Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Missin you

My dear sweet Ian,

I'm really missing you today sweetheart. I've been thinking about you and talking to you a lot lately. I hope you can see your brothers and how beautifully they are growing and how they keep me going. I love you so much and I hope you're happy. I hope you know who I am and can feel how much I love you from where you are. I never forget you. Never. Not a day goes by when I don't think of you and you make me smile. Then I think of the sadness and heartache, how much daddy and I miss you and wish we could have gotten to know you.. although I feel like I know you as if you have actually been here on earth these last 7, almost 8 years. I wish we could embrace and I could kiss your sweet face again. I'm sorry I couldn't keep you safe. I'm sorry I'm not stronger now. I'm ashamed that you paid the ultimate price for my faulty body, and that I'm not a stronger person because of it. You are our first child always and forever.  Our first dear and desperately wanted son. You were the one that made us parents, you made us better, and you light the heavens with your beauty now.
I love you dear sweet boy. Your mom.

Monday, January 28, 2013


I'll be honest, I frequent infertility blogs. It started out as part of my research when I was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistance in 2001 and I was told I would never conceive. Yes, the physician's assistant said those words. PCOS was a fairly new diagnosis being researched and treated at the time. Luckily, she was wrong. Even after we got pregnant and started having other pregnancy problems unrelated to infertility, I was still compelled to read the heart wrenching stories and blogs of couples spending tens of thousands of dollars, putting their bodies and minds through the ringer, many times with no sweet babies to show for it afterwards.... I still read these blogs after all these years and I can say with all honesty that I would go through the pain and loss we experienced 100 times over rather than be unable to conceive, or even have difficulty conceiving. I don't know how these women do it. It's a "special" kind of hell. If you could pick one thing that would torture a woman in the worst way for her entire life here in all ways, physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, marriage wise, I feel it's infertility. The constant torture of seeing others having children easily and building families, seeing people have babies left and right who have no right being parents, feeling left behind, being inundated on social networking sites with ultrasound pictures and baby pictures and every stage of a child's life on display, feeling like a bad person for natural feelings of jealousy and then guilt, not having the most natural desire as humans met, wanting so desperately to feel a baby kick in their belly and seeing what features their children got from which parent and treasuring those qualities... THOSE are the strong women that I looked to during my own struggles because they were enduring a worse tragedy and so many of them were dealing with this pain amazingly, this pain and innate overwhelming desire that never goes away, lasts a lifetime, is never resolved many times, and is constantly thrown in their face their whole lives... Those are the women who blogged because it was therapeutic, they needed to know they weren't alone, and who influenced me to blog as well even though it's after the fact. I can't IMAGINE that kind of life and if you are struggling with infertility, I'm so very very sorry and know that your strength during your life carried me through my hard times and still does. I'm writing this because I have seen many arguments on certain sites and blogs started because women who lose their children and have multiple losses and major pregnancy issues feel that "they have it worse" and that their pain is "the worst" and they are insensitive to women who suffer from infertility. They feel that women who haven't experienced a conception and pregnancy are "better off" than having a loss. I feel the COMPLETE OPPOSITE and I'm always baffled by these many people and how they callously verbalize this. It is something close to my heart. I would rather mourn the loss of a child I carried for any period of time than mourn the loss of children never met. And I think that if the women who had the losses were put in the position of the women who can't conceive, they would feel the same way. Just a thought.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sending our first heart.... Dear Aidan

Last night I completed my first heart pouch for a family who lost a son named Aidan. My oldest son Nathan, who is 6 almost 7, helped video tape our prayer over the heart for their family and for sweet Aidan. Nathan also took pictures and we emailed the video and the pictures to their family last night with a promise that their heart pouch would be in the mail within two weeks. It was an INCREDIBLE experience for Nathan and I to have this very special task to do together and he was SO PROUD to be using his camera and skills for heaven's work. What a wonderful experience.

Aidan's family, we thank you for allowing us to do this for you. It was truly a pleasure and a blessing for us. I'm having difficulty uploading the pictures and video up here but bear with us and we will make it work :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Oww, my back hurts..." Cry me a RIVER!

Ah yes, I have to rant. I truly enjoy my friends pregnancies. I NEVER thought I would be able to say that but I found that having my living children and completing our family has been very healing. Many times during miscarriages I had to "deactivate" my facebook and stop socializing while picking up the pieces of my life. Sometimes I felt guilty, many times I didn't. It was a way to survive. Now I thoroughly enjoy facebooking and emailing and watching the documentation of friend's pregnancies, births, and growing children. I'm among them, posting pictures, commenting about my kids, etc.

What I can't stand however, are the chronic complainers. You know them. Not the friend's that occasionally complain about ailments during pregnancy. Pregnancy is hard for anyone whether it is relatively "easy" or not. I totally understand and have become VERY tolerant ( I feel) when friends have some bad days in their pregnancies and are hurting or uncomfortable. What I have a really hard time reading are the daily or every other day complaints from pregnant friends who have never experienced a loss "My back is killing me. I wish I didn't have to go to such and such doctor every week." or "I'm so done with this pregnancy, so uncomfortable, baby is squishing my lungs and I can't breathe." or "I was placed on bed rest. This is the worst ever. Can't wait for this to be over."

I always bite my tongue and hide their feed or defriend. But now I have this lovely blog where I can vent as much as my little heart wants! And maybe some of you can relate. So for all of you chronic complainers, next time you want to post about which vetrebra your baby is playing footsie's with or you are counting down the "miserable" days of pregnancy, think about this:

Maybe instead of complaining, think about going to the doctor and hearing-
 "I'm sorry, your baby died." or
 "We are going to have deliver now and there is no chance your baby will survive." or
 "There is nothing we can do for him/her, you can terminate now or carry to term but your baby won't survive." or how about this for difficult pregnancies-
 "You have to have a cerclage placed at 12 weeks to carry any baby (you find this out AFTER it went undiagnosed and you lost a baby during the second term)." Don't even get me started about what it's like to have a pregnancy with a cerclage... the unknown, the fear, THAT'S uncomfortable. But you didn't hear me complaining because at that point I would have climbed Mount Everest without a peep if it meant having a living baby.

So think about those difficulties above and be happy that at least your babies are alive and kicking your parts to high heaven and able to grow big and make it hard for you to breathe. Hopefully this puts things into perspective for you chronic complainers. And if your symptoms aren't all that bad and you just need some loving and attentive care from your family and friends (which I can totally understand) how about you be sensitive to those of us, who you may not even know about, who have endured losses and instead put "Having a hard time, need words of encouragement" or "I could really use someone to make a meal or help me with the house work" or "I'm so blessed to be chosen to carry this baby even through this difficult pregnancy". Or privately email friends and family who can help. I don't think it's only women who have experienced loss that don't want to hear "Whine whine can't wait for this pregnancy to be over, this is the worst." I don't think anyone wants to really hear that.... I am a firm believer in facebook support though and am the first to offer encouragement. I had a much more HARSH blog waiting to be published but I'm curbing it because maybe you didn't realize what you were doing or no one has filled you in what's it's like on the "other side" of pregnancy. I will end with this though.

I don't care if you are carrying 8 babies. I don't care if you planned this or not. I don't care if the doctor told you that you had to stand on your head for the next four months. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LUCKY YOU ARE? You are CARRYING LIFE. Women would give all of their arms and legs to be in the position. Women pay $100,000 for just the CHANCE to do what you're doing. And frankly, if you think things are rough NOW, you have a shocking surprise coming when your baby is BORN. If you think your back hurts now, imagine holding a fussy and hungry baby ALL NIGHT LONG, then having to get up and do it all again the next day, and the next day, and the next. Imagine not being able to leave your house or take a shower or have sex with your husband or have a moment to yourself because now your baby is on the outside demanding your attention. It's time to put on your big girl panties and quit your complaining because whether you intended it or not, you are a MOM now and that means sacrifice. We all do it. Yea, it sucks sometimes but if we all complained every day about our sacrifices, how much fun would facebook really be? Again, this is in no way directed to the occasional complainers. I am one myself. It's awesome to comisserate but make sure to put the blessings of your children in there. I think if you have to ask if you are a chronic complainer, that's means you probably are. Or you can just go back to your "timeline" on facebook and see how many "negative vs positive" posts you have regarding your pregnancy. I don't feel guilty or harsh for posting this. I have earned the right to post this.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The dreaded question...

I've been thinking about why I'm having difficulty blogging and I think it's because I wanted to start with the daunting task of recounting our first loss with Ian. It's so long and heart breaking and I just can't get started. I've been given feedback from a good friend about how this blog has helped her deal with a friend who had a miscarriage and she encouraged me to continue blogging. So I've decided to start with a topic that is easier to talk about. Then I will work my way into the more difficult stories. See, even after 8 years it is so difficult. Screw timelines.
The Dreaded Question
"Do you have any children?"
"How many children do you have?"
Just as a refresher, I delivered a son at 22 weeks back in 2005 who lived only minutes due to an incompetent cervix and scattered between two living sons born in 2006 and 2011, I suffered 3 early term miscarriages. This has always been a difficult question to answer and still is. How I chose to handle it may be completely different than you as we are all individuals and our situations and families are all different. This is just my story and my struggle with this question.
When we lost Ian, who was our first, it was important to me to let people know when they asked, that I was indeed a mother to a son, an angel baby. The embarrassment or fear of making them uncomfortable was trumped by the fact that I had no other children to show the world that I was a mother. And I was proud to have a son. I've always wanted a son and if I didn't tell the world about him, he would be forgotten. So I felt almost stubborn and defiant when answering, not caring how the other person felt because damnit, I had to GO THROUGH THIS, the least they can do is hear it and acknowledge it.
Believe it or not, the question became more difficult during my pregnancy with Nathan and after he was born. "Is this your first pregnancy?" and "Is this your first baby?" seemed easier to answer sometimes with a simple "yes". Their eager, happy, excited, smiling faces would remain that way. I wouldn't have to see pity, or sadness, or sympathy creep across their face when I stumbled through the truth. Some people I felt comfortable telling the whole story to, but not many. The change came when my second child Nathan was about 1-2 years old. I knew that I wanted him to know from as early as possible about this brother. I wanted Nathan to know that he was my rainbow baby. I wanted him to feel connected to his older brother. So I tried it out when he still couldn't understand what I was saying or speak well. And it got easier and easier. Then I found myself prepared once he was old enough to understand and to know that when I answered that question, I was telling the truth and it was okay.
Then I had my early miscarriages. I rarely mentioned them when asked how many children I have and I still don't. I will only tell close friends and family, or others who have had losses, the whole truth. I felt terribly guilty about this for years because I am a FIRM believer that we need to erase the stigma attached with early miscarriage being "easier to deal with" than a later loss or that your baby is "not really a baby" that early on, etc. etc. I was victim to those horrible thoughts and comments from others and I know the pain of having your loss minimized. I think maybe I had to deal with this more often because everyone knew of Ian by then and I got a lot of comparisons "at least this isn't like Ian" and "wasn't it much harder then?" Even my poor husband said those words, but I had to come to terms with the fact that he was experiencing all of these losses as the partner that isn't carrying the baby. So yes, watching the horror and pain of his wife birthing a baby only to die in his arms, is much worse for him than holding my hand during a home miscarriage or waiting for me while I had a D & C. That is a different situation for him and he is allowed to say those comments. I had to work through my anger and come to an understanding as to why he said and felt that way. And vice versa. But it is NEVER okay for someone outside of the relationship to compare or minimize a loss with another or with how society values our pregnancy.
So while I still get a twinge every now and again when I answer "I have two living sons and one son in heaven" because I know darn well there are three other babies up there waiting.... but that is how I have chosen to answer that question and I'm the ONLY one that gets to make that decision. Just like YOU are the only one that gets to decide how to answer for yourself when asked the difficult question "How many children do you have." And do not apologize, work through any guilt you may have, give yourself a break because face it, you've been through hell and you have earned the right to answer that question however you see fit regardless of how it may make others feel. Happy Friday to you all :-)
Thank you Becca for helping prompt me to start get the blogging juices flowing, whether you intended to or not :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What to say

I have to admit that I'm having difficulty getting started and delving into my story. We have also been attacked by the Northeast flu for the last month as it circulates around the house and back again it seems. So bear with me. I will get started eventually. In the meantime I found this terrific piece of information for loved ones of parents who have suffered a loss. I feel strongly about bringing awareness to the many things people say who mean well but in turn make us feel terrible. Please read:

When women experience the loss of a child, one of the first things they discover they have in common is a list of things they wish no one had ever said to them. The lists tend to be remarkably similar. The comments are rarely malicious - just misguided attempts to soothe.
This list was compiled as a way of helping other people understand pregnancy & Infant loss. While generated by mothers for mothers, it may also apply similarly to the fathers who have endured this loss.
When trying to help a woman who has lost a baby, the best rule of thumb is a matter of manners: don't offer your personal opinion of her life, her choices, her prospects for children. No woman is looking to poll her acquaintances for their opinions on why it happened or how she should cope.
-Don't say, "It's God's Will." Even if we are members of the same congregation, unless you are a cleric and I am seeking your spiritual counseling, please don't presume to tell me what God wants for me. Besides, many terrible things are God's Will, that doesn't make them less terrible.
-Don't say, "It was for the best - there was probably something wrong with your baby." The fact that something was wrong with the baby is what is making me so sad. My poor baby never had a chance. Please don't try to comfort me by pointing that out.
-Don't say, "You can always have another one." This baby was never disposable. If had been given the choice between loosing this child or stabbing my eye out with a fork, I would have said, "Where's the fork?" I would have died for this baby, just as you would die for your children.
-Don't say, "Be grateful for the children you have." If your mother died in a terrible wreck and you grieved, would that make you less grateful to have your father?
-Don't say, "Thank God you lost the baby before you really loved it." I loved my son or daughter. Whether I lost the baby after two weeks of pregnancy or just after birth, I loved him or her.
-Don't say, "Isn't it time you got over this and moved on?" It's not something I enjoy, being grief-stricken. I wish it had never happened. But it did and it's a part of me forever. The grief will ease on its own timeline, not mine - or yours.
-Don't say, "Now you have an angel watching over you." I didn't want her to be my angel. I wanted her to bury me in my old age.
-Don't say, "I understand how you feel." Unless you've lost a child, you really don't understand how I feel. And even if you have lost a child, everyone experiences grief differently.
-Don't tell me horror stories of your neighbor or cousin or mother who had it worse. The last thing I need to hear right now is that it is possible to have this happen six times, or that I could carry until two days before my due-date and labor 20 hours for a dead baby. These stories frighten and horrify me and leave me up at night weeping in despair. Even if they have a happy ending, do not share these stories with me.
-Don't pretend it didn't happen and don't change the subject when I bring it up. If I say, "Before the baby died..." or "when I was pregnant..." don't get scared. If I'm talking about it, it means I want to. Let me. Pretending it didn't happen will only make me feel utterly alone.
- Don't say, "It's not your fault." It may not have been my fault, but it was my responsibility and I failed. The fact that I never stood a chance of succeeding only makes me feel worse. This tiny little being depended upon me to bring him safely into the world and I couldn't do it. I was supposed to care for him for a lifetime, but I couldn't even give him a childhood. I am so angry at my body you just can't imagine.
-Don't say, "Well, you weren't too sure about this baby, anyway." I already feel so guilty about ever having complained about morning sickness, or a child I wasn't prepared for, or another mouth to feed that we couldn't afford. I already fear that this baby died because I didn't take the vitamins, or drank too much coffee, or had alcohol in the first few weeks when I didn't know I was pregnant. I hate myself for any minute that I had reservations about this baby. Being unsure of my pregnancy isn't the same as wanting my child to die - I never would have chosen for this to happen.
-Do say, "I am so sorry." That's enough. You don't need to be eloquent. Say it and mean it and it will matter.
-Do say, "You're going to be wonderful parents some day," or "You're wonderful parents and that baby was lucky to have you." We both need to hear that.
-Do say, "I have lighted a candle for your baby," or "I have said a prayer for your baby." Do send flowers or a kind note - every one I receive makes me feel as though my baby was loved. Don't resent it if I don't respond. Don't call more than once and don't be angry if the machine is on and I don't return your call. If we're close friends and I am not responding to your attempts to help me, please don't resent that, either. Help me by not needing anything from me for a while. If you're my boss or my co-worker:
-Do recognize that I have suffered a death in my family - not a medical condition.
-Do recognize that in addition to the physical aftereffects I may experience, I'm going to be grieving for quite some time. Please treat me as you would any person who has endured the tragic death of a loved one - I need time and space.
DO understand if I do not attend baby showers/christening/birthday parties etc. And DON'T ask why I can't come.
Please don't bring your baby or toddler into the workplace. If your niece is pregnant, or your daughter just had a baby, please don't share that with me right now. It's not that I can't be happy for anyone else, it's that every smiling, cooing baby, every glowing new mother makes me ache so deep in my heart I can barely stand it. I may look okay to you, but there's a good chance that I'm still crying every day. It may be weeks before I can go a whole hour without thinking about it. You'll know when I'm ready - I'll be the one to say, "Did your daughter have her baby?" or, "How is that precious little boy of yours? I haven't seen him around the office in a while."
Above all, please remember that this is the worst thing that ever happened to me. The word "miscarriage" is small and easy. But my baby's death is monolithic and awful. It's going to take me a while to figure out how to live with it. Bear with me.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I asked God for a flower,
He gave me a bouquet.
I asked God for a minute,
He gave me a day.
I asked God for true love,
He gave me that too.
I asked God for an angel,
and He gave me you.


Our unique community lost a precious member and fellow sister in grief. http://babyleilagrace.blogspot.com/

I don't follow too many blogs yet but Emilee's is actually one of those that compelled me to come out from the shadows and put my pain out there and possibly help those in the process. While reading her blog, I was shocked by her candidness and bravery. I figured if she can do this while carrying a baby that would not survive long in this world, I certainly can do this years after mine left. So I started this blog and planned to post the link to my site and thank her for the profound effect her honesty had on me. Except I waited a few days too long. Emilee was overcome by the grief of losing her baby girl in December and went to join her this week. I understand that it is irrational to think that if I had reached out to her in her despair, this may not have happened. But the whole reason for starting this blog was to do just that, to help those lost and grieving people who wandered around the internet and needed support from others who knew what they were going through. So the irony of this happening when it did, hits me to the core. It also makes me even more compelled to make this blog a success and a real place people can come to find support. I've posted my site on various comment sections of other blogs, a facebook page, and a few infant loss forums but I haven't gotten any public comments yet.  I've had many views from all over which is awesome! I'm not terribly computer savvy so I don't know if something is happening that is preventing comments from being posted publicly or if people have just been silent. And that is totally fine, because I was a silent lurker for eight years. Some of us just aren't ready. I've truly enjoyed starting friendships with those of you who message me privately. Thank you for the gift of your friendship. But please, if you feel you are able, leave a comment even if it is just saying "Hi, I'm here and I know what it feels like." Or even just "hi" :-). Or "life sucks and I'm angry".  Let us know that you are out there and that we aren't alone in our grief.  Because frankly, after losing a baby, you could be in a room filled with 100 million talkative people from all walks of life, and still feel completely alone.  I want to be the person that walks into that room, sits down next to you and takes your hand, and we look at each other and don't have to say a word. We sit in silence together in that room. But it's ok because we don't need words to understand each other. 

Rest in peace dear Emilee. You are with your daughter Leila Grace in heaven now.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Topics for discussion for you all to take a look at

As I'm preparing drafts and timelines for how I will blog about our pregnancies, losses, children, and experiences, I came up with a list of topics that I will cover. I thought I would post the list now for you all and get your opinions on what you might want to have discussed first. Maybe you are dealing with one of these topics right now in your life and would benefit from reading about mine and others experiences with it, discusssing/venting about it, etc. So below is the list and please don't hesitate to tell me if some interest more than others. There are A LOT. Also, if you have a topic that you don't see here, let me know and I will add it. Thank you all! Melanie
Expectations/Dealing with others who haven't been through this/Societal pressures:
*Expectations to be "all better" after having a rainbow baby.
*Continuing to grieve for my angel baby when others feel that my rainbow baby should be "erasing that pain and lessening my grief".
*After losing an angel baby, experiencing an early miscarriage or another type of loss that others feel "isn't as bad as the other so why are you so upset."
*Wanting to talk about my angel baby the way I talk about my living children but making others uncomfortable and being accused of "not coping well if she has to bring up Ian after eight years."
*Discussing the reasons I didn't reach out and connect with others until now.
*Informing outsiders when they are saying things they may not realize are insensitive- "just have another baby" or "must have happened for a reason".
*Dealing with friends/family/strangers who are unhealthy during pregnancies (smoking, drinking, drugs) and those who treat their children poorly.
*What to say when people ask you how many children you have, feelings involved such as guilt, embarrassment, not wanting to make them uncomfortable or sad.
*Dealing with work after a loss.
*How to have realistic expectations for yourself and not getting caught up in what others are expecting from you.
*Going out in public after a loss.
Emotional Health:
*Being made to feel like a bad mother because I suffered terrible long term post partum/chronic depression and anxiety after my healthy rainbow baby.
*Getting through the holidays that come after losing an angel baby.
*Why early miscarriages can be can be more difficult after a later gestation loss- not being able to name and hold a baby lost during an early miscarriage, others may find it less "important" than your other loss and offer less support.
*Finding meaning in your suffering and loss-wanting your angel baby to make a difference and never be forgotten.
*Dealing with regrets surrounding the circumstances when you lost your angel baby.
*Dealing with feelings about your body after delivering a baby you can't take home.
*Things people who have been through this told me and I didn't want to believe however they are true.
*How your internal dialogue changes after a loss and the affects of that on your mental health and relationships.
*Feelings surrounding having to take anti-depressants-particular guilt that I felt having to take anti-depressants during a subsequent pregnancy.
*Dealing with the stigma of seeing a psychiatrist, taking medications, and/or being diagnosed with a mental illness after a loss.
*Substance abuse and suicidal thoughts after a loss.
*How helping others going through the same/similar thing is therapeutic. Discuss fascination and sometimes obsession with other currently experiencing a loss and helping them.
*Discuss how men grieve differently than women and how that can cause problems in a marriage and what you can do to avoid this.
*Coping in a different way than my husband (I wanted to talk and have pictures around, he was the opposite) and the difficulties in maintaining a healthy relationship when two individual people have been changed in different ways by a loss.
*The long term effect that losing a child has on a marriage and the false assumption that with time and other children, your marriage will "go back to normal".
*Discuss couples therapy non religious and couples therapy-religious.
*Sex and intimacy after a loss.
*Deciding when and if to have another baby-taking into account both partners feelings.
*I will discuss my diagnosis' in depth- incompetent cervix, cerclage placement, PCOS, difficulty conceiving, insulin resistence and Metformin during pregnancy, Group B strep, infection of the amniotic fluid, preterm labor, viability age, etc. I will give a full account of all of my losses.
*Discuss how the medical practice/system may have failed you and your baby, how to deal with anger and blame, how to advocate for yourself in subsequent pregnancies, becoming informed about the poor standard of care (for example if my doctor had done a simple cervical check via transvaginal ultrasound during my regular ultrasounds at any time before the 22nd week, we may have been able to have an emergency cerclage placed), getting a diagnosis and becoming informed about your diagnosis rather than relying on your doctor to inform you and make recommendations.
*Stress surrounding gaining medical debt but no baby to take home.
*Discuss medical myths regarding losing a child, bringing him home or to the morgue yourself, your rights, etc.
*Discuss the frustration with having miscarriages and later losses with an unknown cause.
*Dealing with the irrational feeling that my body "failed us" and caused so much pain for everyone.
*Making the decision to continue trying for biological children or possibly adopt.
*Importance of ultrasounds and possible 4D ultrasounds in subsequent pregnancies.
*Dealing with the opinions of religious persons after a loss that may not necessarily be your own.
*The long term tumultuous crisis in faith after a loss, changes in my relationship with God, and the feelings associated with that- guilt, anger, am I being punished, inadequacy.
*Comparing myself with mothers who suffered a loss and whose faith increased, their relationship with God improved while I struggled for so long and felt like I was evil and deserved the suffering in my life since I was having these harsh feelings towards God.
*Discuss religion based therapy.
*Experiencing changes in your belief system after a loss and how to inform others that you would like to work on this alone and for them not to verbalize any expectations, time frames, or hopes for the outcome.
*Discuss my life long fear of eternity and struggle with thinking about the afterlife and how having an angel baby has changed that for me.
Remembering and sharing your angel baby:
*Discuss naming your angel, memorial services, caskets, cremation, burial, headstones, visiting, bringing subsequent children to visit, etc.
*Discuss celebrating birth days, angel days, due dates, and how to incorporate your angel baby into yearly family traditions and holidays.
*Discuss the different ways you can share your angel baby's story. Does it differ from your husband or other family members?
*Discuss regrets or information regarding things you would have done differently during your pregnancy, birth, afterwards.
Rainbow baby/living baby after a loss:
*The challenges of teaching a rainbow baby about his/her sibling who passed. How to discuss the fact that your rainbow child is living and your angel baby died.
*Discuss any hesistation you may have regarding having another baby that is the same/different gender concerned you.
*The challenges of parenting a living child after having a loss or struggled to conceive/carry a pregnancy.
*Dealing with hypervigilance, stress, and anxiety during subsequent pregnancies.
*Dealing with hypervigilance with a newborn rainbow baby.
*Changes in expectations for how your relationship will be with your living children- more dependant, less strict, etc.
*Changes in feelings towards working after having a rainbow baby- stress that could cause in a marriage.
*Feelings of disappointment after having a much anticipated and much wanted rainbow baby because so much emphasis was placed on getting them here alive and then you realize that you still grieve for your angel baby and that this rainbow baby can't ever replace your angel baby.
*Discuss allowing your rainbow baby to have access to a counselor in school as they grow up and may have questions- friends may have questions about why your child has a sibling that isn't alive.
Friends/family members:
*Discuss notifying family and friends of a loss and what to do about returning gifts.
*Discuss jealousy when friends and family announce pregnancies and have seemingly uncomplicated pregnancies, births, and children. How to decline baby showers or explain an absence from facebook for example.
*How to remind family if your angel baby is no longer regarded as a first grandchild or something to that effect.
*Dealing with a lack of family support or their lack of insight.
*How to ask for support from others after a loss- what things helped or would have helped your grieving process (homemade meals, a friend on call to listen, vacation, extended time off work, staying with family for awhile, etc.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hearts and where to begin...

Today, after eight long years of trying to have living children, I've decided to start a blog discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly. I need time to figure out how I will post about the last eight years but I wanted to start today because it is the first day of a new year and because I've made another big decision that I wanted to share with you all. When I lost my first child suddenly at 22 weeks due to an undiagnosed incompetent cervix, two things stood out as the most important to me during that difficult time. The first was the unexpected kindness and support from others who had lost a baby and the second is mementos of my angel baby Ian. Unfortunately, due to his sudden birth and death soon after delivery, we have few momentos and none are personalized, however the few things we have are absolutely precious to us. I've decided to help others through the loss of a child, no matter the circumstance, gestation, or diagnosis, in a small but hopefully meaningful way. I want to make you a small heart pouch, unique to your baby, as something tangible you can hold onto long after your baby is gone physically. I can send it quickly if you will have the opportunity to place it with your baby for awhile to gather their scent, or if you want to bury it with your child. If you or someone you know has suffered a loss, if you are going through a loss now, or if you are anticipating a loss, please email me at angelheartsforever@gmail.com with the baby's full name, gender/color preferences, and mailing address and I will make a completely unique sewn heart pouch. Each pouch is in the shape of a heart which represents the mother and a smaller heart sewn on front in the middle representing the baby. Even though we may not be able to carry our babies in our bellies forever, we certainly carry them in our hearts forever. On the smaller heart I can sew the baby's first name, initials, nickname/love name, or leave it blank. A ribbon will be tied and sewn around the whole pouch representing arms holding both mother and baby. This can be representative of whomever you wish- God, your baby's father, the arms of a supportive family or community etc. Each heart will be approximately 4 or 5 inches in diameter and lightly filled with fluff so that it can still be mailed via large envelope.  If you wish, I can personalize it in other ways as well such as sewing in a small glass stone so you have something to feel in there, or a feather, angel wings, a penny, or a small printed off prayer or note from you. You won't be able to see it or have access to it as it will be placed in the fluff and sewn shut. I'm new to this and don't have a large selection of fabrics so bear with me :-) I always wished we could have something unique and personal to Ian that I could carry with me to help with the grieving process and I hope you will allow me to do this for you and your family. We will pray over each heart as a family and send up a personalized prayer for your family. We can take a digital picture of our clasped hands with the heart during our prayer or a picture of the heart next to your baby's full name in chalk on our black top (birthday/angel day too if you'd like). I will also have a special section on my blog dedicated to your baby and a picture of your heart if you wish. I will not post any information without your consent. I want to make this as special as possible during this difficult time so I am open to other suggestions and I will let you know if I am able to do it. I have no idea how to advertise this other than posting as a comment on blogs but spread the word. I have no idea the amount of requests I will get so please bear with me as I start this journey. Thank you for your time, Melanie