We Hit a Major Milestone Today

If you listened to our Moth Podcast, you know our big announcement…

… I’m pregnant again.

The way that Boston reacted to this announcement after I told them about Grace Pearl took me by surprise and promoted tears of gratitude. I listen to the cheering over and over again and cry happy tears. I will never forget that moment.

This pregnancy didn’t come easily for us either. It took us another round of IVF including one canceled attempt, 3 more frozen embryo transfers, a surgery, another new Reproductive Endocrinologist working with our amazing local one, exploring autoimmune diseases and much, much more research into adoption in the meantime. And a lot of pauses to see if this is what we really wanted.

But today is a really, really big day. I’m 28 weeks pregnant today. Viability is a moving target, without concrete lines that can really be accurately drawn, but this is a big one. While I know all too well how wrong things can go even when you’ve been given every assurance that it won’t (there was only a 1% chance after 10 weeks that something would go wrong with my pregnancy with Grace due to the early testing we had done), and I know women that have learned the worst news possible at this point and later and have had to terminate wanted pregnancies at this point and later…. I’m so hopeful.


I was a Trader Joe’s tonight and the news kind of tumbled out of me while talking to the cashier - that I’m pregnant after a very hard road and just hit a major viability milestone, and she rang the bell twice and suddenly a bouquet of flowers was in my hands to celebrate the occasion. Cue tears of happiness again.

Thanks to everyone celebrating and hoping with us. It helps so much more than I can even say. As we approach Grace’s termination date very soon, it feels great to have our dread and grief so beautifully intermingled with hope and celebration.

Our Plea: If You Have Been Touched by our Story, Please Vote!

We share our story for a variety of reasons, including to show how we were ensnared by the Missouri abortion laws, and in the hopes that we can encourage people to vote with us to change them and preserve our reproductive rights.

 I am featured as part of the #IVoteBecause campaign, photo by the amazing Janette Beckman

I am featured as part of the #IVoteBecause campaign, photo by the amazing Janette Beckman

If you are a person that is a proponent of Reproductive Rights, thank you so much, and I ask that you please vote in every election. We were impacted so much more by our local legislators than our federal ones - it was the local lawmakers that created the 72-hour waiting period, the deadline and all of the consents. Every single election really matters. All of these things are state laws, not federal laws.

Additionally, we can't insist on perfect candidates. For instance, where I live, Claire McCaskill is up against Josh Hawley for Senator. There are reasonable concerns around McCaskill, however she has a solid record on Reproductive Rights, and Hawley wants to diminish our Reproductive Rights even further. When I think about it that way, voting for McCaskill is easy for me.

If, on the other hand, you are against abortion (and if so, thank you so much for lending me your mind and heart and considering my perspective!) and are not in the habit of voting for candidates that protect Reproductive Rights, I just want to share three facts with you that relate to how these laws impacted me (that were not shared in my story).

1). There are rarely exceptions in the laws for situations like Grace's. If you feel like abortions okay in our situation but not others (this is a really common feeling that is shared with us), know that exceptions don't exist that way. Occasionally laws are written with exception for rape, incest, and health of the mother (though I see against laws that have no such exceptions in them all the time), but very rarely do laws include exceptions for fetal anomalies. In fact, the deadline to get an abortion in the state of Missouri shows a complete misunderstanding about when fetal anomalies present themselves - by the time you find out your unborn child is sick it may be too late to do anything about it. We had our procedure one day before we legally couldn't in the state of Missouri anymore and we had to act very fast to make that happen. Our laws do not consider the realities of what women face in pregnancies. If there is one thing I've learned in this process, it's that we have really crappy laws around reproductive rights that don't fit every situation fairly, and worse, we are electing politicians that have no interest in doing better. I have testified numerous times about bills like these and they don't even pay attention to me. I want better politicians/lawmakers and better laws, and I hope that our story has left you wanting the same things.

2). Our doctors were not wrong. I hear this a lot. "Doctors aren't always right." We had eight doctors and a pathology report confirm that Graces diagnosis was accurate and that she would have indeed passed away in agony. They were not wrong. We can't make laws assuming our doctors are going to give us the wrong information.

3). You voting for a politician or law that protects Reproductive Rights does not mean you ever in your life have to get an abortion, or even that you think it's right. It just means that you respect that what you would do shouldn't dictate what other people are legally allowed to do. I would never, ever insist that another family facing the decision we did should have to abort the pregnancy - it would be wrong of me to say that. I just want the same right to make the best choices for my family that you do for yours. 

I implore you to vote, in every election, and to vote for people that will work to protect all of our rights. It's about letting a mother do what's best for her very wanted unborn daughter. It’s about humanity, dignity, and the ability to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families.

You can see my voter guide (for Missouri) here.

The Moth Podcast Is Live With a Huge Announcement.

I am nervous and very excited to share that our story, "Loving Grace", is now live on The Moth’s podcast. You can find several ways to download it here: LINK or here (direct link to iTunes).

It includes a huge announcement about our lives and our path forward.

Sharing my story as part of The Moth was one of the great honors of my life. The producers were fantastic to work with, Boston was a warmly welcoming and supportive city to share it with, and it felt like a very special way of honoring Grace and all that she has and continues to mean to us.

I hope that you will listen and share our story with others.

 Sharing my story as part of The Moth at the Wilbur in Boston, MA on 10/18/18.

Sharing my story as part of The Moth at the Wilbur in Boston, MA on 10/18/18.

Our Story Will Be On The Moth Podcast Tomorrow (11/2/18)

I am thrilled to announce that my Moth story from the 10/18/18 show in Boston will be part of the November 2nd podcast (this coming Friday).

I will share the link again when it is released on Friday, but for people that aren’t already subscribers, you can learn more about the podcast and where to subscribe here:

 Jim and me at the Wilbur after The Moth show in Boston, MA on 10/18/18.

Jim and me at the Wilbur after The Moth show in Boston, MA on 10/18/18.

Sharing our story on The Moth was truly an honor for me.

I feel so urgently and strongly about sharing the reality of what has faced Jim and me (as well as so many others that do not have the ability to share so publicly for a variety of reasons).

It’s been a privilege to share Grace’s story, and I’m so appreciative to The Moth for the opportunity, and to Boston for the warm reception.

I hope you’ll listen.

A Midterms Voting Guide with Grace Pearl In Mind

 Photo by  Parker Johnson  on  Unsplash

I have pulled together a voter guide for the upcoming midterms on November 6, 2018 that would focus on candidates and issues that would allow us the best possible rights to make the choice we did with Grace Pearl. I am focusing in Missouri because that is where I am most familiar with the candidates and issues, but for wherever you are, I ask that you take reproductive rights into account when choosing a candidate, and how much the individual will do to protect rights of families like mine.

People run into situations like mine every day, in every state. We deserve to be able to make the best choices for ourselves and our families without undue burden in terms of cost, geographical restriction, and time frame. If you vote for a candidate that is against reproductive rights, know you are voting to hurt babies like Grace and women and men like myself and Jim. There’s no way around that.

I’ll take this chance to say we also deserve honest, comprehensive medical care, not places that will blatantly lie to us like Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Please learn more about them here.

Important Voting Information:

The Missouri ballot is huge for the midterms, so I will only be listing out the things I’m best educated on, and then resources for the other issues.

✔️ Polling places will be open from 6 am until 7 pm
✔️ If you are unsure of your polling place, you can look it up here: https://bit.ly/2fg5NRR
✔️ You will be required to show a form of ID at the polls. See acceptable forms of ID here: https://bit.ly/2OdbZba

DO NOT LEAVE A POLLING PLACE WITHOUT VOTING —call this non partisan election hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE) if you have any voting issues.

Now to the voter guide resources:

I’m going to go over my own personal recommendations, where I have them, in the next section. However I just don’t know enough about every issue to make an educated assessment, especially when the ballot is this long. So here’s what I do/resources I use:

  • The League of Women Voters has a great resource at vote411.org. You type in your address & get a personalized ballot with info on each candidate/issue. I go through this list and select each item, and print it off at the end to take with me to vote. PRINT IT OFF OR WRITE IT DOWN in case you can’t look at your phone while voting. Many places ban phones in the polling area.

  • For issues where I do not have an established opinion yet, I have trusted sources I use. They include:

    • ProgressWomen - Representative Stacey Newman puts a LOT of effort into her recommendations, and I value her opinion. She has also covered all Missouri AND county propositions, so this is a comprehensive resource.

    • Planned Parenthood MO voting guide - Planned Parenthood has protections of reproductive rights at top of mind, and this voting guide is consistent with that.

    • NARAL voting guide - they likewise carefully vet for pro-choice candidates and issues.

  • You can see the Missouri Bar recommendations for each judge on the ballot on vote411 while you’re selecting the rest of your ballot. It will tell you each judge and their recommendation, and you can research more from there. There are a few that are not recommended for retention.

My Personal Recommendations/Endorsements:

  • US Senator: Claire McCaskill. I am with many people in feeling that I wish McCaskill were different in some ways, but she has a solid voting record in terms of reproductive rights, and that means a lot to me. Additionally, I am terrified of what electing Josh Hawley would do to all sorts of social rights, including reproductive rights, and he is currently promising that pre-existing conditions will be protected as part of healthcare while entering Missouri into a lawsuit to undo the Affordable Care Act (which would undo the protections of pre-existing conditions). He’s blatantly lying to us.

  • U.S. Representative, District 2: Cort VanOstran. I actually am not able to vote for Cort as I am not in his district, but I have still spend many volunteer hours pushing out awareness around him and encouraging people to vote for him because his incumbent oppoent, Ann Wagner, is THAT BAD. She’s pro-life all the way down the line, and would absolutely vote to hurt Grace, Jim and myself. Cort is endorsed by NARAL and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which goes a long way with me. These organizations support our right to make the choice we did, and fight for laws that protect us.

  • State Auditor: Nicole Galloway. I saw Nicole speak at an event and was very impressed by her. She has done this job since 2015 and has done an outstanding job, as reiterated by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

  • State Representative, District 91: If you are in Sarah Unsicker’s district, I recommend her as a representative that is on the Children and Families House Committee and has fought for reproductive Rights

  • State Representative, District 80: If you are Peter Meredith’s district, I recommend voting for him. I find him to be thoughtful, transparent, hard fighting and compassionate. He was hoping to propose a bill last year that would include infertility treatments in insurance coverage, which would be transformative for families like mine.

  • Amendment #1 (aka CLEAN MISSOURI) = VOTE YES. I have personally worked on this campaign because I believe SO STRONGLY in it. It bans lobbyist gifts to General Assembly, requires open legislative records, lowers campaign contributions & limits committee donations, requires 2 year lobbyist waiting periods and ensures a non-partisan district map process (aka, limits gerrymandering, making sure our votes matter more). This is super important. VOTE YES. If you vote for nothing else, vote for this one. But vote for everything.  More info at CleanMissouri.org 

  • YES on Proposition B – Increases the Minimum Wage to $12 by 2023. St. Louis Post Dispatch endorsement HERE. There are a lot of reasons that I agree with this, but in terms of reproductive rights, if you’re not aware, the Hyde Amendment prevents abortions from being covered by federal funds. If we want women to be able to exercise their reproductive rights asap in an unwanted pregnancy, they have to have the funds to do so. Economic equality is very important to me.

These are the issues that I am most comfortable making endorsements on, and I’m always learning more so if you feel I’m wrong about any of them, please reach out!

The Moth Mainstage at the Wilbur in Boston - 10/18/18


I will be sharing my story as part of The Moth Mainstage event tomorrow evening (Thursday, October 18th) at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, MA. Tickets are sold out, but if you’re there, send me a hug! This will be my first time sharing in front of so many people and I’m nervous, but grateful for the opportunity to share our story.

I’ll tweet as much as I can about it too!