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My Journey

Holding On To Faith Through Grief

Copyright 2018 Leah Ayanna Johnson

Published by Leah Ayanna Johnson at Smashwords

Smashwords Edition License Notes

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My Journey: Holding On to Faith Through Grief

By: Leah Ayanna Johnson

Copyright © 2018 by Leah Ayanna Johnson

ISBN 13: 978-0-9989239-0-1

Published by True Vine Publishing Co

P.O. Box 280386

Nashville, TN. 37228

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval or mechanical means without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, King James version.

Cover Design by Adriyah Ellis

In loving memory of my firstborn son,

Avery Louis Johnson


This book is dedicated to my husband, Phil Jamel Johnson. He has been my quiet rock when I have been weak, the one who has shouldered my grief, as well as his own. Jamel, you were the one who silently grieved, while outwardly holding us together. I now understand one of the many reasons why God placed us together. Everyone cannot go through everything with you, but you have proven that you can “go through” with me. I thank you for being an anchor for me through a tumultuous time.

I thank you for allowing me to tell our story of hope, loss, grief and restoration. You continue to amaze me with all that you have experienced. You are truly a reflection of the power and love of Jesus Christ. You are my friend, lover, father of our children and so much more. I pray this book blesses the men who go through similar experiences as we have, but may not express it.

Table of Contents


Forever Changed



What Will People Say, I Just Want to Hide

The Struggle

The Process of Healing




Journal Entry

December 10, 2015

... I'm pregnant. I found out via a home pregnancy test on 11/25/15, the day before Thanksgiving. My mother announced to everyone at Thanksgiving that I'm pregnant. Oh my gosh! We've waited so long for this, I'm so excited.

January 6, 2016

It's 8:38pm. Time to update you. I found out there is a complication with the pregnancy. The doctor thought I would probably miscarry. This past Monday, I began to bleed, went to the ER and they told me I had a failed pregnancy. I'm just waiting now for the D&C (Dilation and curettage). My husband told me he broke down and cried. So did I. I trust God. It's disappointing, but I have closure. Next time, I will recover all. I will be pregnant and have my children this year in 2016. I trust God, He can't lie and He's true to His promises. There's no good thing He will withhold from me.

January 10, 2016

... I declare I will be pregnant again in March!

March 13, 2016

I found out I'm pregnant again on the 11th of this month. God has done it again, this time my baby will be to full term. I'm so grateful to God. We haven't told anyone yet.

... I'm looking forward to being a mom. I can't wait to see my belly grow.

June 1, 2016

Today, I'm 16 weeks. We found out we’re having a healthy baby boy... Avery Louis Johnson it is. It means wise counsel, renowned warrior. He's changed so much since the last sonogram. I felt it was a boy. Sunday, my mom kept saying I was having a boy. My father was so happy we gave the baby part of his name.

June 28, 2016

Tomorrow, I make 20 weeks! We have another ultrasound on Thursday. I like it because it gives me a chance to see my baby.

September 15, 2016

I am two months away from my delivery date. I made 31 weeks yesterday.

September 21, 2016

So, I’m 32 weeks today, officially 8 months.

September 22, 2016

I had my ultrasound today. Avery is 3.9lbs. I figure by the time he's born he'll be about 7.8lbs or so.

October 7, 2016

So much has happened since I last wrote to you. I'm 34 weeks; I start my birthing classes next Monday.

....I have to realize that I’m getting bigger, my body is not my own and my equilibrium may be a little off. My husband and I need to have a family meeting about upcoming roles and responsibilities since I'll be out of commission after the baby arrives.

Chapter 1

Forever Changed

On Wednesday, October 19th, my life was forever changed. When I had imagined the delivery of my son, I thought I would be home, my water would break and then my husband and I would go to the hospital to deliver our firstborn child. I didn't know what it would feel like to have my water break, or how this first full term delivery experience would be. I was nervous about delivery, but expected to have an epidural to ease the pain and was ready to experience the process of vaginal birth.

I thought I'd push, my son would cry, he would be laid on my chest and my husband and I would cry tears of joy. Our families would visit the hospital, we would show them our creation, and I would be focused on learning how to breastfeed my child. “My child”, I loved the sound of that. Unfortunately, our reality was very different from what I had imagined.

On Wednesday, I was 36 weeks and was at my weekly doctor's visit. My doctor came in smiling cheerfully, and asked how I had been feeling. “Has the baby been kicking a lot?” She asked.

“Actually, I haven't felt him kick since I was here last Wednesday. I've just felt tight knots” I replied.

She checked me, listened for a heartbeat... we heard nothing. “I'm going to send you to the hospital now; I'll call over so they will expect you. You need to take an ultrasound immediately.” She kept a straight face but I saw concern in her eyes. I quietly gathered my things; I text my husband, who was on his way back to get me, that we had to go to the hospital.

He calls back, “what's going on?”

“She didn't hear a heartbeat.”

On the way to the hospital I’m listening to gospel music. I’m praying every faith and healing scripture I know over my son. My husband expresses agitation at the slow drivers ahead of us.

I softly whisper to my husband, “hold on to your faith” as he quietly yet quickly drives to the hospital. I can feel his anxiety.

We walked briskly into the hospital; they were waiting for us. The nurse and attending resident ushered us into a room where I would change my clothes. For some reason, I thought I was still going to leave the same day. Whatever was wrong would be rectified. Change my clothes? Am I staying? I thought to myself.

The doctor and nurse entered in and began the ultrasound. I will never forget that last image. The entire screen seemed so vacant, no sound, no movement from my son, no heartbeat. We looked at the chambers of his heart, it stood still. No sign of life. The doctor quietly said, “I'm sorry, it appears your son has passed approximately 4-5 days ago. I'll give you and your husband a few moments.” He exited with the 3rd year medical student and nurse in tow.

The tears cascaded down my face, “God I need a miracle!” Those words were all I could exclaim. My husband rushed to my side, disappointment in his eyes. He grabbed my hand and we began to pray. He prayed out loud while I prayed silently, “God what is your will? Take us through this.” I whispered, “Return life to our son.”

The attending doctor and nurses tried to make us comfortable. They informed me that they were going to induce my labor and the next steps that were involved. They had notified my doctor, and stated she would be on her way. Is this happening? I think in disbelief.

A light tap at the door interrupts my thoughts. “Hello, I will be your nurse this evening. I am so sorry for your loss.” She hugs my husband and me. “These are some documents that you need to complete. There is no rush.” She awkwardly glances between the two of us and stammers a bit, “this sheet is for the information for the death certificate.” Death! My head is swimming! My husband takes the papers, “I will do it”, he says. The nurse stands to the side of my bed as the head resident comes in to prepare me for the induction of labor.

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