Pay it Forward

When George and I told our individual stories about first finding out about Baby Herron and the problems we were facing (Jesy’s version, George’s version) we were absolutely overwhelmed with support near and far. Not only did we receive love and support but we were also connecting with other families who suffered a pregnancy loss. There are so many cards, books, letters, emails, comments and phone calls of others pouring their heart out to us and telling us their story. Many of the stories were ones that ended with a positive note on how they were able to conceive again but one story was still in progress……

{Meet Lauren Starling Hope}

In a sense Lauren and I grew up together in the West Chester area of Cincinnati. Her brother and my brother were in Boy Scouts and our families would also camp together in the summers. Lauren and I were never  “best friends” but more like acquaintances as we grew older. We went to different schools and I was a few years older which meant that I didn’t get a chance to interact with Lauren or see her that much.  I think it was decided that we were in either grade school or junior high the last time that we talked or saw each other. Fast forward about 14 years to the reason that Lauren and I became friends again.

{Late September 2010} Greg and Lauren Hope are getting ready to welcome their first child, Johnathan Hope, into the world. Lauren was 9 months pregnant and ready to burst went she went into labor. Getting to the hospital feeling anxious and expecting to meet the new handsome love of her life when she and Greg were given the most unexpected and horrific news. The nurses could not find Johnathan’s heartbeat, Lauren gave birth to a stillborn beautiful baby boy. I remember looking on Facebook to try and see if there were any pictures as some of the status updates indicated that she would be delivering soon but could only find “thinking of you and Greg” or “praying for you and your baby.” I thought about reaching out to Lauren but never knew exactly what to say.

{December 3, 2010} I received a message from Lauren reaching out to me after hearing that we lost our baby girl. This message from Lauren is one that I have kept and continue to read to this day to remind me of how a friendship rekindled over such a crappy loss and terrible time in our lives. Lauren and I began exchanging Facebook messages, phone calls and emails of similar thoughts and emotions. It was such a relief to have someone to lean on and cry to that knew exactly what I had gone through and she was still breathing and living day by day but always having her baby boy on her mind. Lauren gave courageous and hopeful advice that I know helped to get me where I am emotionally today. She would say things to me like, “its okay to be pissed” and sent me books and blogs that were about pregnancy loss that were comforting at the time.

{December 22, 2010} Lauren sent one of the most hopeful messages that left me with goosebumps. She had just told me about her friend Caroline who lost her baby 3 months prior to Lauren losing Johnathan. The message was titled, “Happy thoughts” and in the message Lauren informed me that Caroline was now 12 weeks pregnant. Lauren also wrote, “The way I look at it, it seems like the natural thing to be, as she was pregnant, then me, then you. Seems only fair that she would be pregnant again first out of the three of us, right?” I LOVED this message, it put the biggest smile on my face. Of course that was fair, Caroline suffered a loss then Lauren then me and now Caroline is able to celebrate with pregnancy. It was a matter of time before it was Lauren’s turn and then it could be mine. I have OFTEN thought about what Lauren said to me and I thought about her and her friend Caroline pretty frequently.

Over the Christmas season Lauren traveled back up to Cincinnati from Texas to spend time with her family and friends. We were able to hang out a few times and finally see each other again after sending messages back and forth and talking through emotional issues over the phone. In our conversations hanging out at a local bar (obviously having a great time) we were able to catch up, reminisce about old times with our family and future doctor appointments and how each of us were on a “plan” to conceive again. Its nice to know that I’m not the only nut out there!

A month or so after seeing Lauren she called to chit chat like we have been doing. This time we weren’t celebrating Caroline being pregnant but it was Lauren’s turn! She was 9 weeks prego at the time and you could hear the absolute joy in her voice. I think I was almost excited for Lauren’s pregnancy as my own pregnancy with Baby Herron. It was such a full circle moment and even though I wasn’t with Lauren from the moment of her loss with Johnathan I could at least experience this awesome news of pregnancy #2.

Lauren was so sweet, she was excited for her pregnancy but she was also calling to let me know that it was “my turn.” I will gladly carry that baton which was passed from Caroline to Lauren and when its my time I’ll continue to pass it along to those who need it too.

One thought on “Pay it Forward

  1. I love you Jesse! We are ever hopeful and excited for Caroline, Lauren and the two of you…lots of love, Momma Bird

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