Empty Arms


Every year, thousands of expectant mothers feel the joy and anticipation in their lives turn unexpectedly to confusion and grief with the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or tubal pregnancy.

Such an event can be an extremely devastating experience for anyone. Frequently, the pain of a lost child is compounded by feelings of guilt and anger as grieving parents anguish: "Why me?" "Did I do Something wrong?" "Does God care?" At ...

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PAPERBACK New 0880700424 Excellent condition, paperback 1984, no marks, great cover, readit.

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Every year, thousands of expectant mothers feel the joy and anticipation in their lives turn unexpectedly to confusion and grief with the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or tubal pregnancy.

Such an event can be an extremely devastating experience for anyone. Frequently, the pain of a lost child is compounded by feelings of guilt and anger as grieving parents anguish: "Why me?" "Did I do Something wrong?" "Does God care?" At such a time as this you need rock solid answers and reassurance that you are not alone in your pain.

Written by a licensed professional counselor who knows from personal experience what it means to suffer a miscarriage, Empty Arms offers comfort, practical wisdom, and hope to those who have lost a child, as well as insights for family and friends who want to successfully support them.

God can bring healing and joy out of brokenness and despair. Find out how in this revised and expanded edition of Empty Arms.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880700429
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/19/1984
  • Pages: 126

Meet the Author

Pam Vredevelt is a Licensed Professional Counselor, popular inspirational speaker, and bestselling author of the Espresso for a Woman's Spirit series, Angel Behind the Rocking Chair, and Empty Arms: Emotional Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy. Pam, John, and their three children make their home in Gresham, Oregon.

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Read an Excerpt

Empty Arms

Hope and Support For Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy

Multnomah Publishers

Copyright © 1984 Multnomah Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1576738515

Chapter One

The Shocking News

* * *

I'm not picking up a heartbeat, Pam. There doesn't appear to be any fetal movement. I think the baby is dead."

In disbelief my emotions began to run wild and unchecked. Engulfed in a jumble of scrambled thoughts I wanted desperately to hear the doctor say, "Wait a minute-I'm wrong. I've made a mistake. Now I see the heartbeat." Those words never came.

During the next half hour in that little examining room, my life was a blur. Everything was out of focus. I hated my humanness. "Why can't I change this and make things different?" I thought. Somehow I wanted to say a few words and magically raise our baby from the dead.

Nothing made sense. Angry questions darted back and forth in my mind. "Why is this happening to me? To John? It's not fair! Thousands have abortions, but we want this child ... why are we the ones to get ripped off? I hate this!"

The tears poured out. I sobbed long and hard, trying my best to listen to the doctor. He painted a picture of what might have happened: "Based on the measurements on the ultrasound screen, I can see that the baby is fully formed according to schedule, and most likely died just a few days ago.It's possible that the umbilical cord wrapped itself around the baby's neck. Or perhaps part of the placenta detached itself from the uterine wall. More information will be gleaned from pathology tests."

The doctor's words were overshadowed by my own thoughts: "I can't believe this is happening!"

Our day had begun in such a normal fashion. The alarm awakened us at 6:00 A.M. The leaders who help us pastor junior and senior high youth arrived forty-five minutes later for doughnuts and prayer. Our time together was one of closeness and warmth. As special prayer was offered for our baby just beginning its fifth month, I felt my love deepen for the child I carried.

By 8:00 A.M. the youth workers were gone and John left for the church office. Rather than going to work at the counseling center, I headed for my monthly visit with the doctor. I was excited about hearing the baby's heartbeat again. The fascination of hearing our child on the Doppler (a small amplification device used to listen to sounds in the womb) just four weeks earlier was still vivid in my mind.

The wait in the doctor's office was entertaining. A room full of pregnant women has always amused me. My imagination raced. "Will I really get that big in four more months? I wonder where she found such a beautiful maternity dress?"

Finally it was my turn for an exam. The usual blood pressure check and weigh-in were done first. "Hey, all right! Only one pound up from last month!" That was good news along with the nurse's words, "You're right on schedule."

The doctor was soon with me. Next came the moment I'd been waiting for. He said, "Let's listen to the heartbeat." It was like the first time all over again. I was so excited I embarrassed myself. After all, this was a common occurrence for the doctor. But for me, it was a thrill of a lifetime.

He placed the Doppler on my rounded tummy and gently searched for the baby. About a minute went by and my anticipation was at a peak. "Come on, Doc, let's get that thing in the right place.... I want to hear what this kid is doing in there!" I thought. The doctor explained that often the baby positions itself toward the back and this makes it difficult for the amplifier to pick up any significant sound.

A few minutes passed. Nothing was picked up by the Doppler. I watched intently for some cue as to what was going on. The doctor's face was blank. The nurse was stoic. I began to feel scared. What was happening? Confusion began to replace my excitement. The doctor very professionally explained that it would be best to take an ultrasound test for everybody's peace of mind before leaving the office. This would be a more reliable way of finding the heartbeat and checking on the baby's progress. I agreed and was moved to the next room where the test could be run. Apprehension lurked in the back of my mind as I entered a room filled with foreign instruments and equipment. My arms and legs felt like 200 pounds as I climbed up on the examining table. There I sat ... shaken and chilled.

The nurse began to probe with the sound device to secure a clear picture of the uterus, placenta, and fetus. For what seemed to be hours it was unbearably quiet in that little dark room. I painstakingly blurted out, "Do you see a heartbeat? What are you finding? Can I see the screen?" only to be quieted with the remark, "I don't have a clear picture yet, Pam." More long drawn out minutes passed. Once again I bombarded the silence with, "Can't you tell me anything? Are you seeing a heartbeat?"

And then the ripping truth came. There was no heartbeat. The baby wasn't moving. Our baby was dead. What had gone wrong? The doctor didn't give a pat answer, but encouraged me that more information would be gleaned from pathology tests after delivery.

After delivery. Those words jolted me into reality. It would be necessary for me to go through the normal delivery process-but I would deliver a dead baby and go home empty-handed. It was all too incredible to grasp.

I had entered the doctor's office cheerful, bright, and anticipating the sound of life within me. I was leaving shattered, broken, and fearful of tomorrow. What would I have to walk through in the hours and days ahead?

Excerpted from Empty Arms by PAM VREDEVELT Copyright © 1984 by Multnomah Press
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 7
From My Heart To Yours 9
Chapter 1 The Shocking News 11
Chapter 2 Our Next Step: Delivery 15
Chapter 3 Grief ... the Road to Healing 23
Chapter 4 Managing Anger 31
Chapter 5 Untying Guilt's Knot 37
Chapter 6 Spiritual Battles and Emotions 47
Chapter 7 Responding to the Reactions of Others 53
Chapter 8 Husbands Hurt, Too 67
Chapter 9 Helping Children Understand 75
Chapter 10 Please ... Someone Give Me Some Answers 83
Chapter 11 After a Stillbirth 93
Chapter 12 The Challenge of a Postpartum Body 103
Chapter 13 Eating for Health 109
Chapter 14 Mood Swings and Exercise 119
Chapter 15 The Trauma of a Tubal Pregnancy 125
Chapter 16 New Beginnings 137
Chapter 17 The Bible Offers Hope and Comfort 145
Chapter 18 The Gift of Letting Go 151
Epilogue 165
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