Chris and I were married in 1998 and we were quickly blessed in our marriage with a pregnancy. Unfortunately, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 9 weeks. Though we had originally planned on waiting a year into our married life to start having children, this gift of life and its subsequent loss left us with the desire to immediately bring more children into our marriage.
To our disappointment we were unable to conceive a child for the next two years. We were finally able to conceive again in the year 2000 through the amazing medical guidance of Dr. Louise Smyth who was trained in diagnosing fertility problems at the Pope Paul the Sixth Institute. I was diagnosed with a bicornuate uterus as well as suffering from a progesterone deficiency. We knew that this second pregnancy could definitely have its share of trials. Despite having to receive progesterone shots twice a week, we began to look forward to the arrival of our child as we entered the final trimester. Much to our sorrow, we gave birth to a baby girl who died in utero, two days before, at 30 weeks gestation. We named our little girl Louise, after the wonderful doctor who helped us conceive her.
At that time my husband and I both worked for the Diocese of La Crosse under then Bishop, now Archbishop, Raymond Burke. Bishop Burke was very kind and came to visit us in the hospital after Louise’s stillbirth. He encouraged us to pray to Blessed Gianna to intercede on our behalf for a successful pregnancy. We soon became pregnant again and this time Bishop Burke gave us a relic of Blessed Gianna which I wore around my neck for the duration of my pregnancy.
Despite a high risk pregnancy and two months of bed rest, I delivered a healthy little boy, Dominic, at 37 weeks. Since Dominic’s birth we have been blessed with three more children and always pray to St. Gianna for her intercession for their safe pregnancies and deliveries. Our third child, James, was born pre-maturely at 32 weeks and we certainly invoked the intercession of St. Gianna during the 12 hours of fearing for both his life as well as mine.
We truly believe that St. Gianna has been instrumental in the formation of our married life. Not only blessing us through her intercession with the riches of children, but also with her example she left to this world of the sacrifices that marriage and motherhood require in the light of our faith,. Through the writings of St. Gianna, as well as her life story, we are inspired to be more self sacrificing in everyday moments and to hope continually that God blesses us with more children.
Christopher and Marguerite Carstens, La Crosse, WI