Category Archives: Volunteer Bloggers

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Emotions

While holding my sleeping 5 month old son today I was overcome with emotions. He was my ninth pregnancy, and only my second child here on earth.

I often think about our seven other children that we never got to meet. Would we have had more boys than girls or girls than boys? Or maybe we would have stopped after our first two and only had girls or only boys?

I’m not sure why I started to cry today while thinking about this. I have thought of this multiple times throughout the years since our first loss. I don’t always end up crying. In fact over the years I have been able to both think about and talk to people about our losses without becoming an emotional mess.

The times that I don’t cry and become emotional are not because I have really gotten over the losses but because I have been able to grieve our losses and come to believe that this is the reality we live in. Nothing we can do can take us back to the beginning of our journey to have children. At the same time, I wouldn’t change our journey, even though it was a very painful, heart wrenching ride, the destination was so worth it.

A friend of mine and I talk often about the losses both her and I have had. (She has had four losses, and is currently pregnant and due in the new year.)  We talk about the hopes and dreams we had when we found out we were pregnant for the first time. We talk about the devastation and despair that we felt after that first loss. We also have talked about the anxiety of each pregnancy afterwards and about parenting after our losses.

I believe that having this friendship has made it so much easier to grieve the loss of our children and move forward and be able to help other women and men go through the grieving process with someone by their side.

Moving forward we will continue to talk about our journeys both in the future and in the past and support each other through it all.

As I finish writing this I look down again at our son while he sleeps, and our daughter while she is playing in front of me, it makes me realize how lucky I am to have these two miracles here with us, and to have an amazing friend that has helped me grieve and grow over the last few years. 

Category : Amanda , Volunteer Bloggers


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Remembering the Joy

When I found out I was pregnant for the second time, I sobbed. My husband and I didn’t know if we wanted a second baby and, as with our first, this pregnancy was a surprise.  Once I spoke to my husband and we were on the same page, I finally allowed myself to feel elation. From May 22nd, 2017- May 28th, 2017 I felt elation and excitement. And even when I started bleeding, I told myself to think positively and that by doing so and  keeping hope alive, I would keep my baby alive.

When you lose a baby or pregnancy, we are all expected to mourn and grieve, but rarely are we allowed to feel joy in those fleeting moments. Of course not everyone will feel joy in the days after their loss, but in my 6 days of confirmed pregnancy, I had epic amounts of it.

I excitedly texted my best friends and told them the news. I took a video of my daughter (just 18 months old) pointing to my stomach and saying, “Baby” even though she didn’t understand what it meant. I decided what the nursery theme would be and talked to my husband about the possible plans of moving our daughter’s room or using one of our spare rooms for it. I went to Joann’s and picked out some fabric for a blanket I’d ask my mother-in-law to sew. I purchased a shirt and wrote “Red, White, and Due” with my calculated due date. I bought my daughter a “Big Sister” shirt. I even got a set of blank puzzle pieces, writing our current family’s names and year of birth; finalizing the empty piece with “Completing our family, 2018.” I realize that for being only 7 weeks pregnant (and only 6 days into a confirmation), this sounds like going overboard. However, I had an easy and uneventful first pregnancy and thought this would be just the same. I thought that friends and family members that had lost pregnancies just had bad luck. That it could never happen to me.

So even in the moments when I started bleeding and went to the ER and before receiving the results of my ultrasound and blood test, I chose to feel joy and hope, right up until I heard the words, “Your hCG levels are at about 200.” I remembered my first blood test showed the levels at 1100, so I knew, even before the doctor that it was a miscarriage.

It is very easy to look back on that time and see only sadness. But today, I’m making the extreme effort to find the joy.

Category : Jessica , Volunteer Bloggers


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Reasons to Believe

Within the last couple of weeks, I have had two friends text me that they recently suffered early miscarriages. They said they felt comfortable reaching out to me because I have blogged about my experiences both on here and my personal website. Being able to be there for my friends in a real and honest way was a reminder to me to believe that things happen for a reason. As hard as it is to realize in the moment, miscarriage is our body’s way of telling us that something wasn’t right.

Miscarriage and pregnancy loss are so isolating because nobody really gets it until they personally experience it. If it happens to you, and you don’t know anyone who it has happened to, it can be very lonely. For me, not having anyone to talk to about a situation is hard. I need to get my feelings out as I am feeling them. My poor husband gets an earful whenever I feel the need to express myself. God bless him.

I remember when I had losses, I didn’t know many people close to me, my age, that this had happened to. Not to say I didn’t have anyone supporting me. I am blessed to have a lot of support. It’s just easier sometimes to talk to someone who has been there. I blogged about it and shared it in open conversation with friends. Mostly people responded that they knew of someone who had a miscarriage. I worked with older women who came forward and told me it happened to them, but nobody ever talked about it in their era.

In the month of pregnancy and infant loss awareness, I reflected back on my miscarriages and how I have worked through the pain and confusion. Taking on this new role of guiding friends through the familiar pain has been another level of healing for me. It’s also been a reminder for me to hold my losses in my heart. Sometimes its easy to want to forget about painful experiences. And I have tried to put mine behind me before, but it doesn’t always work. I think it’s important to reflect back on where we started to realize how much we have gained since and to share our experiences. You never know who your words or photos are helping.

I was watching my daughter and son play the other day and I said to my husband if I hadn’t had those losses, these two individuals wouldn’t be here. The first two pregnancies made way for my daughter and son. My daughter and son have given me and my husband the ability to believe everything happens for a reason. Being able to guide my friends through their struggles is a reason to believe. 

To all those currently suffering a loss, I am with you in prayer. You will get through this. Release your pain in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. Write about it, speak about it, volunteer….whatever release suits you best. Keep your head up and keep searching for those reasons to believe.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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Half Way There

I’m officially half way to my due date and things are going just as smoothly as they did the first time around. Most would say that’s a good thing, but I know all too well that it can go wrong. I do hope this pregnancy continues to go smoothly and my cautious optimism has convinced me that it will be smooth sailing.

At my last scan/genetic testing I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. I don’t often feel that way and it was strange. Of course due to Covid, you must go alone to appointments, which added to my anxiety. In my first pregnancy with Charlie I never had any doubts or anxieties at appointments and in the end he passed away. In this pregnancy every appointment is stressful as I wait for results. Once I get the “OK everything looks good,” I feel stupid for even stressing out about it to begin with. Just like my first pregnancy I feel very calm. I have nothing to do, but wait. The nursery has been ready since last September.

It seems like everyone is having babies due this winter. I keep telling myself that I’ve suffered enough, I’ve done my time, and this baby will live.  Last year, life was great. It was like I just bought a ticket on the Titanic and it would be the journey of a lifetime. At the time, I didn’t realize the ship would sink and nearly everyone would die. There went all my hopes and dreams, and that wonderful nativity of a first time mom. I became a person who became a little jaded, a little angry, a little resentful. Those lovely qualities faded after some time, but never completely. I woke up one day and became a person who stopped waiting for the right time to do what I wanted.

My fiancé and I had been engaged for 6 months and had no real plans of marrying until Charlie died. That’s when it clicked, “What are you waiting for?” We planned a small ceremony with family and friends and made it official in May. We don’t wait to buy things we’ve always wanted. We are more patient and resilient. We try to enjoy life and we strive to live a better one every day.

Recently a few people at work have commended me on my resilience through a very hard year. So I told them that I can’t live my life in fear.

It’s scary to do this all over again when the first time didn’t pan out.  A late term stillbirth is the worst thing for anyone to experience. It ruins every other moment with this new pregnancy because there is no point in this pregnancy that I won’t pass that I haven’t already passed. I will be induced no later than 37 weeks although I would much prefer 36 weeks and I will work to make that happen.

I’m half way there, glass half full.

Category : Andrea , Volunteer Bloggers


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Speaking My Truth In My Own Words

At the start of this month, Chrissy Teigen shared with the world the loss of her son at 20 weeks. She literally posted black and white photos, speaking truth to her experience. Photos that spoke volumes without any words with her face wet with tears and grimaced in pain.  Prior to this painful loss, she has been vocal about her fertility treatment in the past, but what was different about this pregnancy was it was unexpected for the couple. She conceived naturally. She recently revealed her pregnancy joy with us on social media. She is high risk so she was on bed rest. She was very in tune with her medical needs and following doctor’s orders. But even when we do our best to protect the life inside of us, our journey takes another turn towards a path of loss and pain.

I learned a lot about pregnancy on my fertility journey, and one profound fact is that there is still mystery in conception. It is true that so much medical advancements have been made in this field, but there is still so much to research and discover about conception and pregnancy. When I was actively going through treatment, I had to free up my schedule. I had to be ready when my body was ready, when that one follicle released an egg. My doctor told me that there is a 24 hour window and if missed, we go back to the drawing board. And even if we do it right, checking off everything on the to-do list, it’s a 2 week waiting game. If the egg and sperm fertilize, there is no way of knowing if the fertilized egg will implant and if my body will accept it or reject it. And if after the two week wait reveals a negative beta test, there is still the unknown of the why.

When I had my son, I recall people telling me that my efforts would improve on conceiving the next one. That somehow the flood gates would open up and I would become a baby factory. I made a quick decision after my son’s birth not to start birth control and let nature happen. Unfortunately, after a year, I did not conceive on my own and had to return to Shady Grove Fertility. This is referred to as secondary infertility. This time my doctor focused on treating PCOS and within a few months, I was pregnant. This was exciting news and it came right before Christmas. I remember when I went in after the new year for our 6 week ultrasound. We heard the heartbeat, but I do recall that there was a readjustment on the conception date because the fetus measured smaller. But other than that, we left the appointment elated. At our scheduled 10 week appointment, unfortunately, there was no heartbeat and there was very little growth from the previous appointment. This is referred to as spontaneous abortion. My body detected something was wrong. We opted out of the culture test to determine “the why”, but I recall for several days Googling possible reasons why I miscarried. Along the way, I started to focus on my loss and how to grieve.

No one has the answers. Not Politicians. Not Doctors. Not Google. There is not one experience. We have to share our journeys both good and painful so that we can be treated with respect and compassion. In my experience, I felt in control of my body and my decisions, and I was surrounded with a strong support system that included my doctors, family, and friends. Right now I empathize with Chrissy and the loss of her son Jack, and I pray that she will find peace within her pain and find strength and support from her family and friends.

 

Category : Tracy , Volunteer Bloggers


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New Path

My husband said to me the other day that he is feeling stressed. My husband is the most optimistic person I know, so if he says he’s stressed then I know something is really bugging him. 

We have both been feeling the weight of the pandemic. It took a while, but it’s starting to hit us harder. I was pregnant for the beginning of it. He had just started working from home and we were busy with our toddler. I had doctor’s visits to go to. We were constantly talking about what it was going to be like when the new baby came, so even though we had begun isolating, life seemed “busy.”

At the end of May, our son was born. Going to the hospital was like a vacation. The first two months of sleep deprived nights seemed to fly by. Suddenly, it was August. As we became acquainted with our new baby and he began to fall into his routine, life seemed to slow down. Every day started to seem the same. Being a stay-at-home mom, repetitive days are something I am used to, but this is different. Every day has to be the same because we don’t feel safe leaving our “bubble.”

Here we are now in September. The weight of the unknown still lies heavily on our shoulders. The holiday season is approaching and we have no set plans because of the fear of the virus. It’s hard to have things to look forward to. As I write this, the song Into The Unknown from Frozen II sounds off in my head. Funny how certain Disney songs can ring true to current life. My daughter is obsessed with the song. She’s been singing it (well her version of ‘singing’) just about every day the last few months. 

The other day, while the babies were napping, I was lost in thought. I was doing some self-reflection and I realized the way I have been feeling is similar to how I felt the year I had my miscarriages.

1.) I feel alone. We’ve been isolating from all of our friends. We see my family on occasion because they live nearby. But even when we are together we are distant. Most of my husband’s family lives far away so we haven’t seen them as often as we’d like. His parents have only seen our son twice.

2.) I feel like nobody understands. I have a toddler and a newborn in a pandemic. The last time there was an event like this was 100 years ago. There aren’t many people to ask for advice on how to do this. I feel so uncertain about the future and uncertain about how to approach the next steps.

3.) I feel helpless. There is so much out of my control. I have to try hard to focus on the things I can control.

4.) I feel afraid. We have family in the medical and social work fields who are exposed every day. We worry about them and try to visit them in the safest way possible. I just hate having to think ahead like this and be cautious with the people we love, but I have to do what I can to keep my immediate family safe.

These feelings are familiar to me and I think being familiar with them has helped me cope better as we go down this new path in life. I know I have the strength to provide a happy environment for my babies. I know I can be strong for my husband when he has his moments of sadness. And I know he can be strong for me because we have both done it before. We have faced disappointment before, and although this is a different situation, we can use the tools we’ve acquired. I am focusing my thoughts on the fact that we have a home to stay safe in, my husband is able to work, and my babies are young enough that I don’t have to worry about school. 

Even though life isn’t following the path we are accustomed to right now, I know we can make it through. I never could have imagined the strength and wisdom I gained from having miscarriages could help me carry my family through a pandemic. This new path we are on is challenging, but I am grateful every day we have each other.

Category : Kate , Volunteer Bloggers


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A New Normal

After Charlie passed, I went back to work about 8 weeks later. It may have seemed sudden to some people, but there were only so many days I could sit at home sulking and feeling sorry for myself. I never much cared for what other people thought so I did what was right for me. It was almost therapeutic to go back to my old routine, to see co-workers and just be treated as though nothing happened. That’s the way I preferred it. 

Occasionally I do see someone who remembers me pregnant and knew I had been on maternity leave and they ask that dreaded question, “How is it? Isn’t it great?” and I simply respond, “Yes it’s great.” It’s much easier. Why burden them. Why burden myself. I don’t need the pity or the sympathy. It’s during those times that I now know why stillbirth is such an unspoken topic.

Nonetheless, there was no better place to be then back to my old routine. I learned that it’s much easier to dig down a hole than to dig out of one. I never wanted to be stuck so far down a hole that I couldn’t get out. I took for granted the monotony of simply going to work and now I feel thankful for that opportunity.

I am the most resilient person that I know.

Loss can trigger so much more than just grief and sadness. I’m rounding 7 months since Charlie passed and I have more good days than bad. I feel more calm than I do anger. I see more to be thankful for than to be hateful toward. I don’t dwell on the past, I tend to focus now on the future. I spend more time submerged in nature. I find meaning in butterflies, dragonflies and hummingbirds. I never thought I’d be here, but I’ve found a way to cope and step forward with hope and understanding. There’s absolutely nothing in this world that I can’t survive. I’ve been told that God does not bestow more than one can handle.

I am the strongest person I know.

Following Charlie, I had a missed miscarriage a few months later and a sub massive pulmonary embolism. 2020 has been less than satisfactory and I would give it a 1 star rating so far. I took a trip back down that rabbit hole and this time didn’t think I’d make it out. I read about the Ava bracelet so I bought it. But the funny part is I had no trouble tracking my ovulation, I still have no idea why I bought it. I’ve never had an issue getting pregnant; it’s all about sustaining it.

Now 7 months later, I am 11 weeks pregnant. This time I feel may be different and have a very happy ending. I worry constantly that it will end and all the symptoms will go away. I worry the heart will stop beating and of course I worry that I won’t make it till the end. I envy those who are so carefree in pregnancy like I once was. The first time around I had planned everything. This time I have no plan. I spent a lot of time planning for absolutely no reason. I know better now. I’m just hoping for the best and will continue updates as this pregnancy progresses.

2020 has been an unwelcoming year for everyone. I would gladly take on Covid with its 98% survival rate to have my baby Charlie alive and well. Unfortunately, those devil deals don’t exist in the real world. Still, from manure the best flowers grow and this new baby will be the flower we’ve been waiting for.

Category : Andrea , Volunteer Bloggers


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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