Naples | The summer and fall of 2017 will be a time newlywed couple Hailey and Nicholas Cummons will not soon forget, but they offer hope for other couples who have suffered miscarriages.
Hailey, 23, and Nicholas, 24, were both about to be seniors at Ave Maria University when shortly after their wedding they learned they were expecting a child.
“As soon as we got married we conceived right away, thanks be to God,” said Hailey during a phone interview from Naples. “We had much to process in terms of our future jobs and health insurance, but we were excited.”
Hailey went to the doctor and soon learned she was deficient in progesterone, the hormone that plays a major role in maintaining a pregnancy.
“They warned me that a miscarriage was a possibility with this deficiency and sure enough, soon after, at 10-weeks pregnant, I began showing signs of miscarriage,” said Hailey, who went to the emergency room, and admits she was not prepared for what was to come.
It was the weekend before the start of her senior year in college, and the emergency room attendants told her the baby had died. They also said she would need to naturally pass the baby, and the process could take a few hours or up to two weeks.
The young couple would soon suffer the actual miscarriage and would find themselves with a 10-week-old baby to bury. Hailey said she found deep solace in the Pietà statue in the couple’s home each time she looked at it.
“The Blessed Virgin is a mother and here she is holding her dead son,” Hailey said, referring to the Michelangelo statue created between 1498 and 1499 depicting the body of Jesus on the lap of His mother. “She gets this. I had to say, ‘Here is Your child God; he or she is not mine to have.’”
Hailey said the physical, emotional and spiritual pain following a miscarriage is a struggle, and admits it was hard to process and understand the loss.
The couple would learn that it would cost $1,000 to bury the baby, and as struggling college students, they knew they couldn’t afford it.”
“We started a Go-Fund-Me page to help with the expense, and God provided double the amount needed to bury our child,” said Hailey, who would soon learn why the generous amount was provided.
The couple would soon suffer a second miscarriage, once again, around the 10th week of gestation.
“At the time, we didn’t understand why we received double the amount of the first burial, but we would need the additional money to bury our second child,” she said.
The couple has named their babies Theo and Lucia.
Soon after, they made a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine for prayer, reflection and Confession, because Hailey said she was holding on to many emotions, including anger.
“I need to make things right with God,” she said. “The way I describe it is it’s like having a spiritual stroke, where everything gets clogged. It’s like learning to walk again, learning to pray again, learning how to love God again and have confidence in His goodness again.”
Hailey recalled in Confession the priest asked if he could remove the screen and see her face. “I never had a priest tell me that before. I said, ‘Sure, Father, go ahead,” she explained while laughing at the memory.
Referring to Our Lady of La Leche, the priest asked Hailey if she knew much about the patron saint of difficult pregnancies, and told her she was there for a reason.
“He told me, ‘I’m a Catholic priest and God will bless you for giving birth to those children in heaven,’” said Hailey, recalling how the priest gave the couple hope and invited them to Mass.
After Mass, he talked with and encouraged the couple further, sending them home with a novena to pray. They continued to practice natural family planning, in addition to praying the novena for five months.
“This might be a way for me to milk some prayer out of this article, but we recently found out we are pregnant, so, we could have a La Leche baby,” said Hailey, who remains hopeful, yet tentative, with this pregnancy today.