October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. As many of you know, this is near and dear to my heart, as we have experienced multiple losses.
I have been (and will continue to be throughout October) honored to spend time with fellow loss mamas, capturing their stories and love for their babies. Some of these stories will be shared with video, some text, some simply photographs. I welcome you to join in remembering our babies and bringing awareness and normalcy to talking about these short but precious lives.
Nobody could have prepared me for the moment I was told my first baby was healthy and perfect, but that my body was giving up on my pregnancy … nor for losing my first child in the month of October: Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness month.
Nobody prepared me for the moment I heard our first nurse say we could choose a funeral home for burial or cremation …before our baby was even gone.
Nobody prepares you for being on a labor and delivery floor for a week hearing babies take their first cries as you walk the hall, or for the moment you come back from your first walk and notice an inconspicuous sign on your room door that indicates, in essence, “CAUTION: this baby isn’t going to live like the rest.”
Nobody prepares you for having flowers delivered by a florist who says “Congratulations!” as they leave the room.
Nobody prepares you for going home with an empty womb, but still physically post-partum; the bleeding, fatigue, physical restrictions, and painful milk engorgement that lets down from the heat of the shower, simultaneously letting down tears of emotional pain from your eyes.
Nobody can prepare you for filing for a 6 week medical leave from work and the representative calling specifically to ask if you’d like more time than that for “bonding.” Another reminder you’re post-partum with no baby.
Nobody can prepare you for staring into the mirror and feeling a physical pain of emptiness inside because your belly is flat when you should be feeling your baby’s first kicks.
Nobody can prepare you for having to pack up the maternity clothes you hung up the week prior, or shoving the crib and stroller into the corner of the room that would have been theirs.
Nobody can prepare you for grieving the loss of a child, but also a healthy normal pregnancy now and possibly ever.
Nobody can prepare you for having a still born.
There is still love: for a life lived & lost, for each other & love for our faithful Savior.
There is still thankfulness: for continued health & such tender care from nurses, midwives, family & friends.
There is still support: through words, prayer, texts, letters, & expressions of mutual sorrow.
There is still provision: of finances, food, help & people just being there with & for us.
There are still memories: of the time spent holding them in the hospital, the foot prints, pictures & the precious mementos people gifted us with.
Most importantly, there is still hope: in life Eternal & for a future child. Hope their name will be remembered & that their short lives will be used to change others.
We found out we had a precious baby girl on October 7th 2017 when at 17 weeks old she was delivered from my body, straight into the arms of Jesus. We named her Anna Joy. Anna because it means “God was gracious” and Joy because of the immense JOY she gave us all in her short life. Even though she is gone from us physically, we are still parents.
If you are in this group, please know you are not alone. I found comfort from women near and far, in person and online. Our stories are all different but the outcome is the same, we are parents to a baby not physically here. I am here for you too and although I cannot prepare you for this race, just like I could not be prepared, I can listen to you, grieve with you, pray for you, or just BE with you. We can make this journey together. I too am 1 in 4.