I was playing

in your


with our 



When suddenly

I felt

a warm embrace

around me. 

My eyes filled 

with tears,

my heart





in that quiet


I knew

it was



My therapist


getting a


to help

give my life

a new sense

of purpose 


to help me

not feel


As I've been looking

at dogs, 

I can't help, 

but feel


Why that is

I don't 




I read a


by another 


who terminated



just like 

I had




She said that

she chose

to take on

her baby's 




for the rest

of her 











That's why

I made my 




isn't that







There are names






but what

do you call


who lost





It's been

7 months, 

2 bottles of prenatal vitamins, 

5 negative pregnancy tests, 


countless tears, 


we lost



I find it 


that I spend

six hours 

a day, 

five days

a week, 

mothering the children

of strangers,

But I never 


to mother

my own. 


I heard you



How is your 



my baby



I don't know 



I do 


my decision

to terminate

was made




and most of all, 



I remember

when I was

setting up

your crib

I randomly




I used to think

it was because

I was so 


But now 

I think, 

deep down, 

I knew, 

I wouldn't get to 

have you




The doctors

told me



was like



A fluke, 

A rarity, 

a once 

in a lifetime


You were 




Here for a 


and then





I was so 


to being

a home

for two


That now

I feel 






I had 

a dream

a few weeks


Where I saw 

a little 





I locked

eyes with 



at once,

My heart



I wanted 

to stop

and pick

you up, 


the dream 

was over


I could. 

Mother's Day

Mother's Day

is around



And I feel

as if

I don't 


I have the body

of a mother. 

The stretchmarks

of a mother. 

The heart

of a mother. 

But my baby

is long


I'm a mother

to a headstone, 

to a jar filled



No messy breakfasts

in bed, 

songs sung

at church, 

or crafts

made at 


My Mother's Day

will consist


cemetery visits, 





memories of



It’s funny

how bodies

hold on



Sometimes I’ll


my hands

rubbing my



heartbeat will


when I feel



I'll sing

and talk

to you

as if 





there are other times

where tears

will suddenly


Most of the time

I don't know







Little man,

Little dude,

Little bean,

We had so many

Names for you 

Before you 



I wonder


You would have




I’ll never know

If I made the right


When we had to

Pick how 



But I do 


I would choose

To be your 



And over


Spring Break

When I found out

I would have you

In the middle 

Of the school 


I dreaded those weeks

I knew we’d be 


I’d be grading papers

And teaching 

Other people’s


While you’d be at home

With grandma Lisa

Or Tiersa.

I told myself

It would all

Be okay

Because spring break

Would come,


We’d have 

A week



Now spring break

Is here,

But you




Why was it

So hard

To come up

With your

Middle name?

Were you too 


Was I



Or was it


I knew

Once you 

Had a full 


That part

Would be 





I wonder

If I was

Ever meant 

To be happy.

Since the one thing

I’ve always wanted

Was taken 






How many


Of mine 

Are in heaven

Waiting with

Big brother 

For their turn

To be guided


Are they sharing




And daddy?

Do their laughs

And giggles

Echo through

The halls of 


With the sound

Of tiny




White marble


Are they watching,

And waiting,

For us to 

Be ready?

Counting our


And planning 

Our blessings?


I used to be


of dying


my little one


My fear has

been replaced

with excitement

To hold him

and see

his smile. 


When you lose

a baby,

you're put

in an exclusive 


A club of


lost motherhood,

and shared 


We comfort, 


and mourn,

while sharing 


babies' names. 

Weaving friendship bracelets

from tears



umbilical cords. 

We dream of a place

where our babies

can play

until it's time

for us to also



We never

wanted to be in

this club, 

but we're here




We have

a nursery

full of things. 

Except for

the most




I've had a 



with God 

since losing

my baby. 

My prayers weren't


they never seemed

to reach



in a touristy,




I decided to


on an old

brown leather 




In this moment of prayer

I felt

the heavens



A warmth in my heart, 


a comfort 


I begged for 

a child 





And instead

of the usual 


I heard 

the choirs of 


"You will 

have a child"

the voices 


No due date assigned, 


a promise was given. 

That baby isn't here yet, 


I hope 

one day 

they'll be. 


When you lose

your first 


You lose 

so much


Than little


and toes. 

You lose 

your sense of



and hope

for the future. 

You don't have

another child

to comfort you 

Or to prove 


you can do it 


All you know

is grief,


and failure. 

You couldn't 



your first. 

Who's to say

you'll have

a second


a third. 

All you know



But never



I hold on 

to my grief, 

because I could not

hold on 



It Must Be Nice

It must be nice 
To birth your first child
And hold them in your arms. 

To kiss their hands and feet 
And see them wiggle 
All ten of their little toes. 

It must be nice to have your motherhood 
Not defined by grief and loss. 
Or to be a mother
To an invisible child. 

To only feel excitement and anticipation 
With each baby you carry. 
 Instead of fear,
And traumatic memories. 

It must be nice to have only positive experiences, 
No nurses crying, 
Or apologizing, 
while they complete your last ultrasound. 

To never experience 
A doctor leaving you alone in a room. 
Hearing hushed voices in the hall 
And your heart slowly dropping 
As they stall. 

It must be nice to only be faced 
With the decision of choosing a name. 
No difficult decisions 
Where you are forced to decide 
How your child lives, 
or dies. 

Experiencing hours of labor 
Instead of days or weeks 
Of tests,
And unanswerable questions. 

It must be nice to receive gifts 
and congratulations, 
Instead of condolences 
And flowers. 

To have no one question 
Whether what you did for your baby 
Was right or wrong. 

It must be nice to deliver 
In a warm, 
Delivery room. 
Surrounded by family 
And friends. 

Instead of a bright, 
Operating room, 
And alone. 

It must be nice to know 
That once the procedure is done 
You’ll have your baby in your arms. 
All of it was worth it 
You’ll get to take him home. 

Instead of wrapping your arms around your belly 
For as long as you can 
Before the anesthesia 
Knocks you out. 

Because once you’re gone, 
So is your baby. 
You’ll never get to hold him, 
Or see him,

You wake up with 
Except a broken heart,
An empty belly,
And empty arms.

Owen's Story Part 10: Trigger Warning Pregnancy Loss, TFMR

Yesterday, I read an article that talked about how fetuses send cells to help their mother’s body stay healthy during pregnancy. The article also talked about how those cells remain in the mother for the rest of her life. Just like the baby is made up of the cells of its parents, the mother carries the cells of her children long after delivery. I hope this is the case. I hope that Owen is still with me in some small, cellular way, even though his body is gone. I miss him every day. Some days are easier than others, some days are harder than others. I’ll never stop wanting my baby. 

A co-worker talked to me about her mother-in-law who gave birth to a stillborn baby. She never got over that lost pregnancy--even now as she’s entering her 70s. It’s always fresh for her. I think it’s a universal feeling for any mother who loses a child. You were responsible for them. You felt them kick and move inside you. Your body changed to birth and care for them. You aren’t the same person you were before that pregnancy. Their little existence seeped into every aspect of your life. Forever different, never the same. 

I wish that we could have given him a strong, healthy body. I wish we could have had him. I wish that he stood a chance. I’ve found myself watching his ultrasound videos over and over again lately. I feel like I’ve gotten to know him better by doing this. The clips are only 20 seconds long, but they’re seared into my memory. I still kiss his photos goodnight, sing to him, and talk to him. I hope that somewhere, somehow, he can hear me and feel my love. 

He’ll always be my first child. The child that made me a mother. The child of my dreams. It’s strange to think that if I get pregnant again, that baby won’t be my first, even if it lives a long, healthy life. They’ll be my second-born. The second baby to live inside me. In a way, it’s comforting to think that my future children will grow in the same place inside me that their older brother did. Justin mentioned the other day that it’s like Owen got the seat warm for them. I hope that warmth is still there for his siblings to feel. 

One thought I’ve had over and over again throughout our journey with Owen is where I stand with the pro-life, pro-choice movement. Before my pregnancy, I was pro-choice. However, I didn’t realize just how devastating it is to make the choice to lose a child. How crippling and agonizing that decision is--especially in a late-term situation. I didn’t view fetuses as living people until later on in a pregnancy. I think I viewed the process in an informed, but disconnected way. I always told myself that I would never choose to abort a child, but I, of course, supported other women who did. 

I also didn’t realize that a termination for medical reasons like Owen’s is technically an abortion. 

Then it happened to me. 

I felt connected to my baby in a way I never could have imagined. I knew he was a living person with a personality that was already developing and showing during his time inside me. I talked to him, sang to him, and touched my belly often so we could be closer to each other. However, I lived in Utah. A state that allows terminations/abortions, but with strings and cruel consequences attached. A state with legislators that didn’t fathom that someone like me and Justin could be in this situation. Painting all parents who abort or terminate as cold-hearted, selfish, lazy parents who never wanted their baby. Parents who flippantly decided one day to end their baby’s life. 

That wasn’t us. 

And I’m sure that isn’t the case for most of the other parents out there who have had to terminate or abort a pregnancy after 16 weeks. We loved Owen, prayed for Owen, hoped for Owen, and planned for Owen. But that wasn’t enough. He would have died inside me or outside of me right after being born. We tortured ourselves going through our options, trying to decide which choice would be the kindest to him. What would be a better way to die--before being born or choking and suffocating after being born?  No parent should ever have to make that choice, but we were grateful we had a choice, even if it was limited by state laws and regulations. On top of this, our baby’s life wasn’t recognized by the state because of the choice we picked. In their eyes, they gave us a choice, but we chose incorrectly. Owen will never get a death certificate like other babies that were naturally terminated/miscarried after 16 weeks, delivered stillborn, or died shortly after birth. We were required, however, to handle his remains by either cremating them or burying them because he was alive. At the mortuary, they told us that the state saw him as “Alyson Adams’ fetus”, not my baby. Not “Owen”. Not the kicking, stubborn guy who was alive when we walked into the hospital for the termination, and dead in a Tupperware box when we left. 

So in the State Legislature’s eyes, what was Owen? Was he a person or a fetus? An individual that needed to be buried/cremated to honor his life or a thing not worth recording because of how he died? Their laws regarding terminations were contradictory and heartless. The state wouldn’t even allow me to stop his heartbeat before the termination took place--even though it’s a commonplace practice in less conservative states. I was being punished for terminating him because his heartbeat meant he was a living person and could potentially feel pain. Owen was being punished. They were the ones that wanted him to suffer through his termination. They didn’t love him or know him. They just saw him as a bargaining chip. A way to make parents reluctant to abort or terminate. A way to eliminate and complicate the most difficult choice any mother would have to make. Even an induction at 23 weeks would have still counted as a termination according to them. They would have rather had me birth him full-term, choking on air, turning purple and blue, organs failing, and dying in my arms. To them, that’s more humane than ending his suffering before it began. That was the only “right” way I could do things. They provided choices, but they tried their best to make the choice for me. Even though he was my baby and it was my body. They were playing politics with his life. The fact that our state-provided insurance would not cover my medically required termination was just further insult to injury. One last dig they could make in response to us having the right to choose what we thought was best for Owen.

With all this in mind, I would say this experience has made me more pro-choice than before. I’m angry for myself and my baby. I’m angry that his life didn’t matter enough to allow me to end it with as much love and care as possible. I’m angry that I was made to jump through hoops and navigate red-tape during the most traumatic month of my life. I’m angry that I was punished for loving my baby and that my baby was punished for not having a healthy body that could live outside of mine. I’m angry that much of the dialogue around abortions and terminations villainizes the women put in situations where they have to make that heartbreaking decision. I’m angry that it’s a political issue where people don’t seem to realize that termination and abortion rights go hand-in-hand. If abortions are made illegal, so are terminations for medical reasons--like Owen’s. A termination is an abortion. 

If you’ve gotten this far in my journal, I hope it has made you angry too. Even if you still consider yourself “pro-life”. Things need to change. There has got to be a better, kinder way. The “Pro-Life” movement as we know it today doesn’t actually care about life or babies. They just want to take away a mother’s right to choose. Any mother, in any pregnancy situation, should be free to choose what is most comfortable and safe for herself, and her baby--without shame or additional hardships from those who aren’t in her situation. 

You might be thinking that you would have done things differently than I did or that what I did was wrong; but, you weren’t me, and Owen wasn’t your baby. Can you truly say you know exactly what you would have done if your baby had been given the same lethal diagnosis and you received the same test results and medical care? 

To be honest, you’ll never know the answer to that until you get put in a situation like ours. However, if you think you would have chosen something different, that’s fine. That’s the whole point. What worked for me, might not work for you, and vice versa. I’ll never know if I made the “best” choice, but it felt right for me, for Justin, and for Owen. It was a loving and informed choice. I’ll always have questions, doubts, and regrets about our decision, but I’m thankful every day that I wasn’t forced into a delivery scenario that would have left me more traumatized than I already was or put my baby in a situation I wasn’t comfortable with.

I also hope this gave you the chance to know Owen and what he went through. What we went through. To know how loved he was and still is. To know that he existed, he kicked and crossed his legs, he sucked on his thumb, and he played with his umbilical cord. To know that he liked clementines, sour candy, ramen, spicy food, and French fries. To know that he got mad when the ultrasound techs pushed him around too much, even if all of this was only for a tiny window of time. To know that his life was the happiest five months of our lives. 

I love you forever, Owie. 

Hugs and Kisses, 


Owen's Story Part 9: Trigger Warning Pregnancy Loss, TFMR

On Thursday, October 21, we met at Wasatch Lawn with our immediate family to put Owen’s ashes in the ground. It was a beautiful day with warm weather and a clear blue sky. Up until we left that morning, I felt numb. Not sad numb, but oblivious numb. I didn’t want to think too much about what would happen in only a few hours. It was too hard. While Justin was in the shower, everything hit me. I fell to the ground and cried for Owen. I told him over and over again how much I loved him and missed him. How sorry I was for him. How angry I was for him. 

Before the placement service, Justin and I were able to pay for Owen’s handprints and footprints we had ordered. They were so tiny. His hand would have barely wrapped around my pinky finger if we had chosen to be induced instead of going ahead with the D&E. Because they were only able to salvage his left hand and foot, they mirrored them on the print so we could also have his right hand and foot included. It was the only look I ever got at his body that wasn’t through an ultrasound monitor. 

We walked over to the memorial garden and met family members there. We placed flowers and small pumpkins around his headstone, made small talk, and waited for everyone to arrive. 

Greg, the Funeral Director, brought out Owen’s ashes in a teal bag. He gently placed the bag on the ground and pulled out the bronze urn he would be kept in. It was beautiful. He then took out the burp cloth I had sewed for Owen and wrapped inside the burp cloth was the smallest bag of ashes I had ever seen. That bag was all that was left of my baby that had felt so big inside of me. It was my first and last look at Owen. My little dude. All of our hopes and dreams reduced down to 2-3 tablespoons of ashes. 

We watched as they securely screwed on the urn lid and lowered him in the dirt. 

Justin had been working on a speech to give at Owen’s placement while I was at therapy the night before. After Owen had been placed, he came to the front and began to speak. My mom held me tight while he spoke. Justin began to cry, so I left my mom’s arms to place my arms around him until he had finished. It was beautifully written and filled with all the tender love we had for our baby. 

We’re here today to put Owen’s body to rest- his little body that just didn’t form right for whatever reason. But his body is just one part of who he was and is. 

One reason this has been so hard is that normally when a person dies, there’s a number of comforting thoughts that someone can turn to - be it from the realms of science, religion, spirituality or philosophy. 

But when you lose a little growing baby halfway through a pregnancy, you’re left in a very uncomfortable gray area. Were they conscious? Could they feel pain? Was there a spirit attached to that body already or perhaps waiting in some celestial DMV for their number to be called? There’s no obvious answer for any of these questions, and even the answers you might settle on just create more questions. 

But even without answering any of those questions, there are still some things I know for sure about Owen. 

First, Owen was Alyson’s first baby. She cared for him long enough to know what kind of foods he liked - McDonald’s French fries, ramen, and sour candy. She felt his kicks. She took such good care of him, by taking care of herself and her blood sugar. It doesn’t matter whatever else might be true, Alyson’s bond with Owen was very real and no one can take that away from her.


Second, Owen existed in the form of all our hopes and dreams and imagined futures for him. From the time we found out we were pregnant, we couldn’t stop thinking and talking about what they would look like and what they would be like. While all those thoughts existed only in our heads, they were still very real to us. There were a million different ways he might have turned out as a person. Losing him has felt like losing all those possibilities. 

Third, I know that Owen is a loved member of both the Adams and Ludlow families. Obviously, anyone else’s relationship to him wouldn’t have been as profound as that of his parents, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t any less real. We’ve felt your love for him and for us in everything you’ve done for us the past few weeks. 

I’ve also thought about his great-grandparents who have gone before him. Some of whom are also buried in this same cemetery. Some for whom this would be their first descendent to join them up in heaven. I’d like to imagine that any of our sweet grandmas are taking care of Owen for us right now. 

Fourth and finally, Owen was a great teacher. He taught us to take nothing for granted in life, because you just never know when something like this will happen. I think he taught us to be better spouses to each other and to to be better parents to his little brothers and sisters, whenever they might come along. He’s taught us so much in such a short amount of time, and for that we’ll always be grateful. 

At the end of the day, I don’t know for sure if Owen is mostly down here (in the ground), up there (in heaven), in here (our hearts) or a mix of them all... but my hope is that he’s at least somewhere he can hear this, so I can let him know that he’ll always be “our little dude.” We’ll always miss him and we’ll always love him. 

Once Justin was done speaking, it was my turn. For the week leading up to the service, I had tried over and over again to come up with something I wanted to say. Each time I sat down to write, my mind went blank. I decided it would probably be best to speak directly to Owen while I had the chance to be close to what was left of his body. I don’t remember what I said, but I remember wanting to tell him how much we loved him, wanted him, and missed him. It was the first time I had cried in front of someone other than Justin, my mom, and my dad about Owen. In a way, it was therapeutic. I have a hard time crying in front of other people, and it was nice to finally let it all out for everyone to see.

After I finished talking to Owen, I gave a quick prayer. The grounds crew brought over a bucket of dirt and we all took turns grabbing a handful and placing it on Owen’s urn. Then we watched as the grounds crew covered him up the rest of the way with the remaining dirt. Our baby was buried. 

The drive over to my parents’ house after the service was different than what I had expected. I felt light and optimistic. We finally had closure and our baby wasn’t left waiting in limbo anymore. 

Owen's Story (Part 8): Trigger Warning Pregnancy Loss, TFMR

On October 10 we had our follow-up appointment with Dr. Jones--our regular OBGYN that we had been seeing up until our MFM appointment where we found out about Owen’s condition. It was hard. There were pregnant mothers and recent mothers in the lobby with us while we waited for our turn to go in. That was supposed to be us. We’d be close to 25 weeks with Owen if he was still alive. When we got to our check-up room, I kept looking out the window and fantasizing about jumping out of it. I had a lot of those thoughts since his termination. I knew I would never do it; I couldn’t leave Justin or further traumatize my class of 2nd graders, but it sounded nice to be done. To be with my baby.

I had to talk to Dr. Jones about how my body had been recovering. 

Is your milk coming in? Yes. 

Is it painful? Not anymore.

Do you want to do anything with your milk? I’m wearing a tight sports bra and hoping it will dry out soon. 

What about your uterine/cervical bleeding? It comes and goes. 

It will probably be like that for a few weeks. Have you had cramps post-procedure? Yes. 

That’s your uterus going back to its pre-pregnancy size. 

Are your cramps mild, moderate, or severe? Most of the time they’re mild, but I’ve had two instances where they’ve been severe. 4 Advil tablets seem to help. 

What did the MFM doctors tell you about future pregnancies? It’s highly unlikely that we’ll have another child with this condition, but there’s a placenta test we can do at 11 weeks if we want to double-check  and they can get us in at 16 weeks--instead of 20 weeks--for an early anatomy scan next time. We’ve talked about maybe trying again in February or March of next year, but it all depends on how I recover from this. 

What post-care supports have you connected with? Justin scheduled a therapy appointment for me tonight. 

Are they a specialist in pregnancy loss? No. We were just looking for where I could be seen the quickest. 

I had a patient before you who lost a baby at 18 weeks. I’ll see if I can pass on her therapist’s information to you since they were a pregnancy loss specialist. Thank you. 

Is there anything I can prescribe to help you? I’m already on fluoxetine. Justin called my primary care doctor and got my dosage upped from 20 mg to 40 mg right before the termination. 

We can get it upped some more if things get worse for you. That’s what we’re here for if you need it. 

You did everything you could to have a healthy pregnancy. You managed your sugars, you went above and beyond. This wasn't caused by your genetics or your diabetes. This really was genetic lightning. I know. 

You two are so strong. You’re going to make it through this. ...Thanks. 

I’ve decided I hate it when people tell us we’re strong. We’re not strong, we’re traumatized. We’re barely holding it together at any given point. You think we’re strong because we aren’t getting emotional or crying in front of you. You don’t see what goes on when we’re alone or when you leave our apartment or when you get off the phone with us. You don’t see even a fraction of our pain or sadness. If we seem strong, it’s because we have no other choice. We don’t want to be strong. We shouldn’t have to be strong. It’s not a compliment.

I cried on the way home from the appointment and shut myself into Owen’s room to be alone. 

I had gone to therapy for the first time later that night and my therapist, Brittany, told me that everything I had been experiencing was valid and part of the grieving process. My anger, my sadness, my thoughts of dying to be with Owen, my struggle with having an appetite, my guilt, my crying, my insomnia, my grief caused by my breast milk coming in, carrying around Owen’s blanket. It was all normal and natural for someone in my situation. After our appointment it felt like a weight was lifted off my chest. I went out to the car where Justin was waiting for me, feeling sad, but a different kind of sad than before. A more hopeful kind of sadness. 

Before I went to bed, I saw that my mom had posted this poem she had written for Owen on his obituary page: 

For dearest Owen and mom and dad ❤️,

If we could visit heaven—even for a day,

Maybe for a while, our pain would slip away.

We’d fold our arms around you and whisper words of love,

Hoping, too, we might receive peace we’re so in need of.

And when our visit’s over and our time together through,

We’d hold you closely once again and kiss you softly, too.

No matter how we spend our days,

no matter where we go—

Our yearning to be near you will forever ebb and flow.

As morning dawns turn into nights and moments into years,

Our love will be reflected both in happiness and tears.

We’ll feel you in the summer breeze and when the cool winds blow,

When clouds drift by and raindrops fall, we’ll cherish each rainbow.

A lifetime is a long time for broken hearts to wait,

But for now you’ll be our angel baby, waiting by heaven’s gate.

We love you all so very much Alyson, Justin, and sweet Owen. Your sadness is our sadness, and one day your joy will be ours, too.


grandma Tiersa and grandpa Mark ❤️