Journal writings become tale of hope

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Ann Pasko of Beacon Falls is the author of ‘Against All Odds,’ a book that details her journey through eight miscarriages and the birth of her son. -LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — What started out as one woman’s journal to help deal with the emotions of multiple miscarriages is now a published book.

In October Ann Pasko, a Beacon Falls resident for the past 38 years, self published “Against All Odds,” a book that documented her eight miscarriages between 1979 and 1986 and the birth of her third child, a son, in 1988.

The book is a chronicle of Pasko’s journal writings. Last fall, her nephew, Anthony Paolucci, a children’s book author suggested she publish her writings. Now, she hopes her tale will reach women who have had miscarriages and show them that all hope is not lost.

Pasko began writing the journal in 1980 as a therapeutic release.

When she began her journey Pasko had two daughters, Lisa, then 7, and Lori, then 3.

Pasko and her husband, Dave, decided that they wanted to try for one more child; hoping that it would be a boy.

“After three miscarriages my doctor said you’re a hopeless case, it’s going to keep happening, and I advise you to be sterilized,” Pasko recalled during an interview at her home last week.

Pasko was shocked that her doctor would say that to her, and decided to become a patient of the late Dr. Stewart Petrie.

Petrie began trying different methods to help conceive and carry a child to term.

“He sent me for genetic testing, hormone testing. We went through the ringer,” Pasko said. “He said, ‘There’s no reason you can’t have a baby. You have two daughters, this proves it.’”

Although there was nothing medically wrong with her, Pasko was unable to carry a third child to term.

Pasko explained that, while she was going through this, she needed someone to talk to about what she was experiencing.

“You need help, you need support, you need somebody to be on your side,” Pasko said.

Pasko began keeping a journal of her emotions, experiences, and thoughts as a way to deal with the pain.

“So, we decided to try again and I kept a journal upstairs in my bedroom drawer. I had to get the emotions out because it was too much for me to deal with. I went into a depression,” Pasko said.

She kept journaling about her hopes every time she found out she was pregnant, and the feeling of loss and the depression that followed each miscarriage.

Pasko explained that she became extremely depressed after one baby died when the umbilical chord wrapped around the baby’s neck in the womb.

Pasko said that she began to believe it was her fault the baby had strangled, that the way she had moved caused the chord to wrap around its neck. This sent her spiraling down into her worst depression.

“I went through this period of severe depression. I would lie on the couch and I wouldn’t budge. They would all leave the house, the kids would go to school and Dave would go to work, and I would just lie on the couch. Well, one day I decided I was going to kill myself,” Pasko said.

She planned on taking the tranquilizers that she had been prescribed.

“I don’t know what happened, but I came to the realization of the pain that I was going to cause everybody again by doing this and being so selfish,” Pasko said.

After the thoughts of suicide passed, Pasko and her husband decided to try again, which resulted in another loss.

Pasko said as she was dealing with all the grief that comes with losing a child, her husband was always there for her. Looking back, however, she said that there wasn’t anyone there for him, even though he was going through the same pain as her.

“Each time I had a loss, everyone concentrated on me. They completely forgot Dave, the father, who was going through the same pain,” Pasko said. “They told him try to cheer her up, take her out to dinner, and, if she wants to cry, hold her. But no one ever once came to me and said, ‘Ann, help Dave, he’s going through the same pain you are. Help him, listen to him, and, if he wants to cry, tell him it’s OK, men can cry.’”

After nearly nine years of trying for a third child, Pasko gave birth to her son, David.

“The funny thing is that we had decided to stop trying,” Pasko said.

Pasko made an appointment to get sterilized and give up trying to have any more children. When she went to the hospital in January 1988, she was informed that she was pregnant.

“By some miracle, at Christmas, I got pregnant. Not intentionally, not trying, accidentally,” Pasko said.

Petrie told Pasko that she should terminate the pregnancy because there was a 99 percent chance she was going to lose this child too. She said that she would have to go home and talk it over with her husband and sleep on it. Her husband was worried that if she tried to have another baby she would slip back into depression. However, Pasko felt since it was conceived at Christmas, she should give it one more try.

“I said to myself, ‘You know what, God put it there, God can take it away. If he wants me to have it, I’ll have it. If he wants me to lose it, I’ll lose it,’” Pasko said.

David, who is now 24, has graduated college, is planning to go for a master’s degree in engineering, and is married.

Pasko wears a constant reminder of the memory of all the children she lost on her wrist, where a bracelet with an angel charm rests. On that same wrist sits a bracelet with a charm that says “Never ever give up.”

“Against All Odds” is available at www.lulu.com and www.amazon.com, and can be downloaded for the Kindle as well.