Category Archives: Staff/Board Members

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Getting Over It

Several years ago, I had a mother request a Comfort Kit for her daughter who had just lost twin babies. Upon receiving the confirmation email that noted the package could take up to 2 weeks to be delivered, she contacted me saying to cancel the request. She didn’t realize the delivery timeframe could be that long and her daughter would be over it by then.

Every fiber of my being wanted to write back and say “Are you kidding me? Over it in less than 2 weeks?!” but naturally I didn’t. I don’t remember what my exact response was, but I honored her request and did not send the kit. But this story has clearly stayed with me, and from time to time I ponder what “getting over it” even means in relation to pregnancy loss.

Do our bodies physically get over it? Usually, but not always. In some cases it takes much longer than expected. After I had a missed miscarriage in 2015, followed by a D&C, it was discovered that I had experienced a partial molar pregnancy. As a result, it took months for my body to return to normal – long months full of constant monitoring and tests. And a worry about cancer, as molar pregnancies, although typically benign, can become cancerous.

In the end I DID get over it and soon after went on to finally have a healthy pregnancy.

But emotionally? I’m not sure that’s something most people ever truly get over. Does it eventually stop consuming all of your daily thoughts? Sure. But does it ever completely leave your memory? I don’t know how it could.

I can’t tell you how moving it is when I see a new comment on our Wall of Remembrance honoring a baby who would now be older than I am. That child is loved and remembered even all these years later. In my mind, getting over it means forgetting, and in that case, I’m ok with never getting over it. Because I never want to forget the children we didn’t get to bring home.

I hope that in 40 years I remember them the same way I do now – with love and with a bit of pain and sadness in my heart. They are part of our story, part of our lives. And in my opinion, there is no getting over it – and I sincerely hope no one expects me to.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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Look for Stars

A few weeks ago I was wandering around Marshall’s, not looking for anything in particular, when a display caught my eye. It was mainly full of Easter items, but right in the middle was this adorable little mug. It was the design that first caught my eye, but as I read the phrase on it, I realized it was perfect.

When it Rains

Look for Rainbows

When it’s Dark

Look for Stars

I showed it to my husband and said “I know I don’t need another coffee mug, but I have to get this – it is so Through the Heart.” And while it does relate so nicely to pregnancy loss, it’s also taken on new meaning lately.

I typically take a few days to write my blog posts as I like to allow time for the thoughts to come together, and this one is no different. But when I was about halfway through, the COVID-19 situation escalated and I no longer felt that what I was writing was relevant. And so, this post has been sitting, unfinished.

Times are hard right now for everyone. No matter who we are, our normal lives have been disrupted. We are engulfed in anxiety and uncertainty and for some, fear. Me? I struggle greatly with not knowing what’s coming ahead. I am a planner who overanalyzes everything and I feel restless with the inability to do so right now.

But I’m trying to remind myself to “look for the stars.” My family and friends are healthy and safe for the moment. My neighborhood has come together to help one another and socialize in new, socially distanced ways. People are reaching out to help others, whether it’s sharing supplies, supporting local businesses, sewing masks, or sharing activity ideas. And of course, so many people are selflessly fighting this thing on the front line.

And a very big star for me right now is that today, Through the Heart celebrates its 7th birthday. Statistically, the number of small nonprofits that fail within the first few years is staggering, but we’ve managed to defy those odds and keep plugging along. I am so grateful for everyone who has made it possible and I believe it is a testament to the critical need for pregnancy loss resources in this country.

During this difficult time, I encourage you to find your stars. Know that we are all in this together and there will be brighter days ahead.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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A Forgotten Date

Early one morning last week, I was sitting at my dining room table, still half asleep, scrolling through my phone when it hit me: I had missed it.

This was the morning of February 7. It was the anniversary of the day we said goodbye to our daughter. February 6, 2020, had come and gone without a flicker of recognition of the day.

As I got ready for my day, I was filled with thoughts that I can only describe as a mini panic. What did this mean, that I could miss such an important day? I even had scheduled a Through the Heart meeting on February 6 without ever making a connection to the date. Did it mean I was forgetting? Did it mean I didn’t care as much? In that quick instant, I felt like a failure. How could this happen?

There was a time when February 6 was a date I never could have imagined forgetting. It was seared into my brain. And although I am confident there are snippets of that day that will never leave my memory, apparently I am no longer tethered to a date on a calendar the way I once was.

Now, I know that the baby herself will never be forgotten, but the pregnancy, the loss, and the aftermath have become more of one big jumbled event instead of a series of dates and milestones.

I feel the theme of my writing lately has been about allowing oneself some grace. And yet as much as I write about it, it doesn’t come any easier. I have a lot of thoughts about what I could have done differently over the years while coping with our three losses even though I know I can’t change the past and dwelling on it does me no good. But every now and then something will trigger a thought, a memory, and I wonder why I didn’t handle things differently.

This has been a tough parenting week for me and I’ve really been letting the stress of it all affect me. But as I thought about this blog post this morning, I realized that my toughest day parenting is still easier than February 6, 2013 – the day I walked out of that doctor’s office without my child. And regardless of whether I remember that specific date, I will always remember that day, and nothing will change that.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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A Vortex of Grief

I’ve been trying to write this post for more than 2 weeks, but the words just won’t come – at least not coherently, anyway.

January 9, 2016 was my due date for baby #2. I planned to write a blog post as I do every January 9th, but in the days leading up to it, I just couldn’t. Last year Sean & I decided that on each angel baby’s birthday, we would give them a name. The first one was easy; this one, not so much. As I thought about the process of yet again choosing a name for a baby who is not here, I just didn’t want to do it.

On that day, I told my husband that I was struggling and he reminded me of something I tell others all the time: there is no right way to grieve and there is nothing I HAVE to do.

So often with loss milestones we put pressure on ourselves to do something. Because if we don’t, it means we don’t care enough – or at least that’s what we believe in our minds. (Or maybe it’s just me that does that, but somehow I have a feeling I’m not alone.)

I’m proof that loss isn’t something you just get over. It’s not a wound that completely heals over time. It’s been almost 7 years since I began this journey and I can’t think of a more appropriate word than that: journey. So much has changed over that time. And while there has been a lot of progression forward in terms of healing and being at peace, there are also so many times when I feel I’ve regressed into a vortex of grief where I’m just trying to make sense of things until I can eventually break out again.

I had (have?) a lot of guilt about not naming the babies when they passed but that’s just not how my brain works. I need to process what is happening first, then go back and reflect on it later. Only as time has gone on, revisiting the idea of giving them names hasn’t come any easier. Sometimes I feel I messed up by not doing it right away. I am sure that at some point, Baby Kelly #2 will be named, but I’m not sure when that will be.

Even after weeks of thinking about this, I feel this piece still isn’t all that coherent, or at least doesn’t have much of a point. But maybe that IS the point – pregnancy loss is messy and confusing and scary and frustrating and overwhelming and sad.

It’s just really, really hard.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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Celebrating One Year

Today, my son TJ turns one!

In the last year, it’s become very evident that he makes our family complete.

During this time I gave away pregnancy tests and maternity clothes I no longer needed. I sold baby clothes, a boppy, and a jumperoo without blinking an eye.

I looked at pregnant ladies and didn’t feel envy or sadness or anger – I felt relief. Relief that it wasn’t me who was suffering and worrying. After so many years I finally feel like I have made it over the hill to the other side.

Maybe under different circumstances we would have wanted more kids. Maybe if we hadn’t had losses we would have. But we have 2 amazing boys who love dance parties and group hugs and are generally willing to put up with our complete nerdiness (and shenanigans, as evidenced by the pants on TJ’s head) and I am very grateful for that.

Happy birthday Goosey Goose! We love you buddy.

Category : Karen , Staff/Board Members


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A Birthday Gift

As loss parents, there is often a lot of second-guessing and asking “what if?” We’re forced to make decisions in our darkest moments when all rationality has been lost and we’re driven by pure emotion and heartache.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, we never came close to choosing a name. Sure, we had loosely discussed it, but it was never at the forefront of our concerns as we worried instead about her health.

After she was gone, we chose to cope by distancing ourselves from her. Giving her a name made her – and our loss – more real. More painful.

Over the years, I’ve carried a lot of guilt about not giving her a name. She was my child, how could I not do this for her? But the timing has never felt right – until now. There are very few things we can do for our daughter all these years later but giving her this gift may be the most meaningful action possible.

Today, on what would have been her 6th birthday, we are finally giving our child a name: Adeline Grace.

Had either of my sons been a girl, this would have been their name. But since they weren’t, it seems only fitting that this special name goes to the little girl who forever changed our lives in so many ways.

Today is a hard day as it always is, but maybe this is the year I will finally begin forgiving myself.

Category : Karen , 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


Welcome!

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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