We are Josh and Jessica Heffinger, founders of Glory Baby Ministry. Our story dates back to 2007 when we met and began dating. In 2009 we got married and knew we wanted to start a family quickly. Our prayers were answered when we became pregnant in 2010. We were ecstatic, as are most couples when they find out they are expecting their first child.
At 15 weeks, we made an appointment at a 3D ultrasound facility to find out the gender of our first born. The baby was moving around on the screen like a super-hero. We got to see the baby sucking a thumb and see the heartbeat fluttering on the screen. It was a GIRL - we named her Riley Marie.
Just a few short weeks later, at 21 weeks, we went in for our anatomy scan. We did not know what to expect. The tech explained that she would take 50 or so photos and then would turn the screen so we could see the baby. What seemed like only minutes into the ultrasound, the tech told me I could go empty my bladder. I went to the restroom and returned to the room. She said she would be right back. I looked at Josh and said, "Something is not right." He tried to remain optimistic, which was hard to do. The tech came back in and said that our doctor was coming to talk to us, and she left the room again. At the time, we did not know that the techs are not allowed to explain what the ultrasound found. While we waited for our doctor to come from the hospital, I turned the screen towards us. Instead of 50 photos on the screen, there were only 5. That's when we both knew something was really wrong. The heartbeat photo was on the screen, and there was a straight line going through it... This may have been our first pregnancy, but we knew what that meant. Our doctor came in with the tech and explained: there was no heartbeat and I would need to go to Labor and Delivery and be induced.
The 9+ hours that I labored were a blur. The pain medication they gave me for the contractions left me feeling loopy. There are moments from that day, especially the delivery, that Josh has had to explain to me because I had no recollection.
Riley Marie was born sleeping on December 3, 2010 at 9:54pm. She weighed 1 lb 2 ounces and was 10 inches long. We had tests run to explain why her heart stopped beating. The results showed that there was a blood clot in her cord and that I had a blood-clotting condition, Anti-Thrombin Factor III. If we were to get pregnant again, I would have to take blood thinner shots and be monitored more closely.
We were able to get pregnant again... six more times actually. Two of the six we early miscarriages. We have delivered 4 healthy baby girls. When people ask how many kids we have, we tell them 5 girls. We have made Riley Marie part of our past, present, and future. We never want her to be forgotten. She is the reason we have started this ministry, and we are so thankful for the time we had with her.