Category Archives: Karen

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My due date ritual

Over the last few years, I’ve settled into a ritual of sorts whenever it is the due date of one of my babies. I look back at all of the blog posts I have written on that date and inevitably it stirs up a lot of emotions.

Today is no different as January 9, 2016, was the due date of my second baby, a boy I miscarried at 12 weeks.

As I am writing this and reflecting on those posts, there are some tears in my eyes but there is also a weird sense of peace. I previously wrote about how, on his due date, Sean & I threw a wishing stone into the reflecting pool and hoped for good health in years to come.

I am realizing that good health did in fact find us. At the time I was in the 1st trimester of my 3rd pregnancy, a time full of anxiety and prayers that this baby would finally be the one that came home with us – and it was. In August of that year, we were blessed with our son Ryan. Almost 2 years later his brother TJ joined our family.

There’s no such thing as perfect health for anyone but despite the miscarriage that I suffered in between the birth of my boys, I do feel very fortunate that overall, good health found us. I like to think that it is my baby boy looking down over us and his little brothers.

While saying goodbye is never easy, I’m learning that each year, these due date days are an opportunity for reflection that I actually look forward to in some way. On these days, I tend to do a lot of introspection and grieve and remember in a very personal and inward way. I allow myself to take those quiet moments, those ones where I sit by myself and just think and feel and cry.

As the years go on, my losses may not be all-consuming anymore but I am still vulnerable. Three days a year – with January 9 being the first – I allow myself to surrender to my grief.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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My Love/Hate Relationship With PAIL Awareness Month

As Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month winds down, I can’t help but confess I have a love/hate relationship with it.

I love that there is recognition that pregnancy loss is more common than many believe.

I love that resources are shared.

I love that it encourages open conversation.

I love that is brings together the pregnancy loss community.

I love that it gives us a special time to remember our own babies and those of others.

But..

I hate that there are still people who think pregnancy loss doesn’t affect them in some way.

I hate that despite our efforts, there are still so many who are suffering silently, feeling alone.

I hate that there is even a need for PAIL month.

I hate knowing that remembrance can be painful for some, myself included.

And above all –

I hate that everything I love about PAIL awareness is overly emphasized during this one month when it should be as equally publicized the other 11 months of the year.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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Marriage After Pregnancy Loss

Let’s be real: marriage is hard, even under the best of circumstances.

Add in the loss of a child, and all of a sudden you’re called on to have strength, faith, and belief in yourselves and each other that you never could have imagined. And it’s really hard.

Today, Sean & I are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary. I’m grateful to be able to say this. There are many reasons why, but when I think about what we’ve been through together, I know that we are fortunate.

I’ll be honest – there were some dark days.

There was a point when I thought my marriage was over. Not because I wanted it to be, but because I didn’t think we were strong enough to continue on together. I understand now that we were both hurting more than the other realized, and it’s really difficult to take care of your marriage when you’re not taking care of yourself.

We lost sight of our partnership. We didn’t allow ourselves to be fully vulnerable to each other because it was easier to keep the pain inside. We talked, but not enough. We went through the motions and acted like things were more ok than they were.

Eventually we got back to being a team, but not before figuring out what we needed separately first. It’s kind of like being on an airplane when they tell you to secure your own air mask before helping others – as much as you want to help your loved ones who are with you, you can’t until you’ve put yourself in the most favorable position for success. We had to make ourselves a priority in order to help our marriage – and we did.

I find, even now, that grieving as a couple is so much harder than grieving individually. You’re forced to confront those moments that make you uncomfortable, that bring up emotions and open old wounds.

Earlier this week, we participated in the wave of light just as we have done every October 15 for 6 years now. We lit our candle, shared the photo, let the world know that we were remembering our 3 children. I told my husband that while I love this event, I also hate how heavy it is. We didn’t talk about it – I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t want to pull up sadness and memories. But I realize now that I don’t know if he wanted to talk about it – because I didn’t ask.

Our losses will always be a part of us and will always, to some degree, define our relationship. There will always be “what ifs” and “should haves” and moments where we have to face this aspect of who we are, both as individuals and as a couple.

I know I am lucky – I got my happy ending.  Fighting through was tough and I have no doubt there will be trying times in our future as well, but I will never, ever forget that we are in this together.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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Introducing Thomas John

In the pregnancy loss community, the term rainbow baby is commonly used to refer to a baby who is born after the loss of another, as that child is something beautiful the same way a rainbow is after a dark storm.

I must confess that for a long time, I hated this phrase. Why? I’m not really sure, but I can only assume that it’s because while I was in the middle of that storm (or hurricane, as it more commonly felt) I couldn’t imagine ever seeing that rainbow.

Now it’s here.

It is with a full heart that I introduce my son Thomas John, who was born on July 18 at 11:33am, weighing 8lb, 2 oz and measuring 20.5 inches long.

TJ (aka Goose) is actually my 2nd rainbow baby but for me, there’s something about that final burst of light that just feels special. This is the end. There will be no more pregnancies, no more losses, no more waiting. I no longer have to wonder just how many times I’ll be pregnant because now I know the answer: five. (That number still doesn’t seem real to me)

When my son Ryan was born two years ago, he wasn’t a rainbow – he was the sun and the stars and the entire freaking universe. But as overjoyed as I was, I also knew our family wasn’t complete. I knew there would potentially be more struggles and more dark days and I honestly didn’t know if I could handle that.

But I discovered I could.

Now, with my two little boys, I feel blessed and hopeful for our future together. I can finally see the rainbow.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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Not This Year

Every year for the last several years, we’ve had the same tradition on June 24: to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. Even though she didn’t make it to us here on Earth, my husband and I have always wanted to recognize her and the importance of that day – the due date of our very first child.

Our celebration generally includes cake/cupcakes/pie/dessert of some type. Not really much of a celebration per say, but in an attempt to make it a more positive remembrance, sweets never hurt. But underneath it all is always that underlying sadness, the truth that she is not here with us on this day and never will be.

This year, my heart just isn’t in it. I don’t want to “celebrate” or pretend that this is somehow a happy day. It isn’t. In the end, it’s not going to make me feel better or somehow forget that the girl who should be turning 5 today isn’t.

As I am now less than a month away from delivering my last child, I have been feeling like my pregnancy – and pregnancy loss – journey has become more static. But today reaffirms for me that it is in fact a never-ending and always changing process. Just because something has helped me grieve and heal in the past doesn’t mean it has to be the path I walk forever. We are allowed to change our minds, our feelings, our needs.

As humans we all experience tough times in our lives and the best we can hope for is it to be balanced out by the experiences that bring us happiness, joy, and peace.  I’ve been fortunate to have several of those amazing moments over the last few years, reasons to truly celebrate. I don’t want to diminish those times or make pregnancy loss into something it isn’t, so this year, there will be no celebration.

There will be remembrance, and for us, that will be enough.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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The Last Milestone

Today was my due date.

It’s the 3rd time I’ve reached this milestone knowing that I wouldn’t have a baby coming home. I will admit that I’ve become almost numb to this occurring. With our first we honored her due date by planting a lemon tree. With our second, we threw a stone into the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial.

This time? We don’t have a single thing planned. I’d like to blame it on being incredibly busy lately, including the fact that I am now 21.5 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby due in July. But deep down, I think it’s because I don’t want to do this anymore.

I’m tired. I feel like every couple of years I’m sitting here writing the exact same blog post. The thoughts and emotions are all the same, just the date is different. I don’t want to mourn the child that isn’t with us, I want him or her to be here. These days are hard – I don’t want to keep living through them.

Just in the past few days has it hit me that this is very likely the last major pregnancy loss milestone that we will go through. There’s something oddly comforting about knowing that the worst will now be behind us. At the same time, it’s a reminder that this is, in a way, only the beginning. March 12 will always be a difficult day for us the same way June 24 and January 9 are. For the rest of my life, it will be a day that my baby wasn’t born.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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The pregnancy loss no one talks about

Five years ago, I had no idea the depths to which the issue of pregnancy loss affects families. I was aware of miscarriages and knew people who had experienced them, but I didn’t truly know what it meant to lose a child.

Beyond that, I knew next to nothing about termination for medical reasons – because for as taboo as it sometimes is to talk about miscarriage, it is often times unthinkable to talk about choosing to end your child’s life. Previously, I couldn’t imagine having to make such a gut-wrenching decision….until I had to.

Five years ago, my husband and I said goodbye to our first child, a daughter, at just over 20 weeks into my pregnancy. It was a decision we made, a conscious choice, an action that was the result of endless hours of discussion and appointments with specialists. It was a decision we made because we felt it was best for our child.

No one faults parents for making the best decisions for their living child, but doing so for an unborn one can bring judgement and scrutiny. It is for this reason that so many people stay silent about their loss, their decision, their child. It’s not because they feel shame or embarrassment, it’s because so many people think they SHOULD feel that way.

Yes, a termination for medical reasons is technically an abortion, a word that in and of itself can cause heated and sometimes cruel debates. But it’s so much more than that. I can tell you first-hand that making that decision was the hardest thing I have ever done. I didn’t want my child to die, but even more so, I did not want to see her live a life full of suffering. I wanted to do what any other parent wants to do – protect my child.

I don’t regret the decision we made but that doesn’t mean it was easy. It’s something that I will carry with me always. I have been telling my story now for five years but I can’t help but feel it is not enough. Therefore, I am committing to implementing new programming at Through the Heart related to TFMR over the next year. This includes additional information on our website, more blog posts, and printed educational materials.

No one can ever truly know the pain that another person is going through. It is my hope that through this community, others can feel empowered to share their story, even if it is just with one person.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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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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