Monday, January 23, 2012

A Letter to my first baby

Since My ProLife Story has been accepted with love and respect, I thought it a wonderful thing to share with you the thoughts of an unmarried young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. This is the letter I wrote to my daughter the day I found out I was pregnant with her. I hope it will somehow reach another woman as comforting in the face of adversity. These 10 years later, I cannot believe how graced I was in hopefulness and knowledge of things to come. I have yet to read it to my daughter, but know the time will be coming very soon.


January 3, 2002

To my sweetheart,

Today is the day you became real to me. My future has never been certain, and over much time I have found that God never gives us more than we can handle. He must believe me to be very strong, though I am weak without Him.

I grew up being loved by your grandparents. They taught me how to live as a Christian, and more so as a Catholic, with much responsibility. They taught me how to love unconditionally. Mom and Dad have always held me to my actions and their consequences. Today I am facing the fact that I have acted not according to God’s will, but my own. For that I am deeply sorry. You must remember this: that what you do always affects another, whether or not it is directly.

Tom has meant the world to me lately. He has seen me through the tears when I lost my job, and when I had lost hope. He has seen me though my smiles, and made many ever so bright, when I got a new job, over the holidays, as well as those long rides in the woods. Tom reminds me of my dad when I was young. How he’d hold me in his arms, up on his lap, and shower me with kisses. Dad loves me unconditionally, as so does Tom. Nothing could waver it.

Tom and I have been talking about our wedding day since a few weeks after we met. I think it quite the romantic story that I hope to tell you someday. We’ve been talking about it more and more each day. Everyone knows how serious we are about each other, but our engagement has not been made official (with the diamond ring, just a promise ring all worn to the copper, no announcements). He’s been trying to make sure everything is just right, to make it very special for us.

I am writing you right now because I want to tell you that I know you will be very smart, just like your father and me, and will figure out that we will be married after you were conceived. I am writing so that you understand that we are not getting married because of you, rather because we are very much in love with each other. And you are a result of this love we share. We plan on giving you all our love, and the best life we can offer. The rest is up to you. This is another lesson I’ve learned with my life.

I’ve prayed for your father since I was about 11 years old. I prayed to God that He would bring a man into my life that would support me in my life, beliefs, and share in all my joys - as I would in his. I am so happy to have found him, rather he found me! I’ve wanted to be a mother for even longer. To be able to care for someone that came from me. Someone to love unconditionally, and to the best of my ability. To teach the things I’ve learned, especially my faith in God. So understand that my feelings right now are of happiness to have the two things I’ve always wanted, just not the way I thought they would be.

Tom knows that I may be pregnant, but not for sure. We are going to a wonderful place called Birthline, tonight. They will tell us for sure and help support us in whatever we need at this time. I’ve always been rather calm about these kinds of situations, though this one is much bigger than the rest. You will definitely be our child always, and we plan on raising you as our son or daughter. Your aunt is adopted and was a true blessing to our family. So that is something I may have considered if the situation was different, but because of the certainty of my relationship with Tom, and my love for you, I couldn’t bear to give you away to another family.

Tom will be home soon, and we’ll be going to find out what to do next. Yes, I am worried about telling my parents and his. My family has gained great respect in this community and elsewhere. We haven’t pride, but have a need for respect. Some may look down on this for awhile, but as I mentioned before, my parents love me unconditionally, as so will they love you. People will not be upset at Tom and I, rather at the decision we made. And will watch closely at how we respond.

I hate to think of this as anyone’s “fault” or as a “problem.” It sounds so negative. The birth of any baby is a joyous occasion. I love your father so much I found him hard to resist. I have always believed in abstinence and waiting until marriage. But I am telling you it is most definitely not easy. Sometimes when you love much, you may think less about the results of loving too much too early. It’s not my fault, rather a wrong decision I made, that will effect my life, Tom’s, our families, and most especially yours. For that I am deeply sorry.

I worked with teens the past couple years through the church, and when I was in high school. I’ve seen friends and coworkers become suicidal, lost, unloved, addicted to drugs and alcohol… and I’ve done what I could at the time to comfort them and point them to the way of Christ. And yes, sometimes I’ve failed with them, and even with myself. But since I met Tom, I’ve been getting my life back they way it needed to be. I needed to grow up, learn to be responsible for myself, and strengthen my relationship with my parents and siblings. With my small efforts, God has put many great things before me. At the last conference I went to I was told by a spiritual leader that God had big plans in my life. God doesn’t change his plans, and I trust that as always, he will help me through this.

This letter is a lot for me as well as for you when I find the right moment to read it to you. Please forgive me if this has made your life difficult in anyway. We are both very sorry it happened this way. I am not sure if we can even make it up to you, but I promise to love you unconditionally for always.

Tom always writes a message for me on my little board on my fridge for me to read when I wake up or when I get home. Many times an “I love you” or “Good luck today.” It made me feel special and confident that I am doing the right thing. Here’s my message for you today:

To my baby,

You are a miracle, who has brought tears to my eyes. Tears that love you as you are, and who you will become. In hopes that your father and I will make you proud, and feel loved every day of your life. I am afraid of what some might say, but I have never been more certain that everything will be all right. I told Tom just the other day ‘Love surpasses all understanding.’

All my love,


Your Mother

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MY Pro-Life Story

Catholic Bloggers Network

My own thought…
"Uterus: It should NOT be legal for surgeons to remove life from here, nor pharmacies to sell drugs that kill life in here, nor scientists to remove and try to make their own new life from here. If you want to do something with your body, it is your choice, whether it is a moral choice or not. But it should not be Legal for other professionals to destroy life or aid this kind of murder at any stage new or old, even at the mother's request."
More of my prolife links at end of story.

I've occasionally been asked to tell my prolife story. But I've never written it down before, so here it goes in Respect for Life around the world this January 22nd - the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.
Prolife Kids Club

Some background on myself, I was born just before the 1980s to a devout and humble Catholic mother and Catholic father converted from Lutheran by my mother before their marriage. My first decade of life I spent sitting at their feet during Bible Studies they led. They took me on pilgrimages in the US, Mexico and Yugoslavia. I never had any reason to doubt my faith, since they seemed to be very knowledgeable in theirs. I was the good girl. I was the "Deacon's daughter."
Bruce Pat Melissa Maltzen
High school, a public school in particular,  brought new challenges that tested my faith and encouraged me to study my beliefs. My excitement was an evangelistic mood, one my friends came to dismiss. Instead of switching friends, I grew in temptation of their bad habits. I didn't feel like the "goodie-goodie" they once thought I was, and a part of me was ashamed. The other part of me whispered "You've already gone this far down the wrong path, will anything bad you do change the fact you'll be punished?" So I continued to stray and become promiscuous, hitting my peak "naughtiness" at ages 17-22. I began to wear some immodest clothes, began to drink and occasionally smoke, and my boyfriends and I we'll say got way to cuddly. It wasn't until just before college that I found out I had a hormone imbalance with my thyroid and these increased desires were a [side-effect]. In other words, I had to restrain myself and learn some self-control. Tell that to a young adult.

By the time I met Tom online in May 2001, I had had two other sexual partners - both whom I had sworn were "The One." Luckily I had gone to a serious series of confessions to cleanse my soul and ask for a new Spiritual Virginity. I wanted to begin this relationship on the right path. I wanted to be a faithful, God-fearing woman and share my new approach with teens in the groups I was leading. I wanted to follow the rules, even if I didn't yet understand them all.
Tom-Melissa Dating 2001
Tom and I fell in love immediately. After 2 weeks of online and phone chatting, and another 2 weeks of dating, we were certain we were meant for each other. He proposed to me late in the evening on a quiet bench in the gardens along the river. That summer we grew so fond of each other, but the wedding plans had not yet commenced. Urges turned into too many moments alone. That December, now renting my own place and Tom over often, it was not a surprise that we found ourselves staring at a positive pregnancy test.

Our First Christmas
First I called Birthline, a great support system of Doctors and Counselors that help women with unplanned pregnancies. They confirmed the pregnancy, and supported Tom and I in our efforts to reveal the shocking news to our parents. My parents, as far as I know had no clue I had ever been sexually active. Tom's parents response was "You're pregnant, aren't you?" before a single word came out. We sat my parents down and announced our official engagement and a wedding set just 3 months later. They immediately noticed my lack of excitement, my mother stopped talking to me for two weeks, and my Dad hugged us and gently said into my ear, "You're my daughter and I will always love you very much." With help from my counselor, I found the courage to get back to talking to my mom.

Unwed and Unplanned

Wedding plans began, passed quickly, and a baby shower shortly after. It was then the real joy began. We were going to be a family. Our faith was renewed through our vows, confessions and just deciding to grow up and be responsible. That August, our little Mikayla was born. After 24 hours of labor with obstacles, we rushed into the surgery room for a c-section. Our precious daughter was born, whom life wouldn't be the same without.
01 0Birth MikaylaMani-Pedi Girls Day

It was exciting to try for another pregnancy, since it was "allowed." We tried for months that seemed like years. Then come fall of 2003 we were pregnant! My basic Natural Family Planning (NFP) skills were not quite refined, and we miscalculated the date of conception - we were one month more pregnant than we had thought! The doctor advised a repeat cesarean delivery to avoid a similar complication. Not knowing any better about VBACs, I did just that. Strangely enough, the nurses asked me in the operating room if he was my last - if they were tying tubes today? FOr heaven's sake.. I'm having a baby! Don't dampen this joy with nonsense. So here he was, our first son, Stanley.
01 0Birth StanleyAnnaleah and Bobby Schuster Wedding

My hormones surged and post-partum depression set in. The baby blues can be rough, but they didn't get the best of me because of my great support system of husband and family. Life got great and looking back, all the mistakes were overcome by God's will for us. They joy grew between my husband, our children and me. In fact, we continued to be open to life, me being at home and enjoying raising little ones for the glory of God.

3rd Pregnancy
In the summer of 2006, we found ourselves pregnant with baby #3 - Baby Joseph. It was short lived, and I miscarried at just 6 weeks. It was over before I could even realize it had begun. We had already told family and friends, so telling them the sad news was very difficult.  The nurses called it spontaneous abortion, and that word "Abortion" just rang loudly in my ears as if I had chose for this to happen. I cried a lot, and began to grow weary and weak. I laid in bed a lot and found it hard to be near the other children. I blamed myself for adding the stress of selling our home, painting and working hard outside landscaping for the miscarriage. I got mono, and fell apart at the seams. I felt alone, discouraged and hopeless.
What I didn't realize was that I was falling into a deeper depression than ever before. Medically, I was unstable and entering a serious, severe depression. Even my faith in God to pull me through was gone. I wanted to be gone. Luckily my support system, Tom and my Mother, came to my aid in a rush of panic. They escorted me to the Emergency Room where I spoke with a counselor/therapist. They suggested further therapy, and I rejected the idea that I was "going crazy." A few months later I realized I wasn't getting any better, and it be best that I get help. I thought that if my thyroid medicine had straightened me out, than maybe an anti-depressant could get me though this rough patch. After just a week on the medicine, I was feeling up and okay with waiting to get pregnant again. I didn't realize, I already was.

November 2006, I was pregnant again with baby #4 (Baby Mary) and miscarried at 5 weeks. Again, feeling it was my fault for taking the medicine. Luckily I kept taking it and entered regular therapy sessions with a Psychologist. Life became more stable, and she gave me tips to overcome the sadness and move on with the blessings in my life. She did a pretty good job, because on New Years I got pregnant again with baby #5.

Melissa Pregnant Apr8

This pregnancy, the doctor got a little weary of the fact that I was on medication and entering a 3rd cesarean delivery which are both risky. It didn't matter what I said about my belief in NFP and religious affirmations - every other appointment we discussed tubal ligation and birth control. It wasn't until the last months that the doctor stopped asking. I now wished I had done a VBAC, as my babies were getting smaller, the hormones were balanced, and insulin controlled gestational diabetes, I was feeling rather healthy for a natural delivery. We went ahead with the c-section and a carefully studied decision against any methods of birth control. Our little Sabrina was born in fall of 2007, healthy as can be!

01 0Birth SabrinaCrocheted Hats by Mommy
She was perfect and everything about her made me smile. Life changed for the best upswing in years. Our oldest was now in Kindergarten homeschool with me, and everyone worked together to have fun and enjoy our days. The medicine and therapy continued to build my courage to live a life graced by God. My newest friendships and advanced NFP classes taught me about being truly PRO-LIFE, being OPEN to life. We were so blessed, Tom and I wanted nothing more than to share that with our family and any more children he might bring into it.

Easter (9)Wicks Fathers Day (4)
"We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!"

In 2009, despite the doctors nervousness and my own, we had a successful fourth cesarean delivery of our 6th baby, Jonathan. He was sent to the NICU because being born slightly early (due to my high blood pressure), his lungs had fluid. But only two days later he was at my side. He's been the strongest, healthiest little guy ever since. All of his story is amazing, from the beginning when I thought I was miscarrying at 6 weeks and praying for a miracle, then watching him continue to prove everyone wrong.


Of course, with only breast feeding and NFP, even we became concerned about the possibility of another pregnancy. It was time to tighten the reigns and accept that being truly open to life would be a struggle for the next 10-20 years. With four children, the chaos grew, and my medicine had to be upped. Having the kids home 24-7 was challenging often beyond what I thought I could handle. Again, my support system was strong, and moving closer to my parents and siblings in 2010 certainly has helped.

God has a funny way of showing you what you can handle. I've heard many times, that God doesn't just give you patience, humility, or understanding - he gives you ways to learn it.
7th Pregnancy
So then along His often bumpy road, He reached out and said "You're ready for this." Baby #7, the fifth to stay here on earth with us.

New doctor and clinic, it only took a few visits to realize they were not a pro-life option. My first visits were bombarded with the "truths" they thought I didn't know about how serious another c-section would be. My goodness, I was irate! Here I am accepting the challenge of a new life dependent on me, and knowing all the risks, and he's lecturing me and trying to scare me. What was he thinking, I'd have an abortion on purpose, to ease HIS mind? I swear these doctors today are more afraid of a possible lawsuit that the surgery itself.

Baby7 is 7wk4d
Baby#7 at 7wks

I talked with my husband, parents, friends, and priests. It was inevitable that I either had to stay in an attempt to evangelize, or leave and find another clinic further away that would actually care for me in this joyous pregnancy. I prayed over and over to God to make this one of the easier decisions in my life. A visit to an urgent care at another clinic was reassuring to us to make the switch. I went to the new doctor, explained that I hit a rough patch in care at my previous provider, and that I needed a medical staff who was on my side. I explained that I understood all the risks clearly, and my decision was still firm to remain fertile for God's unknown purposes. That each child was a miracle and blessing, that each surgery was successful, and that I knew many other mothers in my circle of friends who were in the same boat. My doctor lovingly smiled, took my hand, and said "I know we'll get along just fine, Sugar!"

Baby 7 - Boy
Baby #7, a boy - Edward "Eddie" at 20 wks

Our Family Christmas 2011

So here we are, just under 4 weeks away from my 5th cesarean delivery. Ready to bring home a fifth child, to love and nurture. To cherish as much as the other six lives before him. Here we are to tell the story of how God's mysterious love for us is constantly expressed through others and ourselves.

Update: And after a successful delivery and a fun first year with our little Eddie, we couldn't love him any more. He's been such a blessing in the midst of the chaos that is our family. We're all on our way to better health, and looking forward to many crazy adventures. The craziness had lead us to decide that while we remain open to life, we are content with the size of our family. There are joyful days and frustrating days, but we'll gladly take the bad with the good.

If you find yourself pregnant with your first, fifth, or twelfth - consider yourself in the presence of a Gift from God. If you miscarry, consider yourself blessed to have conceived when many other women are saddened by infertility. If you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy, that perhaps may end in adoption, consider yourself blessed to give life to another family who is thrilled to nurture that child.

Annaleah-Michael-Melissa Maltzen
Me, my adopted sister, and my miracle brother. All were unexpected. All have been loved and blessed by God and family. All for the greater glory of God - His will be done, not ours.

Because He knows better.

My other pro-life blog posts…
Rules on Makin' Love and Makin' Babies
Natural Family Planning
The Mis-Conception with InVitro Fertilization
Abortions and Parental Consent

This Miracle of Life Inside of Me
What about Testing for Imperfections
Third Trimester Nightmares

Preparing Children for a New Baby
Hosting a Sibling Shower

The American Holocaust
Supporting the Pro-Life Cause
Good Friday Reflection: The Weeping Women of Jerusalem
Great Pro-Life Quotes
Voting as a Catholic

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Third Trimester Nightmares

I can handle the discomforts of being 8 months pregnant. I can attempt to get a handle of my 4 young children. But what I cannot handle are these very vivid nightmares I've been having!

pregnancy nightmares

I read that because of intense hormone changes and stresses of pregnancy, dreams tend to become more vivid and memorable after waking. Let me just say it, THIS SUCKS! Last night was the worst. I can usually justify the nightmares with the fact that my husband and I tend to snore, thus resulting in dreams of growling bears. This morning, my husband was gone and along came a dinosaur! It was enough to prompt me to research my nightmares, with astounding results that are right on for my daytime moods and fears.


Nightmare glass house

My reoccurring nightmare usually includes our old Cold Spring house in the woods on the lake. As I approach the house, the family of bears spot me. (In real life, there were no bears in the area.) As I enter the house, it either has all screen doors or glass windows (similar to the image above). Either way I am vulnerable to attack.

nightmare bear

I usually get in to the empty house to attempt locking all doors as the bear follows me just yards away. Lucky for me, I tend to wake up shortly after.

According to

To see a glass house in your dream suggests that you need to be cautious about what people are telling you. They may be telling you what you want to hear, and not necessarily what you need to hear.

To dream that you are being pursued or attacked by a bear, denotes aggression, overwhelming obstacles and competition. You may find yourself in a threatening situation.

To dream that you are locking the door suggests that you are closing yourself off from others. You are hesitant in letting others in and revealing your feelings. It is indicative of some fear and low self-worth.


nightmare horsesnightmare cow

Last night, there were a stable of wild horses that had it in for me. It makes me guess my husband or I had more of a "phfbbb" snore like a horse sound. There were a few other animals, such as a stubborn cow pushing the gate open, and some dogs. But why I had to contain the horses and cow by myself in a basement stall under the house??? Why my farmer father-in-law stood by and watched? Why an old high school acquaintance I never think about suddenly appears to serve me a weird molasses treat my father-in-law left on a nearby post?


According to

To see a herd of wild horses in your dream signifies a sense of freedom and lack of responsibilities and duties. Perhaps it may also indicate your uncontrolled emotions.

To see a cow in your dream symbolizes your passive and docile nature. You obey others without question. Alternatively, a cow represents maternal instincts or the desire to be cared for. For some cultures, the cow represents divine qualities of fertility, nourishment and motherhood.

To see a dog in your dream symbolizes intuition, loyalty, generosity, protection, and fidelity. The dream suggests that your strong values and good intentions will enable you to go forward in the world and bring you success. The dream dog may also represent someone in your life who exhibits these qualities. Alternatively, to see a dog in your dream indicates a skill that you may have ignored or forgotten. If the dog is vicious and/or growling, then it indicates some inner conflict within yourself.

To see or eat molasses in your dream, signifies a happy home life and good hospitality. Alternatively, the dream may be a metaphor for some situation or something that is moving slowly.

To see your father-in-law in your dream refers to your conscience and your rational side. You need to be more yielding in your point of view and decisions.

To see an acquaintance in your dream represents aspects of yourself that you are still trying to get to know. To dream that you are disputing with an acquaintance represents aspects of yourself that you are rejecting. You are refusing to accept certain things about yourself.

To dream that the basement is in disarray and messy signifies some confusion in which you need to sort out. These are things that you have "stored" away or put aside in your mind because you do not know what to do with it or you do not have the time to deal with it. It may also represent your perceived faults and shortcomings.



nightmare schoolbus leavingnightmare landline phone

The next dream (today) starts with losing my luggage on a school bus that left without me. I somehow get home and unable to use a regular landline phone to call for help. Forgetting all the dial codes and phone numbers…

nightmare dinosaur

Then what about that Dinosaur suddenly appearing, chasing me and my oldest daughter around the house, without the ability to keep it out despite our best efforts? It also grows the closer we get to safety. It was about 6 inches tall growing up to just over 3 feet tall before I woke up.


According to

To see or ride a school bus in your dream suggests that you are about to venture on an important life journey needed for your own personal growth.

To dream that you lose your luggage represents a lost in your identity.

To dream that you cannot dial a phone number correctly suggests that you are having difficulties in getting through to someone in your waking life. Consider whose phone number you are trying to dial. Perhaps he or she is not taking your advice or listening to what you have to say. The message is not getting through.

To see a dinosaur in your dream symbolizes an outdated attitude. You may need to discard your old ways of thinking and habits. To dream that you are being chased by a dinosaur, indicates your fears of no longer being needed or useful. Alternatively, being chased by a dinosaur, may reflect old issues that are still coming back to haunt you.

To see something growing in your dream indicates that you have reached a new level of maturity or spiritual enlightenment.



Glass House + Bear + Locking Up=

I feel like there are many overwhelming obstacles in my life. What I tend to do is become hesitant in revealing my feelings. People are telling me what they think I want to hear, but not what I am needing to hear. Probably because they don't know or understand how I'm really feeling.


Wild Horses + Cow + Dogs + Molasses + Basement Barn + people=

Everything is moving so slowly including the pregnancy and my ability to handle this household. I procrastinate because I do not know what else to do. I have uncontrolled emotions and a desire to be cared for.  My rational side is trying to know me better, so I can use my newfound strengths to get me through. I have strong values and good intentions that will help me move forward.


School Bus + Lost Luggage + Phone Numbers + Growing Dinosaur=

I am on an important life journey, but along the way I am losing my identity. I am having troubles getting though (to my husband) about how I feel and what I need to feel better emotionally. Resulting in a growing fear of no longer being needed or useful.


Can I just say, Woah! That is all true. Sad, but true.

Now, I just need to take note of all this and do something about it. To stop the nightmares and conquer my emotional issues. Find my strengths and move forward!


Do you have vivid nightmares? Post a comment!