Friday, July 25, 2014

My Miscarriage: Coping {Part Two of Two}

This article was submitted by New Orleans Moms Blog and written by Amanda Bensabat. 

My Miscarriage: Coping {Part Two of Two}

by  on JULY 23, 2014 in BABIESINFERTILITY & MISCARRIAGEPREGNANCY - 

I know my last post was not a happy one as I wrote a letter to the baby I will never hold. But this thing that happened to me, I have learned, will be something I carry for the rest of my life. Sure, the sharp, painful edges will blur and soften with time, but the wound will never heal completely. I feel compelled to follow up on my previous post after so many of you reached out to me. High school friends and acquaintances who I have not spoken with in years were sharing their personal stories of similar grief. I had no idea that so many women I knew had experienced what left me feeling so isolated and alone.

I found out I was expecting my third child on Wednesday June 4, 2014.

baby3pt2final
photo credit: Leslie Pendleton, formerly of Studio Tran
I was 4 weeks and 1 day. I was in shock, again. My second baby was a shock to me as well. Although, since I know where babies come from (as my OB asked for clarification when I expressed my astonishment), I am not sure why I was so surprised. But this baby was a complete and total shock because we had been consistently using protection. The fact that I conceived, although surprising initially, felt like a miracle. Like this little baby was surely meant to be. It took about 3 hours for me to stop looking like a deer in headlights. Later that night, my husband and I were looking up baby names and making a short list. We were contemplating rearranging bedrooms and looking at bigger vehicles to fit our expanding family. We calculated the due date and found out that baby would be due on daddy’s birthday, February 10th. Just in time for Mardi Gras. We talked about whether we would bring the baby to any parades or if George would just take the older boys alone. My husband and I are planners so it was only natural that we were planning this baby into our lives.
My husband called his parents who live out of state and I wanted to wait to tell mine in person. I was able to tell my mom the exciting news because we previously planned a visit for the following day. I never got to tell my dad because I would miscarry before I would see him in person. I woke up the next morning and called my OB who was just as shocked as we were. She even commented that this baby was “meant to be.” That is exactly how we felt. Things would work out because this baby was meant to be in our lives. I went back in forth in my head over whether I thought the baby was a boy or a girl. What would the baby look like? Would I be able to have another VBAC?

All of these thoughts and there was one that was nagging at me.

I did not feel pregnant. It was not the shock or disbelief; I physically did not feel pregnant. With my other two I had classic signs: queasy stomach, food aversions, tender breasts, fatigue, etc. For this one, I felt nothing. That struck me as odd but I dispelled the thought by rationalizing that I was just a cynical person, and I was too busy to notice any symptoms. I also continued to cramp far past the date of implantation. The cramps were not terrible, and I recall having some at the beginning of my second pregnancy, so I ignored those as well.
It all came crashing down on Wednesday, June 11, around 9:00 when I missed a call from my doctor’s office. The voicemail simply told me that I needed to get another round of blood work the following day. I started to worry because I did not have to do this for either of my other pregnancies. I needed more information. The nurse told me that my HCG level at 4 weeks 6 days, was a 70. She did not seem alarmed and just said they needed to confirm that my counts were rising. I had some spotting that morning, and the nurse assured me that that can be “normal.” I went about my business, but I knew something was wrong. Within two hours, the cramps came. I still denied I was losing my baby. Then the bright red blood came. I was in Hobby Lobby when it came. I walked out of there as fast as I could, fighting the knot in my throat and stinging tears in my eyes. I broke down in my car. I knew what was happening, and I was helpless to stop it.

I experienced what felt like emotional whiplash once I accepted in my heart what was happening.

Sorrow and heartbreak were mostly what I felt. I feel so ashamed to admit that I also had moments where I felt some relief that I was no longer pregnant. That feeling was always always always followed by severe guilt. Miscarrying, for me, is a vicious cycle, of emotions. Even almost six weeks later, I think I am doing just fine, and then bam, I hear an innocent comment or see a sweet picture of a new baby and the lump in my throat returns. I know I will carry this for the rest of my life, and I will always wonder about the life that could have been. I encourage mothers who have experienced this loss to talk about it when you are ready. In sharing my story in an extremely public way,  the feelings of isolation were lessened. I was told by readers that I was very strong for sharing my very private story. I think that notion is slightly misplaced. Although loss of a child is personal, so many women experience the loss. I think the only way to heal is to come together and support each other. I truly believe that what has helped me heal is the support I have received from family, friends and through readers like you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Traveling with Memories


This article was written and submitted by Share board member Meredith Byers.  


Summer is beginning, and many families are making vacation plans - either to travel somewhere by car or plane, or to enjoy a "staycation" and take in a local activity. Our family's summer plans include travel in Missouri as well as Texas, and like many Share families, our plans include a time to make memories with both our living children and our angel Samuel.

Our son Samuel was born still in April 2007. Before that time, our vacations were usually excursions for rest and relaxation, a new adventure or experience, or a working trip with some sightseeing and good food squeezed in. After Samuel's delivery, everything in our world, including our future travels, changed dramatically. Derek and I grieved intensely for weeks after coming home from the hospital without Samuel. We eventually began to realize that we needed to "get away" just for a little while to gain some shelter from the storm of feelings that were controlling our lives. Our oldest son, Wyatt, was 2 and loved trains, so we traveled to Colorado over Memorial Day weekend to explore and ride trains there. We brought our new camera, meant to be filled with photos of a new baby, and instead filled it with photos of us riding a train through Freemont, CO, in the snow (we weren't expecting snow in May!). This trip was our chance to hide in a world that wasn't raw with feelings for Samuel for a few days and hunker down with just ourselves. When we returned home, I made a photo book of the Colorado train ride for Wyatt to enjoy. When I look at that book now, it's filled with memories for me - I look swollen in my postpartum state, Derek looks tired and worn, and Wyatt's chubby cheeks are lit with excitement from the ride. I can still feel Samuel in those pictures.

Since then, we haven taken many trips as a family for various reasons, and each time we try to do something or find something that reminds us of Samuel. We have found a seashell on a South Carolina beach, a handmade bowl from a market in Georgia, an Asian ornament in San Francisco, and a Zuni mother-of-pearl butterfly from Santa Fe. Samuel is our butterfly, and we often look for butterflies and butterfly objects in our travels. We feel like Samuel is with us when we see a butterfly, and Derek feels closest to Samuel when he is outdoors under a blue sky. We have many butterflies on our shelves, our walls, and even in Samuel's garden in our backyard to remember him.

We have been blessed with two more living children since we lost Samuel, and all three kids enjoy looking for special treasures on our trips to put on Samuel's shelf when we get home. They recognize that these items are part of our family and part of our memories, and they value these objects and their meaning as much as I do. Our daughter Shiloh feels a special connection to butterflies also. On our recent visit to the Laumeier Art Fair on Mother's Day, she picked out a small drawing of a butterfly for her room. I think that she feels the memory of Samuel in this drawing. Our youngest, Ryder, is filled with charm and mischief, and his treasures usually reflect his spirit of play - a ball, a well-loved toy, even a shiny coin - and remind me of his angel brother.

We are driving to Branson today for a long Father's Day weekend vacation - we will do a little boating and fishing on Table Rock Lake, enjoy some amusement park fun at Silver Dollar City, and snuggle up around a campfire. Most importantly we will be looking for a treasure to remind us of our family. We will celebrate our living children, mourn our angel baby, look for butterflies, and make memories for now and always. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Accepting submissions for the upcoming magazine...

We are now accepting newsletter submissions for the September/October edition. The topic is "When Children Grieve." The deadline is August 15.

While children may grieve just as intensely as adults, they are often called the "forgotten grievers." When their baby sibling dies, they may experience a myriad of emotions and reactions to the death. This issue will share ways families have helped their child move through his/her grief, including the difficulties. Parents are encouraged to share their children's art projects, writings and/or poems and other creative ways their children have dealt with their sibling's death. Finally, if you are a professional who works with grieving children, we would like to share any tips or words of wisdom you have to offer grieving parents.

If anyone is interested in submitting for this issue, please email Rose Carlson, rcarlson@nationalshare.org.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Annual Share Walk for Remembrance & Hope

Mark your calendar to join us on 

October 18, 2014 
for the
13th Annual National 
Share Walk 
for Remembrance & Hope
at Creve Coeur Park 
in Saint Louis, MO



8:00 a.m.       Day-Of Registration Opens

9:00 a.m.       Creation Station Opens

11:00 a.m.      Memorial Service & Balloon Release

12:00 p.m.     Walk
Angels in the Crowd: Unable to attend? Participate in the Share Walk as an Angel in the Crowd and receive a t-shirt and program.

1-Mile Walk: All walkers, including families, first-time walkers and recreational walkers are welcome to enjoy a peaceful walk by the lake in Creve Coeur Park.

4-Mile Walk: Enjoy higher levels of fitness with this non-competitive walk/run around the lake and through the wooded paths in Creve Coeur Park.

1:00 p.m.       BBQ Picnic Lunch
Hamburger and hot dog barbeque lunches can be purchased on the registration form.  You will have the option to buy lunch on-site, but we encourage pre-ordering to guarantee availability.

For more info or to register, visit http://www.nationalshare.org/walk.html 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Max's Footprints in our Sand

This beautiful story was sent to us by DeAndrea Dare. 

I had a stamp made of our son Anderson Maxwell's actual prints and we have taken it and stamped it on the sand and in other places when we travel. 

Here are a couple of pictures. I included the one of both of us with his name and prints because that was the first picture where I felt like the joy of his short time with us showed on our faces.  

When I wrote his name and stamped his feet it brought a peace and healing that before that moment I had not experienced. Max was stillborn at 28 weeks due to a placental abruption on March 12, 2013.