Tell us about your pregnancy loss(es).
We lost our first born, a precious baby girl named Alaina on November 5th, 2007. She was 1 lb. 8 ounces, 13 inches and beautiful. I had just entered my third trimester and was busy preparing the nursery and shopping for adorable girly outfits. My husband Josh and I were overjoyed! We were high school sweethearts, recently married and couldn’t wait to start this exciting chapter in our lives. Josh was traveling for work and I began to worry after not feeling any baby flutters and kicks for a couple of days. My Mom took me to the hospital so we could hopefully see our sweet girl on the monitor and feel peace of mind. I will never forget the moment my heart broke hearing that there was no longer a heartbeat. All my hopes and dreams flashed before my eyes and I was completely devastated. Delivering your stillborn baby when you barely have the strength to breath is unbearable. I just remember holding her in my arms, amazed at how perfect she was and wondering WHY this happened to her and us. A flood of emotions followed.
What do you remember most about the initial stages of grief immediately following your loss? How did you feel? What were you thinking?
I longed to hold my baby in my arms again. My arms ached. We mourned not only the loss of our child but the loss of becoming parents and raising our daughter. I wondered if I was strong enough to survive this. I wondered if we were strong enough to make the decision to have another child someday and worried about experiencing this pain again. I was numb for quite some time. We had amazing support and love from our families and close friends but in those first days and weeks, nothing anyone said or did could take the pain away. It was a long process going through the stages of grief.
The pain of pregnancy loss doesn’t ever go away. The waves of grief seem to come and go throughout time. Do you have a story to share of a moment when grief hit you when you weren’t expecting it to?
I think about my daughter every single day. We have since been blessed with three healthy, beautiful children and each time they have reached an important milestone in their life, I think about Alaina wishing I could have shared those exciting moments with her as well. I often wonder what her personality would have been like and just feel sad that she isn’t here with her family, where she is supposed to be. My only comfort comes in believing that we will all be together again someday.
Approximately 1 in 4 women experience pregnancy loss. What would you like someone who has never experienced it to know?
Pregnancy loss no matter what trimester you are in is devastating. I can’t think of anything parents dream and hope for more than a healthy child. I would want someone who has never experienced it to know what a true miracle pregnancy and childbirth is. Not everyone’s journey to parenthood is the same. Be sensitive to that. Often in life, things don’t go as we hope they will. But, I’ve learned that faith and trusting in Gods timing and plan combined with support from others can get you through anything.
What would you like to say to a woman walking a similar path?
I would want someone experiencing this pain and sadness to know that they are not alone, that they are allowed to grieve, and allowed to take one day at a time for as long as they need. It is important to lean on family and friends. Also, lean on people who have also experienced this loss. Something that has helped me is continuing to talk about my sweet girl and think of special ways to honor and remember her throughout the year, every year. I have her precious hand and footprints framed on my dresser. My daughter is not here with us but she is a part of our family and our story.