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Loss Mom Interview Series: Meredith Duke

Loss Mom Interview Series

Meredith and I met at the Declare Conference this past August. Actually, we connected before then, because were both going, and helped each other with a few odds and ends we were working on before the conference. She’s a beautiful singer and has an awesome heart. I hope you’ll enjoy her story and that it will touch you if you are dealing with a similar loss. You can visit Meredith’s website or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Here’s her story…

meredith boys

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  1. Many women have had more than one loss. Tell us about the loss that impacted you the most.

    The spring and summer of 2009, I had an ectopic pregnancy.  After a phantom pregnancy which made me realize how much I was ready to give our son a sibling, we tried for five months before I became pregnant– which isn’t a long time, but it was our first experience with waiting and wanting.  The other issue was that as a full time music teacher, I naively tried to “time” my pregnancies to avoid having to find a specialized music substitute — they are very hard to find in rural Maine.

    Shortly after I found out I was pregnant, I had some spotting.  I called the Dr’s office, and they had me come in for some blood levels.  I continued going in every three days to make sure that the numbers were doubling correctly.

    They weren’t.  Not really.  Over those three weeks of blood test after blood test, my veins learned how to be sneaky, and hid from the phlebotomists. I had bruises.  The numbers doubled at first, although slowly.  Finally they stopped doubling and it was clear there was an issue.   An ultrasound revealed an empty uterus, though it could not confirm the actual location of the slow growing life within me.

    We were blessed to have a doctor that did her residency in Pennsylvania, near the Amish communities, so she understood our position on the sanctity of life, and she gave us time to wrestle with the impossible decision that she was placing on us.

    After prayer, and our whole church family was praying for us as well during this time, we knew that God was leading us on the hard road of receiving the medication that ultimately might have saved my life.   On Thursday, June 4th, 2009, I went to the hospital in the afternoon and received my first injection of methotrexate.  My heart was numb, though I cried all the way back to the school to prepare for Graduation Awards Night that the high school band was performing at that evening.

    More blood tests ensued, and we learned that the initial dose of the methotrexate hadn’t been effective enough, so I went back for another round.

    After the second dose of the medicine, my blood tests dropped down to once a week.  On Wednesday, July 1st, I woke up expecting to have my last blood test.  Instead, I awoke to excruciating pain.  We called dear friends and they watched our son the whole day, and my parents made the hour and a half trip to be with me while we waited to see what was happening.

    At the hospital, our wonderful Dr. told us that we could wait and see what happened over the next 24 hours, since the ultrasound was still not conclusive, but she recommended  that I have surgery that day and we would know for sure.

    As I was waking up after my day surgery, I overheard the doctor speaking to someone, though I don’t know who, telling them that they had removed my right fallopian tube, where the embryo remained, about the size of a silver dollar.

    In that moment, I knew that my life could have been in jeopardy if we hadn’t acted, and if we hadn’t done everything exactly the way that we did.  The baby would not have survived a full term pregnancy in my fallopian tube, and I might not have survived if we hadn’t caught it in time.

    It was an absolutely heartbreaking time of my life.  I was convinced that God would save our child — that modern medicine would be proved wrong.  I heard songs on the radio that gave me hope and faith of that very thing.  I thought we were going to have a miracle story.

    And we did — the miracle came almost exactly nine months later, when our precious son Jonathan was born, before I had even had a period after my surgery.    It was about the 16th week of that pregnancy before I stopped being terrified of the waiting room at the hospital lab. In that week, I just knew that everything was going to be okay, and that the Lord was turning my mourning into dancing.

  2. What did others do or say that helped and/or hurt you during or after your loss?
    We learned to be an open book.  We had told EVERYONE that we were pregnant— which meant that we had to tell EVERYONE when things weren’t happening correctly.  The benefit of that is that we were literally covered in prayer. I could FEEL the prayers — and some days they were the only things that helped get through the rest of that school year. I have been fortunate, and no one has said hurtful things, though I still feel the shame of making the choice to end a life . . .  The reality is that I had a medical abortion.  Something that I am strongly opposed to.  But — if I hadn’t, I might not be here today. But I do know that if the Lord had not quieted my heart, and reassured me that it was okay, I probably would not have started the medicinal treatment, and who knows what could have happened if I hadn’t? Thankfully, people I have shared with have been kind, gracious, and empathetic.
  3. How does God, religion, or faith play into your loss and how you cope?
    I would not have survived without my faith. And that may not be just hyperbole – I may have died if I hadn’t been seeking His will in the situation.
  4. Have you done anything special to remember your loss or to help you move forward after your loss?
    We named the child Nehemiah, since we were not told whether it was a girl or a boy, and I figured we could shorten her name to ‘Miah’ if she was a girl. Or even ‘Nia’. Nehemiah has become a very important part of the Bible to me since that time.
  5. If you could go back and not have had the loss you mentioned in number 1, would you? Why or why not?
    While it was devastating, and heartbreaking, I absolutely would keep things the same. I wouldn’t have my precious Jonathon, whose name means ‘gift of God’, if I hadn’t gone through that experience.
    meredith
  6. What advice would you give to women that are dealing with the loss of a child?
    My biggest advice would be to risk the intimacy of asking for prayer from your friends, family, and church. Even though I consider myself a very private person, I have learned the power of prayer, and count on it for survival! 🙂
  7. What are your plans for the future?
    I believe that our family is complete with our two precious sons, and we are content to follow God on our adventure of a life. I pray that the Lord will bring me into the path of women who are hurting, and grieving and have had similar situations, that I might be able to pray for them and be a burden sharer. I am trusting Him to orchestrate those opportunities!

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Readers, be supportive by leaving your comments below. After each interview, the mom who was interviewed will be available for questions, and we welcome you to connect with these moms further. Remember, if you would like to be interviewed, just contact me.

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  1. Thank-you for sharing your story Meredith. I am so sorry for your loss. I definitely agree the risk of asking for prayer is SO worth it. It is what helped us through our losses as well. I will pray with you in your prayer to be there for others. I know God will work through you to bless them!

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