Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

Pregnancy was the best experience of my life. I loved every second of it and I can’t wait to do it again. I had a textbook pregnancy. It was a breeze, and I never understood the people that spent their pregnancies scared, upset, irritable, or anything but happy. That was all true until I met Michelle and Randy.

Michelle won a free photo session through my fan page on Facebook, and immediately she knew she wanted maternity photos. I was excited to work with her, but I’m excited to work with all my clients. Her session wasn’t special yet, at that moment, it was just another perfect little bump. Then she told me her story.

She and her husband had been pregnant before, but they suffered a miscarriage and weren’t sure how it would affect their chances of conceiving again. Now she was pregnant again. It was a little girl, and her name was going to be Molli Faith. But Molli was special, because at 20 weeks gestation, instead of just finding out that they would be having a little girl like most parents-to-be do, they found out that their perfect little princess was also going to need a string of surgeries to keep her alive. Molli had not just one, but two congenital heart defects (CHD), and to have both of them together was practically unheard of.

This story hit home very quickly. Some of the readers may have read my story about my daughter’s birth. She also had a CHD, though it was not nearly as dangerous, and hers was common. She was lucky. Instantly, I had a bond with Michelle that I believe will never be broken. She taught me a lot about the defects Molli has, what could be done, and what her chances were.

Since she was born, Molli has had 2 open heart surgeries, one at 4 days old and another at just under 3 months, and countless hospital stays. Her first 4 months of life were lived at Hershey Hospital. My first question for Michelle was about a transplant. Why couldn’t this sweet little girl get a heart transplant and live a long and healthy life? Unfortunately, a transplant could send her into lung and heart failure. Michelle’s advice to other parents who discover health issue in utero — or ever!—-is to “ALWAYS keep the faith” and that this is very hard on families, “so be sure to ask questions, don’t be afraid.”

The test that discovered Molli’s defects ISN’T routine. It’s up to the discretion of your doctor to perform the test, so Michelle’s advice is to always request an in depth heart scan to rule out, or discover, any possible defects. For parent’s who don’t know where to start, I asked Michelle to provide me with a list of questions to ask at your week 20 pre-natal visit:

  1. Do you see 4 chambers?
  2. Is the heart rate normal?
  3. Does the heart function/squeeze normal?
  4. Do you look at all the arteries during the scan?
  5. Is the heart and the stomach in the correct postion?

I have been blessed to follow Miss Molli’s story on Facebook and am pleased to announce she has been kicking CHD BUTT! Molli has been a constant reminder to me to keep the faith in everything I do, but also to appreciate everything I do, and everything I get to see my daughter do. Her parents are my heroes, and I truly can’t say enough good about them.


This story isn’t to entertain you, or even meant to tug on your heart strings. Molli is doing very well, has developed a love of Minnie Mouse and her puppy dogs, and is extremely blessed with prayers and love. This is here to educate, because I was not aware to ask these questions, and I assumed my doctor would do all scans needed in order to guarantee that my baby was as healthy as can be.

I hope all my readers can learn from, relate to, and maybe even pray for Miss Molli and her family as they continue this journey battling CHD. CHD’s take the lives of more children EVERY YEAR than ALL childhood cancer’s combined. To help Molli, and other children fighting CHD, click here

. Half of the proceeds go towards research for CHD. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Shelby Bushong

Shelby is a full time wife, mother of 5 (1 toddler, 4 fur-babies) and student. She also works her direct sales and photography businesses part time. Most free time is spent with family and outside. She is a concert enthusiast and would much rather have front row seats to the next Florida Georgia Line concert then go on vacation. Writing has always been something she loved, so sharing on HVFH is a truly blessed opportunity in her eyes!

To the Friend Who Just Lost a Parent: It’s Going to Hurt and You’re Going to Grow

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss
Sad woman hands over face

Oh, the inevitable, as we age into our mid to late 30s and beyond. The natural series of life states that losing a parent will become more commonplace as we, ourselves, continue to age, and I am beginning to see it among my circle of friends. More and more parents passing, and oh, my heart. My whole heart aches and fills with pain for my friends, having experienced this myself three years ago.  It’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt more than you could expect. The leader of your pack, the glue, the one you turn to when you...

Keep Reading

Your Brother Is With Jesus Now

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Brother and sister in yellow outfits smiling on park bench

“Thao is with Jesus now,” we told her, barely choking out the whisper. Jesus. This invisible being we sing about. Jesus. The baby in the manger? Jesus. How can we explain Jesus and death and loss and grief to a 3-year-old? And now, how can we not? We live it, breathe it, and dwell in loss since the death of her brother, our son, Thao. Here we are living a life we never wanted or dreamed of. Here we are navigating loss and death in a way our Creator never intended. What words can I use to describe death to...

Keep Reading

Don’t Delete the Picture You Think You Look Bad In

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Woman holding phone with picture of her and daughter, color photo

Don’t delete the picture—the one you look bad in. I said it. You heard me. Don’t delete the picture, that picture—you know the one, the one with the double chin or the bad angle. The picture that is not so flattering. The picture that accentuates your forehead lines or the one taken next to your skinny best friend. We are all so hard on ourselves. Many of us are striving for a better complexion or a thinner physique. Sometimes scrutinizing ourselves and zooming in on a picture—seeing things the world does not see. Don’t delete the picture. RELATED: Take the...

Keep Reading

Things that Hurt and Things that Help after Someone You Love Has a Miscarriage

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
young woman with arms crossed across stomach

I am sadly no stranger to pregnancy loss. Out of seven pregnancies, I have been blessed with one beautiful boy on earth, one miracle currently growing inside of me, and five precious angels in Heaven. As a result, I have plenty of experience in dealing with the aftermath of miscarriage. During this period of intense grief and loss, I have had many well-meaning people tell me things they believed would make me feel better, but in reality, caused me pain. Additionally, I have had close friends pull away during this period of time, and later tell me it was because...

Keep Reading

Even When You Can’t Find Joy, Jesus Is There

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman through pane of rain covered glass

The international church service was vibrant with voices lifted up in songs of praise. Many clapped their hands and some even danced before God. But I wanted to be invisible. Joy felt like a land depicted in a fairy tale. I had returned from the hospital the day before—a surgery to remove the baby who had died in my womb. Watching this church buzz with happiness unearthed my fragileness. I slouched in my chair and closed my eyes. Tears trickled down my freckled face. My mind knew God was in control, but my heart ached as yet another thing I...

Keep Reading

He Mends Our Broken Hearts

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Praying hands of woman with bracelets

Rays of soft sunlight streamed through the curtain onto the hospital bed. I stepped to the edge of the bed, taking a moment to soak in his face before gently holding his hand. Eighty-nine years is a rich, full life, and each passing day revealed more convincingly it was time for him to go. Grief and relief shared the space in my heart as I carried the weight of understanding each visit held the opportunity to be my last.  When he felt my hand, his eyes opened, and he gifted me a smile. Pop Pop always had a smile for...

Keep Reading

This Is As Close to Heaven As I Can Get

In: Grief, Loss
Sunrise over the ocean, color photo

I have sat here a million times over my life—on good days, on bad days, with friends, with family. I have celebrated my highest points and cried here at my lowest. I am drawn here, pulled in a way. When I have not been here in some time, the sea calls my soul home. My soul is at peace here. It has always been. Maybe it is the tranquility of the waves, or the sun shining on my face. Maybe it is the solitude I find here. I love her (the sea) in all seasons, when she is calm, when...

Keep Reading

10 Things Bereaved Parents Want You to Know about Child Loss

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad couple hug in hallway

My first baby died. After a perfect full-term pregnancy, she was stillborn. That was 10 years ago. Ten years I’ve spent wondering who she would have been. Ten years I’ve spent missing someone I hoped to know but never got the chance to. In those ten years, I’ve learned so much about grief, love, and life.  Grief is love. When they laid my stillborn daughter’s cold and lifeless body in my arms, my world was broken into before this nightmare began and after, where I was forever cursed to live with it. I thought I would never be the same...

Keep Reading

“He’s Gone.”

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss
Bride dancing with her father, color photo

That heart-wrenching moment when I received that phone call—the one that completely shattered life as I knew it. “He’s gone,” two words that brought me to my knees, screaming and crying. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t put into words what I was thinking or feeling, I was broken. Time slowed to a snail’s pace, it seemed like it took hours to arrive, and when we did, reality still didn’t sink in. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be, we were supposed to have more time, way more time with him.  I’m too young to lose my dad, my kids...

Keep Reading

I Never Wanted to Be a Hospital Mom

In: Cancer, Motherhood
Toddler standing with IV pole, black-and-white photo

Life as a hospital mom is not a life for just anyone. You have no other choice, there is no get-out-free card you can just put down and say, “Nope, Lord, I do not want this, take it back.” My heart hurts 99 percent of the time. My heart hurts for my child and the pain he is suffering. A necessary evil to keep him on the side of Heaven’s gates.  My heart hurts from the unknown of each day. Will he eat? Will he thrive today? What utter chaos will be thrown our way today? Will there be vomit...

Keep Reading