Which Lives Matter?
Which Lives Matter?

The following thoughts on life were shared with us by a physician. Through both his professional and his personal life, he has a unique view of life.

In a day where we talk much about lives mattering, his words should shake us to our core. Do ALL lives truly matter to us?

Much has been made of late about which lives matter. Some say black lives matter and that is true.  Some say white lives matter and that is true as well.  Others have said blue lives matter or all lives matter and these are all true as well. Why these questions, why our searching and why now?  Who are we, why are we and does it really matter? Not only politically or for social purposes but also for existential purposes; in our souls we are longing, we are asking what and why is Life?  What lives matter and why; and the corollary question, “Do all lives matter or not?”  Do some lives matter more because of their color, wealth, status or contribution or convenience to others or are all lives of equal great value like our bill of rights says?  These questions are being asked and should be asked. The answers to the questions will shape our values and our future.

My Granddaughter
These questions came more into focus more than ever before when a little lady came into my life June 5th, 2016.  Our daughter-in-law was having an uneventful first -time pregnancy and everything was going well as she approached her due date. Literally on that due date, as if an alarm had been set by God Himself, my daughter-in-law woke up sensing something was different. The baby was still moving but her motion was different, not the same as it had been. That morning she and our son met at the hospital and the doctors and nurses quickly determined based on the fetal heart tracing that she needed a C-section immediately. The medical team and obstetrician flew into action. When our granddaughter was born she was perfect in every way, but was white as a ghost.  Her hemoglobin was a mere 4gm (a normal for newborns of 12-14gm).  She needed blood fast to correct this deficiency.  We all prayed and cried as a family as our long-awaited first grandchild and niece for was now in real danger.  The baby received her critical blood transfusion of two units that night. Later, when things had quieted down, I had a chance to see her for the first time and to look into her Vaseline-moistened, blinking eyes and hold her tiny fingers amidst all of the lines and tubes she had to keep her comfortable and her little life stable.

Which Lives Matter and Why?
In that moment, I was reminded again that every life without exception matters to God and that right then (and always) Nora’s life mattered to God. But very importantly not just Nora; so did every other little one in that NICU, or that hospital or in our city or country or even on this entire planet. This wasn’t just true for babies from white families or black or Hispanic families, wealthy or poor families, refugee or citizen, intact or broken families; not just from suburbia or from the inner city, families of every nation or people group, male or female babies. Each and every one of these tiny, vulnerable lives matter deeply and uniquely to God their Creator.  Why do we have value as humans?  Because that value does not originate or emanate from us, neither is it given to us by others, our culture or government. Our value comes from God Himself. Our value is conferred to us from our loving creator God. Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Or as He said in Matthew 10:29-30, not even a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father in heaven knowing it and even the very hairs on our heads are numbered. The old hymn sums it up this way, “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He’s watching me” –  with eyes of love and concern.

As I drove home from the NICU that night, my heart was deeply moved – broken if you will – as I realized and spoke out my thoughts aloud. “My Sweet Granddaughter, I never knew you until a few short hours ago and now I cannot imagine life without you”.

Sadly, this is not always a story with such a happy ending. Babies can be lost from obstetric catastrophes like abruption or bleeds (like my granddaughter), infection, maternal deprivation or starvation, malformations or other conditions incompatible with life.  Even more sadly, some perfectly healthy babies, are not born at all or not saved from danger but torn from their safe haven in their mother’s uterus by an adult skilled at the dark art of abortion.

Despite what some would have us think, abortion is neither “safe” nor “rare” – to borrow a phrase from previous politicians.

Abortion is uniformly fatal for one of the patients and injurious if not physically, then mentally and emotionally for the other. 

As it has been said by others, abortion leaves one dead and one wounded. It is also not true to say abortion in the USA is rare, where approximately 1.1 million abortions are performed each year; nearly 100,000/ month or over 3,000/day. On an annual basis, this is nearly the population of Dallas,Texas and more than San Jose, and San Francisco, CA, Indianapolis IN, Charlotte, NC or Boston, MA (from 2012 census data) each year.

It is important to say clearly that these babies are nearly always perfectly formed little people. We are not simply talking about non-discreet tissues masses; but rather completely perfectly formed little ones living safely, comfortably but completely dependently inside their mother’s uterus until they are not. These tragic and deeply disturbing facts unfortunately I know well first hand.

If you are considering an abortion, please know that you will find no judgment here. You will only find compassion, understanding and friendship. We want to help you make a decision that is one you can truly live with for the rest of your life. We want you to have facts and information.

And then the choice is yours.

No matter what that choice, we will support you and love you.

Post Delivery Care: A Necessity After A Birth, A Miscarriage, or An Abortion
Post Delivery Care

The following article on Post Delivery Care was written by Dr. Bruce Snider, OB/GYN in the Kansas City area. Whether post-delivery encompasses a traditional birth, a miscarriage or an abortion, it is vital that you receive care under a qualified medical professional.

If you have had a normal delivery, it is important to be seen for follow-up for a postpartum exam. Traditionally the post delivery exam is done six weeks following the birth of your child.  Similarly, if you have suffered a miscarriage or have had an abortion, a follow-up appointment is important to evaluate your recovery and to discuss your future fertility.

As you’re probably aware, pregnancy affects almost all bodily functions, which is why It’s important to have an overall health check up following the delivery. Along with screening your blood pressure and weight it is important to confirm that your reproductive organs have returned to their normal pre-pregnancy state. Similarly, if you’ve suffered a miscarriage or have had an abortion, it is important to confirm that all of the pregnancy tissue has been removed from the uterus. Incomplete removal of the pregnancy from the uterus following a miscarriage or abortion can lead to serious bleeding complications and infection which could affect your future fertility.

Additionally, a good mental health evaluation should be performed at your post delivery follow-up visit. Postpartum depression is a frequent complication of an otherwise normal pregnancy and delivery.  This can sometimes be severe and require intensive treatment. Likewise, depression and anxiety disorders are common following a miscarriage or abortion. Avoiding treatment of these mental health disorders can have lifelong consequences.

If you – or someone you know – needs post delivery care (from either birth, miscarriage or abortion), but you don’t know where to go for that help, reach out to us. We can help you find a qualified medical professional that will meet your particular needs.

Your health, both now and in the future, could depend on you getting the right medical care. Let us help.

Breast Cancer – The Facts You Need To Know
Breast Cancer

Any kind of cancer is intimidating but breast cancer tends to hit a little too close to home for women. When should you go in for your first mammogram? What is important to look out for on your body? What are the facts? We asked Dr. Chuck Horner (Radiologist) to fill us in and answer some of these questions for you. Take a look at what he has to say regarding breast cancer – it could save your life!

What are the chances?
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer can occur both in women and in men, but it is far more common in women.

The rate of breast cancer has increased significantly since I was in medical school. The occurrence statistic was around 1 out of 11 back in the mid 80s. This number has risen since then with around 1 out of 8 women experiencing breast cancer.

The number of deaths from breast cancer are decreasing however, thanks in part to mammography. The goal of mammography is to find the breast cancer when it is smaller which allows for much more effective treatment and less harm to the patient. When breast cancers are found earlier by mammography, there is a better chance that the cancer cells have not spread to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes in the arm pit area. Often when the breast cancer is large enough to be felt by the patient or physician, it has already spread to the lymph nodes and possibly other parts of the body, decreasing the chance of survival. There is a 30-40% decrease in death from breast cancer in women who have mammography performed in both breasts starting at the age of 40. The vast majority of women who die from breast cancer have never participated in the getting annual screening mammograms. Seventy-five percent of women who have died from breast cancer are women who did not get their annual mammograms.

Mammography is not perfect in finding all breast cancers early, but it is much better at finding cancers before they can be felt in the breast. The chance of dying from breast cancer is much lower if you are getting annual mammograms. It should be known that sometimes after getting your screening mammogram, you may have to go back and get some extra mammogram pictures or an ultrasound to help clarify some of the findings identified on the original mammogram.

Though there is some discrepancy in recommendations, the American College of Radiology recommends getting a mammogram every year beginning at the age of 40. The original mammogram is often obtained at the age of 35 as a baseline study. If everything is okay with the original mammogram, a mammogram every year beginning at age 40 is recommended.

Obviously, if there are concerning findings in your breast before the age of 40, you should consult your doctor immediately. Some of the potential symptoms include a breast lump or thickening, change in size, shape and appearance of the breast, skin dimpling, newly inverted nipple and skin changes around the nipple including scaling, crusting and an orange color to the skin.

Though not perfect, mammography is the most helpful tool in increasing your odds of surviving breast cancer. I would recommend talking to your primary care doctor for help in making decisions in your breast care.

Are you concerned about the possibility of breast cancer? Do you need to get a checkup but aren’t sure where to start?

Don’t wait until it’s too late – call your doctor today to schedule an appointment. Every day that you wait could have a negative impact on your health!

HPV – What You Need To Know

Written by Suzy, RN at Advice & Aid

It is important to know how to prevent STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases, also known commonly as STI’s – sexually transmitted infections).

We asked a registered nurse to explain the causes, effects, and treatments of the common STD, human papilloma virus (better known as HPV). The following information was provided by this nurse and could benefit you or someone you know!

A true story
Some years ago I had a friend who died from cervical cancer. And she was young, not yet 40 years old. “How did this happen?” I asked myself. Her death happened before medical professionals knew that HPV (human papilloma virus) can cause cervical cancer. If she had been having routine exams of her cervix (Pap test), her death may have been prevented!

The facts
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US, probably because in many cases, a person infected with the virus may have NO SYMPTOMS. There are different types of HPV. The HPV virus that causes genital warts is not the same as the HPV subtype that causes cancer. However both viruses are related.

The infection is spread by having sex with someone who has the virus. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected. This makes it hard to know when you first became infected.

HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, sexual organs, mouth and throat; depending on the type of sex. Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV. HPV can go away on its own and not cause further health problems, but there is no way to know which people will develop cancer. Many cancers have few symptoms until the later stages.

What do I do?
A vaccine for HPV is available. All boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years old are recommended to get vaccinated. Catch-up vaccines are also recommended for boys and men through age 21 and for girls and women through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger. To prevent cervical cancer, a woman should have routine Pap tests and follow up as needed before cancer develops. If you are pregnant, your doctor should do this test as part of routine prenatal care. Pap tests and HPV testing is recommended for women at least every three years. These tests are done during a pelvic exam.

If you (or someone you know) suspects that you might have contracted an STD, you should be tested immediately.

Most doctor’s offices can provide testing, and at Advice & Aid, we can assist you in finding a doctor to perform these preventive tests.

Feel free to come talk to us first. We can talk through your symptoms, your needs & history, and help you plan a course of action. We have a registered nurse on staff at all times, and she can help you decide what is best for you.

Information is your greatest ally.

For more articles from Advice & Aid on STDs/STIs:
STD…It Might Hang Around Much Longer Than You Know
STD…Should My Partner Be Tested?
Avoiding An Embarrassing Condition

Sex and Consequences in a Tricky Time

The latest headlines of sexual harassment in the workplace and otherwise, the #metoo movement, and men of influence falling into disgrace after sexually inappropriate behavior have lead to many conversations in our society. What is “normal” sexual contact? What is a baseline amount of sex? What is allowed to be pursued sexually in a relationship, casual or otherwise? For many years, sex has been viewed as recreational and fun and not necessarily connected to any commitment. Sex is not the problem. Society’s attitude toward sex is more problematic.

 “The idea that pursuing one’s sexual imperatives should take place over workplace rules, lines of power or even just appropriate social behavior is what allows predators to justify sexual harassment and assault. And it encourages the not-predators to value their desires above those of others.”
(Washington Post, “Let’s Rethink Sex”)

So, what does this mean? The “sex-above-all ethic” has lead to the reduction of virtues of prudence, temperance, respect and even love. Perhaps sex has a deeper significance than momentary pleasure or recreation. Respect and love of one’s partner leads to commitment. With commitment comes facing unintended consequences such as an unplanned pregnancy together. It also leads to the reduction of STI (sexually transmitted infections) diagnoses/ treatments or facing an abortion decision in an unplanned pregnancy without a partner a reality. Children are brought into committed relationships and less likely to be fatherless. Security within the relationship builds a strong tie between partners and their children, building a strong family unit.

Unfortunately, marriage is declining in popularity. Many people have a fear of commitment. Sex is readily available and “cheap.” Men can readily find sex and women ask little in return. Porn is easily accessible, and women have to compete with virtual encounters. With the rise of the use of birth control, there is “easy sex without consequences.” (Wall Street Journal, “Cheap Sex and the Decline of Marriage.”)

For more insights on this topic of sex and consequences, a recent article from the Weekly Standard, quoting the Washington Post has some great insights. Read the entire article here: Washington Post: Conservatives Are Right About Sex.

When it comes to issues of sexual behavior, it can be helpful to have someone outside of your close circle to discuss thoughts and feelings with. Someone who can be both knowledgeable AND trust-worthy, all in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

Keep us on your short list. We can be that friend that you talk to when you don’t feel you can talk to anyone else. No pressure. No agenda. Just a helpful, compassionate ear.

STD . . . It Might Hang Around Much Longer Than You Know!
Long Term Effects of STD

It is important to know how to prevent STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases, also known commonly as STI’s – sexually transmitted infections).

But what about long-term effects? If they are treated immediately, are you “out of the woods?” Are there long-term effects that you should know about?

The short answer is: yes. There are long-term effects of many STD’s. And it’s important that you have all the facts that you need.

First, the most common bacterial STD in the United States is Chlamydia (click the link to read more about it on our blog). This infection can be virtually symptom-free in up to 85% women; however, the cervix is the most likely to be affected by this bacteria. Symptoms include change in discharge, bleeding after sex, and bleeding outside of monthly cycle. The Chlamydia test is a routine one, and is offered through most doctor’s offices, as well as here at Advice and Aid. Chlamydia can cause a serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may lead to sepsis, shock, abscess, and even death. PID can lead to scarring of the Fallopian tubes, which could increase the risk of infertility and ectopic pregnancy (baby implanting in the tubes/ovary instead of the uterus). Chlamydia can also cause an eye infection in your baby if you are infected at delivery.

is another common bacterial STD. Again, the cervix is the most commonly affected area. Symptoms are similar to Chlamydia – bleeding, change in discharge, itching, abdominal pain. Gonorrhea is also associated with PID. Gonorrhea may also lead to Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome, a chronic liver disease. Gonorrhea can also cause an eye infection in your baby; babies receive ointment in their eyes at the time of birth to prevent this infection.

Human papillomavirus
(HPV) is the most common STD in the US, with 20 million men and women affected. This is the cause of genital warts. However, HPV leads to cervical changes that may cause cancer. Pap smears check the cervix for these precancerous changes. In the long term, HPV can lead to several different types of cancers.

Herpes simplex
is another common viral STD. Both type 1 and type 2 can cause genital herpes. It is estimated that 16% of people aged 14-49 are infected. Herpes leads to lifelong infection of painful outbreaks. It is highly contagious, and most people don’t know they have it until their first outbreak. This requires antiviral medications for life. Babies born to mothers with active lesions are born with lesions all over their body, brain infections, and blindness.

is caused by bacteria as well. A common symptom of syphilis could be an open, painless sore that is often mistaken as a seemingly harmless bump. This disease, without treatment, can cause rashes, heart disease, and brain infections. Babies born to these mothers are usually deaf, have teeth malformations, and brain malfunction. This disease is treated with penicillin.

These are just a few of the most common STD’s. Most of these are treatable, but their possible long-term effects can be extremely severe, both to you and to possible future pregnancies. It’s important that you have all of the facts before you decide to have sex. One moment of passion could lead to a lifetime of unintended consequences.

Make sure your choices are fully informed before you make them.

— Information taken from UpToDate, an evidence based medical database.

If you (or someone you know) suspects that you might have contracted an STD, you should be tested immediately.

Most doctor’s offices can provide testing, as well as here at Advice & Aid.  Here, you can find compassionate, knowledgeable staff that will not only provide testing at no cost to you, but can offer the support and direction that you need. It all takes place in a confidential and helpful setting, allowing you to get the answers that you need.

Don’t put it off . . . schedule a confidential, free testing today. Information is your greatest ally.

You need to know!


Permission to Grieve: When A Miscarriage Occurs

Miscarriage. No one ever believes that it will happen to them. But unfortunately,  up to 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. It is a silent pain for most women. One that most people never even see. But the pain is real, and cannot – should not – be ignored. One of our friend’s has shared her raw and very personal story of miscarriage. Perhaps you need, as she did, the permission to grieve a child that you will never hold.

All my life I couldn’t wait to get married and have children. I always knew I was going to have 4 kids: 2 boys and 2 girls. So, when I met my husband and he felt the same way, I couldn’t wait to start our family. Of course, our plan was to get married, find good jobs, have a place to live . . . and then we would start building the rest of the family.

Things didn’t go as planned.  About seven months into our marriage, we looked at the 2 lines of a pregnancy test and realized someone was going to join us in his/her own time. Wow! Pregnant? Really? We were still so young!! Yet, we were excited about a baby being part of our lives. It was fun to tell our parents, though a little nerve-wracking at the same time. They were happy for us.

Life continued as normal, except that I knew I was carrying a little baby in my womb. We were so happy. But then, one Tuesday morning while at work, I began to have some spotting.  I had heard that some women experience spotting, so I tried to keep cool. My husband and I talked to some people, called the doctor and were told to just to take it easy.

By end of the week, things were worse. The bleeding got heavier and heavier, and then the pain began. It got so intense that we decided to go to the hospital. I honestly don’t know if it was simply ignorance, but I had no idea that a miscarriage could be so painful. I laid there in the Emergency Room, bleeding, hurting, and definitely having contractions. I can’t even remember if they gave me anything for the pain, but it was bad. My husband held my hand as I cried and cried for I knew we were not going to hold our baby on this side of heaven. Every time we had visited the doctor I had imagined our trip to the hospital to deliver our first born, but it didn’t happen the way I imagined.

Here I was at 12 weeks of pregnancy, delivering but under very different circumstances. No one tells you how painful a miscarriage can be. The pain didn’t stop after the D & C, because then a new kind of pain began – the pain in my heart. Everywhere I went, it seemed there was a pregnant woman. People who knew what had happened often said things like, “You’ll have another one. You are still young.  Don’t cry.” I know they meant well, but these words hurt. I had lost a child, my first child. I didn’t want another one, I wanted that one.  Then my sister said something that helped my journey to healing. She said, “It’s ok to cry. You lost a child.”

Finally, someone understood that I was in pain. Someone encouraged me to grieve.

A miscarriage is difficult. You feel like you did something wrong, or there is something wrong with you.  We need to be gentle with women and their partners when they experience a miscarriage.  If you or someone you know has experience miscarriage, Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers’ Awakenings Program may be for you. This program helps women who have experienced infant loss.  Call our office (913-962-0200)and ask for Kelly.

STD – Should My Partner be Tested & Treated?
STD - Should My Partner Be Tested?

What exactly is a STD (also referred to as STI – sexually transmitted infection)?
An STD/STI is an infection passed from person to person through any sexual contact. The infection occurs when bacteria, virus or parasite grows on or in your body. Some STDs/STIs can be cured, and others cannot. For those that cannot be cured, there are medicines to manage symptoms.

Anyone may contract a STD/STI through sexual contact. Over 20 million people are infected each year. These infections affect people from all backgrounds and socio-economic groups. The largest age group for new infections are those aged 15-24. 

Women often have more serious health problems from STDs/STIs than men. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the most common STIs, and if left untreated, the risk of chronic pelvic pain or ectopic pregnancy increase. Infertility is also a possibility if the STI is left untreated.

It is important to be tested, and if positive, to be treated.

Any sexual partners should also be tested and/or treated to prevent re-infection.


Additional articles from Advice & Aid:
So You Think You Know All About STD?
STD. . . It Might Hang Around Much Longer Than You Know!

If you (or someone you know) suspects that you might have contracted an STD, you should be tested immediately.

Most doctors’ offices can provide testing, as well as here at Advice & Aid.  Here, you can find compassionate, knowledgeable staff that will not only provide testing for both you and your partner at no cost to you, but can offer the support and direction that you need. It all takes place in a confidential and helpful setting, allowing you to get the answers that you need.

Don’t put it off . . . schedule a confidential, free testing today. Information is your greatest ally.

You need to know!

You Are Not Alone {During Pregnancy and Beyond}
You are not alone

One of the things we hear most often from the men and women who walk through our doors is that they feel very alone in their situation.

In fact, this feeling of loneliness is often what drives a woman to make a decision that she doesn’t want to make. But the fear of being alone in her circumstances is a very real, very scary place to be.

But what if we told you that there was a place where you could find support, help . . . and even a “family” who will stand by you and offer you the very things you need. And not just for your pregnancy, but for those years after – when you have questions, doubts and need to be surrounded by those who love and care for you just as much as during your pregnancy.

That could make all the difference!

We have a beautiful solution to the problem of being alone . . . our parent support group that we call Bridges. These sweet quotes from those who experience Bridges give you great insight into just how much it has impacted their lives!

It’s an opportunity for moms and dads to come to a group meeting – a social gathering that shares a meal together each month.

It helps support emotionally – we become a family.

It’s a perfect place to be!

Bridges is for those who don’t want to be alone on this journey.

It’s where I can make friends with other moms.

I can get helpful information on child development, child safety, medical information, careers, budgeting & finances.

I can trade my “points” for things I truly need – diapers, wipes, baby clothes, blankets, books, toys.

Check out this video on our Bridges Group – and then contact us to start your journey with us today. We’re waiting here to make you part of our family!

To read more about our Bridges Program, check out these articles:
All the Help We Desperately Needed
Pregnancy Help You Are Looking For – Our Bridges Program

If you, or someone you know, is in a situation where you desperately don’t want to be alone, then perhaps a visit with us is exactly what is needed.

Simply make an appointment online, and when you come, you will meet with your very own Client Advocate – someone who will walk with you, cry with you, laugh with you, and be there to answer any question you have. For the long haul!

You aren’t alone!

Stealthing – A New and Dangerous Trend You Need to Know About

What is stealthing?
A new sexual trend called “stealthing” has seen an increase in occurrence as well as awareness in the community. Stealthing is non-consensual removal of a condom during consensual sex. Men secretly remove the condom during intercourse, without the knowledge or consent of their partner, and it is an extremely dangerous practice. When not using a condom, the risk of becoming pregnant or acquiring a STI or STD becomes a very real possibility. It is a matter of public health risk due to spreading sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and many others.

Bragging Rights
Social media postings have encouraged men to stealth their partner. Some men have even argued they have the right to “spread one’s seed” and brag of the practice of stealthing their partner online.

A Criminal Offense?
The Columbia Journal of Gender and Law
recently published an article on this practice. Though the law is not clear on this practice, it could be considered a form of sexual assault. Stealthing could also violate several civil & criminal laws as the non-consenting person is violated and would be considered a possible sexual assault victim. In January 2017, a Swiss court convicted a man of stealthing. It was argued and found to be that the woman would not have consented to sex with her partner if he had not worn a condom, so therefore he violated her rights and betrayed her trust.  The act of stealthing was determined to be a blatant violation of trust with the sex partner.

Emotional & Physical Harm
Victims of stealthing may experience the same type of emotional, physical and financial harm that stems from other more clearly defined violent sex acts. This practice may also lead to a new definition of legal consent.

The more information you have, the more you can protect yourself! Be informed and be aware.
(Click for additional information from USA Today on stealthing)

If you – or someone you know – suspects that you might be a victim of stealthing, it’s absolutely critical that you are tested immediately, both for pregnancy and for STI or STD. Many STIs seem fairly harmless, but can have long-term and severe consequences if not dealt with immediately.

It’s also important to know that you have someone you can talk to if you have been a victim of stealthing.  Each person that walks through our doors receives the help of an Advocate; someone who will listen, guide and stay with you as long as you need them to.

For more information on STIs/STDs, check out this article.