An unexpected gift [UPDATED]Published 6:07am Monday, October 7, 2013 Updated 8:10pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Krista Sem gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Tabitha, in 2000. There were no complications during the pregnancy and Tabitha was a healthy baby. There was no way of foreseeing the problems Sem would encounter trying to have her second child.
But she would have four miscarriages between her daughter’s birth and getting pregnant with her now three-year-old son Austin.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Sem said. “You hear that people have one, people have two, people have three. Once I had the fourth one and it was in the second trimester, I guess I figured I wasn’t normal and I was lucky to have my daughter.”
During this traumatic period, Sem began looking to connect with people who shared similar experiences. Her search led her to a chat room for women who have had miscarriages.
She did not write much in the room, but found a woman in Michigan who also had four miscarriages. This woman had been working with her church to help mothers who have gone through miscarriages, which gave Sem an idea.
She partnered with her church, Faith Lutheran, and began assembling care packages in 2012 for women who have had miscarriages under the name Forever In Our Hearts. The packages have been delivered to Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls and St. Francis Healthcare in Breckenridge.
“I thought if I could just help other women just through the pain and the healing process, then I would accomplish something,” Sem said. “At least something would come out of all the pain that I went through.”
Sem’s father, Craig Palach, a pastor at Faith Lutheran, said his daughter’s work with Forever In Our Hearts shows just how empathetic and compassionate she is.
“She’s always had a desire to help people, so this is a natural route for her to go,” Palach said.
Sem would like to expand the program to include more clinics and hospitals, but because Forever In Our Hearts has a religious message, many public hospitals may not want to participate.
Forever In Our Hearts is not a one-person venture. Chad Brown of C & K Design designed a website and t-shirts for the group and each pillow given out in the care packages is sewed by Janet Muehlberg, a member of the caring ministry at Faith Lutheran.
The miscarriages did not end with Austin’s birth, however. She and her husband Kyle continued trying to have a second child together (Tabitha is from a previous marriage), but the pregnancies never stuck. Sem had three more major miscarriages during this period and believes she lost other pregnancies early in the process as well.
Just when Sem had finally accepted Austin would be her last child, she got pregnant once again. This time, things are different.
Now 31, Sem is 22 weeks pregnant and, outside of plentiful contractions, she is healthy.
“I thought, ‘I’m a pastor’s daughter and I’d never thought to just say a prayer,’” Sem said. “So I said a prayer and shortly after that, no medicine and no fertility treatments, and lo and behold I got pregnant and stayed pregnant.”
Sem plans on continuing Forever In Our Hearts and offering support to women who are struggling like she has in the past. Though the pain of those miscarriages will never quite go away, Sem has faith that her life has gone according to a higher plan.