Pregnancy Loss

Mamas on Bedrest: Bittersweet Remembrance

November 1st, 2013

It’s been 9 years since I lost my 3rd pregnancy. I had considered not posting today, feeling a bit melancholy, morose.

“Mamas don’t want to hear that,” I said to myself. 

I’m the moderator of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond. I’m here to be a source of comfort, of inspiration. I’m supposed to lift these ladies up! The last thing that mamas need to hear/see when they come here is a story of loss. Or is it….?

I LOVE writing these blogs. I LOVE learning about and presenting to all of you the various products, services and information that comes across my computer desk. I LOVE interacting with all of you -hearing your stories and most especially getting to see the photos of your beautiful babies! I started this website and this business with the specific intention of making high risk pregnancies and bed rest easier for those coming behind me. I didn’t want another woman to feel the sadness, loneliness and isolation that I felt as I struggled to bear my children. I didn’t want another woman to feel the fear and feeling of aloneness that I felt while I was hemorrhaging with my daughter and watching to see if my OB would be able to “make me okay.” And I wanted to provide a listening and understanding ear (?eye) for those women with the “unspeakable” thoughts and fears-the ones that those who have not walked our path feel uneasy hearing, and quickly try to “poo poo” away with,

“God has a plan” and “Don’t worry, it will all work out alright”.

I’m sorry folks, when I am in the midst of the storm, those words are as soothing as dumping a bucket of water over my already drenched head! While I do believe in God and there being a Divine plan to this crazy thing called life, sometimes life is just hard and when you are going through, you really don’t care about God or the Divine plan! It is in those moments that my mother’s admonisments to me as a child ring so very true,

“If you’ve nothing good to say, say nothing.”

Silence really can be golden.

Within our midst we have mamas that have lost perhaps one or many pregnancies. We have mamas that have had to utilize in vitro fertilization or other technologies to become pregnant. We have mnamas who had or currently have wee ones whose lives are hanging in the balance. We have it all and I am proud to say that mamas at any and all stages are welcome! Please don’t “pretty up” your stories or your feelings. If you are sad, you are perfectly welcome to share those feelings in their real, raw form. If you have suffered loss, please let us, let me, know so that we can come along beside you and share your sorrow. For some, this may be too much intimacy, too much transparency. Letting others see you at your most vulnerable may be something you are just not ready to do. That’s fine. But do know that if you do need to share, you are welcome to do so.

I’m going to sign off now and do a little something special to acknowledge my wee one. It’s All Saints Day and while I do believe the spirit of my wee one has long crossed over, I am going to spend a bit of time giving thanks to and for those that have been a part of my life but are now gone.

 

 

Mamas on Bedrest: Precious Soul Gone But Not Forgotten

October 19th, 2011

Fall is my favorite time of year. But as the calendar approaches November 1st, I get a little wonky. On November 1, 2004, I learned that I had lost another precious soul, my second miscarriage, my third pregnancy.

Something about that miscarriage has stuck with me. For some reason or other that soul had, and still has, a hold on me. While I was sad when I had my first miscarriage (June 25, 2001), I was devastated with this one and I am not exactly sure of the reason for the depth of my feelings. Perhaps it was because I learned that I was pregnant on my daughter’s birthday, my 4th anniversary. Perhaps it occurred almost one year to the day that my father in law passed away. I have yet to make the connection, but November 1st is always a day upon which I stop and reflect on that little soul that I still miss and for whom I sometimes still shed a little tear.

I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and I believe that to be the case for both of my miscarriages, my difficult pregnancy with my daughter, her traumatic birth and then the virtually complication free pregnancy and birth of my son. Even though I grieved deeply for this particular little soul that I lost, I have to say, had that soul survived, I would not have my son today. Had that soul survived, I very likely would have not started Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond. Had that soul survived, I would not be so determined to smooth the path for other high risk pregnant women.

They say that success comes out of struggle. I believe that there is an element of truth to that statement. When things go well, we seldom stop to reflect on the goodness of life. More importantly, we seldom push ourselves to present our gifts and talents to the world. But when there is a crisis, when the normal responses and actions just won’t do, that is when we dig deep and pull from a pool of strength seldom tapped yet rich with possibilities. It’s where we make the decision to push forward or give up in defeat. It’s a dark and difficult place, yet when we emerge, we are one step closer to “diamonds”.

My ruminations have come early this year. I suppose it’s due to the weather change here in Austin and the fact that it finally feels like fall-cool and breezy. And as I once again give pause for my precious little soul I say,

“You are gone yet not forgotten. Your tenure on this earth was mere weeks, yet the impact has continued for years. You’ve inspired me, caused me to move and to act. I love you!”

How has your high risk pregnancy experience changed you? If you have a soul (or souls) in heaven, how have they inspired you? Share your comments below.

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Mamas on Bedrest: Coping with Pregnancy Loss

March 14th, 2011

I got yet another heartbreaking e-mail last week. A grandmother-to-be was writing on behalf of her daughter. Her daughter is pregnant with her first child and at the 20 week office visit some anomalies were noted on ultrasound. Further evaluation showed that the fetus has malformation of blood vessels and some other anomalies consistent with a chromosomal defect. Physicians have recommended terminating the pregnancy. This mother/grandmother to be was calling to see if there are any resources that I could share to help her daughter deal with this devastating blow.

There is no easy way to help a mother who is losing or who has lost a child.  I know this first hand because I suffered such loss myself-twice. There are no words to describe the grief of losing a child. You cry. You ache. You keep thinking, hoping, that’s it’s a bad dream and you’ll wake up soon. You hope that the OB missed something, that the baby was turned in some funny way and that’s why the heartbeat couldn’t be detected. Your mind does all these tricks in an attempt to shield you from the pain. But in the end, you have to feel the pain and endure its excruciating sting.

In the meantime, it’s a very powerless feeling to watch someone you love deal with this burden, so I can only imagine this mother/grandmother’s pain. On the one hand, she is grieving the loss of her grandchild. At the same time, she has to watch her daughter, her own baby, endure such unspeakable pain and not be able to take that pain away. I think that this pain is sometimes harder to endure. Ask any mother and they will quickly tell you that they would rather suffer themselves than to see their children suffer in any way.

The loss of a pregnancy or child is never easy. Even after time, there can still be considerable pain and sadness – especially surrounding the date of birth or death of the child. One thing is certain, the little life that is too soon over is never forgotten.

There are many wonderful resources and supports available to grieving families and below are just a few. They will also be posted in our Resources Section.

Comeunity – This website provides information and resources to families of premature infants and children and children with special needs. I particularly like the listing of helpful books and resources.

SHARE: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support – A national organization providing resources and support following the loss of a pregnancy or child. I especially like their page telling family and friends what not to say.

Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death (MEND) – A Christian, non-profit organization that reaches out to families who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.

Mothers in Sympathy & Support (MISS) – The MISS Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer based organization committed to providing crisis support and long term aid to families after the death of a child from any cause.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) – This national non-profit organization assists families suffering an early infant loss with the gift of free professional portraiture. I know of a few families who have used this service and while they were initially opposed to photographing their infant are pleased to have this tangible memory of their child.

SHARE: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support – A national organization providing resources and support following the loss of a pregnancy or child. I especially like their page telling family and friends what not to say.

The March of Dimes – A Comprehensive resource for families experiencing difficult pregnancies, preterm labor and prematurity and pregnancy loss.

The Missing Grace Foundation – A non-profit foundation started by Steve and Candy McVicar following the stillbirth of their baby daughter Grace.

I am concerned for this mother/grandmother. There will be few people who will ask her how she is faring. She may not even take time to grieve the loss being so focused on her daughter. But certainly, this mother/grandmother is as much in need of comfort as her daughter and son in law. Loss is loss. We have been corresponding and I will certainly do all that I can to support her. Hopefully she and her daughter will make use of some of the resources listed.

Pregnancy loss or the loss of a child is devastating. I am so glad that there are so many wonderful organizations and resources available to support families following the loss of a child. Please use these resources and please share this information with families in need.