Category Archives: Jessica

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What Plans?

The people who know me best in life know that I am a mix of a confusing group of characteristics. I am an extreme planner. My first pregnancy, I was due in September and already had the maternity ward tour scheduled in May. The nursery was done at the beginning of August. Everything was washed, labeled, and ready to use. Those same people know that I am incredibly disorganized. My kitchen counters and dining room table are full of clutter. I don’t mind it because I tell myself I can easily find something that way.

I found out about my second pregnancy three years ago on May 22, 2017. I was determined that whatever gender this baby was, the theme of their nursery was going to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I went to a craft store and sifted through bolts of fabric picking out red, yellow, and green that I would ultimately request my mother in law to sew into a quilt. I went to Kohl’s and found a “Big Sister” shirt for our daughter and some fairly unisex clothes. I planned our baby announcement for 4th of July. I started a Pinterest board for welcoming a second child home and how to deal with sibling rivalry.

And then things happened that I couldn’t have planned for. When I started bleeding, it was incredibly faint. I heard that many women have spotting early in their pregnancy and I was only six and a half weeks along at that point. The pregnancy test was very clear and bright, which I thought meant a strong pregnancy.

I write this post during this time because we are all dealing with things we couldn’t have planned for. Most of us are at home. Some of you are spending your last trimester in solitude, instead of having in person baby showers with family, friends, and food. Some are currently in the fourth trimester, aching for the company of loved ones during these precious times.

What I’ve learned in the last three years since our loss is that we can plan all we want, but sometimes life or a higher power just has different plans for us. There is no shame in grieving the loss as long as you need to. Whether that is the loss of maternity shoots, newborn shoots, baby showers, visitors in the hospital, or the other dozens of things that we now can’t control, disappointment is a valid feeling.

The other thing I’ve learned is that if you don’t allow yourself to have those feelings when they’re happening, they will build and build and explode one day. I still struggle on certain days with meaning (the day we found out, the day we lost, the day I returned the Big Sister shirt) but in those moments, I give myself some grace and allow tears to fall or wine to be consumed.

When we’re dealing with the unthinkable, the only plans we can stick to are the ones where we plan for nothing at all.

Category : Jessica , Volunteer Bloggers


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Happy Birthday

My due date was January 16, 2018. I wish I were sitting here trying to control a 2 year old and a 4 year old instead of writing this blog.  I wish I were putting the finishing touches on a birthday party for this weekend. I wish I was stressed out, trying to get those final RSVPs.  Instead, my daughter and I will be blowing out the candle on a cupcake for the brother she never got a chance to meet.

It’s always an emotional day (even though it’s only the 3rd year), but this year seems a little different. I’ve carried a lot of guilt with me over the past 2.5 years. Even though I logically know I did nothing wrong and it was not my fault, it still hurts that I wasn’t able to protect my baby and bring him into existence. Today, I’m not feeling as much guilt. Maybe that means I’m healing? Maybe it means that day by day, I’m getting just a little bit better without ever forgetting.

My daughter came home from a friend’s birthday party the other day, where there were two newborn babies. She asked me why she doesn’t have a brother or a sister. I reminded her that she does (as we have fur babies). She’s too young to understand and the guilt I had for not being able to protect her brother will, I’m sure, carry into guilt that she doesn’t have any siblings here on earth.  Guilt and grief are ever changing and present themselves in so many different ways.

So tomorrow, we’ll get a cupcake and we’ll blow out the candle. But please know that the candle I hold for you will never go out.

Happy Birthday, Hudson.

Category : Jessica , Volunteer Bloggers


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Recovery

I held a baby boy today. I’ve held baby girls since May 31, 2017, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to hold a baby boy since then. It hurt too much to think of holding one, especially one that wasn’t mine. I thought I’d run out of topics or things to write about, but that’s the funny thing about recovery and healing. You think you’re all put back together and then something happens that either makes you fall apart or snaps that one tiny piece that you didn’t even know was missing.

The baby’s mom had gone through her own loss and she had known about mine as well. Every time she had brought him in to see us at work (or anyone else brought in a baby boy), I’d touch their feet or stroke their arm, but I couldn’t bring myself to hold them. It was too intimate and it didn’t feel like my place. Today, a friend asked, “Do you want to hold him?” and his mom, kind and sensitive answered, “No,” for me. I took a second and said, “No, I think I’m ready.” His sweet little body made its way into my arms and I held his weight on my hip. I immediately fell into “Mom mode” and started making goofy faces and sounds. “Jessica…” I heard his mom say and then she looked away, tears filling her own eyes. She knew how important and emotional this moment was for me.

I wasn’t sad at all. Maybe I will be later. But it was such a big and important step for my own healing and growth and I am so grateful for her allowing me to hold her most beautiful son. I feel more full than I have in a long, long time.

Category : Jessica , Volunteer Bloggers


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Confessions

In one of, if not my first, posts I documented how I was going to process my grief. I did the “right” things. I went to therapy, I allowed myself time to physically and emotionally heal. I bought a stone to put in our garden with his name and a quote I had read. I bought a white rose bush.

But I never put it in the garden. I bought the white rose bush when the weather wouldn’t sustain it. I purposely did not want to put either of these things out because that means it’s it. That means it is done. Clearly, 2 years later, I don’t have a baby in my arms, so I know he won’t be coming. But when I put that stone out and plant that flower, that’s it. And then that means it happened. I struggle so much with the ridiculousness of my rationale because clearly, it is not rational. And that says something about grief. It can turn a generally emotionally competent person into a mess of emotion and quiet turmoil that exposes itself in angry moments and fits of crying.

So while I refuse to set an end date, I’m going to work on this. Because holding on to something like this does nothing. It doesn’t help me heal and it doesn’t help me grow. I’ll never forget those 6 days of elation, but I cannot keep waiting to become whole again because I won’t without him. I’ll have to forever be comfortable missing that piece. Moving on doesn’t exist, so I’ll just have to move through, instead.

 

 

Category : Jessica , Volunteer Bloggers


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Hindsight

One year, 11 months, and about 6 hours ago, I found out I was pregnant. When I look at the pictures in my Memories section of Facebook, it’s a reminder. I didn’t even know you were there. You were creating a home for yourself while I was flying to Maryland. While I was chasing your sister around on the playground. When I wasn’t sleeping and was crying because I was so tired. Every picture from that trip is full of you. Even though I didn’t know you existed, you’re there. You’re on the plane, you’re in the picture with me, your grandmother, your great-grandmother, and your sister.

I still play the blame game. I still wonder if I had calmed down, taken a breath, or asked for help that trip, would you still be there? I know it’s not my fault and logically, I know there’s nothing I could’ve done to keep you safe. But then, I turn that from a sad thought, to a positive. You were there. You are here. I still struggle to find the words of how deeply losing you affected me, how they changed my entire being. I haven’t been back to Maryland since 2017, but we’re going soon.

I hope that when I look at the playground, at the snowball stand, at the couch we all sat on, I’ll still see you. In hindsight, it makes so much sense as to why I was so tired and emotional. You were there.

Category : Jessica , Volunteer Bloggers


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525,600 Minutes

I was supposed to be celebrating my child’s birth on 1/16/19.  That was the due date of the baby we lost. As Halloween drew near, I remember wishing I was putting together 4 costumes instead of 3. That I should be stressing myself out during the holidays to plan a big first birthday party.

I’ve found myself thinking about our loss every day, but it hurts less until these missed milestones come around. I wish I could be watching him take his first steps while his big sister cheered him on. I wish I still had a baby in a crib and the sweet smell of Dreft lingering throughout the house. I wish I could watch the sibling plots come to fruition, making a mess or creating some kind of trouble that young siblings often do.

I wish more than anything I was able to have carried our second child into the world. But I didn’t and I can’t change that. What I can do, is ensure that we celebrate every January 16th when he was due. I felt a little ridiculous saying I planned on buying a cupcake every year that I’m lucid and here on Earth, but then I realize, why shouldn’t we celebrate his imprint the way we celebrate everyone’s.

Milestones are milestones are milestones. The same dates happen every year and if you want to honor your angel baby that way, don’t ever feel silly. They made an impact on your life and they deserve to be celebrated if you so choose.

Category : Jessica , Volunteer Bloggers


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The Ugly Emotions We Don’t Talk About

I haven’t written lately because I have been struggling. I am still struggling with our loss. I am still struggling knowing that “Hudson” is quickly becoming a popular name and I now have to hear it and can’t say, “Oh, that’s my eight month old’s name!”

Even more, I’ve been struggling with the most recent group of pregnancy announcements and babies.  And this is where the ugly emotions come in. After my miscarriage, I did the normal grieving process. I expected that once I came to the point of acceptance that baby showers, meeting new babies, and excitement would just follow. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. All I feel is resentment. It’s fleeting, but I feel it with every single announcement I see.  I realize how this makes me sound. I hate myself for even having the feelings, but they are there.

And what’s even worse, is that the latest round of pregnancy announcements have been from people who have experienced secondary fertility. They didn’t just end up pregnant the first month they tried for a second baby. It has been years for most of them. Some have gone through miscarriages themselves. So after the resentment subsides, all I feel is guilt and shame. Guilt because both of our children were conceived without trying. Guilt because even though we lost our second baby, we have a child here that is wonderfully spectacular and perfectly healthy. And some people haven’t even had the chance to bring one baby into the world.

There is certainly some resentment as well because I’ll never get the chance to have our rainbow baby. I’ll never get that healing of being able to bring another child into this world biologically. And that’s something I’ll eventually have to deal with.

I’m sharing this in hopes that if anyone is struggling with these same feelings, you will understand you’re not alone.  It’s not the healthiest emotion, but it is a valid one and it needs to be identified. And if I’m the only person who holds these feelings of resentment, perhaps acknowledging and naming it will allow me to heal even further.

Category : Jessica , Volunteer Bloggers


Welcome!

If you’ve come to this blog, it likely means you have suffered a pregnancy loss of some type. We are so sorry you have found yourself here, but hope the stories of life after loss can help you on your road to healing and recovery. Remember, we are all in this together!

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