Category Archives: Kate

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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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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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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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