I started out this month knowing what I was going to write about. This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I did not know when I began this month that I would in fact be living it once again. And, so soon after a loss in September.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. I used to not pay much attention to it. Once upon a time, I lived in a land of blissful ignorance and arrogance that this type of loss would never touch me.
Why would it? I had experienced healthy pregnancies. I had welcomed living children into this world. I was so incredibly blessed. I knew that. But, I did not know what a blessing it truly was to have made it through healthy pregnancies and live births without any loss.
I lived in a bubble.
Well, that bubble burst soon enough. My world was first shattered November 2012. I had just found out I was pregnant and was scared and excited all at the same time. We had a “extra large” family by our culture’s standards and having another child came as a surprise.
We were excited, don’t get me wrong. I was just scared.
I lost Maryrose a week after I found out I was pregnant. I sat in an emergency room all alone praying her life would not be taken from me. My prayers were not answered. I blamed myself. I blamed by lack of immediate excitement for her life. I told myself it was punishment for not being super excited about being pregnant. I blamed myself for riding Space Mountain at Disneyworld the weeks before. It was my fault she died.
At that time, I felt so alone. I did not know anyone that had lost a baby. I did not talk about my loss because I didn’t feel like anyone wanted to hear it from me. I also felt like I was so early that I didn’t have a right to grieve publicly.
Fast forward to 2016. We were excited to find out we were expecting again. My pregnancy was going along as normal with my severe sickness. Everyone was excited to find out the sex that we would reveal on Christmas Day.
Then 2 days before I went in for my 16 week ob checkup, I began to feel better. The nausea was subsiding. I just thought it was because I was in my 2nd trimester. I was wrong.
I will never forget that Monday. I remember what I was wearing, what all I did that day and every moment from the time the nurse couldn’t find the heartbeat until the ultrasound with my limp, little girl’s body.
I screamed in horror and felt a pain that I had never experienced before. It was as if someone had stabbed me in my heart and then ripped my heart out.
We delivered my precious, fully formed Mary Catherine the next day. She was perfect with 2 eyes, a nose, mouth, little hands and little feet with 10 fingers and 10 toes. We held her and took pictures. It was joy and sorrow mixed together. Then we buried our little girl.
This time around I had so much support from family and friends. I decided not to be silent this time. I talked about my loss. And, you know what? Everyone I met had lost at least 1 baby if not more!
Approximately 10 months after burying Mary Catherine, we found out we were expecting again. We were so excited but decided to wait to tell the kids. I began a series of lab tests to make sure my hormone levels were rising. I took my progesterone. The first labs were not positive and I was at high risk for miscarriage. But, before we received the second lab results, I began bleeding. I delivered my Samuel at home 2 days later. I was 5 weeks along. I was devastated. We told the kids a few days later.
I tried to get back into life. I was doing well when we found out I was pregnant again, about a month after losing Samuel. Talk about surprise! Not because of our use of the System, but because we didn't think I could ovulate that soon after a miscarriage. I thought for sure this baby was going to be the one. I was going to take a baby home this time. I continued with my progesterone. I thought for sure I would not lose another baby again.
On Columbus Day, as we were getting ready to go to the zoo for a family day, I began bleeding. It was just spotting so I still had hope. I lost my Anne 2 days later. We told the kids the next day. Words can not express the devastation I still feel. We have no idea why I would lose 2 babies so early. I am treated by a NaProTechnology doctor for my hormone issues.
I decided I would not be silent. Both of Samuel and Anne were 5 weeks old, but their lives matter. They had a purpose planned by God. I was blessed again to have such amazing support from friends and family.
I am still processing the grief of losing my daughter almost a year ago on November 16 and 2 more babies this year. I have been angry, sad, confused and scared this maybe the end of my being able to carry a baby to term. Of course, only God knows my future.
I still struggle some days just to function. I feel like a failure, that my body has failed.
But, I have support. That is so important. Amazing support from my husband, my children, my family and friends.
I have learned over the last year that I need to talk about my babies. I need to say their names and I need to tell others how I feel, no matter how uncomfortable it makes them.
I need to acknowledge my feelings, my struggles, my grief. Grief is a journey. It can hit you over the head out of nowhere. Like a wave washing over you. You can be going along just fine, then BAM – a tidal wave of grief can knock you on your knees.
That is why it is so important to find support for this journey. I did so much research after Mary Catherine’s death, trying to find support for my grief. I found it in Hope Mommies. This a Christian organization designed to support women and couples who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss.
This organization has truly helped me along my grief journey. You can find them at www.hopemommmies.org.
You maybe asking, “I have not experienced this type of loss. How can I support someone who is experiencing pregnancy and infant loss?"
I am glad you asked! The fact that you want to know shows what a great friend you are. So many people stay silent because they are uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. I know. I used to be one of them!
I was going to write a long list of things but thought it might be helpful to put them in a printable resource to download and have at your fingerprints. I have listed the things I have found extremely helpful in my own personal loss journey.
My goal with this post is to not only honor the lives of my Maryrose, Mary Catherine, Samuel and Anne, but also to let women and couples know they are not alone. There is support out there! If you have lost a baby, no matter how early, you are a mom!
I miss my babies every day. The pain is deep. I have hope in God. I now count the days until I will get to meet them in Heaven. My children talk to their siblings and remember them as well. They know they have intercessors in Heaven.
I am a different person today. How could I not be? Loss and grief changes a person. I still have hope and am blessed to be surrounded by love.
I do not know God’s plan this side of Heaven, but I know I was blessed to be chosen to be the mom of Maryrose, Mary Catherine, Samuel and Anne.
If you have lost a baby too soon and need to talk, please contact me. I would be happy to listen and support you in your grief.