Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is near and dear to my heart. This is because I myself have suffered from a miscarriage.
This very secret but large group that so many of us are part of needs to break its silence!
Pregnancy and infant loss isn’t something that shouldn’t be met with embarrassment, guilt, or shame but rather acceptance, love, and support. From our families; from our friends; and most importantly from ourselves and others around the world who have been through the same roller coaster of emotions that come with such a heartbreaking tragedy.
On this day, we will remember all the tiny babies who were too precious for Earth. But let’s also take the time to reach out to someone you know who might be hurting and just let them know that you are there.
Together, we can make a change.
Because the last thing I want is for a woman to feel like she has to go through this journey alone…. As you read each woman's own personal journey, feel free to share yours as well!
#Iam1in4 #breakthesilence #pregnancyandinfantlossawarenessday
On July 14, 2011 I noticed I hadn't felt baby move in an hour so I called my OB. She advised me to drink cold orange juice and head to the hospital for a check up. What followed after no one could prepare me for.
They couldn't find a heartbeat.
I was almost 7 months pregnant... I JUST saw my OB 2 days prior to this and everything was fine...
I couldn't wrap my head around what they were telling me. They needed to induce labor.
I ended up going through labor and delivery without any medications to give birth to a daughter I knew I could never bring home with me.
I held her in my arms before they took her away.
I asked the questions of why... how... etc
I begged for her to come back to me.
It was and still is the most heartbreaking moment of my life.
I can't explain the unbearable pain I felt that day.
We paid for an autopsy but we got no closure.
We were told "These things happens sometimes and it's not anyone's fault."
6 months later I also miscarried twins.
I can't put into words how devastating life is after each loss, but I want others to know they're not alone in this.
We had our first born and we were looking for our second baby. Three months later, I found out I was pregnant with my second baby.
I had an ultrasound, and that is when we found out that baby didn't have a heartbeat.
I remember that the ultrasound technician didn't say a word at the beginning, and then she told me that she wasn't sure how many weeks I was. You could see that something was wrong...
I spent almost an hour in that room; millions of things running through my mind.
Deep inside I knew that my baby was dead, but at the same time I was hoping for a miracle.
Two weeks after the ultrasound and tons of blood works, the doctor decide to do a D&C. I still remember that day and the emptiness that I felt when I woke up...
Five months after that I found I was pregnant again. My husband and I kept the secret but then I started bleeding at work. Once again I was losing my baby.
When you lose a baby you feel empty, not only physically but emotionally as well.
You feel that your dreams were taken away, that all the plans you had are now gone and you spend the rest of your life thinking how it would have been.
My life changed, at the beginning it was hard for me to accept what happened, but after all this time God has given me peace.
My heart hurts every time I know someone who went or is going through the same thing because you know the pain they feel and that there are no words that you can say to them that will make them feel better...
Today I'm able to hold my rainbow baby, and I cherish every moment with my two girls.
My babies will always be in my heart and I know that someday I'll be able to meet them.
Although I have met some very strong women in this pregnancy loss/infertility journey, this is a club that I wish I weren’t a part of.
I unwittingly started this journey early on in womanhood. I experienced three pregnancy losses pretty close together when I was in my early 20’s.
In the late 90’s after my losses, pregnancy loss was something that wasn’t talked about.
It was a secret group of people who had experienced unspoken sorrow.
The third pregnancy loss was especially hard because I was at 16 weeks and just knew in my heart that I had beat the “first trimester curse” that I heard about after the first two losses.
When the bleeding and pain started, I could not wrap my young mind around what was happening to me.
I broke up with my fiancé out of grief and anger, returned home and started giving away the baby items that I had started acquiring.
I think that right after losing a baby, the next part was the most difficult…the “un-telling” and undoing of careful plans that I had made.
Well-intentioned people started pouring in advice for me.
“You are young and you can just try again.”
“God has a plan and this just wasn’t your time.”
It wasn’t enough to console me.
It wasn’t enough to help me make sense of what happened to me.
It awakened an unexplained anger that helped me push all the pain to the back of my mind with the hopes of never revisiting it again.
What I didn’t lose was the hope that one day I would be a mommy.
As the years went by I still carried that burden. I could not stop seeing these babies in my dreams. I could not stop myself from wondering about who they would be, what they would look like, would they laugh like me?
I could not stop hearing the echo of “mommy” in my mind.
I have no rainbow after the storm. I will forever be in this storm. I will carry my babies in my heart until God calls me home.
I have the month of October to remind people that my babies existed and join families like mine in to remember our angels.
I have the 15th of October to send light to the heavens and remind my sweet angels that I have never forgotten them and my love has not ever faded.
The only advice I can give to people surrounding someone who has experienced loss, is to just listen.
Every pregnancy/infant loss is different and it scars people in different ways.
Although your advice may be well-intentioned, it can be especially hurtful to someone who has been in the position of losing a baby…hopes….dreams….wishes…etc.
I can’t ask you to understand my pain but I can ask that you carry me in your heart.
I do not want your advice or even your sympathy, what I want is that you understand that my heart is broken and will probably always be that way.
A hug and a listening ear goes far beyond what any words can.
I am 1 in 4, many times over.
While these days it is much more common to talk about miscarriage and pregnancy loss, it is still an incredibly difficult subject to talk about personally, especially once you move into the realm of multiple losses and no children at home.
While I miss my babies every single day, I worry about talking about it too much.
I've heard too often from people that:
I "just need to move on and accept I'm not supposed to be a parent"
or to "just adopt and then it will happen"
or that we should "stop trying because it happened to xyz then"
or that I should "be more faithful and trust in God to bring me a child when the time is right".
None of these words make the journey easier, in fact, they make it even harder.
I'm still left waiting with empty arms, knowing that the babies that have grown under my heart will never be in my arms.
I'm left standing alone, as 1 in 4, a club I never wanted membership in to.
I lost my little angel in February of 2016.
I was originally scheduled to have my doctor’s appointment at 9am that morning but was added to a pregnancy education class and my appointment was moved back to 1 pm that afternoon.
My husband and I were so excited after the class and talked about all our baby plans over lunch.
At 1pm we made it back to our appointment to be told that they could not find a heartbeat.
We never expected to hear these words and it was truly so hard to hear after being so excited after leaving our pregnancy class.
I was told by my doctor “I am so sorry, but know this is very common and you will get pregnant again.”
I've heard “did you do anything to cause the miscarriage”, “imagine if you had lost the baby further along it would be worse” and “maybe you shouldn't try again because you are almost 40”.
I honestly think people mean well but truly don't know what to say during a miscarriage or pregnancy loss.
I can honestly say my bond started from the moment I found out I was pregnant.
I began talking and singing to my little angel.
The loss of a child is extremely painful even if that loss happens 2 months into your pregnancy.
The journey is not easy and some words that are meant to be encouraging can sometimes make the journey a little harder or more painful.
If you meet someone who has experienced a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, remember to listen, show them love, and be supportive.
It’s been a long road to where we are now.
When we got married my husband and I figured “Let’s be married for a bit before we even worry about children”.
Little did we know we were going to be waiting a lot longer than a little bit.
This January we will have been married for 11 years and 9 of those were spent trying to have children.
We have heard it ALL along the way, too.
“Just stop trying and it will happen!”
“You’re so young to be worried about all of that right now!”
“If God sees fit, it will happen.”
and so much more.
We left churches because as soon as someone found out we were seeking the help of fertility treatments we were chastised, ostracized and judged.
Our first miscarriage was when I was only 19 and he was only 21.
We had been married a few short months and hadn’t been planning on children yet but there it was!
We were excited, nervous, happy and overwhelmed all at once.
At my first prenatal appointment we heard the heartbeat and nothing could describe the feeling that sound brings.
A week later I knew something wasn’t right and made a same day appointment.
There was no heartbeat this time, only a nurse who wouldn’t even look at me and a doctor that said, “Its not uncommon and you can always try again. Get some rest and if nothing passes, come back in and we will clean you out.”
Clean me out?!?!
We went home heartbroken and had to figure out how to tell our family and friends.
Over the next 3 years there were more miscarriages, more phone calls, more appointments, more prayers and sadly less support.
Finally I got pregnant and made it to 36 weeks.
Upon arriving at the hospital for some monitoring before induction I learned that our son had passed away the night before.
I delivered a 9lb 22inch boy on March 6, 2009 while my husband was fighting in Iraq.
Again, we grieved and to our surprise started to be judged.
“When are you going to give up and realize you’re not meant to be a mother?”
“When will you stop putting your husband through this?”
The list goes on.
We suffered another 2 miscarriages before being blessed with the opportunity to adopt a baby born just for us!
After our son came a few more miscarriages, and we finally said ok enough. We met with a specialist in Savannah and decided to give it 6 months on treatments. If it didn’t happen then we were done.
After a reproductive surgery and TONS of monitoring, our first round of treatments took! It was a long 42 weeks but our newest son came along. After 9 long years we have decided this is our family, and we are extremely blessed.
We still get remarks made about it and EVERYONE has an opinion just like anything else in life. There are even people who will see this, read this and just now see how many babies we actually did loose.
I HOPE this project helps others to see that it’s ok to talk about your losses. Its OK to share the news, both good and bad, if need be.
I WISH we had.
There needs to be support for the 1 in 4 because it could happen to anyone. It does happen to anyone. Let’s all be there for each and every one together.
1 in 4 women suffer a pregnancy or infant loss at least once in their lifetime.
Of the 35 women who expressed interest in participating, these 6 were actually able to come together to share with the world their own personal struggles.
Each white balloon signifies 1 loss that the woman holding it has experienced.
Some have living children, and some do not. But all are mothers in their own way. And all have decided to help break the silence!
October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
If you or someone you know has suffered a loss, please light a candle in their honor!
It never goes dark in heaven. Until we meet again……