I had the privilege of capturing Catherine & Sarah in there home on January 1st of this year. Catherine and Sarah had a bit of an early start on life so they spent some time in the NICU before being able to come home. The girls were actually almost 3 months when I was finally able to meet up with them and capture a few newborn type photos. Even at 3 months, they were they size of newborns! Their mom, Courtney, is an awesome midwife at the Waynesboro Hospital and I’ve had the privilege to work with her in the past as I captured a birth session and hope to work with her again in the future both in the hospital and with her family. Thank you Courtney & Richard for asking me to capture your sweet girls!
I recently have had a small influx of newborns in the studio and I am LOVING every minute of it! Sweet Norah absolutely rocked her session. She was a little angel although she would not unclench her tiny fists for anything! Thanks to Rachel and Brandt for trusting me to capture this important milestone!
Check out her video at https://youtu.be/wOWwoy-jiVA
I know that I picked up quite a few followers after publishing our story of Walter. Well I wanted to share with you all the good news that I successfully delivered a full term baby girl on September 3 of this year! Mia Elizabeth arrived via c section and weighed in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces and we love every bit of her! Her sisters are especially proud. Thank you all for your prayers! ❤ Lexi
This past Christmas I was given a CD. This CD has touched my heart in so many ways! I have listened to it probably well over a 100 times in the short few weeks that I’ve had it. I highly encourage anyone who has gone through any trial to listen to this. It doesn’t have to be a death, but anything that has caused you heartache and suffering. Many have asked how I can get through this as well as I have, plain and simple, GOD! Many of the lyrics on this CD spoke to my heart and reaffirmed what I already knew and trusted.
One thing I’ve noticed over and over again the emails that I’ve received are the number of times I’m called brave, courageous, amazing, I could go on and on. Here’s the thing though, I do not feel that I am any of that! I am just a woman, a wife, a mother. I live day to day trying to survive my to do list and keep up with the boundless energy of my girls and the never ending housework. I know that my words have touched people in many ways, but I give all the glory for that to GOD! In no way do I feel like I should be gaining praise for those words. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled at the impact that they have had, but I truly feel that they were put there by God and I was his vessel. I am actually a rather private person and not one to talk a much to people that I don’t know and blogging, well, if you look back over my old posts you can clearly see how much I fail at being a good blogger! This was something completely out of the ordinary for me, I could not get the need to write our story out of my mind until I finally sat down and just started pouring my heart out. It was not 24 hours before Walter started making his rounds around the US and soon the world.
I have derailed a bit from my original reason for this post, which is music. I have always loved music, I can’t stand the quiet so there is usually a tv show or music playing whenever I’m doing just about anything at home. The CD that I was given is the newest release by Steven Curtis Chapman entitled “The Glorious Enfolding”. This album is all about his family moving on and rejoicing after they have dealt with the loss of their daughter. Now my husband will tell you that I’m not usually a lyric person, I enjoy the instrumental parts but often I don’t even hear the words. I have heard every single word of this entire album. Every song on here has spoken to me and helped my heart to continue to look to my wonderful Savior and all of the promises that he holds for my life. People will often say that God will not give you more then you can handle, I actually believe that He does give us more then we can handle, those are the times that we must lean on Him, trust Him, rely on Him fully to get us through whatever is in our path.
No matter what tough time you’ve gone through or are going through I encourage you to listen to this album. The title track and “Take another step” were ones that particularly spoke to me. I’ll leave you with a few of the lines in hopes that you will go find the album and be as blessed by it as I have been. Thank you Mr. Chapman and family for turning your grief into something so wonderful! I know all to well how hard that is and how much easier it would be to bury your head in the sand and pretend it never happened.
“’cause I know this is not anything like you though the story of your life was gonna be, and it feels like the end has started closing in on you but it’s just not true. There’s so much of the story that still yet to unfold.”
“Just you wait and see and you will be amazed. You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over so hold onto every promise God has made to us and watch this glorious unfolding”s
Take Another Step – You never truly understand the pain until you’ve gone through it yourself. Walking by faith sounds so easy, the trials in our lives, big and small, give us the opportunity to put this into practice and trust the One who truly loves us.
“and suddenly it began to rain and everybody ran. Then the sky went back as midnight and you couldn’t see paralyzed by what you just can’t understand. And now here you are, you’re afraid to move, you don’t know where to go, you don’t know what to do.
Take another step, take another step. When the road ahead is dark and you don’t know where to go, take another step. Trust God and take another step”
“We walk by faith and not by sight we know it’s true, we say it and singe it and love the way it sounds but none of us can even begin to truly understand what it means ’til all the lights go out and there we are nothing to hold on to but the promises God made to me and you. “
Something Beautiful – God is the one who has turned our pain into something beautiful and amazing, it has nothing to do with me!
“I’m gonna to turn it into something different, I’m gonna turn it into something good, I’m gonna take all the broken pieces and make something beautiful like only I could. So put it all in the hands of the Father, give it up, give it all over to the only one who can turn it into something beautiful!”
I could go on and on about this album. So please, look it up, search it out, find these songs. You will be blessed! If you are missing that piece of your heart that you can truly lean on and put your faith in, please contact a local church or pastor. Someone will be glad to talk to you and help you though this time. Please feel free to contact me, I am having a lot of trouble keeping up with everyone’s messages, but I do read every one that comes to me. Do a simple search for a plan of salvation and you will find information out there to help you. Our creator loves us and wants us to spend eternity with him! I would love it if I could meet you one day in heaven as well and you can be there with me to greet my precious Walter.
I pray that this post will guide some of you and help you in your own journeys. May this music bless you as much as it did me!
here is a link to a short video by the artist about this album
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is 4 weeks since Walter’s birth. That day 4 weeks ago is still so very fresh in my head, but at the same time seems like ancient history. Overall, our family is doing pretty well. The girls still pray every night for baby Walter and that God will take care of him until we get to see him again in Heaven. The questions have slowed down considerably, although we have yet to try and explain the cremation process to them. Every time we go by a graveyard they want to know if there baby brother is buried there. At some point in the near future we need to have this discussion, but I’ve really been putting it off.
Thankfully I had 3 weddings of my own along with other photoshoots and weddings that I was helping with to help keep me busy. This week we were camping, a trip we had scheduled back in March. The Lord knew that for me, the best thing is to keep busy, but also have lots of time to spend with my family, especially the girls. I have had a hard time keeping up with the editing portion of my job. That’s a lot of alone time, a lot of time to think and ponder what could have been. I’m not questioning God’s intent, but the mother in me will always long for my baby.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem scared to talk to me, especially if it involves anything negative or sad. I feel like most of the time people are afraid or waiting for me to completely lose it. I get a little teary every once in a while, but for the most part I can keep myself together. I know it’s hard to know what to say, there really isn’t anything anyone can say that will make things better. The best you can do is give me a hug and continue to pray for me and my family. I do want to talk about Walter, even though he’s not on this earth, he is still my son. I’m amazed at how many people will talk about just about anything to keep from mentioning his name. Even though he wasn’t full term, he is still my son, I do not want to pretend it never happened and he never existed. His time on this earth was short, but from the time I received the call that the blood test was positive, there was a child inside of me. I may not have been able to feel him move until 15 weeks, but I knew he was there. I have 3 children, not 2. I do not know if we will have another baby, but no baby will ever replace Walter. If we are blessed with another child, then I will have 4 children, 3 on this earth and 1 with his Heavenly Father.
So please, do not be afraid to talk to me. Treat me just as you always did. Please don’t avoid me. Getting my life back to normal is helpful for me. I hate walking in a grocery store and seeing people running away from me. You don’t have to say anything to “make it better”, you don’t have to worry about saying something that may upset me. Trust me, I have heard some dumb comments these past 4 weeks. Talk to me, ask me questions and most of all continue to pray for me and our family. We have felt those prayers and greatly covet them. We love you all and I wish that I had the time to be able to respond to every person that has contacted me, but those numbers have been far to great these past few weeks.
I can not even begin to thank everyone for their kind words! I’ve received so many comments on this blog, emails, messages on Facebook and cards. The support is extremely encouraging! I was trying to reply to everyone but I simply can not keep up. I will over the next few weeks try and respond to some of you, but please know that I have read everyone’s messages and they all mean the world to me. I do not see myself as brave, courageous or inspirational. I’m just an ordinary woman, a mother who wanted to write down her story and share a few photos with my friends and family. When I wrote down my story it was never with the intention of trying to get attention or seek sympathy from others. I selfishly wanted to write it down so that my friends and family on facebook could read our story and I would not have to continue to tell all of the details over and over again. It has gotten easier to talk about, but it is still painful. Every time I run into someone that I have a connection with I choke up and try to keep myself from losing it. I have lived in the same small town all of my 30 years, so there isn’t a day that goes by that I see someone that heard about what happened and want a hug and would like to know why. It is amazing that I have such a large family and local community to help us grieve. Now that Walter’s story has reached so far I’ve also gotten support from around the world.
I’ve been amazed at the sense of healing that I’ve gotten from some women who have had the same experience but were never allowed to see or hold their child. Many that were simply whisked away and disposed of as if they were trash. I can not imagine not having the time I did with Walter and now I am even more grateful! I’m thankful that Walter’s photos were such a blessing to some that never were able to see their child and always wondered what they would have looked like. He and they are perfectly formed at less then 20 weeks, just the way God designed them. I’m thankful that my children were able to hold their brother, they still talk about him everyday and greatly miss him. I’m ever so thankful that my husband went to the van to get my camera. I was in such an emotional state and already grieving for my child that I did not want a camera around. Now I can not begin to imagine not having these photos to look at every day. I’m so very thankful that Josh was there to help capture these moments, obviously if I am in a photo I couldn’t be taking it. The best photo that camera has ever captured was taken by my non photographer husband 🙂 I’m thankful for the amazing treatment we received in the OB department and while there will always be “what if’s” in my mind, I do not hate those in the ER. I understand that the ER is an incredibly busy place and maybe I should have made a bigger nuisance of myself, but that’s not my personality. I know that no matter where I had been, if God decided that it was time to bring Walter home to him, He would do that. I could have been in the best hospital in the world and they would not have been able to help me. While we don’t always understand and we ask why, God’s timing is perfect.
Thank you all again for the encouragement. It has been especially helpful for me as I also receive some very negative and nasty remarks from people. I do not like anyone to be mad or upset with me, I am a people pleaser. I have lost some sleep at night after reading some of these remarks. It amazes me how quickly people will jump to conclusions and attack, especially when they can hide behind the computer. So thank you all for continuing to uplift myself and my family in your prayers. We are feeling them and are truly appreciative!
For now it is back to laundry, washing floors and trying to get my preschooler to eat her lunch.
Much Love! Lexi
Thank you to everyone who has written and messages me. I was trying my best to respond to everyone but I just can’t keep up. I am reading every message that comes to me and am thankful for them, except for the occasional negative and nasty ones. Please do not be upset if I don’t respond, I wish I had more hours in the day so I could respond to everyone who has opened their hearts to me. ❤ to you all'
*Please be advised that the photos in this post are emotionally hard to handle. I believe they are beautiful and shows that at 19 weeks my child was fully formed. I do not want anyone to be upset with what they see. You should view them before showing them to a child because they will bring up a lot of questions. Thank you all for reading and sharing our story.
*** I did not post these photos or our story with the intention of gathering facebook "likes" or comments. I really don't care about those things at all. I shared these photos so my friends and family could see my perfect child. I never, ever could have imagined that it would spread across the world like this. I'm sorry if you think that I'm searching for fame or trying to increase my business, but that is not the case. Anyone that does knows me knows my heart and my love for the Lord. I wish that this hadn't happened, but it did for a reason. Maybe that reason was to share with the world how perfect a baby which is legal to abort in many states really is. I'll never know in this lifetime. I do know that the Lord has a perfect plan and that I will get to see my son again. If you have a problem with my faith and stance on abortion, just don't comment. Thanks and much ❤ to everyone who has been sending messages. I've read every single comment on the blog. I don't think I'll be able to keep up with the messages on FB, it has been a little overwhelming! May the Lord bless you all! ***
Friday June 14th did not turn out as I expected. I started the day enjoying a pedicure with the bride to be and very good friend Megan along with her mom Cathy and all of her bridesmaids. We had an enjoyable lunch and ran a few errands and then were headed home to start preparing for the rehearsal. Starting on the tuesday before I had some mild spotting, it was never anything much and dark brown, a normal pregnancy occurence. I never had any pain at any point. On friday I noticed that the spotting started to turn a little more pink. When I returned home to gather all of my camera equipment for the rehearsal I decided to call my midwife to see what she thought of the spotting just for my own peace of mind. I knew I was going to be on my feet a lot the next day, probably about 12 hours. She decided it would be best to head to the ER to be checked, again more for my own peace of mind then anything else. I did have a complete placenta previa with Michayla, so we were both a little concerned that it could be a placenta issue again. I called Josh who had just gotten to the park with the girls and he grabbed the girls and headed back to the house.
We left Flora around 3 and headed to a recommended hospital in Kokomo which was about 45 minutes away. On the way we called our parents just to give them a heads up. We arrived at the ER and checked in. I could tell that the nurse really wanted me to be over 20 weeks. The policy is that anyone under 20 weeks of pregnancy stays in the ER, otherwise they head straight to OB. I was 19 weeks and 3 days. As we sat in the waiting area there were several pregnant women that came and went because they were over 20 weeks, and there I sat, waiting. We were finally taken back around 5 and after I changed we found a heartbeat right away. I believe it was in the high 160’s. Hearing the heartbeat immediately put me at ease and I just sat waiting on the dr. to show up. Finally a PA or NP, I can’t remember what she was, showed up and said that the dr. would be back and do a vaginal exam and send me for an ultrasound. Then we sat and waited some more… finally the dr. showed up and said he wasn’t doing a vaginal exam and I would be going to ultrasound, then he left. At this point, it’s past 5:30 and Josh had to leave to run the rehearsal since he was officiating the wedding the next day. We were both a little excited that there was going to be an ultrasound and hoping we could find out what we were having. We were scheduled for our 20 week ultrasound when we returned home on Wednesday.
At 6 PM, a new nurse came in and gave me 3 glasses of water and told me to drink up for the ultrasound and then she left. I put on the tv and started watching house hunters, I was assuming I wouldn’t be able to finish the 30 minute episode because they would come get me for my ultrasound, but I was very wrong. A few minutes after 6 I started to feel a few twinges of pain. by the end of the half hour show I knew I was in labor, there was no doubt in my mind, I’ve been through it before. I couldn’t sit in the bed anymore because the pain was too intense. I called for my nurse and she didn’t come, 10 minutes later I called again and she finally showed up. I was bawling my eyes out at this point because of the pain and all of the emotions streaming though me. I was not mentally prepared to go through labor and everything in me was fighting it every step of the way, I did not want this labor to happen yet. When she finally showed up she didn’t seem to believe me that I was in labor and said she’d let the dr know, then left. I have no idea how long until he came back but all he said was that he would push the ultrasound up and left. I felt like I was put in the back corner of the ER and left to my own. No help, no sympathy, nothing. I was not able to call my mom because there was no cell reception, I could text Joshua because we are both on iphones and I had a wireless signal but I didn’t want to worry him because i knew he had to get through the rehearsal.
A little after 7 Josh left the church which was about 20 minutes away. I was taken to ultrasound at around the same time. The ultrasound technician was the first person that I felt actually cared about me and was nice to me. Not that the others were mean, but they didn’t give me any more time then they had to. Right away she found the heartbeat for me, which was encouraging. She wasn’t able to tell me anything else. She was very quick with her ultrasound and when she left to talk to the radiologist, she found another lady to come sit with me. We didn’t talk but it was comforting to know someone else was there. When I went to the bathroom to clean myself up from the ultrasound there was a lot more blood and I completely fell apart at that point. Joshua arrived just as they were wheeling me back to my room. They had someone waiting for him so that he could be brought to me right away, the ulatrasound technician made sure he could find me. When we got back to the ER room I had to use the restroom again and when I went in the technician turned to Josh and said “I’m sorry, and I don’t want her to see me crying, but I will be praying for you” and she gave him a hug and left. It was about 7:20 when I got back to my room.
At this point there was no break between the contractions, they were so intense and just as one finished another would start. I’ve been through labor and I grew up hearing a lot about it from my mother who helped with home births and is now a L&D nurse. I’ve also been in a few births for my photography, so I knew listening to myself that I was at the end. I wouldn’t give up hope yet, but in my heart of hearts, I knew that I was losing my baby. At some point the PA or whatever she was came in and said “your fetus is still viable” I seriously wanted to slap her. She was at least a little more sympathetic than the Dr. who I never saw again. They told me that they were going to send me upstairs and do a cervical cerclage which did raise my hopes some.
At this point everything started becoming a blur, I was finally taken upstairs to OB around 8 PM. I was in so much pain I couldn’t tell what was going on around me. Anyone that knows me knows how much I hate needles and have a tendency to pass out. It took them 3 tries and a lot of blood on my arms before they finally got an IV in, I didn’t care one bit. The Dr checked me and then sat down beside me on the bed and told me that we were going to be delivering our baby. This was the first that anyone had called him a baby. I immediately started bawling and asking if there was any other option. She was so very kind and very upset that the ER had told me they were going to perform a cerclage. In order for a cerclage to be performed you can not be in active labor which I was at that point. I was also fully dilated and my water was bulging, there was no other option at this point. She apologized over and over and was so kind as were all of the nurses. I can’t even tell you how many people were in our room and doing things to me, but I was never left alone and always had someone with me. I was offered some pain medicine which I accepted and the pain started to ease some. It was still very strong during contractions but I was able to relax in between. Joshua left the room to deliver the horrible news to my parents and sisters who were all on vacation in the Outer Banks and his parents back in PA. Our friends Kip & Cathy came from the rehearsal to see if we needed anything and to be with us. Then sweet Megan who should have been focusing on her wedding the next day came to check on us. She was there talking and crying with me when my water broke.
Walter was breech so we were waiting on my water to break on it’s own and let nature progress at it’s own pace. I don’t remember what time I started pushing, but I was not feeling the contractions anymore after my water broke, so I did have to push several times to get his tiny body out. He was born at 9:42 PM and he was handed up to me as soon as his cord was clamped. I was crying so hard at this point but he was perfect. He was fully formed and everything was there, I could see his heart beating in his tiny chest. Joshua and I both held him and cried over him and looked over our perfect, tiny son. The nurses and Dr. left us to have some private time along with him. Unfortunately, my IV alarm kept going off so my nurse had to keep coming in to check on that, but she was very gracious and apologetic the entire time. Cathy and my sister in law Rachel returned to the hospital to bring the items that I needed and were able to hold Walter. We were so thankful that Rachel was also there for the wedding since she took care of our girls so that Cathy and Megan did not need to worry about having 2 preschoolers on top of everything else that was going on. Sometime between midnight and 1, I had to be taken to the OR to have a d&c because the placenta would not release on its own. There were 2 ladies that came to be with me and were with me the entire time so I would never be alone. The first thing they did was pray with me, which was so amazing. The d&c went well and I was soon back in my room and sleeping from the medicines and anesthesia.
I can not say enough good things about my Dr and the nurses that were there with me. They never once mentioned the word fetus. They prayed with me, cried with me and were there for my every need.Even in a time of so much pain I felt loved by them all. They took such absolute wonderful care of us. They contacted the local funeral home and were going to take care of all of the forms and make all of the calls for us to take him home to PA if we wanted. A gentleman from the funeral home came and talked with us about our options and he was so very kind. In the end we did decide to have him cremated, it was the easiest and best option for us. My Dr made every effort to make sure I had all of my questions answered. She even took the time to talk to my midwife personally and gave me her number in case my mom, an OB nurse, had any questions. She didn’t have to do any of that, and I truly appreciated it. We left the hospital with many books and trinkets to remember our son by. They made sure that the girls each had a few mementos to remember their brother by. Shortly after returning home we had a wonderful card that had notes from all of the nurses and Dr. that took care of me during our stay. So while I felt abandoned and alone in the ER, the OB area was amazing. They encouraged us to hold and bond with our son. In fact he left our room while I had the d&c and then was back with us until the funeral home came to take him. I’m heartbroken by the stories I’ve been hearing from people who weren’t allowed to see their child. That would be so absolutely devastating! I held him, cuddled him, while his heart was beating I held him to my heart, I counted his toes and kissed his tiny head. I will always cherish those memories that I have of him.
The next morning, Rachel brought our daughters to the hospital. There wasn’t ever any doubt in my mind that I needed to have the girls in to see their brother. Michayla especially has been so excited about the baby and really wanting a brother. She knew something wasn’t right and kept asking Rachel and then her daddy as he brought them to our room about the baby. She kept asking if the baby was ok and if we could take him home. It took Emma a little bit to comprehend what I was telling her when I told her that Jesus took their baby to Heaven with Him, but she did understand as well. She has bounced back pretty quick though and besides randomly telling people that our baby died, doesn’t talk about it to much. Michayla on the other hand is a completely different story. She was absolutely devastated and cried and cried. She has been asking so many questions and it’s hard for her when we have to tell her that we don’t know. Joshua still went and performed the ceremony. If I had been able to, I would have still done the photos. On top of everything that happened that was also hard for me, not fulfilling a commitment. I know I had no control and in no way are they upset with me, but it still bothers me.
We still do not know why or how this happened. My midwife has talked personally with the OB Dr. that treated me in Indiana. We’ll be getting all of the records and reports as they finish up the dictations and receive pathology reports back. It could have been a cervix issue, maybe a result of some of the damage from Emma’s birth. It could be preterm labor or a world of other things and we may never know why or how. There will be extra precautions taken if we can ever get pregnant again. That is another area that is unknown. We went through so much and many trips to the specialist in Frederick to conceive Walter. So much still to think about…
I am so very glad that Joshua went to our vehicle and got my camera. At first I did not want any photos, but they are the only thing I have to look back on now. I’m still in shock at how much his photos have been shared and commented on. In his short life of just a few minutes he has touched more lives then I ever could have imagined. I have gotten messages from people all around the country who have experienced a loss or were just touched by his story. I’ve even had a few people tell me that they were able to use his photos to reach out to a hurting woman who was contemplating an abortion. Just because the child within can not be seen by us does not mean that it is a blob of cells. Walter was perfectly formed and very active in the womb. If he had just a few short more weeks he would have had a fighting chance at life. I don’t understand why the Lord took him home, but I have to trust in his perfect timing. I may never know why, but it is a comfort to know where he is and that I will see him again. For now, he’s with his heavenly father who loves him unmeasurably more then I, as his earthly mother ever could.
If you would like to see some more of Walter’s photos, please visit my website at http://www.f2photographystudio.com/Family/FRETZ-PERSONAL/Walter-Joshua-Fretz/30125093_Xc94HL
Please feel free to share our photos. In all our hurt, I am glad that some good can come out of this. I pray that the Lord will continue to use Walter’s photos to impact many.
If anyone would like to contact me directly, you can find me on facebook or email me directly at email@example.com
One of the things I remember from camping as a child was walking to the camp store to choose a Popsicle. I usually came back with a chocolate scooter crunch bar or the strawberry version. I still have a soft spot for those treats!
We are camping this memorial day weekend and it is hot! We took our girls and 2 extras down to the store and bought some Popsicles. Emma thoroughly enjoyed hers and michayla inhaled it so fast it never had a chance to drip.
Today was Michayla’s last day of her first year of preschool! She absolutely loved her teachers and they were awesome for putting up with ALL of her drama and roller coaster of emotions. If you don’t know Michayla, this girl has to be destined for some sort of theater in her future! She can turn a marker spot on her finger to an all out production… no lie! This morning started out with a minor meltdown, followed by a few more, until she completely lost it when I dropped her off. Why? I have no idea! She soon cheered up though and did a great job for her program. I could hear her loud and clear through the whole thing!
I wanted to show Mrs. Berkey and Mrs. Knight how much we appreciated them, but I wanted to avoid the traditional candles, lotion & plants… so of course I went to pinterest! That is where I found this awesome idea! It was very easy to do and cost less then $10 each. I’ll tell you how I made them below.
Here are just a few of her last day!
Directions for Crayon Letter Art!
In word, fill a whole page with the letter that you’re going to make. Color the font so that it is the lightest possible grey. then use word art to overlay the person’s full name. You can do it to the side or on the top/bottom. Print it out on card stock. I also recommend printing another on regular paper for laying it out. Carefully cut the crayons using a sharp knife and cutting board. I found that if you rolled the knife over the crayons, causing the crayons to roll, you got a cleaner cut. if you try and push straight down, it is jagged. Lay them out on your practice page and then using tacky glue, start gluing! After drying all night, I placed it in an 8×11 shadow box. That’s it! Super easy and not to time consuming once I got a rhythm of cutting crayons down!