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"Sharing" Our Stories/Thoughts - Along this Path

Angela's Subsequent Pregnancy Diary
Begun...September 2004...

March 19, 2005

Ayinde Arrives!!!

7lbs 10oz - 20 inches long

Marcia's note on March 19: As soon as Angela writes I will put it on. Ayinde arrived an hour and a half ago and Angela called me!

Ayinde...a first picture.

Click on balloons..for April 11, 2005 Update on Angela and baby Ayinde...

Marcia's thoughts: Angela has been an active member in SHARE Atlanta since 2001. She attended our groups and our programs and participated in several of our programs. She is the mom who receives our CareShare boxes that the senior citizens make for our parents.

After the death of Gwendolyn and three little ones to miscarriage, Angela's medical history determined that she had an incompetent cervix and would need a cerclage in order to carry her pregnancy. In 2002, she and her husband, Jamal, had a beautiful son, Johari!

She was on partial bedrest after her cerclage during her pregnancy with Johari...and shared much of that with all of us. I have asked her to share this pregnancy "online" to help the growing number of moms who must receive a cerclage in order to carry a subsequent pregnancy. I thank her for her wonderful willingness to do so. Her joy and faith will help many, I am sure.

A picture, from our annual Family Reunion (2003),
Johari with mom, Angela, and Marcia.
Johari was born in 2002.

A picture of Johari, Angela and Jamal in 2003.

Angela's story: "Gwendolyn" by Angela (4/29/01) due to IC at 23

Angela's emails from her pregnancy with collected together in 9/04

Angela's thoughts about the medical procedure, the cerclage.

E-mail Angela

My Pregnancy Story beginning September 2004...

Entry #1 ~ Sept. 2, 2004

Hi Everyone,

Instead of making 50 calls, I thought this would be the most efficient way to spread the news...Johari will be a big brother!

Jamal and I are having another baby! SURPRISE! Everything is going well. On 9/14 I will have the same surgery I had with Johari's pregnancy and God willing we will have another addition to our family in March.

We are looking forward to this new addition and journey.

Entry #2 ~ Sept. 30, 2004

Good Morning Everyone.

The procedure was a success and I am back to work and doing well. I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who prayed for us and called to check on me, it truly meant a lot.

I had an ultrasound on Tuesday and all is looking well (no we don't know if this little one is a boy or a girl yet--smile...and yes, I know most of you are rooting for a girl!). I am on limited activity, which means I can't do anything! So if anyone comes over and the house is a mess; you know why.

I am able to go to work, cook very quick meals for Johari and go to church (I had to promise not to shout in order to have church privileges--LOL); laundry and any house work are out so let me know if anyone has a good cheap cleaning person they can recommend. The good news is I can still stand to take showers and wash the little bit of hair I didn't cut off (just want you guys to laugh a little this morning).

Johari is doing well. I am trying to explain that "his" baby is in Momma's tummy, but he doesn't get it yet. He started using the potty while I was on bed rest--thank you Jesus (although he still has a way to go, I am looking forward to only buying one set of diapers) and as some say he is moving over for the baby. He goes into his class at school without me and cleans up after himself. It's almost as if he doesn't need me anymore--boo hoo. He had a little bit of cabin fever the past couple of weekends since I couldn't go out, but all in all did pretty well.

I promise to let everyone know what we are having as soon as he or she cooperates--smile.

Much love and prayers for many blessing to you all, Angie and baby.

Entry #3 ~ 2004

I turned 18 weeks yesterday and went in for an ultrasound to check on the cerclage, my cervix and the baby today. All is well! My cervix is 4 cm (which is "long" by medical standards. The doctor told me anything 3 cm and up is normal and ideal).

The baby is growing wonderfully; the heart, other organs and brain are all good and their development is right on target with me being 18 weeks. I feel great, aside for the pings and pangs of pregnancy--the ligaments stretching (all very well worth it).

The exiting news is that we were able to find out what we are having...DRUM ROLL PLEASE...

Johari is having a baby BROTHER! Yes, another boy. I am rather excited. Everyone, including myself, thought it was a girl...but I am so okay with a boy. I just want the him to continue to grow and get here safely like Johari did (plus if he was a girl, she would have had to be real tough growing up with Johari-smile).

Just a little note (to honor Gwendolyn Gerforne during this special time):

I want to say that is is a very special time for me and my family. Five years ago tomorrow, Oct 20, I gave birth to a very special angel...Gwendolyn Gerforne. For those of you who remember me at that time you know I was a wreck. For those of you who are just reading about us...I was a wreck.

Five years later I am a very happy person. Not just because I have a healthy, awesome and smart 22 month old son and another little boy on the way, but because God gave me the opportunity to know such a special little girl for 21.5 weeks. No, I didn't see her face that whole time (although I often imagined what she looked like), and I didn't hear her voice (although I talked to her a lot), I didn't even know she was a girl until she was born. However, even though I didn't have all of those experiences, I experienced her movement and could feel her love and having her grow fostered a special kind of love in me and helped shape the person I am today and for that I am forever grateful.

I told my friends that this baby coming is a boy and one of those friends (whose living daughter shares Gwen's birthday) sent me an email that said, "Our angel Gwendolyn will always be our girl...". I can't help but think that might be true. How awesome for her little brothers to always have a angel as a big sister to watch over and help guide them.

Marcia's thoughts: Yea!! Great news!! What could be better...a strong, handsome cutie (has to be since we all know Johari!!) growing and doing well with a stitch and some that is more than doing what it is suppose to be doing.

Pings and pangs are permissible and a normal part of it all! But, that is it!! They can make us a wee nervous, but we have to remember that our bodies are changing to accommodate the baby!

Yes, I remember you being a wreck and being so concerned that you would never get through the pain and grief. I remember you driving up to the memorial service..a wreck. I/we couldn't believe you were there so soon after your loss. But, you were there...ready to grieve.

I also remember you joining us at the meetings and being relieved when you would read or share about reactions that were similar to your own. But, you kept on working through it all and look at you today! Your faith and your preseverance began to make a difference and now your joy for life is so profound!

Your special thoughts about big sister, Gwendolyn Gerforne, are so timely. We will never forget our special babies...even as we cherish their brothers (or sisters). They are all family and each so very dear. I always think that my three in heaven are watching their two brothers here on this good earth...and doing a good job of it, too!

Entry #4 ~ December 9, 2004

Things are going so well with this pregnancy! I am so blessed and definitely do not take this for granted.

This pregnancy has also been different from Johari's. I am much less anxious. I haven't called or emailed my doctor nearly as much-smile. With Johari everything scared me. Every tug, pull, sickness, name it I called the doctor (and sometimes asked for an extra ultrasound!). At 20 weeks pregnant with Johari I freaked out. That was the point I went into the hospital with Gwen and I was so scared with Johari. The blessing was that I had SHARE Atlanta women to call! Caroline and Sakina walked me through my fears and of course everything was fine. This time, the fear was in the back of my head, but I didn't give it any power.

Now I am 25 weeks weeks. As the perinatalogist said, "I am over the hump...In the third trimester!" Hallelujah!!! I still have to be tested for gestational diabetes (which I had with Johari), but even if that is positive, it won't be so scary because I've been there before.

The doctor said the cerclage is doing it's job great. My cervix has stayed long (even though I have had to do way more than I am supposed to. Running after a toddler who will be two on 12/12, etc.--That's God's protection!) and the baby looks great. At my last ultrasound his weight measured at 1 pound 7 oz (perfect for his age) and my fluid was awesome. I always ask about my fluid after leaking with Gwen.

I have only gained a total of 4 pounds! Okay some might think that isn't enough, but for a "thick" girl like me, that's great. The same happened with Johari. I don't gain a lot of weight when I am pregnant, but the baby is healthy and that is what is important to me.

Finally a word to our moms. If you are not expecting again yet, but are reading this anyway, I hope something I write will offer encouragement. It was 3 years after I lost Gwen that we conceived and had Johari. My entire journey of losses (3 miscarriages and Gwen) spanned a total of seven years! I didn't think I would ever experience a full term pregnancy with a live, healthy child--ever! But, I have and know I will again with this child. Every time I saw a pregnant woman my heart sank. When friends would get pregnant I would cry. I have been where you are right now and know your feelings. Be strong and of good faith (what ever that faith is). I am a Christian and that helped me. What ever your belief, hold strong to it and allow it to free you from the hurt. It does get better...I promise!

For those of you expecting for the first time after your loss...I know you are scared! I sat up for about an hour last week pushing on my stomach to make him move because he had been "quite" for a while--smile. Of course he was just sleeping, but there I was freaking out. That's normal and natural , but the fact that you are reaching out to the website or attending the subsequent group meeting will help with those fears. You have to believe that everything will be okay regardless of your past experiences, otherwise you won't be able to enjoy this miracle that is happening to you. Donít miss out on this because you are living in fear!

Have a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season!!!

Angie 6 months pregnant!

Ultrasound of Baby waving

Entry #5 ~ January 30, 2005

Hello Everyone. I can't believe it has been so long since my last entry! I am so sorry. This pregnancy has been more tiring than Johari's, primarily because I have a little one to care for meaning I can't just come home in the evenings and sleep. It's funny, I was talking to one of my doctors and "complaining" about the aches and fatigue and she began to laugh. She said I was so worried about getting Johari here I didn't complain at all with his pregnancy--I took it all in stride with a smile--and look at me now--smile. She has a point. It's not that I don't get worried, its just different. I guess I am at the point where I know that each pregnancy a woman experiences is different and I realize I have to enjoy the pregnancy without fear; so now I complain like a "normal" pregnant woman.

I am now going on 33 weeks! I have gained a total of 10 pounds and the perinatologist has "fired" me--smile. She said the cerclage is in place, my cervix is long and everything is so perfect they don't need to see me anymore...I just go to my regular prenatal visits from here out. And I don't have gestational diabetes like I did with Johari. I passed the glucose test by 1 point, but I passed! I had mixed emotions about being fired from the specialist; on one hand I will miss the ultrasounds and seeing the baby every three weeks, but one the other hand I am so grateful to God that everything is going well.

Right now I am pretty much experience a lot of fatigue (as I mentioned) and soreness in my pelvic area and hips. I also have a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions...nothing for me to worry about according to my doctor, but sometimes they are quite scary so I ended up calling my doctor at 9:30 last night to re-assure myself--smile. See even when things are going well, we still get scared about something.

I have had several emails from people visiting my diary and want to take a minute to address some things. First, I am grateful to God that my story and diary have bought people comfort and encouragement. It continues to re-affirm that God doesn't make mistakes and my daughter's life (although short) and my experience was not in vain. I am saddened that there continues to be families you have to experience this loss, but hopeful because SHARE Atlanta is here and has given women like me the opportunity to share with you so maybe you can see hope in the future.

For those of you that have not gotten pregnant again yet and are fearful...I understand. You will be scared at the thought of getting pregnant and then gripped with fear when you find out you are. One thing all of us at SHARE Atlanta have acknowledged is that we have lost a sense of innocence. There is always that small voice in you that says..."it can happen again so I can't be excited or I have to be cautious." Ignore that voice! Fear is a stress inducer and stress is the last thing you need when you are pregnant. Have faith in who ever you believe in that what has happened in the past is in the past and this is a new pregnancy with a different result.

Yes, the thought of a cerclage can be scary too. But it does work. Does it work all the time? Unfortunately not, but from what I understand (I am not a doctor or an expert) it has a great success rate when done early in the pregnancy before you have begun to dilate as opposed to when it is an emergency situation where your cervix is already compromised. The bottom line, although it is not full proof, if you have an incompetent cervix, it gives you a chance that you might not have if you don't get it.

With Johari I got the cerclage at 13 weeks and all went well. As soon as my doctor took out the stitch at 38 weeks, I dilated! Her comment was, "we know this worked because with out it you would have dilated earlier and you wouldn't have made it full term, this baby may not have gotten here at all."

I know another SHARE Atlanta mom who had a cerclage early in her subsequent pregnancy. Everything went well and she carried full term and has a beautiful daughter, but when her doctor took out her stitch she dilated to 5 cm! Same scenario, without the cerclage her daughter most likely would not be here. What I am trying to say is this...if you have an incompetent cervix and your doctor recommends the cerclage for future pregnancies...get it and get it early, between 13-15 weeks (that's my non medical--mother because of a successful cerclage opinion).

Finally, since I know this is a long entry, don't give up! Don't give up on your self or your faith. You can't control what the future will bring, however you can control how you treat yourself. Nothing that happened in your past pregnancy (or pregnancies) is your fault. You are not a bad person or less of a woman. Continue to talk to people and seek support through groups like SHARE Atlanta or reading the website or emailing one of the people on the site like me. Don't hide your feelings, they are valid and the only way to move forward in your life is to work through and acknowledge your feelings...they are valid, real and yours. Doing this will help you cope better and have a healthier pregnancy next time...I know from experience.

Okay, like I said I know this was a long entry, but it has been some time since the last one and this was all in me just waiting to get out--smile! I hope the next one won't be so far away so it won't be so long. I can't...if I wait too long the baby might get here first--smile. Thank you for reading, my prayer is that my experience will offer you a sense of hope and encouragement. For those who have emailed me...thank you again. It truly means a lot that you have reached out to me.

Marcia's thoughts: There are other stories about women who have had cerclages on the site and it is one of the procedures that we can have that works very well. It is scarey to have anything done to our body. But, if the doctor is a specialist that has done many of these procedures and your body and specialist are telling you that it is thankful that we have this. It hasn't always been "there" for women to have to save their baby's life. We have to be grateful for the research and the doctors who have pioneered this procedure. Then, we must trust and pray that it will work. Angela's words are true...and she is soooo kind to share them with us.

And so you may be thinking of Angela on February 13:

On February 13, I am giving my testimony (the message) at the 12:15 p.m. service at Ben Hill UMC for Laity Sunday. I am humbled that God has chosen me to relay how good He has been to me and I ask that you all lift me in prayer so that I am obedient in what God wants me to do next Sunday and that He receives all the glory.

Entry #6 ~ February 17, 2005 ~ Pics of Angie with 31 days to go

Yes we are at the count down...I took these pictures at work today. Jamal thinks I am not any bigger than when I was pregnant with Johari at this time. I think he's trying to be nice--smile.

I just went to the site and wanted to thank you for updating my diary and mentioning my "message" on last Sunday. It went great. I talked about a lot of things, but of course my experience with and love for Gwen and subsequently my love for SHARE Atlanta. Many people have told me that it did a lot for them. I plan on watching the tape sometime this weekend because although I know what I said, I don't know what I said (if you know what I mean)

I have 31 days to go and hope to add at least one more update for the site before you get the big call that the little guy is here. If I haven't told you, his name is Ayinde (pronounced Ah-yin-day)...don't worry I'll help you pronounce it--smile. It means "we gave praises and he came." So fitting in my opinion.

Angie with 31 days to go!

Marcia's thoughts: Angie, My heart was with you on Sunday. I so wish that I could have been there. A tape!!! How we get to SEE it!! I would absolutely love that.

I do know what you mean...I feel that often after a group or when I have tried to express myself..."now WHAT did I REALLY say?!?!?!"

Your message and pictures brought tears to my eyes and praise to my lips. You know, I will never get over all of God's blessings. You look radiant and so full of life. (as you!). I will add both the picture and your message to the site if that is okay with you. I don't even think you could guess how many people are "tracking" you with this little one.

I love the name...and yes, you will most likely have to help me. I love what it means and I did learn to say Johari!

Thank you, too, for the words of encouragement to me. Sometimes I wonder what it is God keeps bringing to me. It feels like such a huge responsibility to have this ongoing outreach...but we do this together..God, other members, you, Gwen, Ayinde, our special babies, our living babies...and I continue to pray for strength for us all.

Entry #7 ~ March 4, 2005 ... 16 more days to go!

We go in for the induction on Friday, March 18...16 days from now! If everything goes as planned, we will go into the doctor's office in the early afternoon to have the cerclage removed. It takes five minutes! It is amazing that something that takes less than 30 minutes to put in and five minutes to remove can help save a life!

After that I will go "hang out" with the family and have dinner and prepare to go to the hospital at 7:30 that evening and the journey begins (or should I say ends?). Johari is being picked up from school that afternoon by family friends and will stay with them until his little brother arrives.

I am getting very excited and nervous. I remember that labor hurts, but I don't remember the actual pain so I am little scared about that. I believe this baby is going to be much bigger than Johari, so I am really scared about that-smile.

I don't really have anything ready for the baby. Believe it or not the time has gone by rather quickly and I looked around earlier this week and realized I have a ton to do. I kept saying "Oh, I have 3 months, I have 2 months, I have a month"...I've become so comfortable that I only have two weeks now! Trust me I am smiling while I write this because I know it will all get done...I guess I am moving into the nesting phase.

As far as the pregnancy, everything is still going well. He has slowed down some, but still giving me his best shots when he is awake. I guess he is really running out of room. My doctor has me counting the how long it takes for him to "kick" ten times. He usually does that within an hour (especially if I have eaten). Well yesterday, he didn't move right after I ate and it took him longer to make his ten kicks. I didn't panic, but as a SHARE Atlanta mom, I emailed by doctor and asked her what it meant.

I had Johari two weeks early so I don't know what happens to your body or the baby when you get closer to the actual due date. Of course all was well. In addition to the fact that she said he is running out of wasn't ten minutes after I sent her my email that he started moving like crazy. I also have more frequent and intense Braxton Hicks...I've bugged my doctor twice about them (I just knew I was going into labor) and of course she just reminds me that as long as I don't have five in an hour all is well. Sometimes they take my breath away.

I tell you all of this to let you know that you will worry when you get pregnant...all the way to the end. But, remember what I have said in previous entries and don't let the worrying overwhelm you or take away from enjoying the pregnancy. These experiences put a little scare in me for a moment; my hips hurt so bad at night it takes 15 minutes (at least) to get out of bed and another 5 minutes to wobble to the bathroom; and my legs hurt so much during the day that my work hours have been shortened by my doctor for these last two weeks, but all in all I am enjoying it because I know it is all worth it. I just keep reminding myself that I only have two weeks to go and ironically I don't want to go any earlier than that...I want him to bake all the way!--smile

Once again I know this is a long entry, but I can't guarantee I will be able to write again before Ayinde gets here. Know that I am praying for all of you that desire to be pregnant again and those of you that are currently pregnant. Remember that God's delay is not a children and I are proof of that! Prayers are answered and you can have the desires of your heart.

Marcia's thoughts: Your excitement is catching! I know we are "all" on board as you approach this last two weeks. Your worries sound like pregnant lady worries BUT being a SHARE Atlanta mom, I am so very glad that you call your doctor for ANY concern YOU might have. That is why we "partner" with them. They are the medical knowledge that helps us through and helps us get our child here. We must never be afraid to manner when that call might need to be placed. We are taking care of us, our unborn child, and our family to be.

When Ayinde gets here we all want a picture of him with his big brother, Johari! It will be a blessing for sure. And, Angie, thank you for your honest and well thought through thoughts. Take care...

Entry #8 ~ April 13, 2005 - Angela's thoughts about Ayinde..

I knew God promised me children, but I truly never imagined it would be this great! There really isn't any way for me to express my desire for others to know that they can have this. I continue to remember something Caroline Hale, another SHARE Atlanta mom, once said, "God's delay is not a denial." I truly believe that and am living proof of it.

I want to thank all the women who read about me on the site and prayed for my family and the pregnancy. I pray that your prayers for your selves are met and that you remain strong during your journey; no matter what stage of the journey you are in. God Bless, Angela

PS. I am sending a picture of Ayinde and one of Johari holding Ayinde. What can I say...he is awesome! He is 3 weeks today. The first couple of nights were rough. I had forgotten what it was like to have a newborn waking up all night and being a nursing mom. He has recently started to sleep in 2-3 hour stretches at night which is great for me. Johari is a wonderful big brother! He constantly talks to Ayinde and wants to hold him and play with him and comfort him when he cries. He is such a big boy now.

Johari, on Dad's lap, holding Ayinde.

Marcia's thoughts: It makes me so very happy to be able to see all that you have worked through to come to the place of holding Johari and Ayinde.

Thank you for doing this wonderful diary. I know that it has touched many parents...especially the moms and dads who want so much to have hope for the future.

Not everyone will have a story that parallels yours, but as we have seen even with our online diaries...we do, as you have shared, have to keep the faith and work hard toward our family-to-be. I am hoping to add a few of our "adoption" stories because they, too, are as amazing and huge blessings.

It takes courage to walk the path of healing and courage to make new decisions and choose new options (especially when so many are not at all what we had initially planned). But, healing and finding that path of "what will be" is important. I believe, as I have said so many times, our babies would want us to find a positive way to remember them and a positive path to follow. At some point, I would like to add pages for those who might, for whatever reason, decide not to have a subsequent child..but work along another path toward finding peace.

Thank you for showing us one way to follow a positive path...

Entry #9 ~ May 20, 2005 - Angela's thoughts about Ayinde..

Well, Ayinde is 2 months old and doing great. We had our two month check up today and aside from getting four shots, it went well. He is 10 lbs 2 oz which means he gained 2 pounds in one month! That is different for us being that Johari is two and weighs 23 pounds (and may have been 3 or 4 months before he reached 10 pounds--smile). Jamal and Johari call him "Fat Face Yinde" and I affectionately call him "Chunky Monkey". It looks like he is going to be Johari's big little brother. He is also a little over 22 inches long.

He started day care on Monday and that has gone extremely well. The ladies in the baby room say he is a great baby. He has not gone through a crying adjustment time or anything. He has just settled right in, just like Johari did when he started daycare. Johari's teacher takes him into the baby room to visit Ayinde during the day which is great because Johari is really into taking care of his brother.

Ayinde is sleeping longer during the night; last night he slept from 9 pm until 5 am! He smiles and "talks" all the time (what would you expect with parents and a big brother who love to talk!). His favorite thing is to watch and laugh at Johari and Johari enjoys providing entertainment.

Before I go, let me tell you quickly about two and a half his favorite song is Twinkle Twinkle, he can count to 10 and say his ABCs, his favorite book is Brown Bear, and he is able to say his bedtime prayer without my help now. And the big news...he is potty trained! He has been wearing his big boy underwear to school and has not had any "accidents" in two weeks. He now tells you that he "has to use it" instead of us having to ask him. Now I have to have the courage to take him on an outing to the store or some where were we can't necessary "run" to the bathroom, without him wearing a pull up.

Okay, I guess that is enough of an update. Like most parents I could go on and on about my children. I thought you would all like to know how the boys are doing.

We love each other...Johari and Ayinde.

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