Tags: Pregnancy Loss Week

3 Ways to Work Through the Fear of Pregnancy Loss

Trying to connect with the baby can help allay pregnancy loss fearsWhen we are hoping and trying for a new baby, the morning we read a positive result on an early pregnancy test is one of the most joyous times in our lives. We hope that it is the beginning page to many long chapters to come.

​Sometimes, after a few days, the hope we feel for the baby-to-be is outweighed by fear that our dreams might not come true – that we might lose the baby. Having close friends or family that have had pregnancy losses, or conceiving on the heels of your own pregnancy loss can cause this fear to become overwhelming.

​Although none of us can control the specific outcome of a pregnancy, we can set ourselves up for the best chance of success. If you read much about preventing miscarriage, you’ll come across the old “reduce stress” or “think positively!” advice. It’s true that chronic stress never helps anything, but how exactly does an expectant mama reduce stress and fear in a situation where she is so emotionally invested?

​Consider the following actionable ideas that approach our fears from all three sides – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Fear might end up being your constant companion throughout pregnancy, but nurturing yourself through the fear will be the very best thing you can do for your baby.

Physical Nurturing

​The most valuable things you can do on a physical level are to eat well, supplement properly, support your adrenals, and listen to your body’s limitations.

​Eating high quality, nutrient-dense foods during pregnancy can do amazing things for your body’s ability to support new life. Although this is challenging in early pregnancy when nausea is often an issue, all mamas-to-be should try to find nutritious foods they can tolerate. Look at Dr. Brewer’s diet for ideas, then fit in as many as your morning sickness will allow.

​Take a multi-vitamin every day. If your prenatal makes you nauseous, try another brand or consider a different form. Many women find large pills difficult to swallow during early pregnancy, but a powdered or liquid form mixed into a fruit drink might be easier to handle.

Vitamins – especially those made from whole foods, such as what you might find at health food stores – help fill in deficiencies and gaps in diet. Also consider taking daily a separate mineral supplement, cod liver oil, and (particularly in the winter) Vitamin D drops. As always, let your health practitioner know what you are taking in case you have a pre-existing condition that could worsen with certain supplements.

​Your adrenals are incredibly important in the production of progesterone, a hormone that is essential to carrying a baby through the first trimester. (Beyond the first trimester, the placenta itself produces the needed progesterone.) Support your adrenals by eliminating or drastically reducing caffeine and sugar, reducing stressful environments, and getting as much sleep as possible.

​Listen to your body and its limitations. If there are any activities that cause you to cramp afterwards, consider dropping those activities for a short while. While “experts” claim to know what activity is or isn’t good to do during pregnancy, it’s not that simple. All women are different, and your own body is the best marker of what’s safe for you. If nothing else, cramping triggers more fear, so preventing cramping helps reduce the stress of fear.

Mental Nurturing

​When you approach your fears from a mental angle, you need a good external support system that will allow you to put words to your fears without judgement. Some of us have people like this in real life. If you are fortunate to have some of these folks in your circle, seek them out. They are a wonderful resource for a scary time.

​If your current support system isn’t open to hearing you in a way that makes you feel comfortable, that’s okay. There are other ways to fill this need. The online forums for Pregnancy after Birth Loss and Pregnancy after Infertility on the mothering.com community are excellent resources. Also, reading the stories of others even without contributing your own can be cathartic. A search at the library for memoirs about pregnancy loss or infertility should yield several results.

​Journaling your fears in a notebook or on a personal blog can help put words to difficult emotions. Somehow, when dark emotions are articulated and brought into the light, they can lose a lot of their power.

Spiritual Nurturing

​Regardless of your specific spiritual beliefs, you can address your fears through meditation, prayer, or imagery.

​My own fears were at their highest point during my first full-term pregnancy after multiple early losses. To cope with the fear, I set aside time each night to connect with the growing baby in a positive way. When I had a placental bleeding scare at 12 weeks, this connection helped me stay calm until the cause of the bleeding was found and I learned I wasn’t miscarrying again.

​Each night, I would lay on my bed alone and clear my head by allowing my body to sink into the bed, part by part, which brought me to a meditative state. I laid my hand on my belly and focused on sending the baby love, then joy, then peace. Then together, the baby and I would send out love, then joy, then peace, in prayers toward people we thought needed it.

​Not only did this allow me to feel a deep connection to the growing baby, but it also helped me to remember to step outside myself to others in need. Whatever your choice of spiritual practice, this stepping outside of your own head can provide the grounding that you need to work through your fears.

​When we are expectant mamas, we are naturally full of hopes and dreams. But if our experience has given us a reason to fear the loss of those hopes and dreams, our best goal is to live the pregnancy without letting our fear suck the joy out of it. By setting ourselves up for success physically, finding a support system that allows us to verbally process our fears, and working to replace a fearful spirit with a loving and peaceful one, we can give our little one the best possible environment to grow in.

This article is featured in week 5 of our pregnancy series.

Julie Stockman lives in Farmland, Indiana where she homeschools her children with her husband, Jeff. She spends her days baking, gardening, keeping chickens, listening to the nature around them, practicing gratitude and faithfulness, and stealing minutes to write about it all.

Miscarriage: What Should You Do For The Next Pregnancy?

By @DrPoppyBHRT

It is estimated that one in five pregnancies will result in miscarriage (termed spontaneous abortion). Given this high percentage, one would expect the medical profession to have more insight about etiology, treatment and prevention of miscarriage. When I was in my OB/GYN training we were told that the majority of miscarriages are the result of chromosomal abnormalities. Many of the studies surrounding this issue were conducted in the early 1980s, and I question this information since most women who have miscarriages do not have the products of conception sent for chromosomal analysis and the majority of them go on to have a subsequent normal pregnancy.

Certainly we would expect as more older women (late 30s-40s) are pursuing pregnancy, that age-related chromosomal abnormalities would explain the increased risk of miscarriage in this group. In a study of pregnancies achieved with in-vitro fertilization, the rate of miscarriage was 11.4% in women aged 33-34, 19.8% for women aged 38-40, 29.9% for women aged 41-42, & 36.6% for women older than 42 years.

As a hormone specialist, I recognize that hormonal imbalances and abnormalities abound, are often undiagnosed, and are inadequately addressed before, during and after pregnancy. Knowing that these imbalances impact fertility, I suspect that those numbers cited above reflect an increased percentage of hormonal problems in those women seeking treatment for infertility. While there are clearly medical & structural abnormalities which can cause miscarriage (which I’ll outline later), the medical profession generally does not conduct a work-up on a woman until she’s considered to have recurrent miscarriages, defined as three or more consecutive miscarriages. I’m of the opinion that searching should begin after one miscarriage and work-up should definitely be done after two as my philosophy is toward proactivity and prevention. I never want a woman to needlessly suffer a painful loss if an answer can be found. From a common-things-being-common perspective, I generally want to assess a woman for progesterone deficiency (also called luteal phase deficiency) and thyroid abnormalities. The most important step for a woman is to chart her cycles so we can get some idea of which direction to focus our efforts. Blood work can be taken for thyroid assessment and other medical problems like blood sugar abnormalities.

Luteal phase deficiency (LPD) is somewhat controversial in the field of OB/GYN. This is mostly because the diagnosis was originally made by an endometrial biopsy that was “out of phase” with where the patient was in her menstrual cycle or luteal phase. The first half of the cycle after menses is called the follicular phase which tracks the development of a follicle in preparation for ovulation, a phase that is dominated by estrogen. The second half of the cycle after ovulation is called the luteal phase, reflecting the production of progesterone by the corpus luteum (ovulated egg). While the majority of women have a stable luteal phase of 13-14 days, there is some variability and there are clearly women who have a shortened luteal phase of 6-7 days. Accurately assessing progesterone levels because of irregular cycles or shortened luteal phases contribute to the difficulty of making the diagnosis of LPD.

Dr. Thomas Hilgers is Clinical Professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, NE. He is also Director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and in my opinion, is the foremost authority of the hormonal influences on fertility and pregnancy. He outlines the 3 most common luteal phase deficiencies in his textbook The Medical and Surgical Practice of NaProTECHNOLOGY (‘the term ‘NaPro’ refers to ‘Naturally Procreative’), based on a study of 328 patients with infertility.

Type I: The post-Peak phase is short (less than or equal to 8 days in duration) estimating a short luteal phase. The last progesterone level prior to the onsent of menstruation is less than or equal to 2.0 ng/mL.

Type II: The post-Peak phase is normal in length but the progesterone profile (Peak +3,5,7,9, & 11) is clearly suboptimal.

Type III: The post-Peak phase is normal in length but the progesterone profile (Peak +3,5,7,9 & 11) shows an abrupt drop (>50% drop of Pk+9 and Pk+11)

Most women who have progesterone levels assessed have them drawn as a cycle day 20 blood draw. Type I & II deficiencies will have a Peak+7 decreased progesterone level, but this blood draw will miss a type III luteal phase deficiency. While efforts can be made to make a diagnosis of luteal phase deficiency, the difficulty of doing so should not preclude the use progesterone therapy in a subsequent pregnancy. If a woman has evidence from charting of a possible luteal phase deficiency, I would strongly suggest finding a provider who would be willing to prescribe progesterone even in the absence of a definitive diagnosis.

By far the most common hormonal disorder I see is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is characterized by insulin resistance, excess androgens (“male” hormones) often causing acne, hair growth on the face and infrequent/decreased ovulation. Since progesterone is made from the ovulated egg, virtually all PCOS patients are progesterone deficient.
Many doctors still don’t believe in the benefit of progesterone therapy in the first trimester for the prevention of miscarriage (I had one colleague refer to it as “voodoo medicine”) due to conflicting studies and some of the diagnostic pitfalls outlined above. I believe a return to the basics of human reproduction and a lack of side effects with bioidentical progesterone should quell any fears. Progesterone is the PRO-GESTATIONAL hormone. Without it, you cannot get pregnant; without enough, you cannot stay pregnant. Babies literally take a bath in progesterone for the entire pregnancy. It is an essential hormone to every aspect of reproduction. The literature is now abounding for the use of progesterone therapy in women with a history of preterm birth. Much has been said about how much money could be saved in the care of premature babies in the face of this one intervention. Why then are we so reluctant to undertake the larger studies needed for the routine first trimester application of progesterone therapy in those women at higher risk? Fertility doctors know the importance of progesterone which is why all of their patients are automatically given it. My approach is to either test or treat empirically. If a woman with a history of miscarriage is able to undertake hormonal testing prior to another pregnancy, efforts should be made to exclude any hormonal abnormalities. If there is any evidence of abnormality through testing or charting, I recommend using progesterone therapy at least through 14 weeks when the placenta takes over production of progesterone.

Dr. Hilgers published data of normal progesterone levels for every gestational week of pregnancy, so my practice is to test progesterone before discontinuing it. I also do not see a reason to not give a woman progesterone if she finds herself pregnant again before hormonal evaluation can take place. I tell these women, “Progesterone deficiency may not be the cause of your miscarriage, but it can’t hurt to take it and it may help prevent a miscarriage.” I follow up this treatment by monitoring their progesterone levels.

Besides luteal phase defect and thyroid disorders, there are certain other medical conditions that have been associated with a greater risk of miscarriage. These include:
• Lupus and other autoimmune disorders
• Heart disease
• Severe kidney disease, especially when there is also high blood pressure
• Diabetes
• Familial or acquired clotting disorders
• Celiac disease

Other factors that can cause miscarriage are
• Intrauterine or intraamniotic infections
• Drug use, excessive alcohol intake
• Acquired (adhesions, fibroids) or congenital uterine defects (septation, bicornuate uterus, etc)
• Incompetent cervix

Depending on the results of risk factor assessment in the individual woman with two or more miscarriages (my choice is 2 rather than 3), consideration can be given to a more targeted blood work-up, ultrasound, HSG (hysterosalpingoram: dye study of uterus and ovaries), chromosomal testing of parents, and possibly hysteroscopy/laparoscopy. I strongly encourage women to read, educate and research their options and partner with a health care provider who is willing to explore those options with them.

Dr. Poppy Daniels is an Ob/Gyn who diagnoses and treats a wide spectrum of hormonal issues across all age groups.  She has a holistic approach utilizing bioidentical hormone therapy, nutrition and targeted supplementation.  She is also a natural birth and VBAC advocate, and supports a birth model incorporating collaborative physician/midwifery care. Visit her at www.drpoppy.com, “Dr. Poppy” on Facebook, and@drpoppyBHRT on Twitter.

Pregnancy Loss Art

Welcome to Pregnancy Loss Week 2010. The goal of this week is to serve women in the process of healing after pregnancy loss and to provide information to all of whom have been touched by it.

The following are photographs of loss-inspired art that I found on Flickr. All images are linked to the source.

Read More …

Pregnancy Loss and Trying Again

Welcome to Pregnancy Loss Week 2010. The goal of this week is to serve women in the process of healing after pregnancy loss and to provide information to all of whom have been touched by it.

Pregnancy Loss: Stages of Grief

To say that losing a baby is traumatic is a collossal understatement. From the time that you first learn of the loss to the ‘other side’ when you’re physically and emotionally starting to pick up the pieces, you are likely to go through the wringer. Physical recovery is swift (bleeding/cramping should subside within two weeks) but the emotional recovery can take months or years. This is one of those ‘everything is normal’ periods as people react to grief in varied ways. Some women will be in denial, thinking that perhaps the doctor made a mistake. I’m guilty of that one as well as the hours of internet research that followed searching for an alternative explanation – the one story that proved that doctors make mistakes and ultrasounds are wrong. Anger is another (perfectly valid) response. Anger at the doctor for not finding ‘the problem’ sooner (when in fact, it is exceedingly rare to have warning signs). Anger with your friends and family members for their insensitive remarks in the post-loss period. Classics include:

At least you know that you can get pregnant

It happens all the time. I know lots of people who’ve lost babies

The baby would have been so sick anyway…it’s for the best

Everything will be fine with the next pregnancy

I’m sure many of you (readers) can add gems to this list. As Johanna talks about in her post on pregnancy loss, most people don’t really know what to say in these situations but feel that something needs to be said. Go easy on them. They’re trying to reach out to you.

Bargaining and depression often are two sides of the same coin. Bargaining: If I loose 20 pounds, I won’t have another loss… Depression: will I ever be able to sustain a pregnancy to term?…etc. In either case, since little is known about the cause of early pregnancy loss, it is really an unattainable goal to work to prevent a loss. Even in cases of late miscarriage and still birth, all too frequently an answer for ‘why’ doesn’t come. It can sometimes feel like we’re arming ourselves against a ghost.

The last stage of grief is acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean that the pain is behind you. It means that the pain is not as overwhelming as it was in the beginning and you’re able to function.

Whether you’re sad or angry or numb upon hearing the news, allowing yourself time to grieve is a critical part of the healing process. Let it unfold as it needs to. Elizabeth talks about the emotional roller coaster of miscarriage in A Story of Loss.

Trying Again…

I took an informal poll of women on our Facebook fans who experienced losses. I asked them: how long did you wait until trying again?  Twenty-five women responded. On average, they waited 5 months although the vast majority didn’t lose any time before trying again (waiting only 0-3 cycles).

In doing a little research after my first miscarriage – and I mean, barely scratching the surface – it became apparent that the 3 month wait ‘prescription’ is fairly standard. The idea behind it is that it allows not only your body to heal but also gives you a chance to work through the hardest period of grief. For some women, trying to conceive again as soon as it is safe is the best medicine psychologically. That’s not to say that they still aren’t grieving but for these women, looking forward to another pregnancy is something active and positive amidst tragedy. Trust your feelings. For the women and couples who decide to postpone trying to conceive – you know your situation – trust yourself.

How did you cope with a pregnancy loss?

Image: ‘Quilt Design’ by Mabith, http://www.flickr.com/photos/mabith/4781857297/in/set-72157603666153013/

***Pregnancy Loss Week 2010***

Monday: Pregnancy Loss, Mothering and the Next Baby

Tuesday: The Birth of Sybella Eve

Wednesday: Remembering the Losses and Extended Family

Thursday: The Doodles

Friday: Pregnancy Loss and Trying Again and Pregnancy Loss-inspired Art

The Doodles

This was originally published in Busted Babymaker on March 26, 2008. The name ‘Doodles’ refers to their fraternal twins, Talia and Noah. This is posted with the permission of the author.

I apologize in advance for how horrifying this will be to read, particularly for those pregnant. I hate that my story will cause additional anxiety for others. I think it will be helpful for me to write out everything that happened though, as I want to make sure I always remember everything, even the worst moments.

So as most of my readers know, I’d been having pelvic pain for several weeks but we’d repeatedly checked my cervix, had ultrasounds, and everything appeared ok (I have also asked my doctor since if this may have been an indication of the impending abruption and she said possibly but there would have been no way of knowing that and they still couldn’t have fixed it). Usually this pain was only when standing/walking/changing position. So no, there wasn’t any warning of this.

Monday night, while sitting in bed, I felt pelvic pain even though I wan’t moving around or anything. This happened a few times but each time it went away after a few minutes. Around 8:30 (8:23 to be exact) it happened again and this time I felt my uterus harden, so I thought it was perhaps a contraction – because there was pain I wasn’t sure if it was Braxton Hicks or the real thing, but it didn’t hurt that badly. I started keeping track and told DH we’d call the doctor if I had more than 4 in an hour. I had two more, but wasn’t positive because they didn’t hurt that badly and I was laying on my side so it was hard to feel my uterus. (I kept changing position, drinking water, et cetera to see if that made it stop). When I felt the fourth one I got up to go to the bathroom, and told DH I’d call the doctor soon.

When I went to the bathroom there was bright red blood. I screamed “Oh my god” and DH came running. I think I went into shock immediately, as my legs started trembling and my teeth started chattering. We called the emergency number for our doctor’s office and my doctor called us back about 2 minutes later. I told her what was happening and she told us to go straight to labor and delivery. I asked if there was any way both babies would be ok and she said yes.

On the way to the hospital the cramping was getting worse, to where it actually hurt, and seemed to become more consistent. I still didn’t think it was contractions. I kept fearing what I thought was the worst, which was that I was miscarrying one of my babies. It didn’t even cross my mind that I’d lose both.

When we got to the hospital, the labor and delivery reception desk sent me upstairs to labor and delivery immediately (there were several people in the waiting area). We waited in a waiting room upstairs for about 5 minutes before a nurse came and got me. I went to the bathroom once while we waited and the bleeding was still what I would describe as “spotting” (i.e. only when I wiped, some clotting).

When we went back to a room I changed into a gown, and the nurse asked me to describe what had happened/was happening. A lot of time passed during which nothing really happened, and she said we were waiting for ultrasound to come. She and another nurse checked the doppler and after some trouble found what seemed to be two distinct heartbeats (after I showed them where we usually heard each heartbeat). I actually thought at this point that there was a possibility everything would be ok, even though when I went to the bathroom the bleeding was increasing.

Things quickly started getting worse as my cramping became much stronger. The monitor they’d put on me wasn’t picking up contractions, but it wasn’t in the right place, as it became very obvious these were contractions (2-3 minutes apart, some were so painful I was practically crying and screaming, which is extremely rare for me from pain). When the contractions became really bad DH started demanding to know when the doctor would come to the room (so far we’d been with the nurses only).

I was in the middle of a painful contraction when a new face leaned over me; it was the resident on call. She said she would examine me and see if she could figure out what was happening. First she did an ultrasound and it showed both babies, and I recall her saying that there was heart movement on both. Then she examined me. A moment later she came up and stood by me and took my hand and told me that she didn’t feel any cervix, and that she felt a big bag of water in my vagina, which meant that I was in labor, and that there wasn’t anything they could do to stop it.

I completely lost it, and started begging her to fix it and couldn’t they give me medicine to make it stop, at least until I was 24 weeks, as it was only 5 days away. She said that wasn’t how the medicine worked and there wasn’t anything they could do. I asked if they could try to save our babies and she told us at 23 weeks the NICU usually can’t do anything but she’d talk to them. They also said they were calling my doctor.

I don’t remember much between then and when my doctor arrived, although I think some time passed. I called my mom and she came right away, and DH called his parents. I was still having contractions every 2-3 minutes, some awful, some not as bad. Finally my doctor arrived. I asked again if she was sure there wasn’t anything they could do, if she could give me terbutaline or something, and she said that wasn’t even proven effective, and it was given more for contractions. She said they sometimes give magnesium but that it wouldn’t work in my situation. I asked again if they could save our babies since we were so close to 24 weeks and she said she wouldn’t speak for the pediatricians but that someone would be up to talk to us.

I was having contractions this whole time, and during a particularly bad one my doctor examined me to confirm the resident’s appraisal, and on each arm one nurse inserted an IV and another took blood. I barely remember any of this happening. Then my doctor asked if I’d like an epidural once my blood tests confirmed it was ok.

The pediatrician from NICU came to talk to us. At first we just wanted them to say they’d try and save our babies, but after talking to her things became more complicated. She said at 24 weeks they automatically do everything they can, and at 23 weeks or earlier they never do anything. She said between 23 and 24 weeks, we have to decide if we want them to do everything they can, or to just let nature take its course. I still can’t believe that with everything already happening we had to make this kind of decision.

At first we were leaning towards doing everything, but as we talked to the doctors more and got more information, we decided not to. The neonatologist told us that of babies born at this stage, approximately 50% will survive (assuming the neonatologists are present at delivery and do everything they can to resuscitate, etc..). Of the 50% that survive, she said most would have severe disabilities, meaning not physical therapy, etc., but blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy. Essentially she said most babies who were born at this stage and survived would never walk, run, see, go to school or anything of that nature. Not to mention, those odds are for singletons, and our doodles have measured a little small throughout this pregnancy, meaning we knew they’d likely be more at the barely 23 weeks size.

We just couldn’t face those odds and force that kind of life on our doodles for our own selfish reasons of wanting a baby so badly. I completely understand anyone who may made have or would make the other decision though. Even after we’d made our choice (which took several hours and multiple visits from the pediatrician, neonatologist, our OB and the nurse asking us if we’d decided yet since they needed to know before we delivered) I kept questioning it. I kept trying to sleep (I had been given the epidural at some point during this) and would look over at the baby bed in the corner. I kept worrying that they were going to be delivered and I’d hold them and they’d cry and look at me and then I’d have to let them die. I asked our OB though, and she said it was unlikely they’d be able to open their eyes yet at this stage.

Although I felt fine (they said to tell them if I felt lower pressure which would mean I was ready to deliver) my doctor checked me around 5 am and said I was pretty much ready. Luckily the labor was fairly quick and didn’t really hurt. I delivered Doodle A at 5:32 am on March 25. She weighed exactly 1 lb. I didn’t really start crying very hard until I heard them read the birth time. They took her to the baby bed and I couldn’t really see her. Doodle B came at 5:40 am, at 1 lb 1 oz. He actually made tiny little noises that sounded like crying, which was the worst thing I’ve ever heard in my life. There were only a couple though, thank god.

The neonatologist was there to clean them and wrap them up for us. She told us that Doodle A’s heart wasn’t beating when she was born – her cord had wrapped around her neck and she was somewhat bruised from that. She said that even had we decided beforehand to do everything we could to resuscitate, Doodle A wouldn’t have made it as she was too small to resuscitate, use the breathing tube on, et cetera. Doodle B, as we knew, was alive, but she said at his size and gestation she had never seen a white male baby make it even after doing everything. So ultimately we are at peace with our decision and know that at least this way they were peaceful and didn’t suffer. The neonatologist also had medication to give Doodle B to relieve any pain he might have felt before he passed. They watched him in the bed until his heart stopped, probably around 8 or 9 am.

After I delivered the placentas and everything I laid in the bed. We wanted to wait until they had both passed before we held them. My mom was there the whole time and my brother and his wife came at some point in the morning after Doodle B had passed. There were a lot of administrative questions (did we want an autopsy, want to talk to a social worker/chaplain, did we want to name them , did we want to bury them ourselves or let the hospital take care of them, etc.). We didn’t name them, but had them write Baby A and Baby B on their cards for our memory boxes — we got a memory box for each with a card with their footprint, size and date of birth, the tape measure they used to measure them, the little hats they put on them, et cetera. The hospital took pictures of them which they will send to us. They offered us pictures of us holding them but we declined. We also declined the autopsies since we knew what had happened, and we decided to let the hospital take care of the Doodles.

We held them for several minutes and got to look at them. Doodle A really did have my nose just like DH had joked from the ultrasound, and I also thought Doodle B had his nose. My mom agreed. They were so tiny – their heads were maybe the size of plums, their bodies barely larger than a barbie doll’s. They were the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. They were so peaceful.

We stayed in the room a while longer and just before they moved me upstairs to a regular room, we held them one more time to say goodbye. The most painful part for me was hearing DH cry so hard; he was so strong and wonderful throughout everything and took such good care of me. The only thing I could ever imagine worse than what happened would be losing him.

Yesterday around 11 am I moved to a regular room and have been here since. I hadn’t slept at all since 4am on March 24, and DH had slept only a little while (about 30 minutes). I kept trying to sleep yesterday but couldn’t. I was so scared I’d wake up and forget what happened and have to relive it all over again. My mom and brother and sister in law spent most of the day with us on and off at the hospital, and my best friend and her husband came to see us last night.

I saw my OB this morning. I need a Rhogam shot (since I am O-) and can go anytime I want. I think I will stay here for another few hours and rest. I’m a bit nervous to go home as we have baby stuff in the house, pregnancy books, a closet full of maternity clothes, and a guest room we painted bright green for the doodles. But I need to go home.

My doctor said I should take 4-6 weeks off work. I’ll probably do 4, but we’ll see. DH and I would like to get away somewhere to distract us, if I can travel. We were thinking maybe Paris, and hopefully my brother and sister in law and their kids could come meet us for part of the trip (they live in Berlin right now).

I keep focusing on administrative concerns, like cancelling doctor’s appointments (DH and my mom did most of that for me yesterday), cancelling my childbirth and breastfeeding classes (my OB said she’d have the hospital take care of that), cancelling our furniture orders which are supposed to be delivered this weekend, figuring out what to do with the shower gifts we’ve already received.

I also am continually thinking X hours ago…Before the labor started I said to DH “4 hours ago I was home in bed and thought everything was fine.”…Yesterday morning it was “5 hours ago the Doodles were still inside me”…Today it’s “24 hours ago they were still in the room with us.” There are also the thoughts of “Just this weekend I was thinking how close I was to third trimester”, and “I’m supposed to have a baby shower in less than 2 weeks.”

I know we will be ok, but right now it’s so hard to see how. I really just can’t picture going back to my life, to my job, to my house, and doing anything like I used to do. My entire life has revolved around getting and staying pregnant, and preparing for our Doodles. I don’t know what else to do.

As far as trying again, we can’t for a few months, and hopefully once we have the ok we’ll be ready emotionally. I was so anxious this whole pregnancy, it’s unfathomable to me how I’ll get through another after going through this. My OB talked to some high risk OBs/specialists, and she said before we try again they recommend I get labs done to rule out autoimmune/clotting issues, although she said that’s unlikely what the issue was. They also said it would be less risky if we had a singleton, so I suppose when we go back to the RE we will probably only have one embryo transferred if/when we do IVF or FET again. We have two snowbabies right now, and three additional covered IVF cycles (maybe 5, depending on whether Doodle B was considered a “Live Birth”, but I don’t really want to think about that for now).

We’re so grateful to all of our family and friends who have been taking care of us through this. Its so sad that this is causing pain for so many people, but it really helps to know there are so many out there who love us. At least it gives us a reminder of how wonderful people can be, and that the world isn’t all awful.

(Post Script) Busted Babymaker gave birth to a healthy baby boy a little over a year later. ’Toodle’ was born on June 17, 2009.

***Pregnancy Loss Week 2010***

Monday: Pregnancy Loss, Mothering and the Next Baby

Tuesday: The Birth of Sybella Eve

Wednesday: Remembering the Losses and Extended Family

Thursday: The Doodles

Friday: Pregnancy Loss and Trying Again and Pregnancy Loss-inspired Art

Remembering the Losses and Extended Family

Welcome to Pregnancy Loss Week 2010. The goal of this week is to serve women in the process of healing after pregnancy loss and to provide information to all of whom have been touched by it. Part of this end will be accomplished through a blog carnival. We received several entries through the open call for submissions and so will be showing them as we go through the week. The first set of entries was featured here on the topic of mothering after a loss and how the experience of pregnancy changed as a result of the loss.

Women who experience pregnancy loss often characterize it as a feeling of lost innocence. The idea that a pregnancy automatically results in a baby at end of the day is gone forever.

Samantha's Story

Today’s blog entries come under the umbrella of how losses were memorialized as well as how it was experienced by the grandparents.

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Brooke at Solitary Insanity talks about finding a meaningful way to remember her 11 week loss in A Necklace for Lemon. ˝I fell in love with the lemon necklace because it’s such a simple piece – that for me – carries significant meaning…˝

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Molly at Tiny Footprints on my Heart describes the details of the ceremony that accompanied the burial of her Noah in Noah’s Box/Ceremony. ˝I wanted to share some pictures of the box we buried Noah in and write a little bit about the ceremony we had for him the day he was born/buried.˝

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Amanda tackles how the loss effected her mothering as well as how she memorialized the tragedy in this two part Q&A. ˝Even though we move on with our lives, the loss of that baby will always leave an empty space.  We may go an to have more children, but none will ever replace the one who was lost.˝

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April at My Feminine Mind wrote an open letter to the baby that she won’t get to know in A Letter to My Child. ˝Your dad and I wanted you to come to us so much. When we learned that you were growing inside me we were happy and we told everyone we know. Even though no one knew you and no one could see you, everyone was happy to learn of your existence.˝

Not all of the submissions for the blog carnival were written prose. Some came to us in the form of poetry. The following section features those entries.

Cassandra wrote a poem entitled Mommy’s Promise.

Stacy wrote two poems about the loss of her newborn, Anthony: Please Don’t Tell Them You Only Held Me For 10 Seconds and Anthony’s Birth.

And finally, the grandparent’s perspective was offered up by Cecelia who talks about the loss of her first grandchild in A Grandmother’s Perspective. She describes the pain of loosing both a grandchild and also seeing her daughter in such pain. ˝As her mom, I felt pretty helpless.  I tried to minister to them both by being there,holding hands, doing a little cooking,cleaning,washing,  but I couldn’t really help the emotional part enough to make a difference at that time. She told me that I did help, so maybe it was being there with them.˝

***Pregnancy Loss Week 2010***

Monday: Pregnancy Loss, Mothering and the Next Baby

Tuesday: The Birth of Sybella Eve

Wednesday: Remembering the Losses and Extended Family

Thursday: The Doodles

Friday: Pregnancy Loss and Trying Again and Pregnancy Loss-inspired Art

Pregnancy Loss, Mothering and the Next Baby

Welcome to Pregnancy Loss Week 2010. The goal of this week is to serve women in the process of healing after pregnancy loss and to provide information to all of whom have been touched by it. Part of this end will be accomplished through a blog carnival. We received several entries through the open call for submissions and so will be showing them as we go through the week.

Women who experience pregnancy loss often characterize it as a feeling of lost innocence. The idea that a pregnancy automatically results in a baby at end of the day is gone forever. Today’s blog entries come under the umbrella of how losses effect us in terms of our mothering and our experience of subsequent pregnancies.

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Steph from Born Still writes about gratitude for her son Jack after loosing Sybella at 34 weeks followed by the fear that she’d loose him too in Mothering After Loss. ˝I feel incredibly lucky that I have a living child. The only thing worse than experiencing the death of your child is experiencing the death of your ONLY child…˝

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Pregnancy Trauma from Footprints On My Heart talks about the experience of being pregnant again after a 2nd trimester loss - ˝that feeling of not wanting to talk about it out loud—and feeling nervous, skittish, and like saying “stop!” if other people talk about it out loud (like, “do you actually think I’m going to have a living baby?”)….˝

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I Am So Thankful reminds us to cherish our living children even in the face of the trials and frustrations – ˝always try to stop and think how LUCKY I am, how truly BLESSED I am for the child who just let the indoor cat out or colored on the wall. I thank God as I wipe up broken eggs that my little helper “helped” me (next to impossible).˝

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Treina talked about how loosing her neonate son Arawn at 10 days old prompts her to cherish every day in He Opened My Eyes. ˝I suddenly understood that even though he was gone, I still had a duty to him. My duty was to love life and every experience I get the honor of witnessing.˝

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The Connected Mom talks about the roller coaster of pregnancy loss and how we should feel entitled to mourn that loss in Give Sorrow Words. ˝But these deaths for us are very real. As real as the loss of any grandparent, friend, or loved one.˝

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Fertility Flower talks about the cooling effect of pregnancy loss on subsequent pregnancies in Mothering After Miscarriage. ˝We all love our children. And women who experience pregnancy loss don’t love their children more than those who have problem-free pregnancies and living children. But I feel like women who’ve lost a pregnancy or a child soon after birth are painfully aware of how quickly things can go wrong.˝

***Pregnancy Loss Week 2010***

Monday: Pregnancy Loss, Mothering and the Next Baby

Tuesday: The Birth of Sybella Eve

Wednesday: Remembering the Losses and Extended Family

Thursday: The Doodles

Friday: Pregnancy Loss and Trying Again and Pregnancy Loss-inspired Art

He Opened My Eyes

This is a guest post written for inclusion in the Pregnancy Loss Week Blog Carnival.  Please join us at Fertility Flower for the week of August 23-27, 2010 where we will be featuring articles, posts and artwork about pregnancy loss.

By Treina Witherwood (Kyung Combs)

When our dream is to have a child and we begin to plan and make ready for the hopeful arrival of a new family member, there are things we could never imagine happening to us. When he opens his eyes and looks up at us, there are a million dreams swimming around in our heads. Even when the child is born premature and extremely tiny, we marvel at how perfect his nose or his ear is. We go into a state of shock, knowing that we must protect our child, but that there is no way to do so, we must now put all our trust into the nurses or doctors which we have never met and do not know. It puts a heavy weight on the heart.

And when he closes his eyes for the last time, to never open them again, everything stops. Our entire world has been reduced to less than rubble. Yet something happened to me in that very instant, my eyes opened. I understood the true value of life, all life. For the first time in my life, I was able to look at all of the terrible experiences and cherish them. I understood that every single life experience is sacred, no matter how terrible it may seem, for each experience is mine and mine alone. Yes, many other people have lost children, but I will never know how it truly feels for them, as every single one of them experienced it in a one of a kind way. This means that each life experience we go through is something to cherish. For my son and many other children will never get to experience anything. I cherish the ten days I spent with my child, and although it was a tragic thing, and most of his life was pain filled and true agony, he got the chance to experience more life than those who have been mis-carried or still born. I truly understood how precious each day was when I held him in my womb month after month, when I held his tiny body close to my bosom and whispered how beautiful he was.

When I cried and called out to him after he left, I cried for the scrape on his knee he would never get when playing with friends. I cried for the times with his dad, I cried for the love of a wife he would never experience. I cried for the broken heart which he would never receive from his first love.

I suddenly understood that even though he was gone, I still had a duty to him. My duty was to love life and every experience I get the honor of witnessing. To cherish all that he was taken from and be grateful for my life and his, no matter how short. Guilt and hopelessness do their part to try and keep me from achieving this. As any parent I imagine that the unspoken guilt of their child passing away is one that goes very deep. I could do nothing to save my child, yet deep in my gut I feel like I should have done something, even though there was nothing I could do but watch. This is where the confusion leaks in to try and feed the guilt and hopelessness. Perhaps it is not meant to be understood. The death of a child is one that cannot be made sense of no matter how hard you think and stay in that dark depressing place.

I cried for three days after he died. On the first day I cried, I cried for the injustice of it, for the experiences he lost and the life that was taken from him. On the second day I cried for the sheer fact that it could not be understood. How can a child die? How could he die? On the third day I had almost convinced myself that as his mother, he deserved someone to weep for him, only him and I cried for him and my selfishness. On the next day, I decided that it was not the way to live the life I was given, especially when his was now gone. That is not to say I didn’t cry many times after that, but the crying was not the same. It was controllable. I needed to live a full life, for him. He had opened my eyes to how amazing life is and that any minute of it should not be wasted. For the short ten days that he lived, he taught me more about life than I could have ever imagined and although every day I wish he was here by my side, I thank him for everything he gave me during the short time he did spend with me.

Thank You Arawn!

Anthony

This guest post was written for inclusion in the Pregnancy Loss Week Blog Carnival.  Please join us at Fertility Flower for the week of August 23-27, 2010 where we will be featuring articles, posts and artwork about pregnancy loss.

By Stacy Scimeca

These poems are about Anthony Michael Scimeca (born and died March 12, 2010 ). He lived for 5 hours and 5 minutes.

Please Don’t Tell Them You Only Held Me For 10 Seconds

It is I whose kicks you will always remember.

Samantha's Story

It is I who made you crave fruit salad, ice cream, and Mexican.

It is I who was created through your love.

It is I who you named while on the boat.

It is I who had you sleeping at eight.

It is I who you saw living inside.

It is I who you pushed out.

It is I who you took on the 5K and to Mexico.

It is I whose turn you will always remember.

It is I who changed your life.

It is I who made you a mom.

It is I who stretched your belly and your dreams.

It is I.

It is I you held for 9 months, 3 days,

AND 10 seconds.

It is I who you will hold in your heart forever.

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Anthony’s Birth

31 hour labor

Beautiful hair, encouraged me to push harder

“What’s wrong with my baby?”, yelled me.

Grunting you, struggling to breathe

“What did I do?”, questioned me.

Beautiful you, brought to me

I held you, touched your beautiful face.

You looked at me, your beautiful blue eyes.

I told you, “I love you, Anthony! I love you so much!”

Gone to get oxygen.

Doctors return.

Doesn’t look good.

“Your baby is VERY sick!”

60% oxygen.

Called Saint Mary’s

On their way

Time is needed—-helicopters won’t fly

“If Anthony lives through the night we will be lucky!” we are told.

They’re here!

“Anthony will be wheeled in and you will have seconds with him. He will be in an incubator.

You may touch him through the holes.”

He arrives.

We touch him.

How sad.

“We need to go!”

Dom, Rae, and Keith leave.

We wait!

Dom calls

“He didn’t make it. I held him as he died. I told him we would see him one day and that we love him.”

The nightmare began. The reality began. Our new life began.

I Am So Thankful…

This is a guest post written for inclusion in the Pregnancy Loss Week Blog Carnival.  Please join us at Fertility Flower for the week of August 23-27, 2010 where we will be featuring articles, posts and artwork about pregnancy loss.

Losing a child (it’s not just a “pregnancy”) made me thankful, even more thankful than when I finally became a first-time mom at age 33. At least, it taught me to be thankful. With my first pregnancy, I felt “fine” the entire 10 ½ weeks. There was little exhaustion, no cravings and no smells that turned my stomach. I thought I was lucky until I started to spot. Sitting frozen in the doctor’s office, I learned that my baby had passed away weeks before but my body had held onto the little life lost within me.

Mother’s Day that year was unbearable as were trips to the grocery store. Everywhere I looked, there were moms with their children. My arms felt empty and my heart broken. Then a friend told me something I will never forget. She said that because of this experience, there was an angel dancing and singing in heaven, so how could I be sad? That’s what I try to think of every time I miss my little lost one.

A year later at a party, I gagged at the smell of alcohol. The next morning, I dry heaved as I walked the dog…and I laughed about it. I laughed and thanked God over and over. When others fussed about the headaches, puking, joint pain, swelling, etc…I sent a little thank you prayer to God. Every single time I wanted to think “woe-is-me,” I thanked God. I laughed as I dry-heaved and weathered bed rest because I learned the hard way how lucky I was to go through each and every miserable symptom. Now that he’s 2, when I want to scream and run from the terrible’s, I try to always stop and think how LUCKY I am for the child who just wrote on the wall, unrolled a whole roll of toilet paper, let the cat out, threw his plate on the floor, got up at 4am, etc. I am SO blessed to have every minute with him. Life is so precious. You think you know how precious life is but it’s not until you loose life that you really know. And then, all the irritating crazy stuff feels small and unimportant. In reality, they are blessings.

Now that my son is two, there are moments and entire days when I want to run screaming down the street in frustration. On those days, I always try to stop and think how LUCKY I am, how truly BLESSED I am for the child who just let the indoor cat out or colored on the wall. I thank God as I wipe up broken eggs that my little helper “helped” me (next to impossible). I am so beyond thankful for every mess. I know the pain of having clean walls and floors. I know what it’s like to hear a mom complain and think to myself how lucky she is, that I’d give anything to switch places with her. Puked-on hair is such a tiny price to pay. It’s the deal of a lifetime. So, the next time a certain someone sprays juice all over the carpet (on purpose), try to remember…it’s a blessing. Then take a deep breath and be thankful you have it to clean up.

The contributor of this post requested to remain anonymous.