top of page

Trust in the Lord - Clarisse's Loss, Prenatal Diagnosis, Hospital Birth, and Miracle Healing

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all

your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6


My husband and I were married in the Catholic church in October 2019 and of course, we were

open to new life and the prospect of having babies. I remember that when people would ask

about children, we’d say, “We aren’t trying, but we aren’t NOT trying.”


We did not become pregnant until March 2021. I had a few positive pregnancy tests and estimated that I was about 6-7 weeks pregnant. I only announced my pregnancy to my husband, my mother, and a close friend. I was overcome with joy, anticipation, and excitement over the new life growing inside of me.


A few days after finding out I was pregnant, I was at the mall with my close friend and sharing my hopes and dreams for our baby, when I suddenly started feeling very intense cramping. I almost fainted while in a store, and as we rushed out of the mall, I began bleeding. I sat on a towel as I drove home in a state of confusion and panic, and found myself on our bathroom floor in tears trying to make sense of what was happening. It became apparent that I was miscarrying. I had an extremely heavy bleed with large clots for the following week or two. I was absolutely devastated and didn’t know how to process my feelings, so instead, I internalized my fear, vulnerability and helplessness as each day passed.


Six months later, in September 2021, we conceived again and I became pregnant. It was initially difficult for my husband and I to feel excited after the hardship of our first miscarriage and so we

remained cautious. We initially had no interest or knowledge in pursuing a holistic pregnancy, labor, and birth. In full transparency, we didn’t acknowledge its existence or importance, so we met with our OBGYN and chose the standard medical route for birth. We left all of the decisions regarding the pregnancy and our baby in the hands of our provider and their staff.


Once we thought we hit the end of the “risky stage” of pregnancy toward the end of the first

trimester, we allowed ourselves to celebrate in the joy of being pregnant and shared the news

with family and friends. I began to notice, though, that the feelings I internalized months earlier

suddenly resurfaced when I was feeling most vulnerable and alone, and I suffered many

sleepless nights. I’d lay awake asking the Lord to carry me and sustain me.


We found out at the 20-week anatomy scan that our baby had a diagnosis of cleft lip and palate,

with the possibility of other heart and neurological defects. It led us down a path of invasive

testing and a lot of anxiety and fear. During this difficult season, I felt a pull from the Holy Spirit

to first and foremost pray and ask our community for prayers. I would drive to my parish church,

Our Lady of Victory Basilica, and pray next to the resting place of Venerable Nelson Baker, asking him to call on Our Lady and her Son to heal my baby. I found myself trying to find some kind of Catholic/religious book that would bring me comfort as I prepared and prayed for the birth of our baby. It was right around this time I was gifted a book called, Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth by Mary Haseltine.


This book transformed my perception of pregnancy, birth and motherhood. I began to look at pregnancy, labor and birth as a deeply spiritual experience. I decided to begin taking radical responsibility for my decisions regarding pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. Although the prospect of homebirth was appealing, my husband and I decided to continue down the medical/hospital route due to the potential issues our baby was diagnosed with. Only when I finished reading did I find out that not only did Mary live in our city, she lived just a few streets away!


We met and I was able to hire her as my doula to accompany my husband and me through our birth. I also hired a nutritionist and a holistic chiropractor around the same time that I hired Mary - all of these women took their own sacred time and energy to care for me and baby during my pregnancy and prepare me for the life-altering experience of birthing new life. Mary specifically took great effort in praying for our baby, asking for the intercession of Venerable Nelson Baker and the Blessed Mother to heal our baby’s cleft palate, since that defect would require eight surgeries throughout childhood.


I spent a lot of free time listening to the Made for This Birth app. I read and re-read Mary’s

book, taking notes about the stages of labor. I focused on creating a healthy space for my baby

physically, mentally, and emotionally. I prayed ceaselessly for my baby’s healing - at the very least, for the healing of his palate, so that he could avoid countless surgeries and be able to feed from the breast, if possible. Despite these traumas and old fears from my first miscarriage and the worries over the outcome of my baby, the Lord sustained me during this time. Through these trials, I learned to practice docility to the Holy Spirit and this was exactly the preparation I needed for labor and postpartum.


Labor – Friday June 17, 2022

Lucian’s estimated “due date” was June 9. By June 17, I felt frustrated and very impatient. The

eight days of waiting felt like months had passed. There was an incident during that time where I

thought my water had broken. While we were meeting with a contractor for renovations on our

new home, I suddenly was leaking through my dress and all over our floor! The contractor left in

a hurry, congratulating us on the soon-to-be arrival of our baby while my husband started

packing the car with our hospital bags in a panic. I ended up buying some pH strips from a local

pet shop to confirm if my water had broken, but it was only urine! I probably used 20 pH strips, hoping for a different answer, but really, I had just wet my pants! A couple of moments like those left my husband and I irritable and exhausted with anticipation by the time June 17 rolled around.


On that sunny Friday morning, I woke up to take a bath and as I bent down to turn on the faucet, I threw my back out. I could hardly stand up straight and was in a lot of pain. I called my chiropractor and she was not working that day, but her husband, Luke, was. He was willing to

gently adjust me as needed, so I slowly and grudgingly made my way to their office. When I arrived, I slowly waddled up to the secretary who looked at me and said, “Be prepared! When I was pregnant, Dr. Luke adjusted me and a few hours later I was in labor and had the baby soon after!” I laughed and held my stomach and said to her, “At this rate, my baby is happy staying in here forever, I don’t think anything is going to happen today.”


I left the office pain free, and the rest of the day was pure bliss. I decided to take the day off

work. I met with my nutritionist (who is also trained as a doula). She talked me through the “horse lips” technique (highly recommend). We had some laughs and a very good, much

needed cry. I remember having a strong feeling that it would be our last meeting before baby

was born. My husband and I went on a very long walk in the late afternoon with our dog and we started talking about natural ways to induce labor. None of them seemed very appealing to me. We were laughing together at an online tip that recommended eating eggplant parmesan to induce labor. In any case, the food sounded absolutely delicious to me, so we decided to order takeout from our favorite local Italian restaurant. After eating a hearty helping of eggplant parm and stuffed hot peppers, I relaxed into bed, thanking God for a perfectly peaceful day. I drifted off to sleep, completely content.


I awoke suddenly around 10 p.m. with what felt like a sharp cramp in my stomach. The cramp was noticeable and painful enough for me to shoot right out of bed. The cramping lasted about 30 seconds and then stopped. I laid back against my pillows, more came, and I noticed that there was a rhythm to my cramping. I listened to my husband snore for about two hours and prayed while I timed these cramps. Seven minutes apart. At midnight, I quietly got out of bed and let my husband sleep. I wasn’t fully processing at that time that I was indeed beginning labor. I decided to take a shower and continued to keep track of the time between and realized that they were true contractions, about five minutes apart.


Around 1 a.m., I decided to text Mary who said to keep doing what I was doing and to text her when they were 3-4 minutes apart. I excitedly got out of the shower and during each 5-minute reprieve, I styled my hair and did my makeup…I still laugh thinking about this. The time between contractions became shorter and shorter and I realized that I had to stop to breathe and sway. Then, my body instinctively emptied its bowels. Goodbye, eggplant parm and stuffed hot peppers! I checked the time - three minutes apart. I texted Mary who informed me she’d be over to our house shortly. I was feeling very uncomfortable, so after all that effort I put into my hair and makeup, I decided to hop back into the shower and labor in the water for a while before waking my husband.


Just like the movies, I woke my husband up saying, “It’s time!” He immediately jumped out of

bed and started scrambling around the house. I don’t know what he was doing exactly (re-

packing? cleaning? panicking?) but I walked into our kitchen and leaned over the counter. I

swayed with each contraction that washed over me. The pain intensified, and I remember groaning deep and low, something my chiropractor recommended rather than screaming. I

prayed the Hail Mary over and over until I heard our dog start barking around 1:45 a.m. and Mary

quietly walked into the room. She set down her bags and I remember her opening it and

laying out two tennis balls (strange to me at the time) and some essential oils and a notebook.

Mary provided counterpressure that relieved so much of the pain I felt with each contraction. Cory stood beside her, attempted to make some jokes and paced nervously around the room

asking if we should head to the hospital. Around 2:15 a.m., my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and we decided it was time to go. This moment is etched in my mind- the instinctual feeling of anxiety and the desperation I felt to just stay home in the space I felt at peace. Cory was already in the car.


I couldn’t sit still in the front seat, so I moved to the back and got on all fours on the ride to the

hospital and watched Mary following closely behind as we sped down the empty highway. I continued to welcome each contraction with swaying and low groaning. Laboring in the car felt

akin to torture. There were times I wanted to fight against the contractions, but when I did, it only

heightened them. Cory turned on some orchestral hymns that I told him I wanted to listen to while laboring and I let my body go limp while listening to “Be Still, My Soul”: Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide…


“You doing ok back there?” Cory asked, as he reached behind and touched my back.

“I’m not trying to be mean, but please don’t talk or touch me,” I whispered.


We pulled up to the parking garage around 3 a.m. and I was mentally relieved to know we had

arrived. The relief was so magnified that I didn’t realize that the parking gate wasn’t working.

Cory had gotten out of the car and was desperately trying to life the gate. I’m not sure how Cory

and Mary got the gate open, but we were suddenly parked and walking (waddling) into the

hospital.


The first experience in the hospital was very traumatic for me. The labor and delivery floor was empty and I was face to face with a woman who looked very irritable and impatient. Prior to my labor, I made SURE that my doctor and the hospital had my doula’s information since at the time one guest AND a doula were allowed to enter the labor and delivery unit. This woman, however, was adamant that only one of them could come back with me to triage and labor/delivery and told me I had to choose or couldn't go back. At this point in my labor, I could hardly talk. The terror and distress this admin unleashed on me was crippling. When I relive this moment, I am convinced that this is what potentially paused my labor.


Mary calmly reassured me that we would make sure both her and Cory would be with me for my

labor. I chose to bring Mary with me back to triage. I felt confident that she would help advocate

for my husband to join us, which she did immediately and soon, both of them were in triage

receiving apologies from the two nurses who were taking my urine sample and checking my

cervix.


“She’s 8 centimeters, we need to get her to labor and delivery immediately,” the one nurse said. She looked at me. “Why did you wait so long to get here?!” I didn’t respond. Everything felt like a blur when we entered our room and I was bombarded with chaos - consent forms, nurses and doctors asking me questions, a woman struggling with me to put the IV line in and the monitor around my stomach… and then suddenly, everyone was gone. It was just me, Mary, and Cory.


4:15 a.m. - I turned on the Made for This Birth app and Mary’s voice peacefully prayed the Joyful,

Sorrowful, Luminous, and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary on repeat while I sat on a peanut ball

and labored by the hospital bed. Cory knelt on the other side of the bed and pulled out an Excel sheet of over 600 intentions that I wanted to pray for while I labored. For years, I’ve journaled each morning and wrote down names of loved ones, strangers, and other special intentions. Before my labor, I took all of my journals and compiled over 600 names into an Excel document so that I could pray for each one of them. This is one of my most precious memories during my labor. We all burst out laughing when Cory read one intention: “for the lady in the nail salon with the hot pink nails”. My laughter became retching and I felt out of control.



At 5 a.m., I looked at Mary. “I can’t do this,” I said. Mary didn’t have to say anything. Her facial expression said it all. But I didn’t want to believe. I didn’t want to trust. “Look me in the eyes,” my husband said. “You CAN do this!”


By 6 a.m., I franticly wanted relief and wanted the pain to end. As if on cue, a tall, shaggy man walked into the room. He looked like the crypt keeper. He began to slur about consent forms for anesthesia and said that I could try an epidural if I wanted to. All it took was a glance at my husband and Mary to keep me going with my plan. “No thank you.” I knew then that this cross I was carrying would bring me to the end of myself. But redemption was close. It was coming. The only way out was through.



The next hour was spent on the peanut ball, at the toilet, and standing with Cory all while Mary

applied counter pressure, essential oils, and gave me electrolyte drinks and water. Eventually,

we made our way to the bathtub. I had ripped off all of my clothes and sat helpless and naked

while Mary used the sprayer on my back and Cory held my hand. I remember a nurse walked in

and said, “Don’t have the baby in there, you’re not allowed,” and as she walked away, Mary

laughed, looked at me and said “You could do it. You can birth there if you want to.” Suddenly, I felt incredible pressure and became very hot and shaky.

“I’m going to sh*t myself,” I whispered.

“What?” Mary asked.

“I’m going to POOP!”

“No,” Mary smiled. “You’re going to have a baby.”

I got out of the tub and felt the instinctual desire to get onto the hospital bed on all fours. I was

leaning over the side of the bed, similar to how I leaned at home over the kitchen counter. I

surrendered and relaxed into the position that my body wanted to be in.


I asked Cory to bring me a bucket and I vomited over and over again into the bucket. My poor husband was close to fainting by that point but he soldiered onward. I heard a loud “POP!” and looked down to see that my water had broken. The leakage had a slight stain and shortly afterward I felt the urge to push.


I don’t remember people entering the room but suddenly we were bombarded by nurses. My doctor who had promised to be there was nowhere to be found. Throughout the night, Cory had called and texted, but received no response. I overheard some talk from the staff that the other doctor on staff was performing an emergency C-section, and that a resident would have to be there. When she arrived, she said, “Honey, I need you to turn around and lay down… I can’t deliver this baby when you’re on all fours like that.”

“Sorry, but I can’t,” I said.

“Come, Holy Spirit,” I whispered.



I felt no fear or anxiety at all. I experienced the grace and confidence to open myself up to the

unknown. My body began pushing on its own. The room became very quiet. I heard someone say, “The head is right there.” I let my body push on its own. I took my time, until the resident said,

“Are you OK if I massage you to help get the baby out?” “Ok,” I said. In hindsight, I would have declined. She did not “massage” me; rather, it felt like she violently and aggressively pulled me open in her impatience over my physiological pushing. She began to firmly repeat “PUSH, YOU NEED TO PUSH” and so I listened. Looking back, I would have let my body continue doing exactly what it was meant to do.


I felt the “ring of fire” briefly, and the pressure of his head coming out. The most beautiful memory I’ll carry with me forever that still brings tears to my eyes is looking into my husband’s eyes as our baby fully entered into our world. Being able to look into my husband’s eyes at the very end was a moment I prayed for deeply over the course of this pregnancy, and that moment of release and LOVE was beyond anything I could have ever imagined.


Lucian Scott entered into the world at 8:27 a.m. on June 18, 2023.


“It’s a boy!” Cory said.


I looked at my beautiful baby boy and his little cleft lip. My heart could have burst at that very moment. All I felt was unconditional love. I just wanted to hold my baby in my arms. I held him to my chest, and I let out a cry of relief and just sobbed. I never wanted to let him go.



The resident neglected my consent and plan as we got the baby into my arms and clamped the cord before we even had a chance to realize it. I held onto Lucian as I birthed the placenta. I remember I felt slightly light-headed and can’t recall if they pulled the placenta out. In any case, the resident looked up and said “She has a second-degree tear. Start the Pitocin, she’s bleeding a lot.” I looked down at her and said “I don’t want Pitocin.” “Well, you need it, and if you keep bleeding this badly, you could DIE.” I looked at Mary. One look at her facial expression was all I needed to know it wasn't that serious.


“I decline.” I felt nervous and uncomfortable. “Did you hear what I said?! You could DIE,” she repeated. “Then I guess I’ll die,” I responded. I don’t think I sounded very confident. But my decision was made. The resident disrespectfully still tried to have a nurse start the Pitocin IV, but she never did because I did not consent. The resident worked on stitching me while Lucian remained at my breast and with each tug from the stitches, I held onto him and felt nothing but joy and ecstasy.



Around 9 a.m., I realized Lucian had pooped on me, so the nurses cleaned him up, put a diaper

on him and gave him to Cory to hold skin-to-skin. Then, after I was cleaned up, Cory gave him back to me to hold.And then he wiggled over to my breast. Mary stood beside me and assisted.


He LATCHED.


The room fell silent, and I looked up at Cory and Mary. We had been told by our cleft surgical

team that a cleft palate made it nearly impossible for a baby to latch. Was his palate intact?

He started to suckle and had quite a strong latch and I held onto him for a while and asked

Jesus if this was really happening. Was my baby’s palate intact?


Although our surgical team promised to be on site to check our baby once he was born, they

never showed up. The NICU team came into the room and examined him, finding that indeed, Lucian’s palate was fully intact! This meant that Lucian would only require one very minimal and less invasive surgery for just his cleft lip, and that he could breathe and feed without complications.



Mary somehow captured all of this on video. The news was so visceral and intense. I truly felt the presence of God in that room.



How could I ever doubt His Love for us? God's faithfulness is the one constant in the equation. If God has done what you think He should do, trust Him. If God doesn't do what you think He should do, trust Him. So many families, friends, community and strangers supported us and prayed so many Rosaries for the healing of baby’s cleft palate. When our craniofacial and surgical team did a final check a few weeks later to confirm the cleft palate was not affected, they were shocked. They had obtained what they called rare ultrasound footage of our baby’s “guaranteed” cleft palate. But it was true- there was NO SIGN of the cleft palate they diagnosed.


The rest of our hospital stay was uneventful. The bleeding that the resident was so “worried” about slowed down. I ate a big breakfast that morning and made sure to keep myself nourished and hydrated. Lucian stayed by my side for the rest of our stay. We were discharged from the hospital the following morning, on Father’s Day, and the journey of motherhood began.

I spent a lot of my postpartum journey in prayer and contemplating our Blessed Mother. Her ability to trust God in the midst of fear and intense suffering is such an inspiration to me, because spiritual motherhood requires deep trust in God, a trust that the Lord is working all things for good, even the hard things. I have found that as I trust and lean into that truth, my weakness and littleness is a pathway for God’s strength to come through.



I am now 5 months pregnant with our second baby. I realize in this current season that I’m still processing my first miscarriage and my pregnancy and postpartum experience with Lucian. There was a lot of fear pushed onto my family in connection to his cleft diagnosis (heart defects and other life-threatening possibilities) that made us prepare for the worst. Lucian is such a happy, healthy baby, but that *fear* still lingers. Fear of loss. Fear of the unknown.


I thank God for the privilege to carry life in the womb- I don’t take it lightly, but it doesn’t come without its challenges, especially after loss (and the fear of loss). This process, although challenging, feels sanctifying no matter the outcome. It calls for complete surrender to God’s will, not my own. I didn’t realize how many selfish tendencies I had that I needed to surrender in servitude of others. I am called to total abandonment to God’s will. This is Holy and hard work.


At our anatomy scan a few weeks ago, I walked into the ultrasound riddled with fear and anxiety,

thinking of the trauma caused by how Lucian’s diagnosis and potential for heart defects blindsided me. This pregnancy has come with new challenges, and has invited me to let go of the false sense of control I cling to, and allow the Holy Spirit to move freely in my life. As I relive Lucian’s birth story, I realize that God calls us to surrender over and over and over again. It is the path to sainthood. There will always be a whole set of circumstances which we can do nothing about, which are not necessarily willed by God but nevertheless permitted by God. We are invited to consent, to trust and to be at peace, even if we are afraid. Even if we suffer. If we tend to rebel and tense ourselves against difficulties, that kind of defiance will make it difficult for the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. As in everything, we should let ourselves be led by love and not by fear.

Let us never forget that “for those who love God, everything works together for good” (Romans

8:28).


Trust in Him.


Clarisse is a Catholic wife and mother pursuing holiness with her husband and babies. You can find her sharing her faith with her community on Instagram at @acatholiccantor and singing at Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Buffalo, NY.

1 Yorum


Thank you for sharing such an honest & vulnerable story, and with such depth of God’s revelations to you in your spiritual growth…such a beautiful story to read! Praying for a beautiful & sacred birth experience coming up soon :)

Beğen
bottom of page