Category Archives: Staff/Board Members

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Finding Your Rock

I met my friend Kari several years ago when we were both in the thick of struggling with pregnancy losses.

Last year, she sent me a rock that says “one day at a time.”  She had been given a similar rock and found it helpful, so she thought of me and searched for one.

When I’m having a particularly hard time, for whatever reason, it is comforting to take a look at that rock, read the heartfelt note she sent along with it, take a deep breath, and remember that today is just one day. It might not be the easiest day, but I will get through it.

To be honest, it really stinks to meet people because of a shared experience of loss. But I am grateful for everyone who has been there for me. They say it takes a village to raise a child but I’d also say it takes a village NOT to raise one.

My husband has undoubtedly been my rock when I need someone to talk to, someone to cry with, someone to hug. We went through loss together and will continue to go through whatever life hands us together. But sometimes I don’t want to talk, cry, or hug and instead just want a moment of peace or clarity.

Everyone needs a rock, whether literal or figurative. Some of us need more than one. Sometimes the answer is obvious and other times we find it in unexpected places.

I’d love to hear about your rock(s) – who or what helps you get through the tough days?

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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The Silence of Miscarriage

“You’re not alone” is a phrase we use a lot here at TTH and in the pregnancy loss community. It’s true – when you experience a loss, you join a large group of people who have gone through the same thing. But truth is, while you may not actually be alone, it’s really easy to FEEL alone. During my last miscarriage, I was alone when I passed the huge blood clots that I can only guess contained the sac of my unborn child.

I went about my day like normal, stopping at the post office, the bank, and Target. Everywhere I went, I was just another lady, not the lady who was walking around having a miscarriage. No one knew, no one cared. We’ve all heard the saying “be kind because you never know what someone is going through” and it has never resonated with me more than it did that day.

When an elderly lady stopped to smile and wave at Ryan in his stroller, I didn’t smile back and say hi like I normally would. I didn’t know if she was judging me for ignoring her, and I didn’t care. While I did have to continue living my life, I didn’t have to be happy if that wasn’t how I was feeling. I wasn’t sure if my baseball cap masked my dirty hair and blotchy skin, but really, did it matter?

Even when we choose to talk about our losses it’s still really difficult to completely break the silence. I’ve told my story a thousand times and yet there are still parts that I have not shared. In November I started writing a blog post about grief. When I re-read the scattered thoughts the next day, I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to make public, at least not at that point in time. For the majority of us, there are always some thoughts, some emotions that are purely ours that are internally silenced.

I find it an odd struggle to determine what should be said and what shouldn’t. We want people to open up and share their stories, their heartache, their reality but we also don’t want it to be TOO messy.

A few weeks after my second loss, I was in a situation that spiked my anxiety and caused me to blurt out something I normally would never say: I told a lady that both of my children were dead. When I recall this moment, I think “Did I really pull the dead kid card?” and I’m slightly mortified.

At the same time, it was the truth. But should I have chosen different words? Should I have kept the comment to myself?

Silence is fluid. It is part of the process of grieving, accepting, and healing.  Sometimes we need to tell the ugly, horrible truth of our loss and sometimes, we just need to keep it inside.

Sometimes it’s just not that obvious which one we need.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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Going Blank

Here we are – another year, another birthday without a child here to celebrate.

I wrote last year that I just don’t want to do this anymore. And it’s true, I don’t. But I also can’t stop myself from remembering these days and feeling compelled to do (or write) something special.

The thing is, I don’t know what to say.

I’ve spent the last two days trying to think of something sentimental or clever or wise but it’s just not coming to me. To be honest, I haven’t even been emotional today which is unlike me. It’s not that I don’t care, because I do. But somehow it feels as though my feelings and thoughts have just been drained from my body.

The baby that was due on March 12, 2018, was my fourth, the one sandwiched in between my 2 healthy, living kids. The one we lost so early on at just 6.5 weeks. The one we never learned anything about. And while perhaps it seems that the brevity of that life is the reason I feel disconnected, I truly don’t think it is. The loss hurt as deeply as the others and that child is mine the same way they all are.

This blankness might just be a way of finally shutting down. Maybe, after 6 years, I’ve run out of things to say. I no longer feel the extreme emotions the way I did years ago, when it was sometimes a struggle to get through the day or to deal with the thoughts swirling in my head.

Maybe I am finally at peace. To my baby, happy birthday. I miss you.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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I terminated my pregnancy – and this is why I’ve stayed silent about the New York abortion bill

Like everyone else across the country, I have watched the drama unfold and the debates rage since New York State announced its Reproductive Health Act last month.

I’ve seen stories of those who have had to endure the life-changing decision of terminating a wanted pregnancy. Although I applaud their willingness to share, I don’t need to read them, because I know the story well.

Last week marks six years since my husband and I said goodbye to our daughter, our first child who was deeply loved and wanted. Because of chromosomal abnormalities that left her with several organ deficiencies, including missing a piece of her heart, we were told that should she survive birth, her quality of life would be extremely poor. Not wanting her to suffer, we terminated at just past 20 weeks into my pregnancy.

I’ve spent the time since telling my story over and over again, hoping to help those who, like me, felt alone. It seems logical then to share my opinion about it (and incase it isn’t clear, I wholly support this type of legislation) and to add my voice to all of the others.

But this is the first time I’m sharing publicly on this topic, and the reason I haven’t jumped into the discussion is simple:

It hurts.

It hurts to think about the child I lost. It hurts to think about the decision we made, not because I regret it (I don’t) but because it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

It’s been a surreal experience watching this unfold, watching people argue back and forth most of whom have no experience with a late-term loss. Part of me wants to jump into the middle of it and just scream.

A big part of me, though, just wants to retreat.

I started writing this post last week and then stopped. I couldn’t finish it because I couldn’t manage to form my rambling thoughts into something cohesive. I’ve been thinking about it for days, trying to figure out what exactly I want to say and to make sense of the snippets of notes I’ve jotted down.

In thinking about this for the last week and a half, I’ve alternated between sadness and anger. Sad that reproductive rights are even a debate. Angry that people feel they can judge others’ decisions. And then I realized that the greatest problem I have with any of this might be the attempt to strip away the emotion and treat a termination as a black and white decision.

A word I’ve seen used a lot in these discussions is choice. But let’s be real: no one – I repeat, no one – chooses to be in a position where they must decide if their child lives or dies.

I was in such a state of grief and shock that my memories of those few months before and after my loss are a blur. I not only lost a child, but I also lost my faith. I almost lost my marriage. I lost any sense of fairness. I certainly lost hope.

No one chooses these things.

At that point, it’s not about choice – it’s about survival. And sometimes, even years later, it still is. In those moments, it’s sometimes just best to take a big step back from the commotion, clear your head, and be at peace.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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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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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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