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national pregnancy and infant loss awareness

loss of a pregnancy, miscarriage, pregnancy, birth, the first pregnancy

Have you ever suffered the loss of a pregnancy? Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. I know October is National everything month but I would like you all to pause for just a moment today and remember all the mothers who lost their everything and children who never got to be held. We can’t forget the loss of a pregnancy is the loss of our child that would’ve been; it’s how to survive a miscarriage.

My story is not unique or special but my loss was life-changing for me. In that one moment, my life was altered for eternity. The loss of a pregnancy sounds so simple but I’ll spend the rest of my life learning how to survive a miscarriage. The statistics all say that it is common but it doesn’t feel statistically accurate. I can’t imagine how so many women are suffering so stoically, such a deep and profound sorrow. My heart was irreparably damaged and in its place, a gaping wound remains that can never be filled. It’s a kind of primal pain that is indescribable. 

READ ALSO: Mourning Mother Won’t Let go of Baby

I don’t think that the loss of a pregnancy or infant is like anything else, we will ever experience in our lifetime and I can say for certain that it is nothing I would ever wish on even my worst enemy.

It’s like dying but still being alive. It’s having to carry on when you want to crawl into yourself and cease to exist. It’s survival at the most. It’s a vulnerability that, to this day, still brings me to my knees on occasion. The only thing worse that I can imagine is losing a living child who’ve you’ve spent years loving and knowing.

The worst part about the loss of a pregnancy or infant is what a single solitary loss it is. Surviving a miscarriage is like surviving the apocalypse and your entire family dying, do you even want to survive?

You will never feel so alone as you do when your womb is empty because you feel like your body failed you and no one feels it the way you do. Others know that you lost your pregnancy or your infant but in a few weeks or months, they can forget it if they choose and carry on. And they usually do and you are left feeling like a crazy person who misses terribly this tiny person we never met. You begin to question your sanity, especially when others look at you like “when is she ever going to get over this.” Worse, they actually are afforded the luxury of forgetting that it ever happened to you. Oh yes, they do and no I never will “get over it”.

Every May 1st (The day I survived my miscarriage) and November 24th (our child’s due date), I observe as days of remembrance. I feel the loss every single day but on those two days of the year, I allow myself to feel all of my feelings. Sometimes, I sob the entire day, sometimes I am numb and others, I am still and thankful that even for that short time, my baby was with me and for the two beautiful children that I do get to hold because there are those of us who never got to hold any of their children.

I am past the point of feeling raw or envious when friends tell me that they are pregnant. I am happy for them. In fact, I love seeing them get to experience that love and complete sense of purpose. I no longer ask “why me?” because there is no point. My little one has finally stopped asking for a sibling, and that has helped immensely. My guilt is beginning to alleviate some. My feeling of failure is slowly fading like an old photo.

I do however know how fragile and fleeting life is and that has made me a different kind of mother to my children. If I am being completely honest, I still don’t think that I could survive a loss of one of my girls. (That’s not a tempt fate, so please forget that I even thought that) but the pain nearly killed me and for a little while, it completely destroyed my sanity. It’s hard to be rational when you are a frightened, exposed nerve in the world. I am aware that I am a little more protective of my girls than maybe I should be but you have to understand, they are my everything.

READ ALSO: When a Tattoo Heals Your Heart

I’ve been searching for something to immortalize the baby that I lost, to give me closure in a way. I feel like I need something to mark his existence, proof that he ever existed at all. That he was here. That the Big Guy and I loved him more than anything else in the world, just like we do our two girls. I know that nothing can fill that hole in my heart but I want people to know that I am the mother to 3 children. I was pregnant 3 times. It happened. I’m not crazy. I didn’t imagine it. I am not over it.

I’ve finally decided on a tattoo that I think is perfect. It’s a poem, one that I’ve quoted to my girls since they were babies. I am going to have it tattooed on my left-hand side rib cage, near my heart because that is where my children always are with me, in my heart, forever…even if you don’t see them or forget they exist. For me, they are always right there with me.

If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a pregnancy take today to feel your feelings.

Be kind to yourself. There is no right or wrong way to feel. There is no expiration date on loving a child. It doesn’t matter who else remembers or cares, you do.

We all have our wounds. They might not show on the outside but they are there. Be kind to one another and cherish every single moment with the people you love, especially the little people, because time is fleeting.

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national pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, miscarriage, loss

It was a sunny Monday morning. I had just dropped my 4 year-old off at preschool. I had approximately 2 hours to get to my OBs office and have her check me and tell me nothing was wrong. As I lay there alone on the cold, hard table in the ultrasound room, I expected nothing to be wrong. I had some spotting, as I had with both of my previous pregnancies. Both times previously, everything was fine. I had overreacted. I was 10 weeks and 4 days pregnant with our third child. I just needed the ultrasound and the confirmation that everything was okay and I could continue on with my full day of errands. I wasn’t scared at all. That’s why my husband wasn’t with me. I was wrong.

The ultrasound tech made idle chit chat, apologizing for the wand of the vaginal ultrasound and any pressure that I might be feeling. Then her face went white. I knew. But it had to be a mistake. She continued on in silence. Then the words came, as if in slow motion from across the world, “I’m so sorry, I can’t find your baby’s heartbeat.”

I was in shock. All I could think was, she must have done something wrong. There is a heartbeat; she just doesn’t know what she is doing. I lay there for a couple more minutes, paralyzed and horrified. Embarrassed and humiliated, I wanted to disappear. I wanted to die. I wanted to be dead with no heartbeat, just like my baby inside me. I couldn’t talk. I didn’t cry.

I was interrupted from my internal psychotic break by the ultrasound tech taking my hand softly and telling me, once again, how very sorry she was for my loss and that she would take me downstairs to see my obstetrician “the back way”. I know it was so I wouldn’t have to walk through the waiting room filled with beautiful round bellies full of life. I knew. But it felt like, I was being taken down the back stairs because I was not worthy.

My body had failed my baby and me. There was malfunction and all I could do was take one step at a time and try not falling to the ground and crying forever. It felt surreal like I was watching this happen to someone else. I was outside of my body as I found myself in the Ob waiting room downstairs, not sure if I should politely smile or cry at the other expecting mothers. I was jealous. I was pissed. I was hurt. I felt like my initial reaction of surprise to this pregnancy had somehow made me unworthy to hold my baby. I could not speak. I saw my doctor. She explained the situation. I could barely hear her through my own thoughts. My head was so congested from holding in my pain. I was afraid to open mouth because all of the emotion would come pouring out and drown us all.

I was physically aching. My legs were shaking, my mind was racing, my head was spinning and I was alone; more alone than I have ever been in my life. I needed to hear my husband’s voice. He had to be told. I was the only one who could make that call. He knew I was at the doctor’s office. We’d been here before. We worried for nothing. It was always fine. Not this time.

I dialed the number through my blurry vision, I heard his jovial voice on the other end, “How’s our baby?” I was silent. “Is everything ok?” his concern was palpable. I started to speak, but it didn’t sound like me. It couldn’t be me speaking those words. I opened my mouth and the words came out like a death sentence, “ We had a M…………” and then I began to sob in an uncontrollable and animalistic way in which I have never experienced before. I could not finish the word. It was choking me. I could not say it out loud because then it would be real and then my baby would be dead. The promise of our baby would be broken. Life would be different. I would be different. It would all be less. I would never get to hold my baby in my arms because my baby was gone.

How do you survive a miscarriage? You don’t. You are changed forever. On the day that you lose a child, you lose part of who you were and become someone new; different. Your destiny is changed. You will never be the same. Eventually, you learn to breathe again, you get up of the floor, you stop crying and you somehow carry on.

 I wrote this in August on Scary Mommy but today is the day that I share exactly what happened on the hardest day of my life. Our babies who have gone on to heaven may not be here in our arms but they are always in our hearts. During National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, please remember what we can never forget.

photo credit: Jason A. Samfield via photopin cc

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National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, miscarriage, loss

Today is October 1st, the first day of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Today also marks 5 months since we lost our baby. It’s been 5 months since my miscarriage. It’s the anniversary of the worst day of my life.
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, miscarriage, loss

This was the first time we ever saw our third baby

We had already been blessed with two beautiful children and I was waiting for the day that the little heart beating blip would turn into a goo covered bundle being laid on my chest. I looked forward to it. My brain ran wild with thoughts of my girls playing with their newborn brother or sister, fawning over his every breath and cry and whimper. I could already see Bella mothering him and sitting by my side as I nursed him begging me to hold him. Gabi would be over the moon. All she’s ever wanted was to big be a big sister. She would have adored that baby like you couldn’t imagine and the Big Guy, he would have fallen so deeply in love with that baby that he would have been his forever, just like he has done with each of our babies. I wanted that baby so much, for so many reasons.

In the past five months, my heart has broken a million different times at the most random occasions but lately it’s gotten harder. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I keep bumping into women at school, at church, in the store who are pregnant and look to be as far along as I should be. Every time I see one, my heart is reminded of what will never be and it hurts. I know that I am not the first one to suffer this devastating loss and I know that those around me don’t feel this gaping hole that is where my heart used to be but I do.

My girls have moved on from asking about our baby in heaven and the Big Guy never talks about it but he listens when I need to. He knows that the first day of every month, I’m not myself and a little part of me wants to crawl into bed and die just like I did on the day that I found out. I am not purposely lingering in my loss but it’s always there. It haunts me. I think it might always haunt me. I will never forget, any of it. My miscarriage changed me forever, I know that now.

I am past the anger of my miscarriage now, on most days. Now, it’s just a quiet lingering pain of loss. I am happy for those around me who are pregnant and having babies. I am excited at the prospect of my sisters and sisters-in-law and friends to tell me their joyous news. I can’t wait to hold them close and kiss their tiny foreheads but still I am sorry that I will never get to hold my third baby. I will miss that. I am sad knowing that just for a little while I had a little miracle living inside me that I will never get to meet.So today, on the first day of the month and the first day of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month, I sit here looking at the ultrasound photos and sob for my beautiful baby in heaven.

 ***********************************************************************************************************************************

I first shared this post on my friend, Jill’s site Scary Mommy on August 23,2012. She gave me a place to share the events of that day when I was too afraid to share it here. I didn’t want to be that mom who couldn’t stop talking about this one moment but I feel that today is the perfect time to share the details of that day. I can’t promise I won’t talk about it again. I have a feeling that my due date is going to be a pretty painful day for me. Thank you for all of your support and love.

For National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I am sharing my story with you

It was a sunny Monday morning. I had just dropped my 4 year-old off at preschool. I had approximately 2 hours to get to my OBs office and have her check me and tell me nothing was wrong. As I lay there alone on the cold, hard table in the ultrasound room, I expected nothing to be wrong. I had some spotting, as I had with both of my previous pregnancies. Both times previously, everything was fine. I had overreacted. I was 10 weeks and 4 days pregnant with our third child. I just needed the ultrasound and the confirmation that everything was okay and I could continue on with my full day of errands. I wasn’t scared at all. That’s why my husband wasn’t with me. I was wrong.

The ultrasound tech made idle chit chat, apologizing for the wand of the vaginal ultrasound and any pressure that I might be feeling. Then her face went white. I knew. But it had to be a mistake. She continued on in silence. Then the words came, as if in slow motion from across the world, “I’m so sorry, I can’t find your baby’s heartbeat.”

I was in shock. All I could think was, she must have done something wrong. There is a heartbeat; she just doesn’t know what she is doing. I lay there for a couple more minutes, paralyzed and horrified. Embarrassed and humiliated, I wanted to disappear. I wanted to die. I wanted to be dead with no heartbeat, just like my baby inside me. I couldn’t talk. I didn’t cry.

I was interrupted from my internal psychotic break by the ultrasound tech taking my hand softly and telling me, once again, how very sorry she was for my loss and that she would take me downstairs to see my obstetrician “the back way”. I know it was so I wouldn’t have to walk through the waiting room filled with beautiful round bellies full of life. I knew. But it felt like, I was being taken down the back stairs because I was not worthy.

My body had failed my baby and me. There was malfunction and all I could do was take one step at a time and try not falling to the ground and crying forever. It felt surreal like I was watching this happen to someone else. I was outside of my body as I found myself in the Ob waiting room downstairs, not sure if I should politely smile or cry at the other expecting mothers. I was jealous. I was pissed. I was hurt. I felt like my initial reaction of surprise to this pregnancy had somehow made me unworthy to hold my baby. I could not speak. I saw my doctor. She explained the situation. I could barely hear her through my own thoughts. My head was so congested from holding in my pain. I was afraid to open mouth because all of the emotion would come pouring out and drown us all.

I was physically aching. My legs were shaking, my mind was racing, my head was spinning and I was alone; more alone than I have ever been in my life. I needed to hear my husband’s voice. He had to be told. I was the only one who could make that call. He knew I was at the doctor’s office. We’d been here before. We worried for nothing. It was always fine. Not this time.

I dialed the number through my blurry vision, I heard his jovial voice on the other end, “How’s our baby?” I was silent. “Is everything ok?” his concern was palpable. I started to speak, but it didn’t sound like me. It couldn’t be me speaking those words. I opened my mouth and the words came out like a death sentence, “ We had a M…………” and then I began to sob in an uncontrollable and animalistic way in which I have never experienced before. I could not finish the word. It was choking me. I could not say it out loud because then it would be real and then my baby would be dead. The promise of our baby would be broken. Life would be different. I would be different. It would all be less. I would never get to hold my baby in my arms because my baby was gone.

How do you survive a miscarriage? You don’t. You are changed forever. On the day that you lose a child, you lose part of who you were and become someone new; different. Your destiny is changed. You will never be the same. Eventually, you learn to breathe again, you get up of the floor, you stop crying and you somehow carry on.

 

Our babies who have gone on to heaven may not be here in our arms but they are always in our hearts. During National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, please remember what we can never forget.

October, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

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