Monday, October 15, 2012

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today is national pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.  While I haven't directly been affected by a pregnancy loss thus far, it has affected my life.  My sister Dayna (whom I am sure you have seen with Destructo in pictures in others posts) has went through three miscarriages in the past year.  She agreed to write a guest post about what she has went through to help others see her journey through infertility and pregnancy loss.  If anyone wants to contact her to talk or share experiences, you can comment here and I will see that she gets it.  

October 15th is a day that is set aside to remember the sweet babies who have gone to heaven. In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. He said, "When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn't a word to describe them." I feel that is because it is a loss that cannot be put into words. The loss of a child is one of the hardest things anyone could ever experience. Pregnancy loss is a heart wrenching experience that many women suffer through each day. Many of these women choose to grieve privately during this extremely hard time. I have made the choice to share my journey through infertility and pregnancy loss. It is a journey that I never expected I would be making. Some days I feel so alone and isolated.  I hope that by sharing my story, I can help others see that they are not alone.

The loss of a pregnancy is something that can never be forgotten. It is a wound that cuts so deep; it reaches right to your core. While I know I have so many people who love and care for me, it can be hard for someone who has not experienced a loss to understand the hurt and pain that comes along with pregnancy loss. It is an emptiness that cannot be filled. It is an ache that does not go away. When you grieve the loss of a baby, you are grieving so much more than that. You are grieving the loss of a dream, and you always wonder what would have been. With every milestone that passes, the wound seems to reopen. You never forget what should have been.

Three candles for three babies

My journey started over a year and a half ago. I remember the excitement that I felt as my husband and I decided to start our family. We just knew we would be snuggling our sweet bundle of joy within the year. We were so wrong. After a few months, I began to wonder why I was not getting pregnant. Many friends told me just to relax, that a few months were nothing in the grand scheme of things. After all, it can take a healthy couple up to a year to conceive. With these things in mind, we continued hoping and dreaming of what we were sure was soon to come.

After 5 short months, I finally saw what I had been dreaming about for what felt like forever... 2 beautiful pink lines. We were so excited. Our family would be growing on 7-2-12. When my husband came home, I told him the news. We laughed and cried and decided we would tell my parents the next week for my mom's birthday. Unfortunately, we never got to share the big news. I started bleeding a few nights later. I was only 4.5 weeks pregnant. I will never forget the pain I felt as all my dreams were crushed. We decided that we would continue to try; that it was probably a fluke.

A couple months later, I saw those 2 beautiful pink lines once again. I told my husband and again we were thrilled. We decided to be cautious, but to still tell my family.  We just knew that things would work out for us this time. Surely this wouldn’t happen 2 times in a row. Things seemed to be going so much better, until I started spotting around a week later.  I felt like my world was crumbling around me. This could not be happening again. I made it 5.5 weeks this time around.
After meeting with my doctor and deciding that I might have a progesterone deficiency, we decided to continue on our journey to become parents. Months passed and nothing happened. I began to give up when finally I saw those 2 lines again. This time I was very nervous, given our past. This time I was the one who was not sure that things would work out and my husband was sure that everything would be ok. As the weeks passed, I reached the milestones that were important to me. I passed 4.5 weeks, no cramping or spotting. I passed 5.5 weeks, no cramping or spotting. I was feeling some mild symptoms, but I was beginning to grow concerned that something was not right. I didn't feel pregnant enough. Everyone around me reassured me that things were going to be fine. During this time I continued testing and watching those pink lines grow darker and darker.

Finally, it was time for our first ultrasound. I was 7 weeks and 4 days. I was so nervous. I went shopping before the ultrasound and bought a perfect outfit for the little baby growing inside of me. It said "Worth the Wait". This baby was going to be worth everything we had been through in the last year. When we went into the ultrasound, we saw the gestational sac and everything started to go so wrong. I could tell by the look on the techs face that something was not right. After checking for the heart beat several times, she gave us the news that made our world stop. The sweet baby we had been dreaming of was measuring 2 weeks behind with a heart rate that was half what it should have been. I cannot put into words the hurt that our hearts felt on that day. The next week was pure torture. I had to wait for another ultrasound to make sure things just weren’t measuring behind. Sure enough, a week later we got the devastating news that we had lost our precious baby. I chose to have a D&C to try to get some answers.  My heart breaks every day. I miss my baby even though I only knew him or her for such a short time.  Everyday I pray for the strength to get through this, and try to take comfort in knowing that one day I will see all three of my babies in heaven.

I have changed in so many ways in the last year and a half. I feel so much stronger and patient than when I started this journey. I feel very lucky because this horrible journey could have torn my husband and me apart, but it has only brought us closer. Things are not going the way I planned, but it is going to be ok. 

To remember my babies I add charms to a bracelet on what would have been my due dates. I encourage every woman who has experienced losses to find a way to keep your baby's memory alive. I only knew about each of my pregnancies for a short time, but it has forever changed me. Gone is the carefree girl, who was always positive and knew things were going to happen the way she planned. It is ok though because I have learned so many things. I know this is just a detour on my journey to become a mother. I will be a mother one day; I might just have to take a different road to get there. It will all be ok. One day, as I am listening to my precious child laughing, I will look back and know that it really was worth the wait. 

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10


  1. Hugs to you - I feel your pain. I think the most difficult thing when losing babies that are not born yet through miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies (as was the case for me) is that it is a very isolating experience. Because you are not visibly pregnant, you really are the only one experiencing the pregnancy. The changes in hormones and the way you feel even in the very early stages are dramatic. I still mourn the baby I lost between the two I have. But honestly, I may be the only person to remember that it even happened. Every June 5th (the baby's due date), I weep silently by myself for that loss. Good luck to you in your journey.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I am so sorry to hear that you have also suffered a loss. It is something that can never be forgotten. I will be saying an extra prayer for your sweet angel tonight.

  2. Dayna, thank you for sharing your story. I remember all too well the emotions that came on the "big" milestones, and even through my 2 perfect pregnancies I was fearful that I wouldn't bring my sweet babies home. Hugs and prayers!

    1. Thanks for the prayers. My husband and I appreciate it!


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