Friday, October 7, 2016

Miscarriage 7-23-2016

In a Blog post earlier this week, Martens Funeral Home staff member Courtney Burns wrote a very personal and touching piece on her experiences with miscarriages. In it, she used a beautiful pencil drawing entitled "Miscarriage 7-23-16." We've had several comments about the photo and wanting to know more about the drawing. So for tonight's blog post, this is the story of that drawing.

8-26-12 We're Pregnant :)
Curtis Wiklund

Curtis Wiklund found himself sketching moments in his life with his wife Jordin when she started a "Photo 365" project in 2012. After a complete year of sketching, many of his sketches were of moments of the life he was sharing with Jordin. They were beautiful and spoke volumes to the thousands of people who saw them online via Wiklund's site.

By age 28, Wiklund and Jordin were the proud parents of two beautiful children.

Their lives were about to change with the exciting news that they were expecting for the third time. With a daughter Ellie.

Until they weren't.

Which inspired Wiklund's most talked about sketch of raw emotion of a miscarriage.

"When we [found out] we miscarried, we immediately went into the car. We've experienced sad things on our own, but never a mutual grief that we were sharing a heaviness over." Wiklund shared with WJBD Health News reporter Kelly Terez.  "I couldn't figure out how to word it. I kept trying to describe it, or write it. It was frustrating, so I said, "OK, I'll sketch it. By the time I was done, I had exhausted all my tears. I saw it was more accurate than anything I could've ever written."

It spoke volumes to those who had been in the same place the Wiklund's were in.

After sharing the sketch on Instagram and Facebook, the Wiklund's found that thousands of people were opening up and sharing their own stories of miscarrying. They were surprised by the responses.

Again, from WJBD Health News, "I noticed it was almost like a relief. It was like, 'We can talk about this. Now we can share this.' I think it was healing for people to express and acknowledge their own hurt and not hide behind it. It's easy to have miscarriages perceived that way. It's easy to dismiss them because you haven't had the baby yet, but it's a very real loss. That baby was already a part of our family as soon as we found out we were pregnant." Wiklund said.

But his love for his daughter is ever there.

"I love that her life has meaning. Look at what she's done. In her little life, her story is comforting literally thousands of grieveing parents around the world. But I would rather have her here, with me. At the ultrasound, Jordin has a distinct feeling that our baby was a girl. We named her Ellie. It was a favorite name of ours, that we were saving for a girl. We decided to give it to her, and Jordin looked up its meaning. Ellie means, "God is my light." This was perfect for her and for us. We cling to the hope that we will have much more time with her after this life. As painful as it is to not have her here, we know life is short and what comes after is longer."

"This was the day we found out we miscarried. It's strange to share because it's such a quiet thing. Most don't talk about it. I just didn't know what else to do, but draw on that day. It more accurately journaled how I felt that anything I could write.

I hope by sharing it, those others out there who are quietly hurting, some far worse than we are, are comforted knowing at least, that you are not alone.

More of Curtis Wiklund's work can be viewed at

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I Am That One in Four Women!

For the start of Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, Courtney Burns, a member of the Walter Martens & Sons Funeral Home staff has asked us to share her story. 

Miscarriage 7-23-16
Curtis Wiklund
Hello. My name is Courtney Burns. I am a 25 year old, married woman whom has had 3 miscarriages. In light of October being Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, I've decided to share my experience with this, and I'm doing this in hopes to let other women know it happens, it does hurt, but it will be okay-there is hope for us.

~My Story~
          I'll never forget the first time that my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child together. It was November, 2015. I was so excited-we had been trying for a long time to conceive. I posted it on Facebook-I wanted to share the news with everyone.

Unfortunately, our excitement didn't last long.

Roughly the second week of December, I had my first miscarriage.

It was a horrible feeling. One I've never felt before in my life. My doctor explained that with first time pregnancies, it is common to miscarry early on in a pregnancy. I was only five weeks along, but I felt a little better knowing that this was common, but it still didn't take all the pain away.

A few months down the road, I once again had great news-I was pregnant again. This time, my husband and I were not getting over excited for the fear that we would miscarry again. We didn't post it on Facebook. This time, we were going to give it more time before we announced it to everyone, other than close friends and relatives.

Once again, I had another miscarriage.

I had no pain, no warning signs, no nothing. It occurred at 3:30AM and I just remember walking into the bedroom and crying and crying. I told my husband it happened again, and I was sorry, he could leave if he wanted. I kept repeating that I hated myself, that I couldn't even carry a baby for my husband, and that I couldn't give my mom and dad grandkids or extend out my family.

With the second miscarriage, I was overwhelmed with hate.

My husband and I found another OB/GYN to go to and explained to her what had been going on. She ran tests and told me I could try to conceive again. At this point in time, my husband and I decided to not try, but to let it happen on its own.

In July of 2016, I once again found out we were expecting. I called my doctor and we spoke. She said "Let's see how it goes. If you make it past five weeks, you should be golden."

My last two were both lost at five weeks.

So my husband and I did what we normally did, went to work, spent time with our family and friends, etcetera. We made it past five weeks. But when I was between my sixth and seventh week, I lost my baby. I was a total wreck. No matter how many times I heard, "I'm so sorry for your loss," it didn't help. In fact it made me upset. Sorry didn't do it and why is anyone else sorry-they didn't take my baby.

My doctor felt horrible too. She told me she doesn't know why I keep miscarrying, and she's referred me to a specialist.

I told her, when I'm ready, I'll call him.

I told my husband I am not trying anymore, and maybe God hates me and that's why I have lost three babies. He tries to make me feel better, it doesn't help completely. He assures me, he'll never leave me because of this.

 I thank God everyday for my husband and my stepson. Because when I look at my stepson, he reminds me that even if I can't ever have a child of my own, I will always have him and no one can take that from me.

In conclusion, keep in mind, this is coming from someone who has had a heart full of hate, discouragement and sadness-you will make it through this and you can, just as long as you remember you are still a mother. Even though you don't have a baby to hold in your arms, you have an angel baby in heaven. And you'll always remember that baby or even babies, you'll remember their birthdays and milestones in life.

From one grieving mother to another, keep your head high and don't give up.