Category Archives: Kate

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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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5 Key Lessons I’ve Learned

I’ve learned a lot since experiencing my miscarriages. Some lessons I’ve learned I still don’t think I can put into words. For pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, I reflected a while on listing at least 5 of the most important lessons I have taken away.

1.) Lean on those who love you. It’s hard to allow yourself to be vulnerable. As women, I feel as though a lot of the time we are expected to deal with pain silently. People expect us to pick ourselves up and move on without question. Doing this not only makes loss more painful, but it is also damaging to relationships to handle grief this way. Lean on your partner, your friends, your parents. Whoever it is you can trust, allow them to comfort you and help pick you up when you need it.

2.) Express yourself and your feelings. Don’t bottle up your pain. It is real. Let yourself feel it and talk about it to those you can trust. Do not file it away because it isn’t a topic commonly discussed. If you reach out, you will find others who can relate.

3.) Take time to care for yourself. Take some personal days. Sleep in. Stay in your pajamas all day. When I had my first miscarriage, I must have eaten over 20 tasty cake cream filled cupcakes through the week. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s my favorite junk food and in some way, it made me feel better. Indulge and comfort yourself in a way you see fit. Watch trashy TV and cry. Let yourself release all the tears you hold for your loss. 

4.) Don’t let anyone dictate how you grieve. You will carry this loss with you for the rest of your life. That’s just how it is. It gets easier with time, but you will always hold it in your heart. It’s how you handle it moving forward that can make a difference. Grieve in your own way. Honor your loss each year. Don’t listen when people tell you to get over it or move on already. Because, sadly, there will be people who say that to you. Sometimes people just don’t know what to say. And we have to take what they say and try to understand where they are coming from. 

5.) Keep the faith. It’s hard to keep faith that some higher power or someone knows why the heck this stuff has to happen to us, but it is important to focus on a belief that there’s a reason for these events. I still struggle with this and can’t fully understand why my body decided to trick me. But searching for the light gets you through your dark days. And you will have dark days. No matter how optimistic of a person you may be. Loss will bring you down in ways that you may have never been down before. But, you have to believe there is that light at the end of the tunnel. There is always hope, always a sunnier day ahead.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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A Connection

My husband and I were shopping for baby furniture the other day. We have been so focused on the other parts of our new house that we had put off setting up the nursery. We finally nailed down a day to go out to start looking. We met at a store nearby and spent over an hour perusing the cribs, matching dressers, gliders, and rockers.

We spoke with a sales associate to purchase our chosen crib and dresser. We began talking with him about what we do and where we are from. He walked us over to the counter to tally up our price. As he was adding everything up, he told us a bit more about himself. He said how before working at the store he had sold car seats, now he sells furniture. He knows about all the guidelines and regulations of baby things and top brands. He told us of all the nieces and nephews he had. One would assume he had children of his own.

“My wife and I wanted kids,” he said as he wrote up our receipt. “We had about 4 or 5 losses. We tried adoption, but that didn’t work out either. So here we are. We’re happy with how things are meant to be.”

We both responded with, “Wow, we’re so sorry.” I stood there for another moment in silence, unsure of how to respond to this man’s brave honesty. I decided to respond with my own honesty.

“I had two miscarriages before this pregnancy,” I said. I felt my face get red as I placed my hand over my wiggling baby bump.

He nodded his head, “So you know how it feels. It’s hard.”

“It is. It’s really tough,” I said. “I guess we just have to keep believing someone up there knows why this stuff happens because we sure don’t. Just gotta believe there’s a reason behind it all.”

“Yeah,” he said. “That’s all we can do.” He said to my husband his name made him think of it. One of the losses was supposed to be named Zachary. 

Since having my miscarriages, we haven’t had an off the cuff conversation like that with a stranger. We didn’t say that much to each other. We didn’t go into detail. The understood feeling of the heartbreak of loss connected the three of us in that moment. What started as a simple trip to get some furniture for our little one, turned into a moment of deeper human connection. You really never know what others have gone through. We all have a story to tell and it makes a difference when there are people there to listen.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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This Time

Around this time in July of 2017, I was a couple weeks away from finding out I was pregnant again. Seven months from my first miscarriage, I was finally starting to feel like myself, happy and hopeful. Life felt like it was taking a turn for the better. Physically I was feeling much better. Then, the second miscarriage hit.

Fast forward to now, July 2018. I’m 25 weeks pregnant. I’ve had no complications thus far. The baby is growing as he or she should. I moved into a new house with my husband and we are starting to set up a nursery. You really never know what can happen in a year. Just a year ago I was feeling completely hopeless. I was depressed. I had no faith in what my body could do because it had failed me twice in such a short amount of time. I felt so isolated, so alone. 

Now here I am, experiencing the miracle of life growing inside of me. I honestly am amazed at myself and at the female body in general. The way our bodies know what to do is truly a miracle. My body has got this and I need to do what I can to make sure everything keeps running as it should. 

I’m amazed that I have been able to pick myself up and keep faith. I still fall. But knowing I have the ability to get back up keeps me from staying down. I was texting a friend about this and I said I don’t know how us women do it when we are faced with these personal, internal struggles. She said, “We do it because we have to. There’s no choice in that. It’s just the matter of time it takes till you can get back up.” She’s right. It’s in our nature to rise after we fall. We just have to. 

I have had support along the way, I could never forget that, but this has primarily been a solo journey. Yes, getting pregnant involves a counterpart and I do recognize these things have not only happened to me, but also to my husband. But once the life is initiated, it’s mostly the woman’s journey. We carry the child inside of us. It is our responsibility to ensure this life is cared for from the moment of conception and beyond. I think the term “mother to be” is silly. Pregnant women are already mothers. We are caring for our babies from the very start, whether the pregnancy lasts a few weeks or goes full term. We are mothers.

Every time I feel this baby kick, I smile. I smile for the life I am growing. I smile for the two that could have been that have become a motivation to be the best I can for this one. I still cry for them. But now I smile more because I know they are angels watching over us.

I don’t know if I believe it every day. I still struggle to keep that faith and I think I always will. Some days I cry a lot. But then I feel the kicks. They’re kicks back to reality. It’s like he or she is telling me, “Hey, mom. We’re going to be okay this time.”

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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A Turning Point

In mid February, I found out I was pregnant again. After I took the test, a wave of excitement and fear washed over me. I didn’t fully believe it at first. When I told my husband, he was so excited. The glow of his smile warmed my heart. One of the first things I said was, “Don’t get too excited. We know what can go wrong. I need to take another test to make sure.”  I feel badly that one of my first reactions after sharing the news with him was a negative reaction. Thankfully, he is so understanding of how I feel.

I took another test that night and it was positive. The next day I called the doctor’s office. I wanted to be proactive and know what my steps were considering my history. They measured my hCG and progesterone levels. Everything was rising! Those first few weeks were scary. In the back of my mind, I was convinced something was going to go wrong. I hate that I felt that way, but I couldn’t help myself. Week 5 (a week after I found out I was pregnant), I woke up feeling different. I couldn’t fully explain it, but I just felt strange. I convinced myself that I was going to miscarry. I called the doctor that afternoon, explaining that I felt different. I noticed my chest wasn’t as tender. That was one of the warning signs from my 2nd miscarriage. The nurse explained that symptoms would wax and wane with pregnancy. While I understood, I wasn’t totally convinced. I work in a doctor’s office, so I had the lab draw my blood and test my HcG and progesterone.

My hCG was fine, but my progesterone had dropped since the week prior! I was frantic. I had read that a simple reason for miscarriages could be progesterone issues. Once again, I called the doctor’s office. The nurse asked why I had my progesterone level checked because they typically do not follow it after the first workup. I said I figured it would be good to check since I had no definitive reason for my miscarriages and I had read low progesterone does cause them. She told me they don’t often treat for low progesterone, but taking a supplement wouldn’t hurt, so she prescribed me progesterone 200mg. I was instructed to take it until week 12.

As I write this, I am in my fifteenth week of pregnancy. I’ve completed the first trimester and I’m just five weeks away from the halfway point.  This new territory is exciting, even the morning sickness and nausea. I remembered these feelings from the first time I got pregnant. Each morning, just like the first time, I woke up feeling so nauseous and it carried on through much of the day. I have never been happier to feel sick! The nausea has eased up as I have entered the 2nd trimester. I have a little belly showing and my appetite has increased. I have had 3 ultrasounds since mid February. My little one is growing right on schedule! I’m so glad I was proactive. Who knows, it could have been the low progesterone the first two times.

I have thought about how I would feel once I got pregnant again. I thought my fears and sadness would instantly disappear and I would be back on cloud 9. While I am SO excited and hopeful, good ol’ grief is still hanging around. It is easier now to focus on what WILL be rather than what COULD have been. But the feelings do conflict from time to time. As I have said before, it’s like I want to move on, but I don’t want myself to forget at the same time. I try to take it one day at a time now, treating each day my baby grows as a blessing. I am aware of what can go wrong, but I am trying to focus on what is going right each day.

One thing that has struck me since telling people of my pregnancy is, people often ask if this is my first and I respond yes. But it isn’t my first. This is my third pregnancy. What if I were to tell them, well, no this is my third pregnancy, my first two were miscarriages. How would they react? I feel strong enough to write about my journey, why is it often a struggle to talk about it out loud? Maybe speaking about it out loud makes it more real and upsetting. I am still working on that part of the process.

Being the month of Mother’s Day, I feel as though I have been extra emotional. I think about last Mother’s Day when I was still getting over my first miscarriage and my second one was soon to come, and now this year I’m in my second trimester. I think about all the current mothers, those are who are still longing to be mothers, those who have lost babies, and those who are pregnant. I pray for all these women and I hope we find solace in sharing our stories and leaning on one another. We are stronger together.

My hope for this little one growing inside me now is that he or she will continue to provide me peace with my feelings, as I continue to be a warm, loving place for he or she to grow for the remainder of the pregnancy. 

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Moving on with fear

The end of this month my second pregnancy would have been due. As the month approached, I tried to keep the thought in the back of my mind by continuing to focus on what IS and not what COULD have been, but it gets tiring trying to pretend something isn’t weighing on your mind. Especially when everyone around you is moving on with life, but parts of you still feel stuck in the past. As much support as I have been given, this journey is still isolating. 

I feel badly that I don’t know the exact due date of this one. I estimated it would be the end of April. It was such a whirlwind when everything happened. I found out I was pregnant and then five days later I miscarried. I didn’t even have enough time to process it. Am I a bad person for not knowing the exact due date? I fear that I am. It’s a tough thing to try to move on and grow, but at the same time remind yourself not to forget. I could never forget what happened, but sometimes I fear that moving on is being irreverent to my little ones that could have been. I keep them in my heart always, but they slip more frequently from my mind. It’s a weird combination of feelings. Feelings that I seem to understand more clearly the more I write about them. 

While I am feeling better with each passing month, I still harbor fear. A fear of never fulfilling my goal of having my own family. A fear that I could have handled my feelings better. Will this fear follow me around forever? Will I ever be able to go back to being the girl who believes in the best? Who is the new person I have become who lets the fear control her? This is one thing that bothers me most about my losses. I let fear overtake me. I let fear decide my mood and my decisions. Looking back on that year, I am disappointed in myself for not being stronger. My family and friends tell me how strong I have been, but I don’t believe them. I am still learning how to be confident in my strength and own my experiences.

I was talking with my husband the other night and I said how it’s crazy to think about what has happened to us and we made it through. We’re moving on and we’re trying again, even though, when we were in the midst of sadness, I thought I’d never get through it. I guess that is strength. I don’t know. That’s a hard concept to grasp and be okay with. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I need to be okay with that. It’s amazing to me how, as human beings, we encounter all sorts of sadness and tragedy in life and yet we carry on. We all instinctively know to tackle obstacles and attempt to overcome. 

I believe in time this fear that I am carrying with me will dissipate and I hope it will encourage me to be stronger. I think I can use this lingering fear as a motivator. Maybe having a healthy fear of the unknown can help us navigate the trying times in our lives and help us appreciate the good times even more.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Keep Forging On

My Losses

“This is not a normal pregnancy.”

That was the last thing I expected to hear at my first ultrasound appointment for my first pregnancy on January 19, 2017. My husband and I were going in to see and hear our little one for the first time. Instead, we saw a dark, silent womb.

I found out I was pregnant two weeks before Christmas, what a wonderful gift. We shared the news with our immediate families soon after we found out. We were so excited, there was no reason to hide the life changing news. I didn’t need to wait that suggested ten weeks. I was sure I was going to be fine. For nine weeks, I experienced all the typical first trimester pregnancy symptoms. I felt awful and wonderful all at once! There was never any sign that something was wrong.

When the doctor was conducting the ultrasound, I could see her face change. She looked concerned. Instead of seeing our baby, we saw an empty womb. She said it was a blighted ovum, a form of miscarriage. The egg died, but my body continued on as if it were pregnant. I had never heard of such a thing. Why would my body do this to me? I was fooled by my own body.

My husband and I were devastated. The next day I went to the hospital for a D&C. The first thing I noticed when I woke up after the procedure was I didn’t feel the nausea anymore. I never thought I’d miss feeling sick to my stomach.

I struggled for many months after that day. I spent many hours crying, trying to grasp why such a thing would happen to me. I tried to understand why I didn’t see or feel any symptoms leading up to it. I punished myself for being so optimistic and thinking nothing bad would ever happen. With the help of my husband and my family I worked through these dark feelings that come along with miscarriage. I began to write about it and with that writing people I knew came forward about their own experiences. Putting my feelings into words helped me process them better. Knowing I wasn’t alone was such a comfort. With time, my husband and I were able to pick ourselves up and try again.

My second pregnancy was early August. I remember when I saw the positive test I felt excitement laced with fear. Just five days after the positive test, I began to bleed. At first I thought it was implantation bleeding, but as the day progressed the bleeding became heavier. I had a chemical pregnancy. This one felt different because it was a different kind of miscarriage. But I also felt something was going to go wrong before it even happened. Once again I began a journey of grief. I thought I’d take the 2nd one a bit easier since I had already started to learn how to cope, but it was still just as painful. Even more so physically this time. I passed large clots and experienced the worst cramps of my life.

Learning from Grief

February 16th was six months since my 2nd miscarriage. It was warmer outside, so I decided to go for a run around the neighborhood. I ran down the main street, which has a large hill. I got about a mile down and decided to turn back. As I began my ascent, I struggled. “I hate these hills. I am so out of shape,” I thought to myself. A few blocks up, I slowed down to a brisk walk. Another woman jogging up the street ran right past me. She turned to me and smiled and continued running. I smiled back and then thought to myself, “Oh hell no, I’m not letting her beat me.” I crossed the street and kept pace with her up the hill. I pumped my legs harder, steadied my breathing and kept repeating to myself that I could do it. I eventually passed her and beat her to my self imposed finish line (the street where I made my turn to home). As I ran downhill towards home, I reflected on what had just happened. I took it as a sign. That woman came out of nowhere. I didn’t see her jogging up when I was jogging down. Did God place her there as a wake up call? “Hey, quit feeling sorry for yourself. Look how far you’ve come. You can accomplish more than you know.” I took it as a sign that I can do whatever is thrown at me. I do have the strength. I do have the will power. 

After experiencing two miscarriages within a year and a half, I have had my fair share of defeating days. I think because of these sad occurrences I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about life. I have never really described myself as a strong person. I imagined myself breaking down in situations such as these, but here I am. I am a strong woman. I am still alive and I am sharing my story with the world. Every day I wake up I make a conscious decision to be happy, even though I have feelings of lingering sadness for my two losses. I try hard to focus on the blessings I do have. Each month, my husband and I muster the strength to keep working toward our goal of starting a family.

As much as I often wish I could turn back time and erase my miscarriages, I have learned to better embrace what life throws at me. This is part of my story now. I will continue to share it in an effort to help others know that they are not alone and that they can carry on. No matter how steep the hills get, we have to pick up ourselves up and keep forging on.

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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