Category Archives: Meredith

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Healing My Broken Heart: A Letter to my Baby in His First Weeks

Dear J,

It’s not your job to heal my broken heart, but being your mom is so healing. You are perfect to me. I’ve struggled with every single step of the journey to hold you: I couldn’t get pregnant, I couldn’t stay pregnant until you came along, and my body fought pregnancy at every turn. The hell of pregnancy after recurrent loss was palpable. From the scary first trimester bleeding to all day nausea throughout to gestational diabetes to meeting you 5 weeks early after the terror of preterm premature rupture of membranes – it felt like my body couldn’t do anything right. I wondered to myself repeatedly these past 4 years whether I just wasn’t meant to be a mother.

And then you arrived. From the first moment I saw you, it was clear that I was meant to be a mother, to be your mother. When I held you in my arms, it felt natural and right. That mother’s instinct people talk about kicked in and I just knew what to do. I didn’t have to second guess whether I was messing up because I knew somehow I was getting it right.

These first 8 weeks have cleansed parts of me I didn’t even realize were damaged by the grief and trauma of pregnancy loss. The completeness and wholeness I feel when I’m with you and the joy that pours out of the deepest corners of my heart are healing me little by little. I once thought all there would ever be was pain, but now the pain, while still real and present, has been dulled to live side by side with the immense happiness and peace I feel now that you’re here with us. Each day is better than the last.

That we get the chance to parent you and kiss your perfect, precious face and care for your every need in a way we never could with our other babies is the honor of my lifetime. Your soft breath in my ear and your little contented sighs fill up my heart. The way you look at me as only a baby looks at his mother, and how your face lights up in a giant smile when you see me. You are everything to me as I am to you. Welcome to the world, Julian. And welcome to a part of me that lay buried under grief for far too long.

Love always,


Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers

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Reclaiming Joy

Infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss stole so much from me. Some of it I’ll never be able to get back: time, tears, innocence, and too many more to count. Most importantly, our first 4 babies who never made it here on earth with us. The firsts of happiness at positive pregnancy tests and heartbeat ultrasounds and celebratory early pregnancy milestones.

But as we prepare to welcome our son into the world in just a few short weeks, I’m reclaiming some small joys. Never have I ever looked in the mirror and seen a heavily pregnant woman staring back at me. Or posed for fun in cheesy maternity photos. There are joys we still have to look forward to. Holding our brand new baby in my arms. Mothering a living child who loves me back. These new firsts and firsts-to-be bring a different kind of joy, the joy of happiness and dare I say contentment after so much hurt and pain. The joy of triumphing over seemingly endless heartache and of so deeply appreciating what we will finally have when we bring our baby home.

I have nothing to compare my particular joy to, although I imagine it must be different in some way than that of those who have never had our experiences and for whom parenthood comes more easily. Maybe it is sweeter, to know that we almost didn’t get to have him? To know that no matter what comes or the difficult times we might experience that we are all in on parenting? No regrets. No hesitations. Or maybe it is tainted by the difficulty and trauma of our journey? Maybe it will always live there underneath the surface like a wound that has only partially healed? Will I always cringe at the sight of other happy families with seemingly no cares or troubles in the world? Or will I slowly, unfathomably, become one of them in this new chapter of my life?

It’s hard to imagine the memory of this nightmare dulling when it feels so technicolor clear to me right now. Perhaps there will always be a small part of me that is forever broken from these experiences – and certainly a part of me that has been forever changed – but I think there is plenty of joy to be found on the other side if I can only force myself to reclaim it after all this time.

Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers

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For this child, I have prayed…

I am not even remotely religious. Neither are my parents or my wife. I have rarely been to church. I have never formally prayed. If you asked me, I’d probably tell you I’m an atheist, though admittedly an agnostic-leaning one.

So why then, at nearly 26 weeks pregnant with a child I could only describe as a miracle, do I fixate on the Bible verse 1 Samuel 1:28 that begins “For this child I prayed…”?

Is it because after 4 miscarriages and countless medical procedures, somehow (there, but for the grace of God?) it feels like I magically willed this baby into existence? Is it because of the triteness and hollowness of language like “It was worth the wait!” and “This was how it was meant to be” just don’t ring true for me? I will never believe that suffering begets joy, or that things needed to be this way. I will never accept any conception of God that would allow innocent babies to die just to teach me some sort of a lesson in patience and virtue.

Instead, I think of all of the nights I lay awake sobbing without a sound. Of walking deep into the woods and screaming out in painted tears when no words would come. I think of the moments I silently bargained – and yes prayed – for a higher power to end the pain and give us the baby we longed for. Perhaps I don’t steadfastly believe in the God I reached for in those times, but I wished I had faith to carry me through when I couldn’t walk any longer. In desperation I mouthed the words over and over. Please. Help. I yelled in anger. I cried in despair. I hoped, oh, I hoped. And I prayed.

I tried to be a better person, more deserving. I tried to be an awful person, someone deserving of the terrible hand I’d been dealt. And all along, I pleaded. To be wrong. To be right. For a sign. For an end. For resolution.

I may be an atheist, but I prayed for this baby again and again. Out of desperation and fear, and also hope and even, maybe, a glimmer of faith. “For this child I have prayed” captures the rawness I felt, and often still feel. It also captures my relief and gratitude at this answered prayer… wherever it might have come from. And when I see or hear those words I feel at peace, content that the miracle growing (and growing, and growing!) inside me was hard fought and hard won. Thank you for this child.

I will probably continue to pray.

Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers

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Pregnancy After Loss: A Letter from Quarantine 

Dear Baby,

Today is my 30th consecutive day of self-quarantine. With the exception of OB appointments and socially distant walks around the neighborhood, both of your parents have spent the last month inside and away from anyone who could potentially spread Coronavirus to our family. It is boring and hard and isolating, but it is imminently worth it.

With our last four pregnancies, we lost our babies not due to anything we did or didn’t do. There was nothing to be done, no action that could keep them safe and sound. With COVID-19, there is something we can do. We can follow social distancing rules – or the extreme version of them necessary for those at increased risk – and do our best to keep you safe in the midst of a global pandemic. It isn’t pleasant, but we are lucky enough to be able to avoid exposure and the potential for complications, no matter how small.  We are taking our first actions as parents in your best interest and putting your needs over our own wants.

This might not be enough. We know of course that regardless of these precautions that we might lose this pregnancy – lose you. The thought is terrifying. But if we do, we will know that we did everything we could to ensure your safety. It is the very least we can do for you.

Pregnancy after loss is hard enough in the best of times. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hold any resentment about the circumstances and timing of my pregnancy with you. Why now, after nearly 4 years of trying, does our successful pregnancy have to fall during such a challenging and fraught time? In my less graceful moments it feels like a set-up, a personal attack designed to rob me of any joy. We may miss out on a lot of milestones I have dreamed about for far too long: a baby shower surrounded by loving family and friends, professional infant photos, and family visiting us in the hospital to meet you for the first time. But regardless, I am determined to do what I can.

So for the foreseeable future here I am, in our home, alone with my wife and our little family. Hunkering down away from our loved ones in order to keep you as safe as possible. While we can’t know what the future holds, we are hoping to welcome you joyfully in October into a changed but healing world.

Love always,


Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers

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Every Precious Moment

March is Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month, so what better time to say it: I’m pregnant. Again. Not quite out of the first trimester yet and terrified after 4 consecutive pregnancy losses. Our baby has a strong heartbeat and is growing on schedule but the reality of pregnancy after loss is that the predominant feeling I have is fear. Every step of the way I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. For something to go wrong. I struggle with trusting my body to keep this baby safe.

But despite my fear, I’ve realized something these past few weeks: my history of loss also makes this pregnancy experience different in ways that can bring us new joy. We are doing things our way, trying our best to savor every precious moment. Typically people don’t do much to mark their pregnancies during the first trimester. The typical advice is to hold off on buying anything. Keep yourself from getting too attached in case it doesn’t work out. We have thrown it all out the window. The bottom line is that if we lose this baby it will hurt – a lot. It has every time. Nothing we do or don’t do during this time is going to make it hurt any less.

This shift in attitude has brought us some of the most beautiful moments of my life. I’ve found out our baby’s sex, sobbing through tears on the phone first with the embryologist who shared the genetic test results of the embryo we had transferred and then with my wife sharing the good news. Feeling so grateful to have one small piece of information about this tiny person I am growing. We found out our daughter’s sex only after her death last summer and I wanted to have this moment while our baby was still living …. in case we didn’t get far enough along to have it later.

We bought some adorable newborn clothing. Walking through the baby section at Target for the first time in years without crying in frustration and sadness. Excited to purchase something special just for this baby.

We told close family and friends knowing that we wanted them to share in our joy at this pregnancy, and our sadness and grief if it doesn’t work out. We don’t share that we have a baby coming in October 2020. We don’t know yet whether that is going to happen. All we have is today, and these incredible little moments that we will do our best to soak in and enjoy as long as they last.

In pregnancy after loss, like with many things related to infertility and miscarriage, there is both great joy and great sadness, each coming to the surface in a million little ways every day. I’m doing my best to honor them both in every precious moment.

Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers

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A loss by any other name

It’s amazing how the hierarchy of medical terminology can impact our perception of miscarriage. My first three pregnancies are medically classified as “chemical pregnancies.” Basically: they were lost too early for anything to be visualized by ultrasound in my uterus. Its a minimizing term. Diminishing. It has allowed so many people to invalidate my experience and my pain.

“It was only a chemical pregnancy.”

“Are you sure you were even pregnant?” 

“Chemical miscarriages don’t count as recurrent pregnancy loss. You can’t really say you have recurrent loss.” 

“It’s just like a period.” 

Whether it’s a friend, a well-meaning loved one or a doctor, those words hurt.

When my 4th pregnancy progressed to the “clinical pregnancy” stage I felt… relieved. It was official. At 5 weeks, 3 days we saw a perfect gestational sac, measuring on target. Proof that the pregnancy was really there. Proof that our baby existed and was growing in my uterus. Clinical sounds so much more official than chemical. My baby wasn’t just a chemical reaction gone wrong, but on its way to becoming a person. I assumed we’d have another loss, but I knew this time it was far enough along to “count.”

When the pregnancy hadn’t progressed enough to see a heartbeat and fetal pole by 6 weeks, 3 days I feared it was just an empty sac. A “blighted ovum.” Such an ugly term. It sounds like a medieval curse of some kind. Like I’d angered a wood nymph and been fated to barrenness. Maybe our baby wasn’t in there after all.

When we saw a heartbeat at 7 weeks and 1 day, too slow to be truly viable, I was relieved. I hated myself for that reaction. We found out that our baby was still going to die and I felt relieved to learn that there was something other than an empty sac to mark its existence. That the pregnancy wasn’t a blighted ovum. That it was a “missed miscarriage,” a pregnancy that was ending, slowly, but that my body hadn’t quite caught on yet.

Missed miscarriage. That didn’t seem quite right either. With all the early monitoring of an IVF pregnancy the miscarriage hadn’t been *missed* at all. I was graphically aware at every step that our baby lived and when it started to die. As if the betrayal of my body was a betrayal of my baby’s life too. That I’d “missed” their passing without a hint. I didn’t miss it, I lived it.

After the D&C I needed a rhogham injection because my blood type is RH-. They handed me a card for my wallet in case I ever needed verification I’d received it. On the front of the card there is a list of reasons for getting the shot. “Pregnancy termination” was checked. In my online insurance portal my claim for the procedure read “missed abortion.” My diagnosis quietly and officially changed in my medical records to “habitual aborter.”

No one thought to warn me about these changes. Each time I noticed this harsh language I’d cry. (Sometimes I still do.)

Let me be clear: it isn’t that I don’t want to be categorized with those who have terminated electively- the procedures we usually classify as “abortions.” But my story is different from theirs. Using the same words to describe them, no matter the medical accuracy, feels wrong on a visceral, emotional level.

So I cling to the words that feel more right: pregnancy loss, miscarriage, baby loss. It’s the smallest comfort, but it feels validating to be able to define what happened to me on my own terms.

Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers

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In ritual, we mourn

We walked out to a remote clearing in the woods. The sound of birds chattering loudly surrounded us. The wind whispered gently. The brook babbled nearby. The sunlight filtered down through the trees.

In silence, we laid out the things we had brought on a makeshift altar, a blanket we used in our engagement photo shoot and a silk scarf that bound our hands together during our wedding ceremony.


Two ceramic birds.

A silver bell.

Stones for four birth months.

A sculpture of a windswept tree.

A candle infused with crystals and essential oils.

An ultrasound photo.

A book of poems.


We meditated. Tears rolled down my face. We held each other. We lit the candle.

The officiant who married us opened the space with her words, chosen so perfectly for us in our heartbreak.

We read what we had written, each of us, with tears in our eyes. There are no words big enough for grief; we tried.

I read a poem by Mary Oliver, “In Blackwater Woods.” There in the woods the words captured the moment we created for ourselves and for our babies.

“To live in this world

you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.”

Our officiant wraps our hands in the softest knitted blanket with the colors of the rainbow. Rainbow for pride. Rainbow for love. Rainbow for her hopes for our future – hopes we don’t dare to hold for ourselves anymore.

We sob. The light filters through the leaves. The brook runs softly. The birds whistle their songs.

We ring the bell. Snuff out the candle. Pack our things. We walk back to the road in silence.

In this sacred hour we achieved what we could not do on other days. We created some ritual from our pain. Space to grieve that the world has not given freely to us. We recognized each of our pregnancies, and each of our losses. We honored our babies in our own way.

On October 1st I put a filter on my Facebook profile picture for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Sometime this month I’ll make a(nother) post about pregnancy loss and the fact that it has touched my life. I’ll share our story to remind other people that we exist, and that our babies did too. I’ll light a candle on October 15th at 7pm for the Wave of Light. But those actions have never felt like enough. That lack of “enoughness” is what drove us to design the ritual in the woods for our babies, the space we needed to grieve, in our own time, for ourselves and our family.

Category : Meredith , Volunteer Bloggers


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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