pause…slow down…but as you approach that dense area it suddenly becomes clear. Life lately feels like that, especially now…


Mason and I return to work this week…I wouldn’t say back to normal, because life will never be back to what it once was. But we’re looking forward to approaching our work lives with fresh eyes and new perspectives…we’re ready to get back to our new normal.

Over the weekend, our foggy path seemed to have shifted some after doing additional research on my pregnancy history. I posted our story on a uterine anomaly support website in hopes to find other women who may have had a similar experience to me. Several women responded and shared their stories. Many began recommending that I look into a special type of cervical cerclage called a transabdominal cerclage (TAC). There are only about 100 doctors in the country that will perform these and there are only three doctors that actually specialize in this procedure. With one of those three doctors in hand based in Chicago I pulled him up online, found his email address, and wrote him an email on Saturday morning sharing our story, my pregnancy history, and asked for his thoughts…within two hours he responded…

His email took my breath away and brought me to tears. His confidence in diagnosing my case within minutes was encouraging, yet heartbreaking at the same time. Could this all have been prevented? I don’t dare dwell on that reality, but focus on hope…

Dear Ms. John,

I am sorry to hear of your preterm delivery and subsequent loss and am sure these were very difficult for you and your entire family.

From your history, there is no doubt that you have an incompetent cervix (IC) as there is virtually no other way you could present with your cervix 4 cm dilated at 22 weeks in your second pregnancy without funneling from an IC.  I suspect IC was also the cause of your extreme preterm 1st delivery as well but your cervical support at that time allowed you to get further in pregnancy.  Once you have had a delivery of any kind, it is not uncommon to have the same pattern occur earlier in your next pregnancy.  While you have a bicornuate uterus (a common uterine anomaly), a bicornuate uterus does not result in second trimester losses so this is clearly IC.

Without treatment, you are likely to have a similar pattern of cervical change and loss in any subsequent pregnancies.  You have two basic treatment options, a transvaginal cerclage (TVC) as your doctor recommended or a transabdominal cerclage (TAC) and they are very different.  The TVC is placed around 12 weeks, generally requires bed rest, allows you to have a vaginal delivery, results in living children approximately 75% of the time but with a high rate of preterm delivery often with long and risky NICU stays as you previously experienced.

The TAC is easily placed prior to pregnancy as an outpatient, does not need bed rest, requires a C-section (you need one regardless) but virtually assures you a term delivery (> 36 weeks).  I have placed TACs in many women with anomalies of the uterus and they respond just like women with normal uterine configurations with IC. Additionally, you simply leave the TAC in place at the time of the C-section and it will work just as well in any subsequent pregnancies.  I am currently placing over 200 TACs per year in women with histories like yours.

I am happy to discuss your situation with you on the phone to answer all of your questions and make your options clear.  You can arrange that by contacting my assistant Gina Williams at 773-702-6127 and she can find a mutually convenient time.  I look forward to speaking with you.  Good luck.

A.F. Haney

We ask for your prayers.

Specifically as we meet with Dr. Haney. We have a scheduled phone consult with him on Thursday morning. We pray for wisdom for the doctor as he assesses my history and we pray for discernment for us. xo

Stockings Are Hung


We are just a few days away until Christmas…then just a few short days until I return to work…this causes me to reflect on when Elodie was expected to arrive. Her official due date was January 29th, but given my history we were eying December which would be early, but in the realm of “safe”. She would be 35 weeks on December 25th which was her target date…my heart aches, as her due date approaches. Oh how much I wish to hold her…

Mason asked if we could get Elodie a stocking. At first I was not sure I wanted to do that…it felt strange to hang a stocking that will never be filled, but then…THEN I got this overwhelming sense that we could hang it in her memory and we could fill it too and this is where you come in…


My prayer has been that despite our loss that the Lord would show us His goodness in abundant ways…and He’s overwhelmed us by the outpouring of love shown to us;  family, friends, co-workers..those I haven’t spoken to in years…people I’ve never even met – but all have been impacted in some way by Elodie’s life…

Would you help us soften the pain just a little this Christmas as we remember her? We are asking you to do something super simple…

1.) Send an email to before December 25th with the subject DON’T OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS (don’t forget my middle initial in the email address)

2.) In the email, tell us how Elodie’s life has impacted you…it can be a sentence or a novel…a poem…your favorite scripture…pictures or drawings…anything that speaks to your heart…

We plan to print them off (not peeking of course) and place each note in her stocking and on Christmas morning read them as a family.

Merry Christmas!


“Can you thank Me for trusting you with this situation, even if I never tell you why?”

We’ve been through holidays before where normal is no longer normal. After spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas at the hospital when Finn fought for his life in 2012. Holidays now have a new meaning…

As we now have had two Thanksgivings since bringing Finn home, we face yet another holiday season where the unthinkable weighs heavy on our hearts and we can either decide to keep our head down and just get through it or ask God to use this time to heal, speak truth to our hearts, and teach us how to be thankful…I’m choosing the later.


We’ve been in Ohio for the past week and have been able to attend the church I grew-up in and hear “Uncle Ali” preach…the sermon was one of those heart pricking messages that I just can’t let go…Alistair referenced Psalm 57:9 and the biblical response around thankfulness

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.

He spoke about Helen Roseveare, a veteran missionary who spent 20 years in the then Belgian Congo practicing medicine and trained others in medical work. Alistair recently visited with her when he was in Ireland a few weeks ago. He referenced a bit of her testimony (there are so many stories during her life, but this one was very apropos)…

When she was captured by rebel soldiers in 1964…she speaks about how the Lord met her in that place…she recalls…
“He whispered to me ‘Can you thank Me for trusting you with the situation?’ That was amazing. I had always thought of me trusting Him but this was Him trusting me.”

“In saying that, He was really saying: ‘Yes, I could have prevented this. I could have stopped it happening, but I, the Almighty God, have a purpose bigger than you can see. I know where this is going to lead to, you don’t.

‘Can you thank Me for trusting you with this situation, even if I never tell you why?'”

She then explains how she was able to say ‘thank you’ to God even in that place of despair…

“In that moment of saying ‘thank you’, immediately I was filled with a tremendous sense and understanding of the peace of God.”

“Once you thank God, you can’t have any bitterness towards Him. You can’t reject Him.”

Please let me be clear…I’m not comparing my trial to be any where near to what Helen had gone through, not in the slightest.
BUT I can’t shake the absolute peace that my trial, yes, my life’s pain, is what the Lord has trusted me with. He hand selected me to be Elodie’s mother and then took her Home. He’s trusting me to acknowledge that He has a bigger purpose than I can see. And He does know where this will lead. Because of that, I can only further Elodie’s story…HIS story…by genuinely expressing thankfulness, even in my despair.
Should you want to watch the message shared on Sunday you can find it here: I Will Give Thanks – | Parkside Church