Category Archives: Kate

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Aware

Sometimes I wonder if it’s better to be ignorant to what can go wrong (ignorance is bliss) or if it’s better to be aware of the pitfalls.

After my miscarriages, I became aware of what can go wrong during a pregnancy. I learned the hard way why women often wait to share their news until they are ten weeks. The first time I got pregnant I told my immediate family right away. I ended up having a blighted ovum and had to tell everyone the sad news. In retrospect, I don’t regret sharing my joy with my loved ones so quickly. It was hard at the time, though, to bear the bad news. I initially felt like I disappointed everyone, but over time I was able to work through that thinking. I’ve shared the news immediately with all three of my pregnancies. With my second and third however, I did learn to proceed with caution, but overall I couldn’t let fear overtake my eagerness.

Growing up, pregnancy was presented to me as easy. You decide to have a family and then you have one. At least that’s how I understood it from what mothers in my family told me. My own mom had five kids and all her pregnancies were normal. But I didn’t find out until I was older that she had a miscarriage before she had my younger brother. Many women I know never shared their miscarriage stories with me, until I became aware of it through my own experience. I guess that’s when you become more aware of things, when they happen to you.

I think society presents pregnancy as if it is easy. As exciting, life changing, and miraculous as pregnancy is, it can also be a scary, mysterious journey. We have to throw caution to the wind and trust that things will go right. I am grateful I was able to find the support I needed both through family and this website when I experienced my losses. I know there are many, many women over decades who experienced loss and never had the chance to talk about it or vent with others who went through the same thing.

My husband and I are blessed to have our rainbow baby, Lucy. She’s going to turn one in a couple of weeks. We have talked a lot about trying for another. The prospect of going down the pregnancy journey again is daunting now that I am aware of what can go wrong. Seeing my baby grow and learn inspires me to be stronger than my fear. She inspires me to embrace this awareness that I have and use it to be proactive in my healthcare for future pregnancies. If I allowed my fear to stop me, I may have never had her.

During this month of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I hold my two losses and my rainbow baby close in my heart. I promise to never forget where I began and I promise to never take for granted what I have gained through my loss. I promise to continue to promote awareness of those who experience loss. I most especially pray for those currently experiencing loss and those having difficulty conceiving. You will overcome your obstacles. Don’t be afraid to make others aware of how you feel. Don’t hide. You should not be ashamed of what you’re going through. It’s not a group you want to be part of, but now that you are, embrace your new awareness and take comfort that there are many others who are aware too.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Nature

A couple weeks ago, I visited Glacier National Park in Montana with my husband’s family. I had been stressing a lot leading up to the trip about how my 10 month old would handle the flights and being away from home for a whole week. The first couple days were tough getting her oriented to the cabin and the two hour time difference.

One afternoon when everyone was out hiking, I was sitting outside on the deck while my baby napped and my husband watched TV. I let the quiet breeze wash over me. I basked in the warm sunlight. I let my ears focus on the peaceful stream of water trickling in the creek down the hill. 

When life seems to turn upside down and make your head spin, getting away and being at peace with nature can be a powerful remedy. It doesn’t have to be a big trip to a national park. It can be a walk around the neighborhood or a walk through a local park. To be able to sit and embrace the beauty of nature is such a blessing that we often take for granted. During our stay, we were able to do some hikes and see beautiful mountains and waterfalls. A walk through the woods can be a rejuvenating experience if you open yourself up to it and let nature heal you.

I came home refreshed and ready to face my every day routine head on.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Number of Pregnancies

“Number of pregnancies”

“Number of live births”

I had to fill out a new patient medical history form the other day at the doctor’s office. Those two prompts made my heart sink. I clutched my belly. My miscarriages surged to the forefront of my mind. I have a healthy baby girl now, why am I letting this affect me this way? I realized nothing can ever make me forget where I started. Moments like this trigger me and my heart and mind go right back to those events.

I have to put extra energy into maintaining my happy attitude. I am so grateful for my baby girl and that she is doing so well. I sometimes feel guilty that I still let myself feel defeated. Why do I feel guilty for having feelings? I have my rainbow baby and I can’t let my past get me down. I need to be strong for her.

But then again, I need to show her the importance of embracing life and dealing with feelings. I overthink about what others will think of me. What does she know? She has her baby now. I have to continue to try to not be affected by what others think. I am still learning to embrace all of what has happened.

Three pregnancies, one live birth, all in about two years. Writing about everything continues to be so helpful. It’s so important to take time to step back and evaluate where I started, where I am, and where I am going. 

I am always learning. I am learning how to cope, learning how to grow, learning how to be the best mother I can be to the baby I have, while also never forgetting the two that could have been.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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May I Ask You—a poem

May I ask you why this happened?

What is it that I did wrong?

May I ask you how I’m supposed to do this?

How am I expected to be so strong?

 

I live my life by your golden rule

And still you throw me shade.

What is it I have to do

To get what I want made?

 

May I ask you how it feels

To have the power that you wield?

I am running low on defenses.

I am damaging my shield.

 

May I ask you when will things line up

The way that I think they should?

Is it me that is the problem?

Am I not any good?

 

You haven’t seemed to listen.

I don’t know what else to say.

It’s like screaming in a crowded room,

And nobody looks my way.

 

May I ask you when this test will be over?

I’d just like to know a timeline.

I want to know when the day will come

That I will begin to feel fine.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Spring

Spring time represents a time to refresh, a time to break out of our winter shells and absorb the sun and fresh air. Spring is a season of rebirth.

Two years ago, I didn’t get a chance to immerse myself in the joys of spring. Two years ago I was in the throws of the darkness of miscarriage. I was depressed, afraid, and I was unable to allow spring to rejuvenate me the way it often does.

Last spring, I was newly pregnant. I was still early in the pregnancy at that point. I was excited, yet uneasy considering the two losses I had before. I was afraid it would all go away at the drop of a hat. I was in the thick of morning sickness and it seemed nothing could ease my fear or my nauseous belly.

This spring is once again different. This spring I have a baby girl to rejuvenate me from the long winter. She’s five months old now. I often look at her and wonder how I got here. I wonder where did I get the strength to power through from where I was two years ago. The first few months with my daughter were tough, emotionally and physically. She had a scary start and I was on edge for a while and I still am.

This year spring means something new. This spring, along with my daughter, I want to try to immerse myself in the rejuvenation of the season. It’s another step in the process of letting go of the lingering fear of the unknown. It’s another step in letting myself be at peace with my losses and concentrate on what I have gained. 

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Resolutions

With a new year comes new resolutions. I’m going to work out more is a staple resolution of mine. I’ve read that gym memberships often spike at the start of a new year and then begin to decline as the year progresses. I am guilty of being one of those half hearted gym people. I also consistently resolve to get more organized. If you took a look in my closet, you’d see I never follow through on that one either. Oh, here’s a good one: I will consistently eat healthier…. ha! Oreos hold too special of a place in my heart to be avoided.

As I watched the ball drop with my husband and my baby on new year’s eve, I decided on a new resolution. This year my resolution is simple and doable. This year I resolve to be more present. I resolve to quit asking “why me” so often and focus on trusting in the path I am on.

I have my rainbow baby. She had a rough start. She spent her first few days of life in the NICU and the first few months with her have been emotional and at times I have been uneasy. As insanely happy as I am to have her, the question of why me and why her flooded my mind those first few weeks. I resolve to try harder to focus on the bigger picture and not get caught up in the bumps in the road we’ve encountered. I have her and now my job is to do everything in my power to take care of her and be on top of whatever she needs.

Two years ago this month I had my first miscarriage. Of course it has been on my mind all month. It was the start of my pregnancy journey. It was devastating and life altering. This year is different than last year though. Last year I didn’t have a little one to concentrate on. I can’t be consumed thinking about all the feelings. I can’t focus on the why me and what if because I have to be present for my baby girl.

After experiencing two miscarriages, I often wondered how I would feel once I did have a baby. I thought having a baby would make all the sadness and pain of the past go away. I thought it would be like those other pregnancies didn’t occur. It doesn’t just “go away.” The feelings are still there. They may not be as strong, but they are still there. While the love I feel for Lucy overpowers the pain of the past, it still lingers in my heart.

I struggle with wanting to forget, but then again wanting to remember. And when I do begin to forget, I feel badly about it because those were significant moments in my life and significant for my relationship with my husband. I am so grateful for my baby and I am trying to be present for her, but then again I am still trying to understand all that has happened. I thought it would be easy, but it isn’t. The more I think about it the more I think that it’s okay that it’s not easy.

Maybe I am not making much sense, but it doesn’t all make sense to me yet. Maybe it never will. Maybe being present involves accepting that trying to make sense of everything isn’t possible. If we all spent time constantly trying to figure out life, we’d never get anything done, right?

I spent most of January thinking about how to construct this post and the more I write I feel like the less sense I am making. I guess that is a reflection of where my mind is. My mind and heart are floating in a cloud of overwhelming happiness sprinkled with some heart ache and confusion.

I just thought of a new resolution. I resolve to try to stop “making sense” of it all. If I stop trying to make sense of it all, I can be more present. Make sense?

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Believe

October 24th I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Lucy Rose. The whole day was a dream come true. Everything went according to plan. The moment I had prayed for had finally come. Things were falling into place just as I had hoped.

By Friday morning, our dream became a nightmare. Lucy was taken to the NICU around 2am Friday. She was exhibiting “involuntary movements.” An assortment of tests were already in the works by the time we were told what was going on.

I had sent Lucy back to the nursery around midnight so my husband and I could get some much needed rest. One of the nurses in the nursery spotted her subtle tremors. The doctor had ruled out various infections and said it was most likely something with her brain.

How could this be? Everything went perfectly. The pregnancy was perfect, the delivery, perfect. Why was this happening? Hadn’t my husband and I been tested enough? Why should this perfect little human have to go through such dread right from the start? 

The morning dragged on. We weren’t allowed to see Lucy. We sat in our room with our family members. We hugged, we cried, we prayed. That is all we could do. Flashbacks of my miscarriages surged through my mind. The all too familiar feelings of guilt that I did something wrong came surging back. I felt so helpless. Our baby girl was struggling and we could do nothing but hope and pray. Word spread fast of Lucy’s struggle and family and friends from all over were praying for her. She was just two days old and she was making a huge impact within our little world.

By early afternoon, we were allowed to see her. Seeing our baby girl hooked up to machines was the hardest thing we ever experienced. She didn’t look like she did just the day before. She was puffy from IV fluids and groggy from the anti-seizure medicine. As we sat there, we saw the subtle tremors. In retrospect, we had realized she was exhibiting the seizures the day before. Newborns are so jittery in their movements we figured it was just newborn stuff. What did we know? Thank God I sent her to the nursery. Thank God for the nurses who caught it. 

Lucy had an ultrasound of her brain, an MRI, and she was hooked up to an EEG machine. The ultrasound showed no bleeding in the brain. The MRI, however, showed three infarcts in the frontal lobe. Lucy had experienced oxygen deprivation to her brain and the seizures were the aftermath. They weren’t completely sure what it was and knew she needed extensive monitoring on an EEG machine.

An adult neurologist reviewed her MRI, but the NICU at Lankenau hospital told us what Lucy needed was a pediatric neurologist. They suggested she be sent to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to be monitored more closely. My baby’s first car ride was in an ambulance.

She was born 6:41pm Wednesday and by 7pm Friday night she was at the NICU at CHOP. Everything was moving so fast. I felt as if I was outside of myself looking down. We had no idea how long she would be at CHOP, but we figured it would at least be a week or two. When you hear your child is in the intensive care unit for a brain injury, you prepare your heart and mind for the worst case scenario.

Lucy was in CHOP NICU from Friday night until Monday night. When she arrived Friday night, the seizures already started to subside. She was on an EEG machine until Sunday afternoon with a video camera on her so the doctors had a visual account of her movements. She didn’t have any seizures. She kept getting better as the weekend progressed. She had a glowing report from the neurologists. Her diagnosis was hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). It is caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain. At some unknown moment, her blood pressure dropped and oxygen did not reach her brain. Thankfully, the type of injury Lucy had was so mild that the doctors believe she won’t have any future effects. Children who experience Lucy’s level of brain injury turn out fine. If she does have any deficits, it may be a learning difference that can be addressed when she is older. The section of her brain that was damaged, the frontal lobe, will not affect any major functions. Her developing brain was able to recover for whatever was lost.

Moving forward, if she exhibits any seizure activity, at least we now know what to look for and how to address it. The doctors assured us that any further seizure activity is highly unlikely. All the nurses and doctors Lucy encountered were guardian angels. God bless the NICUs at Lankenau and CHOP.

At the time everything was occurring, I had no idea how I was functioning, how I was gathering strength to get through it. But I did it. My husband and I got through it. Lucy got through it. In retrospect, we got through it because we already knew how to lean on one another. We had already experienced painful moments together. We knew the power of thinking positively in a negative situation. We knew how to believe that we could survive anything together.

I now fully believe I experienced my miscarriages for a reason. My husband and I needed to learn the type of strength required for what happened with Lucy. The two pregnancies I lost strengthened our hearts and gave us perseverance. My losses gave me the ability to believe in the power of prayer, the power of faith, the power of love. They gave me the ability to believe in the power of my relationship with my husband. I needed all of these abilities to handle Lucy’s situation.

Lucy is doing well now. She is just over 6 weeks old. She hasn’t had any seizures and she is developing as she should. Every day she looks a little different and makes new strides. While I still worry, just like any new mom would, every day we have a stronger belief that whatever the next day brings, we can get through it as a family.

Lucy is such a blessing. She is a gift from a higher power. She is our rainbow baby. She is our Lucky Lucy.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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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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