my hearts

These guys {and their dad} are my whole life.

But there was a time just over five years ago when I wasn’t sure I ever wanted kids.  It wasn’t just me.  Cort was in agreement with me.  We loved being just the two of us.  We had been married for a year and a half, were getting quite close to turning 30,  but all of our discussions about kids ended in,Not now. Just….not now.

Then one day in 2007 I took a pregnancy test because I was late.

I haven’t been able to write about that short pregnancy.  Mostly because I still can’t let go of thinking it’s abrupt ending was my fault.

The thing about that pregnancy, it convinced us that we wanted…very badly, in fact…to be parents.

The following year, I found myself pregnant again with almost the exact same due date as the year before.

This time we wanted it from the beginning.  We prayed and timidly allowed ourselves to be excited.

But it was no use.  We lost it.  I lost it.

I try so hard not to think about those little hearts.  Those little ones who did not make it.

It seems…fruitless.  Is that the right word?  I don’t even know.  It seems ungrateful.  There. That is better.

It seems ungrateful to dwell on the Lost Ones.

I mean, would I have my boys if I had them?

I can’t imagine our life without Eddie and Charlie.  They are meant to be our sons.  I know this just from looking at them.  They were meant to be here with us.

So why the first two?  Were they just random glitches?  Not meant to be thought of?  Not meant to be dreamed about?  Not…anything?

I can’t believe that either.

No, just because neither made it past “embryo” doesn’t mean they weren’t something.

Recently Cort and I were talking about his dad (I know this seems off topic, but bear with me) and how he would be so tickled about all his grandkids and seeing his own children become parents.

Sometimes on the happiest, most fun days with our boys and Cort’s siblings, he will get the saddest thinking about all his dad is missing.

I held his hand and told him something I had been keeping in my heart for a few years:

I believe our first babies are in heaven in order to give your dad some grandkids to play with right now.

Cort squeezed my hand and I knew he was struggling against tears.  He told me he liked that and I was probably right.

I don’t think of those miscarriages often anymore, but those unborn babies sit in my heart.  They were part of me even if for a short time.

Too many of my friends know of this pain, but one friend in particular has suffered this (more times than I have) and has become my heart buddy. No matter her struggles and pain, she remembers my fight too.  She never discounts my pain because it is “less” than hers.  She knows pain is pain.  And she knows I am fiercely praying for her with every beat of my heart.

She wrote a post about her five hearts who are not with her.

I cried. She is so strong. SO. DAMN. STRONG.

And do you know what she did?  She sent me two of my own hearts.

This past week I bought them a little “box” and now they reside on my nightstand.

I know it’s weird to say, but having those hearts right there, next to our family picture, next to where I sleep…it’s like they are home.

Something in my heart settled down the day those hearts arrived in the mail.

I held them in my hand today during nap time.

I closed my hand around them and felt their cool hardness.

And I quietly thanked them for my boys.

Without them I would not have Eddie and Charlie.

I would not have my boys.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”  ~Proverbs 3: 5-6


Don’t forget about the minted giveaway I have going on over here!

And read about how I know NOTHING about Canada over here.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. You made me cry again, damnit.

    I love that your hearts are where they’re supposed to be. And I love the perspective of them with Cort’s Dad. Just – Love.

  2. Oh, you.

    I’m sitting here in tears.

    I have four hearts that I carry with me. Four that are a part of me even though they never made it -here-.

    Your thought that your first two are in heaven for Cort’s dad to love and enjoy? That. I needed that.

    That is where my four are. They are there for my Dad to play with and watch over.

    That gives me comfort that I didn’t have before.

    Thank you, Kate. For more than you realize. Thank you.


    • Oh Stasha. I am so sorry you know the pain I speak of. So sorry.

      I’m glad I could bring you a little comfort today. It makes no sense to feel that they are there, but that is what my heart tells me. They are with Cort’s dad. And I just accept that and find comfort in it.

  3. Whoa.

    Love. This.

    Love You.

  4. oh Katie and Oh Tonya…my heart is so full and weepy this week, this just broke it…and healed it too.

    friendship is such a powerful force isn’t it??? The connection and community it gives you, the love it can bring you in the darkest places. I know about this tribe, I know this village and while I am sorry that you have to know this pain, (Both of you)…I hold you both in my hearts and feel lucky to have you here in that space with me.

    Oh, my. My tears haven’t stopped all morning.

    • this tribe is far bigger than i ever thought…and that makes me sad. Yet, so many to give comfort to each other. sigh. love to you.

  5. Katie, I love this post. That line about the kids being in heaven to be with Cort’s dad. Well, it became, suddenly, very dusty in my office – and it’s, usually, impeccably clean here.

    And isn’t Tonya awesome?

    I knew I was going to marry Duffy when, one day, staying at a friend’s house, we started talking about a future, and we both saw kids in it — and I realized “wow, I’d love for this person to be the mother of my kids.” I didn’t want them then . . . and, I truly believe we became parents when we needed to become parents.

    In the road we took – with “let’s hold off on the test” when Duffy was late, to her thinking that, really, she might be pregnant, and then a sudden “no test needed” sign that, no, she wasn’t pregnant happening every few months, to filling out the adoption paperwork, to being chosen to parent children, to hearing that kids were born and we were going to be parents, to hearing that, no, the birthparents were going to parent, to finally becoming parents . . . I know the heartache is different than yours, but I, seriously, feel for you.

    But, with that said – the road was hard, but the road was right . . . I don’t know if I’d appreciate what I have now quite as much if it weren’t for how difficult the road to “here” was.

    • Oh John. I agree. The roads you and I have traveled for our love and our children…they were right. Perhaps my stubborn, jaded, cynical self needed those first two to break and then mush up my heart and open it for my boys. So I could every day be amazed and never, even for a moment, take for granted what I have been blessed with.

      The journey shapes the destination, doesn’t it?

  6. what a sweet and thoughtful gift. sometimes the smallest of gestures touch you beyond words.

  7. I can’t add words, but I wanted to show you how much this post touched me.

  8. Beautiful. Utterly and totally beautiful.

  9. This is really beautiful. And what a sweet gift from your friend.

    I miscarried between my two children. And I know that I would not have my son if it were not for that miscarriage, but still, every October 26th (due date), I think about that baby and where she is. Your thoguht about your babies being with Cort’s dad reallly hit me. I had a dream/vision/something as I was miscarrying. I knew it was happening but it was a Friday evening and I wouldn’t be able to see the doctor until Monday.

    I saw myself pushing a stroller filled with pink blankets around a lake. There by the lake was my grandmother (she passed 16 years ago). She picked up the bundle of blankets, smiled and told me she would take care of her. Then she walked away.

    Sorry, I’m hijacking your post. But anyway, this really struck a cord because I always imagine my grandmother, dancing on a cloud, holding my lost heart.

  10. Oh my goodness, Katie.

    those two babies are in heaven playing with Cort’s dad… I just know it.

    I must find a tissue and fix my mascara.

    Loved this post… just loved it.

  11. Of course I read this at work and got all teary-eyed in front of the new person.

    I also carry two hearts. That’s how I found you and Tonya and many others in the community. The last time I was having a particularly difficult time dealing with having 2 hearts but not 2 toddlers I took to the internet to find others and in that I have found hope and strength and courage.

    Thank you for sharing your story because it has given me the courage to share mine.

  12. This made my day. I feel so blessed to know you, Katie and as much as I wish we didn’t have this pain in common, at the same time I’m glad we do. If that makes any sense? Thank you for recognizing how much I believe that pain is pain and loss is loss. Thank you for this beautiful post and thank you for your beautiful heart. xoxo

  13. Hmmm–this is a hard one for me to respond to…I know the pain all too well with two miscarriages myself. The sting and the pain–it never goes away. And, I know how you felt when you had the concrete reminder with those hearts. We have our own little reminders in our house, and while the rest of the world may never understand, it means a lot to me and my husband. Thanks for sharing your heart, friend.

  14. This brought tears to my eyes. I love the thought of them being with Cort’s dad, though I wish you didn’t have to go through this. Sending you love.

  15. TheNextMartha says

    Just beautiful. So wonderful of her to share.

  16. Wow, Katie. I’ve said for awhile that if I get to ask God anything when I get to heaven, I’m going to ask why women have to deal with miscarraiges so much. I don’t think I have to ask anymore, I think you just gave me my answer. I’m a total mess from this blog but part of it is being happy imagining my three “hearts” and my sisters hearts playing in heaven with our mother and grandparents. Thank you Katie, this is amazing!

  17. What you said to Cort is so beautiful. I … can’t find the words I want to say right now. My heart is so full at this moment. Thank you for your courage, strength and love. Your family is so blessed to have you.

  18. Perfectly written and worded. I’m sorry for your losses, your sadness, and that many have experienced, but I believe you. I believe your reasoning why. I think that it’s horrible to say what’s meant to be will be, but as you said, there is a reason. (hugs)

  19. Sigh…no words…just love.

  20. Mamaintheburbs says

    I recently bought a necklace from a fellow IG buddy and twitter friend. It’s one of those mama’s nest with pearls in it as eggs. The necklace has a nest with 4 eggs. 3 pearls represent my miscarriages and the one colored pearl, representing my DD’s birthday. This post means a lot to me bc in my case if it wasn’t for the many losses I would never of went down the adoption route. We struggled with IVF for years and experienced miscarriages that were heart breaking. But after all the disappointment we were still determined to be parents. I’m so proud of my decision to adopt and I’m also in awe of my necklace. My three angels will never be far from my heart.

  21. I am rarely rendered speechless.

    And yet…

  22. This is so raw and beautifully honest. Thank you.

  23. What a beautiful post. And how kind of your friend.

    I know your loss, all too well.

  24. Your idea on your babies being with their grandfather gave me the chills in an aching and heart-filling way. {hugs}

  25. Loss doesn’t differentiate between first or second or eighth. Those two hearts will always be a part of you, a part of your family. It’s natural to think of them, wonder about how your life would be different. I don’t think that ever goes away. What you offered your husband is beautiful and warms me to think it’s true. Tonya’s gift to you is just as special. I’m glad you have a friend who understands. Yet, I wish none of us knew this pain.

    I’ve always wanted four children. The original second child didn’t make it. That guilt, that “this is my fault” feeling? Nine years after, it’s still here. It’s much less intense, of course, and I know it’s not even accurate, but it remains. That thought of what would life be like? I don’t think it ever goes away.

  26. Reading this made me tear up and think of my own heart that’s not here with me. And I realized that maybe in a way it was meant to be so we could have our Little One. We thought we were done after two, were happy… then the surprise, the one that didn’t last… and I think, with that a seed was planted and here we are with our precious little blond angel. Thank you for this, for sharing and opening your heart.

  27. Thank you for making me cry. In a good way. Thank you.