From the depths of sorrow, to finding peace and hope, our members have so much they want to share about this unexpected journey we are on...
This story was originally shared at the St. Mary's Pregnancy and Infant Loss memorial, and we're sharing it again here with permission.
Hi, my name is Beth, and in 2016 I had an ectopic pregnancy. We call Baby Blueberry, because that’s the size they were when we discovered they had implanted in my fallopian tube.
My husband and I had been married for YEARS before we decided we were ready to start a family. For four glorious weeks I experienced that blissful and naïve pregnancy that I’ve since realized is TOTAL fiction, but we convince ourselves is real so we feel like we have control.
I did the things pregnant women are supposed to do. I stopped drinking coffee, ordered my ramen without the runny egg, and lamented the raw oysters I wouldn’t be eating on our upcoming trip to New Orleans. I was going to excel at pregnancy because that’s what I did - I set my sights on a goal and accomplished it.
We all know where this is going. At my first OB appointment, we didn’t see Blueberry on the handheld ultrasound. I was so confident that I literally didn’t register concern as I booked a real ultrasound appointment for a week later. The cramp in my right side also didn't concern me. It blows my mind to think back on - I didn’t give it another thought, other than I was looking forward to the next appointment.
My world came crashing down at the ultrasound. It was impossible to fathom how there could be a problem and we wouldn’t even know until it was already over. It was a hard reality to accept - that there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t think or work our way out of it. And it was a little murky whether Blueberry was still alive or had already passed, but it also didn’t matter because the pregnancy was not viable - and could kill me - either way. My only choice was how we would terminate the pregnancy. I actually didn’t find the answer to whether or not there was still a heartbeat until months later, going over a medical report with a perinatology team.
The piece of pregnancy advice that I followed that I REALLY regret is waiting to let family and close friends know, because what if something happens? We didn’t get the chance to tell our loved ones until we were calling from the emergency room, and Blueberry was never a reality for anyone but my husband and me. And then I went through the loss in silence and with barely any support, because I didn’t want everyone to know that we were trying to start a family after so many years of squashing that question.
It was extremely hard and isolating - especially because the message I was getting was that I needed to get over it, and why was I still feeling sad?
My big revelation - which was driven home after a subsequent loss - is that we want so badly to be in control, and so we subject ourselves to all the advice do all the things. When things work out, we pat ourselves on the back and say “Yes, I did this. I did everything right”. But the horrible flip side to this is that when things go wrong - as they often do - it must also be our fault.
How much control do I actually have over the things that are meaningful to me? It’s a lot less than I thought before I first got pregnant. It’s hard to accept, and I still find myself railing against it. But I also appreciate that - I think - I see the world more clearly than I did before my pregnancy and loss journey. A pop culture analogy that suddenly clicked for me is when Harry Potter first arrives at Hogwarts is able to see the horses pulling the carriages that are invisible to his classmates.
Written with love by Beth, Blueberry and Calvin's mom
Greta and Harriet 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 be beginning their educational careers next week. We 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 be listening to precious four year old fears, welcoming excitement and packing up backpacks that are too heavy for little bodies to carry. Oscar and Eva 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 be able to proudly display their bravery and experience by walking their little sisters into the school. Troy and I 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 be shedding tears because the years are going too rapidly and all four of our children are growing before our eyes, not because only two of our children will be walking into their classrooms.
Instead of pencil boxes and washable markers, we helped Greta and Harriet’s classmates’ sensory area by donating needed supplies. What we 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 be doing is loving them.
💗💜💗💜💗 And we are. 💗💜💗💜💗
To our bereaved tribe, please don’t allow any, single person to tell you how you 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 (or 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 not) love and parent your children after they die.
~ Greta and Harriet’s Mama
Dear Miriam Lyra,
How can it be seven years since you left your watery home inside of me? In the beginning I could barely make it through each day. Time seemed to stretch like taffy as I tried to go through hours without you. In some ways it helped to think of you with your siblings who had died before. Maybe you, Sam, and Oren were running through the forest together or dancing invisibly in the garden? But in other ways the fact that three of you had died just made it worse. How could this happen again? What did I do wrong to deserve this? Now that was a silly question I know. No one “deserves” this pain. The better question was, “what do I do now?” But asking the big philosophical WHY popped up anyway as I tried to make sense of it all.
I bet you were cute. I only saw one photo of you and it was a grainy ultrasound photo from after you had died. How I wish I could have snuggled you in my arms my darling. Would you have had curly hair like me? I bet you would have had one heck of an attitude at times. Ha! You would have given me a run for my money! I would have loved every minute, even the tantrums- ok maybe not “loved” but I would have loved you! I still do.
Just because you died doesn’t mean I love you any less. I will always be your mother. I may not be able to help you put on your mud boots, but I can look up at the stars and tell you all about them. Maybe you can hear me. Heck, maybe you know way more about stars than I do! I can do things in your honor, things I think you would have liked to do. Last year we bought a lot of toys and games for the Respite Center. Your brothers helped me pick them out. We thought about what a 6 year old girl might like. Wish you could have shown us by being here.
Your brothers and I will be sending you extra love on July 9th. That is your special day. Send some love back to us if you can.
I miss you,
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We are taking submissions for articles to share in our monthly e-newsletter. We believe it is healing for parents to share their experiences and valuable for the both community to relate and professionals to gather a better understanding.
Each of these stories was featured in an e-newsletter and distributed to parents and professionals in our community. We hope that parents reading these stories will feel less alone and that the caregivers and professionals that we trust can learn from our experiences.
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