Bereaved Mother’s Day

Trigger warning – this post discusses stillbirth, miscarriage and the surrounding experience and emotions. Please consider your current emotional needs when deciding whether to read.

Bereaved Mother’s Day is observed the first Sunday each May and is a day to honor those brave women who have experienced the loss of a child as well as those who have not been able to conceive.

This is the 4th Bereaved Mother’s Day that I have experienced since the stillbirth of my daughter in 2015. This is my first since the loss of my second child this past November.

I chose today to talk about this second loss publicly because I have felt so alone and I hope in some way that sharing my story will help someone else not feel that same way.

We found out we were pregnant with our fourth baby the day after Madison’s birthday in October. We were over the moon. This baby was planned and loved and very much wanted.

We went to our first OB appointment November 8th on a cloud. We were offered an early ultrasound which we happily accepted and received some concerning news that the baby did not appear to have developed enough based on my last monthly period. I was completely devastated, but hopeful that perhaps the dates were off. We were only 6 weeks pregnant so it seemed completely possible that things would turn out ok. After all, we couldn’t possibly go through another loss.

Eight grueling days later, we returned to be given again some very non-reassuring news. The baby had not developed much and a heartbeat was still not detectable. We were told to go home and wait some more, try to stay calm, hope for the best and enjoy Thanksgiving with our family.

Ten days later we were told the pregnancy was not viable by an ultrasound technician we had never seen before who had absolutely no clue the devastation those words brought to Jeff and I. We were offered three options, to either wait for my body to realize the pregnancy was not viable and miscarry on my own, schedule an appointment for a DNC, or take a prescription for Cytotec and a handful of pain pills and do it myself at home.

It is impossible to describe how you come to a decision when faced with those choices. In the end, we opted to do it at home. I felt concerned about disrupting our two boys who were not aware of what was happening and also recovering as quickly as I could so I could continue to prepare to make the holidays as special as possible for my family.

On November 28th at 10 weeks pregnant, I stuck the Cytotec in my cheek to dissolve like the bottle told me to and waited. Imagine for a second what it felt like to take a pill to end a pregnancy that you wanted and was excited about. I understand my baby was not alive, but the act of placing that pill in my mouth felt like a nightmare.

I was completely unprepared for what happened next. My OB did not provide us any information. No supplies. No details. Not even a pamphlet. Only that we should contact the office if I began to bleed through more than one pad an hour. The cramping that I experienced was horrible, but in no way compared to the amount of bleeding and emotional pain of miscarrying my child in this way.

To this day, I have never heard from my OB. Not a call or email to check and make sure I am ok following the loss of my second child. It was the first of many surprising things I experienced after this loss.

I have spent the last nearly 4 years since Madison’s stillbirth working with and talking to women who have lost children. In so many cases, I was told how my loss was so significant because I was 34 weeks pregnant and how different that is from a loss in early pregnancy.

I am here to tell you that is bullshit.

The truth is, with Madison I knew her. I felt her kick. I talked to her. We pigged out all summer on tomato sandwiches. We danced and sang and made plans.

I never felt this baby move. This baby never had a heartbeat that we could hear. The medical community will refer to him or her as a blighted ovum or as it now reads in my chart a “missed abortion”.

I am at a loss as to how to best remember this baby.

I haven’t talked about my miscarriage publicly, because I didn’t know what to say. The sadness felt so heavy that it made it more difficult to share as the last 6 months have gone by. This was compounded by the fact that a few of the people we did share with have been less than supportive which of course brings up even more emotion.

Here is what I know to be true. I have four children. All four of them matter and all four of them will make this world a better and kinder place.

All of our babies deserve to be loved and acknowledged by the people around us. If you have experienced a loss at any stage of pregnancy, please share your story as you are able to. Staying quiet does not help you heal or teach the world to do a better job of addressing your emotions and needs.

I acknowledge you on this Bereaved Mother’s Day and every other day we share this road together.

With love,

Dear Mrs. I

Y’all, it’s been a while. And I’ve missed you. The truth is life is busy and writing is just hard sometimes. I am learning as I continue to journey through the seasons of motherhood that the space just isn’t always available to do all of the things you want to do. But, today I am

Read More

He is a Grieving Father

He is a grieving father. He wakes each day with the same emptiness in his heart that I feel, but you might not see it. As he dresses to tackle another day of work or chores or life, his face is brave. Strong as steel. He is filled with concern for those around him. Works

Read More

Being Simply Abundant

I have been reading this amazing book called Simple Abundance every morning. It has these really digestable pages or two daily essays, that are focused around women and self care and gratitude. Some mornings it is just exactly what I need to be simply abundant, and a few weeks ago, there was a message so

Read More

Pictures of You

Last weekend, we had family pictures taken, and a bunch of what will likely be really adorable photos of your brother Barrett. It was the first time we have had family pictures taken since saying goodbye to you. I knew in the weeks leading up to our appointment it was going to be tough. Planning what

Read More

I Am Not Ashamed

{originally posted 6/21/2016} 6 1/2 weeks ago on a Friday, I finally mustered up the courage to admit to my husband how bad it had gotten on the inside. How hard it had become to leave my house, how anxious I would feel at the thought of having to be around people. I told him

Read More

What I Used To Believe About Stillbirth

Stillbirth. The word is a part of my story now, but there was a time when it wasn’t. It felt clinical. It felt “old”. It sounded like something that happened in days gone by before there was good prenatal care. When people were giving birth without the aid of professionals or in unsterile conditions. It didn’t

Read More

Dress For The Job You Want

When I started my career way back in the late 90s, I had a well meaning boss tell me I needed to dress for the job I wanted. My 22 year old self thought he was living in the stone age. I realized just a few years later what sage advice that was. I learned

Read More

He Will Always Be My Rainbow

The first time I heard a child born after a loss referred to as a “rainbow baby,” I completely rejected the whole idea of it. I had never heard the term before Madison, but I frankly hated it. Maybe it was the stage of grief I was experiencing, maybe it was because I have never

Read More

Madison’s Closet Is Already Turning One Year Old!

Somewhere in the world, a woman is taking a pregnancy test and finding out that a baby is on the way. Her heart is full of hope and love. The plans for her whole life changing to include this new being. Two years ago today, that woman was me. I remember it so clearly. After days

Read More