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Happy New Year! Yes, this is the first post of 2017 on my blog. I am SO behind!

I have to admit.....I've been a terrible blogger recently! Sorry! Many of you out there are probably wondering what life-altering experience I must be going through to basically drop off the face of the earth! Well, some of you may have guessed it's because I'm pregnant. You would be correct! God is so good!

The last several months have been interesting while I've navigated life with a toddler, running a business at home, and dealing with lots of fatigue and nausea this round. Thankfully, baby and I are super healthy, so we really can't complain! Pregnancy is a truly miraculous event and I don't take it for granted. Also, MAJOR props to my super hero husband who has been a huge Godsend! (I married UP!)

It's been quite a whirlwind with all that has been going on; not only within our domestic church, but in the world all around us. Some of us may be coming into 2017 with anger, caution, fear, and dread. Many of us are ecstatic and hopeful. Many of us are still licking wounds or are working through regret over things said during a brutal election season. Whichever emotion best describes you and regardless of who you voted for, I would say that most of us have some level of fear and dread in our hearts with all the unknowns and negative events that are happening in the world these days.

As I begin 2017 here at The Purified Palate, I want this first post to be simple. To everyone reading this is: Be still and know that He is God. He reigns and no government, politician, world leader, or global crisis can ever take His place or change this. *sigh of relief*. Thank God. But easier said than done, amiright? Are we truly living with this knowledge? Are we embracing it? Or are our words and actions toward our neighbor and our circumstances showing otherwise? I'm totally guilty of commiserating in this fear and dread. Anyone else? Misery really does love company. You know who else loves misery and gets way too much of it these days? I'll let you take a wild guess. 

This past year especially, I've really struggled with learning not to focus on what other people think. At the root of all our hearts, I think we desperately want to be known and loved for who we are. In today's world, it's heartbreaking to see such conditional love and how people are so selective and controlling over their relationships; simply based on whether they're in agreement with that person's views and values. I've actually heard people say, "Nah. I'd rather not hang out with that person. I'm sure they'll start talking about the election and such-and-such candidate." 

Growing up, my parents encouraged openness toward others and, even if we disagreed, to always listen and be respectful. I treasure the vulnerability and diversity that comes with open dialogue with people across all idealogies. I have always felt it was a huge compliment when people feel they can open up and share such an intimate piece of themselves; even if we are polar opposites in beliefs.  It is so rare to be a part of open and respectful dialogue, and to experience such unconditional love by our peers these days. Nothing hurts me more than when a loved one or acquaintance assumes terrible things of me or is mis-interpreting my intentions, yet they've made no effort to seek understanding or to actually get to know who I am; and this includes what I'm passionate about, my religion, my politics, etc. This doesn't include the current weather conditions or how my day was. I'm not perfect at this, but knowing how much it hurts to be "loved" in such a superficial and conditional way, I'm going to double my efforts to seek understanding of others before jumping to conclusions or assuming the worst. I'm going to sacrifice my own comfort in order to be more vulnerable and let the other person feel more intimately loved for who they are and what drives them and gives them meaning in this life we share. Surrendering my life and my relationships to Christ means I won't always be comfortable in conversation, but I know that this discomfort is sanctifying me, and this discomfort is giving the other person a glimpse at Christ. I've also grown closer to accepting that at the end of the day, I can't control other's opinions of me and this is something I also need to surrender to Christ. 

My very wise brother, who's going to be ordained this summer as a Jesuit priest, reminded me once that living with such fear and anxiety is very contradictory to who we are as Christians. How will our faith and joy in Christ ever look attractive to others and how will we ever exude warmth and openness to our brothers and sisters, if we live in fear and dread, close ourselves off to the world out of this fear, and make decisions that are controlling and rooted in fear and dread; rather than out of love and joy in knowing He is King; over our world, our lives, and our salvation?

With these things in mind, I decided that when I made out my list of New Year's resolutions, I would also be choosing a theme to focus on: Joyful Abandonment in Christ. I can make as many resolutions and to-do lists as I want, but if I don't have joy rooted in Him and if I don't surrender it all to Him, then nothing else matters. No matter where I live in the world, if I don't surrender my life to Him, I will never feel true freedom. I forget this way too often. I desperately want to be filled with this fruit-of-the-holy-spirit-type joy, and nothing robs me of it more than trying to control my own life out of fear and dread, and getting in my own way of surrendering it all to Him. I also want to be less fearful when it comes to vulnerability and getting uncomfortable in my relationships with others. Fear robs us of the richness and fruit of relationships, and if I surrender them to Christ as well, I pray it makes me a more Christ-like and loving presence in their lives. I pray this vulnerability brings me closer to Christ, too. This reminds me of a great quote by one of my favorite authors and philosophers:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Love

What is your "theme" for the year? What did you learn from 2016? Please share in the comments or on our facebook page!

I wish you and all your loved ones a beautiful, bright, and blessed new year full of joyful abandonment in Christ!

 

We now conclude our series with a moving interview with Kolbe's mom, Kim. I hope you've been moved as I have by the courage and beautiful witness to the dignity of human life that Kim and her husband Colin have shown by sharing the life story and legacy of their son Kolbe.

Today, I will ask Kim some very hard questions. She gives some very moving responses; responses that bring powerful perspective and voice to the mothers and families who've been through pregnancy and infant loss. Please join me in praying for all those who've walked or are currently walking this journey. Thank you for joining us. -Joan

 

How has Kolbe's life changed you and your faith? How has it made you and your faith stronger?

 

I am not the same person I was prior to having our son. He has completely changed me for the better. Because of his life and death I have really taken to heart how temporary life is and I realize how big of a gift that truly is. Because of the suffering we faced I have this strength I never knew existed. Because of his absence I will forever feel that pain of grieving him. Because of this loss I will have a greater respect and love for Colin as he showed and continues to show a strength I have never seen. These are all beautiful fruits of such a devastating loss.

 

A couple months after giving birth to Kolbe I went on a silent retreat in Nebraska. I went to the adoration chapel during the middle of the night and didn’t even know what to say. I sat there in silence. Our baby boy died and I had blood clots in my lungs. I was exhausted spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I just sat in the pew and cried.

 

Throughout my pregnancy I consistently heard the song, Oceans, by Hillsong United playing on the radio. I believe that this was a God incidence. The lyrics really resonate with me as they describe how my faith was during Kolbe’s diagnosis and beyond.

You call me out upon the waters. The great unknown where feet may fail.

And there I find You in the mystery in oceans deep my faith will stand.

And I will call upon Your name. And keep my eyes above the waves when oceans rise.

My soul will rest in your embrace, for I am Yours and You are mine.

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me. You’ve never failed and you won’t start now.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.

 

As time has continued, Colin and I feel a part of our little family physically missing, but we can feel Kolbe's presence through the many graces God bestows on us. For example, we carried our miracle baby for 33 short weeks. I felt God’s presence in the significance of the number of weeks he allowed us to carry our son as Christ was 33 years old when Mary witnessed the death on this earth of her son.

 

How has your experience affected your pro-life convictions?

 

I think it is one thing to have pro-life convictions based off your knowledge and belief, but it is another to have these convictions based off of experience. Colin and I met on The March for Life in Washington D.C., but I never thought I would be in the position to experience these choices first-hand. If ever asked, I would choose Kolbe every time.

 

Seeing the ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy and seeing Kolbe’s progress in growth was proof of life at conception. He had rights the moment he was conceived. At my 12-week ultrasound he already looked like a little human in my tummy. I could see his heart beating. Why is it that a human with rights is declared dead when their heart stops and a baby forming in the womb (having a heartbeat 18 days after conception) is not considered human until after they are born?

 

What advice would you give to healthcare professionals when it comes to treatment of mothers and their unborn babies with dignity; both during pregnancy and after loss?

 

Help parents embrace their pregnancy. Don’t encourage them to distance themselves because of the pain that comes from grieving the loss of their child. This is by far “the sourest lemon” life has to offer, so acknowledge their courage in choosing to advocate for their child and help them in doing that.

 

As a doctor you see this type of sorrow that comes with parents being given a challenging prenatal diagnosis. I know it is hard to experience, but don’t be cold because you are scared of connecting with the mother and child. You are given a gift to be a part of such an intimate time of a family’s life. Be thankful for this.

 

In addition, be straight forward. Don’t give parents a false sense of hope in terms of their baby’s diagnosis. If you are doing this, you are just adding to the devastation they face when they don’t physically bring a baby home.

 

Lastly, when talking to parents about their baby; if they have named their child, say their child's name! So many times, my son was referred to as “baby”. For the last time, my son’s name is Kolbe, not “baby.”

 

How do you feel pro-choice views negatively affect society's treatment of mothers who've lost their baby from miscarriage or a prenatal diagnosis?

 

They don’t acknowledge our motherhood as they believe that a baby isn’t a human life until its birth. My son was stillborn, so did he never exist? Their views make me feel as if my son’s life has no significance. I feel robbed of my motherhood and I earned these stripes. During my pregnancy, I experienced what most mothers experience throughout the entire life of their child. So, why should my motherhood and his life matter less?

 

To the stranger in passing, they will never know of my motherhood. I walk around each day carrying my son in my heart and not in my arms. I feel the pain and loss of him that comes with this particular type of motherhood. Looking in the mirror, I see the scars left- the stretch marks (my Kolbe tattoos) and marks from endless times I had my blood drawn during my pregnancy with Kolbe.

 

These individuals who are pro-choice believe they are giving women, more specifically mothers, more “rights,” but they are robbing us of our titles and utmost dignity. They believe that the mother should have the right to choose an abortion to save her life if at risk. Don’t take the “easy road” on this as it may seem like a solution to a “problem” at the time. All pregnancies come with the possibility of health risks, but how could a mother destine her child to abortion? With that choice, you are taking away your motherhood and replacing it with the guilt that comes with not advocating for your child in the most vulnerable stage of their life.

 

How did you hear about Angel House Rescue Orphanage and what were your deciding factors in building Kolbe's legacy by supporting them?


Growing up I always said I wanted to open an orphanage. I never imagined my son would give me this gift.

 

This became a reality because of my husband, Colin. He is a business owner/entrepreneur and because of this we have grown to love the show, Shark Tank. This show is about individuals pitching their business ideas to the “sharks” who chose whether they would like to invest in their company.

 

Prior to my pregnancy with Kolbe, I remember seeing a company, Grace and Lace, on the show. They explained that they started an “accidental company.” They were pregnant with their first baby and at their routine ultrasound realized that there were complications. Melissa had surgery and was admitted to the hospital, bed ridden for the remainder of her pregnancy. With all this time that she would have she decided she would sew her baby a blanket. Unfortunately, two weeks after the surgery the Doctors could not stop her labor and their daughter was born. The doctors told them their daughter would not make it as her lungs were not developed enough at this point.

 

Her love for sewing and knitting began to grow. Melissa made herself a cute pair of boot socks. Everywhere she wore them, people would ask where she got them. She put them online to see if people would be interested in buying them and got four hundred requests. From there, Grace and Lace began.

 

Recently, ABC released a show called, Beyond the Tank. Basically, this show showcases the success of various companies that were previously on Shark Tank. Grace and Lace premiered on the show right after we were released from the hospital. They were having quite a bit of success with their company. They decided they wanted to partner with Angel House and have a portion of every sale go toward building one of these orphanages in India to house 50 orphans each.

 

AngelHouse

 

I was curious so I researched if there was a possibility that the Kolbe Scott Fund could take part of the money raised and open a home. We are building a 12-child orphanage this upcoming June. It will take 12 children off the streets of India and provide them with a new life. This is all because of our little man, Kolbe Scott Hurd.

 

What advice would you give to other mothers who have experienced or will experience the loss of their baby?

 

First off, welcome to the club. I know you did not want to be a part of this club and neither did I. I have met, as will you, some of the most extraordinary women and mothers because of this experience. I know this doesn’t replace the emptiness you feel from your devastating loss, but it is a grace that comes from it.

 

To anyone experiencing an in-utero diagnosis or the loss of a baby; embrace it. Fiercely love your baby no matter how hard it is. Spend this time loving and nurturing your child while they are physically here. I know it is scary, but do it. Do things with them that you desired to do with them prior to the diagnosis. I am not going to lie and tell you that all of this does not come with suffering, but if you allow it in your life you will experience so much more beauty. I promise.


I wish I could go back to the moment we received the diagnosis and tell myself that it would be okay and we would make it through this together as a family of three.

 

Christ will weep with you and give you the graces you will pray for.

 

I would tell myself to be considered blessed as most women don’t carry babies with this diagnosis as long as I did.

 

I would tell myself that I am the luckiest mom out there.

 

To help the Hurd Family continue building Kolbe's legacy

by funding an orphanage, please visit:

https://www.crowdrise.com/babies-building-orphanages/fundraiser/colinhurd

 

KolbeGrave

 

 

 

A Different Kind of Motherhood

There was a show that recently came out called, "This is Us". The couple is pregnant with triplets and they end up losing one of them during birth. The OB/GYN talks with the father of the triplets outside the delivery room. He says,“I like to think that one day you'll be an old man like me talkin' a young man's ear off explainin' to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade. If you can do that, then maybe you will still be taking three babies home from this hospital, just maybe not the way you planned.”

 

August 26, 2015, we took a baby home from the hospital. This wasn’t what we planned but he is our greatest adventure.

 

Instead of taking Kolbe home to the crib we had bought, we had to lay him to rest at a gravesite. Instead of shopping for baby clothes, we had to shop funeral homes. Instead of creating a birth announcement, we had to create funeral programs. My point isn’t to make you sad for us, but to give you perspective. This type of motherhood is painful and hard, but there is beauty in it.

 

Kolbe changed me for the better. I am not the same person that I was before my son. I believe that moments and experiences in our lives shape us. I will forever be changed because of him. Because of what Kolbe taught me during his time with us, I will forever be available to a child. I will understand how fragile life is. I will be more grateful. I will be a better wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. These are all extraordinary gifts. I loved him the best I could while he was here and I continue to love him each day. There is not a day that goes by that he is not a part of.

 

BibleFeet

 

Legacy

Colin and I believe that Kolbe’s life, although short, is not insignificant. Most parents are given the opportunity to raise, nurture and help their children grow. Since Kolbe is not physically here with us we decided to take the time and energy we would have spent raising Kolbe to make a difference in others lives. We want to bring beauty from his ashes.

 

Since Kolbe’s birth we have raised over $18,000. With a portion of these funds we will be building a 12-child orphanage in India this upcoming June through Angel House Rescue Orphanage. We would like to invite other families or friends of families who have experienced the loss of a child to participate.

 

Our hope is to give families a simple, yet meaningful, opportunity to create a lasting legacy in honor of their child. Each family that donates towards the home will have the opportunity to have their child’s name on a plaque that is placed outside the home.

 

Matthew 5: 13-16~ Be the Salt & Light

 

Please come back in a few days to finish this series with an inspiring interview with Kim Hurd.

Everything Hurts

I sat on the toilet crying and telling Colin how in pain I was. He asked, “What hurts?” I replied, “Everything hurts- my body and heart. I have the chills. I am so cold.” He gently helped me maneuver from the toilet to the couch. He plugged in the heating pad and placed it on my lower back in between my body and the pillow. He put other pillows up to prop me as I was having a lot of difficulty laying flat. Whimpering, I said, “Colin, I can’t breath.”

 

He asked, “What do you mean you can’t breath?”

 

I said, "We need to go to the hospital. You need to take me to the ER now. I texted the OB/GYN and she told me that I could have blood clots in my lungs if I am having trouble breathing.”

 

He said, “Let’s just take a minute. Relax and try to catch your breath.”

 

My phone rang. It was my sister. I figured she was calling to check up on me and to mostly see how I was doing emotionally. I picked up the phone. She asked how everything was going. As I began to answer I had to try to catch my breath between words. I told her I needed to go and hung up the phone.

 

Colin turned to me and asked, “Were you having trouble talking to your sister on the phone?”

 

“Yes. We need to go.”

 

We both reluctantly got into the car hoping that they would tell us that it was just breast engorgement and I needed to continue to ice and put cabbage leaves on them to help with the pain. I didn’t want to be going back to the hospital. I especially didn’t want to go back to Mary Greeley as that was where I first learned that something was wrong with our little boy.

 

We pulled into the parking garage. We tried to find somewhere near the ER to park, but it was under construction. We ended up having to park on the opposite side of the hospital. We entered the sliding door and the security guard on duty asked us where we were headed. We asked her how to get to the ER. She explained the way to go and I stood there trying to catch my breath from my walk from the car to the door. We proceeded down the empty hallway and took a right. We entered into the back side of the ER and had to walk through it.

 

A nurse stopped us and asked if we were looking for the labor and delivery room. I held back the tears and said to her coldly, “no.”

 

As we got to the waiting room of the ER I motioned to Colin that I was going to take a seat. He went up to put my name in to be seen. He told the woman that our OBGYN in Des Moines thought that I possibly had blood clots in my lungs. By the time Colin finished saying that my name was already called. We went into a triage room near the waiting room.

 

After multiple tests it was confirmed; I had clots in both of my lungs. I would be admitted to the hospital and would be on blood thinners for the next six months.

 

Please come back in a few days for Kolbe's Legacy: Part Six

 

The Birth of Kolbe Scott Hurd  

We were prepared for what we wanted when we got to the hospital as we had met with S.H.I.N.E. during our pregnancy and they helped us put together our birth plan. They also had molds and anything else that we asked for ready at the hospital for memory making items that we could take home so we didn’t have to think about all of that in the moment.

   

We arrived at the hospital around 7:00 pm. I took off my clothes and put the gown on and sat in the hospital bed. Colin and I had decided previously that Kolbe’s legacy was something that was really important to us. We wanted people to experience him even though he wouldn’t physically be here. So, once we were admitted we shared the Facebook page we created for him, @KolbeScottHurd. We created this page just days before our 33-week appointment in hopes of having it complete by Kolbe’s arrival, as we were unsure when that would be. On his page we posted pictures of our pregnancy and shared Kolbe’s diagnosis as no one had known, except our families, until we posted that. We told people that we were admitted to the hospital and that we would be giving birth to our precious baby boy. Our hope was to create a legacy, so if people felt inclined to support us they could donate in honor of Kolbe to the Crowdrise page we had created.

   

We sat in the room together unsure what to expect. Part of me was excited to see our beautiful son, but the other part knew that once he was delivered he was no longer going to physically be here. I would no longer be carrying him in utero. My pregnancy with him would be over and we would be left with the grief and suffering that comes with losing a child.

   

The nurses were great and accommodated everything we asked for. They kept us hydrated and kept Colin full. They suggested we get some rest and told us that the Anesthesiologist would be in during the middle of the night to administer my epidural. The door opened and he turned the lights on. He had me sit on the corner of the hospital bed. Before putting the needle in he stopped to acknowledge and empathize with what we were going through. He told us that he too had lost children. He had lost two at birth and he knew that this was not an easy experience to go through. He tried to give a glimpse of hope as he talked about his four living children. My eyes were filling up with tears. He finished and left the room.

   

The nurses came in and out throughout the night to check my blood pressure and administer drugs to help induce labor. Needless to say, we weren’t getting much sleep between that and the blood pressure monitor continuously going off. Around 5:00 am the OB/GYN who was specialing my case came in on her day off, before her morning run, to put in a balloon to help induce labor since I was not progressing on the drugs alone. Colin and I sat there waiting.

   

A couple hours passed by and my OB/GYN came back in. She removed the balloon and checked to see how dilated I was. I had barely progressed. She proceeded to break my water in hopes that it would help.

   

My family had been at the hospital for quite some time, so we had everyone come in to say hello. They brought plenty of snacks for Colin to munch on during the day, as I wasn’t able to eat at this point. We chatted for a bit and then had everyone leave so we could have some time together before I would start pushing.

   

We finally got to the point where I was experiencing contractions. Colin sat to the left of me holding my hand and watching the monitor to see when to help me calm down my breathing and get through the pain. The OB/GYN told us that unfortunately Kolbe was breech and that I would not be able to push entirely once his lower half was out. I wasn’t dilated enough at that point. We had to wait to push until I progressed more. I laid there for an hour and a half in the hospital bed scared to reach for Kolbe in fear I would hurt him. I finally started to feel the urge to push and was progressed enough to continue. He was born at 6:42 pm after almost 24 hours of labor. The hospital room was silent.

 

 KolbeBirthMother and Son 

 

The doctor immediately handed Kolbe to me. I looked down at my son. He was so beautiful. I held his limp and lifeless body in my arms. Nothing in my life prepared me for that moment. My eyes filled with tears.

   

I gently handed our son to the nurse so he could have a bath. She bathed him, clothed him in the outfit we brought, wrapped him in the blanket that was made for him by my mom, and left the room to give us some privacy with our son. Colin sat beside me as I held Kolbe and we read him the book, If I Were a Giraffe. I set him down in between my legs in the hospital bed. We just looked at our son pointing out the similarities he had to both of us. He was so beautiful. He had a full head of brown hair like me. We laughed over the similarity him and Colin had with their feet and how long he was. I think when he got older he would have looked a lot like his Daddy.

   

Both our families were in the waiting room, so Colin went back and got groups of two to come to the room to meet their nephew/cousin/grandson. Since Kolbe was so fragile I wanted to hold him the entire time. As people came in they were able to meet Kolbe and take photographs together. It meant a lot to Colin and I to have our families there to meet our son as this would be the only opportunity they would have. This was by far one of the hardest days we have ever experienced, but we had great support in the waiting room the entire time.

   

Everyone met Kolbe and it was just the three of us again. Another nurse on the floor then came in to do memory-making activities in our room- footprints, handprints, molds, etc. After she left, a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came in to do professional photos of the three of us. I will forever be grateful for these photographs.

 

KolbeBasket

   

Everything that we had put on our birth plan was complete and a man from the funeral home was on his way to pick up our son. Colin and I sat there together switching off who was holding our son. We told him how much we loved him and how sad we were that he wasn’t physically going to be here with us. I remember the last time I kissed him on the forehead before he was gone. They took our son in his basket and covered him with a blanket through the halls and to the car.

   

I sat there in the hospital bed feeling completely empty, like a part of me was missing and I would never get it back. My belly, that once held our son, was empty. Colin and I were both exhausted. I felt so much pain- physically, emotionally and spiritually. I remember sitting and waiting for Colin to fall asleep. I had hardly cried that entire day as I wanted it to be a happy day meeting our son.

 

After he fell asleep I rolled onto my side and cried.

   

Please come back in a few days for Kolbe's Legacy: Part Five