This is the man who delivered Frank.
On purpose. In case you were thinking I went into labor in a Catholic church by accident and this guy just happened to be there, that wasn’t the case.
I was already pregnant when I met Father Klamet, well Dr. Klamet, as I referred to him. I came and we did paperwork, blood tests and joked about maybe twins. We did an ultrasound and I had pictures of this tiny new life. Things were progressing, but then at about 8 weeks there was spotting. I called him and he said he was sure everything was fine but we’d do an ultrasound anyway. He sent me over to the hospital and I waited for the results.
The nurse who called me said “There is no heartbeat.” I didn’t understand that. I watched a lot of House at that time and thought surely there was some medical miracle to be had that would restart that baby’s heart. When the nurse clarified that there was not going to be a miracle here, I dropped the phone.
I went in for my doctor’s appointment and Dr. Klamet encouraged me to allow things to progress naturally. He said what I was experiencing wasn’t the typical loss, but rather a “missed miscarriage.” My baby’s heart had stopped, but my body wasn’t recognizing it. I would continue to have pregnancy symptoms while I had miscarriage symptoms.
These were some of my darkest days, having conversations where people argued with me that I wasn’t losing the baby because I was still have the pregnancy symptoms. They recommended second opinions. They recommended I try something, do something. But even in this midnight, I trusted Dr. Klamet. He told me that particularly in this situation he recommended naturally carrying out the miscarriage so that there would never be the question of “What if….?”
Weeks later there came the day when there was no more maybes or what ifs.
About five months later I was back in his office, pregnant again. I was terrified. I was consumed by certainty that this would end the same way. I had been so happy the time before when I told Kermit, but with this pregnancy, when I told him, I started crying.
Then at 8 weeks, the same point as the previous pregnancy, I began to spot. I called Dr. Klamet from work, sobbing, unable to breath, sitting in the stairwell of that office unable to go up or down, unable to move in my terror.
He brought me in and turned on his ultrasound machine. He showed me a healthy baby, a healthy sac, and a subcutaneous bleed, a small pocket of blood that was placed in not the best spot, but not the worst spot. I started to cry again. This is when the doctor became the priest.
He spoke to me of Matthew 6. He said “Matthew 6:27 it says ‘Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’ No, you can’t.” He went on to teach me. He told me that worry doesn’t change anything. It wouldn’t keep me from miscarrying. It wouldn’t change the loss of the last baby. If I was to miscarry this baby, I wouldn’t feel comfort by being able to say “Well, I worried about it for the past few weeks, so now my grief is less.” He taught me, “The only thing worry can do is steal the joy of today. Today you have a healthy baby.” Be glad for that.
Oh, what peace he gave me. He told me to go, to focus on positive imagery of pregnancy. If I was to start down the path of fear and worry, to stop myself and refocus on praying and positive thoughts. He offered me such a new way to face my fears.
The day finally came and he delivered Frank, a name given to him in honor of family, but for whom I have always cherished the connection it gave my son to this man. He left the hospital in a rush since Frank was born in the 6 o’clock hour on a Sunday and he had priestly duties to take care of, services to lead. He conducted that Mass in honor of my Frank, and then returned that afternoon bearing gifts from his parishioners.
In the following year, I leaned heavily on his medical expertise. He gave me such great information and empowered me to feel confidence in my abilities as a new mom. He told me during that year that the men of his family didn’t live past 59 and he didn’t expect to live beyond that himself. I thought it was a joke.
I brought Frank in for his one year appointment on a Friday. It was a great appointment and as always he praised me and Frank as being shining examples of what we should be as a good mom and a healthy baby.
That weekend Father Dr. Klamet was gone. I always think, if I had known, I would have taken a picture of him holding Frank at that appointment.
Dr. Klamet taught me so much in the time I knew him and I know I am just one of many, many others who were blessed by his teaching. He is the best example of living out faith I have ever encountered. I can share hundreds of stories, conversations, where he embodied the best in living a holy life. He showed me that being prolife was not about being anti-abortion, but rather being committed to preserving and providing for the life after birth as well, and caring for the mother.
This morning I stood in my kitchen, contemplating the interviews I’ve had in the past week and wondering which direction I will be going. I thought of Dr. Klamet, of his funeral, where the bishop shared that they had been in discussion about moving Dr. Klamet to a new church in another place. The bishop said he’d replied “What God wants, I will give. Where God leads, I will go.” So simply faithful. So simply Frank.
I didn’t remember that today was the date of his passing until I saw someone post about it on Facebook, but it touched my heart to hear the words of a man who taught me so much about peace and faithfulness, float through my head as if he was speaking straight to my face, reminding me to put one foot in front of the other following God’s leading.
What God wants, I will give. Where God leads, I will go.
R.I. P. Father Klamet.
***** If you would like to know more about this amazing man, more of his story leading him to be both a priest and a doctor, this is a nice read by a blogger, and written in a way I think he would have appreciated. http://www.cleveland.com/brett/blog/index.ssf/2009/04/father_frank_klamet_lived_his.html