Hope:

I was “called” to do two things in life … be a mother and social worker (therapist). I’ve always been a helper and I’ve always mothered everyone’s children. We were ecstatic when we found out we were expecting. I knew right away she was a girl and her name would be Natalie Danielle. It was a textbook picture perfect pregnancy. I did everything right. I gained the right amount of weight, I ate right (mostly) and took the first time parent Lamaze class.

In Lamaze class they talked briefly of the possibility of loss… never would have thought I would become that 1 in 4. I had been to the doctor a couple of days prior and things were still “perfect”. That was the general theme of the pregnancy…” perfect”…. the doctor asked if I wanted to be induced early or let her come on her own. He gave me a couple of dates to choose from.

Ultimately I chose to let her come on her own time or be induced at a later date… there had never been a cause for concern. Fast forward 3 days later… 39w2d… I began having contractions (or so I thought) and I did what they taught me, waited until they are a couple minutes apart. We went to the hospital and got hooked up right away…after several minutes, people, and machines… came the words no parent ever wants to hear…” we can’t find a heartbeat”.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

This can’t be happening… I did everything “right”… they wouldn’t call my doctor in and I was stuck with the doctor who had no bedside manners…” what do you want to do with her body”…” no I won’t call your doctor…there’s nothing he can do different… you can’t have a c-section because it will be traumatic..” finally after hours and demanding a c-section, on April 8, 2011, Natalie Danielle, was born still and “perfect” in every way. There is no explanation to this day.

I have since had two beautiful children but it doesn’t make the loss of her any less painful. Loss and grief don’t discriminate… I have since turned my pain into being able to help others travel through grief. Grief isn’t pretty, in fact, it can be pretty ugly… but I can’t let her life mean nothing… I am 1 in 4.

Sarah R:

September 17, 2019, Wyatt Dawson was born. A (seemingly) healthy, 7 pound boy with a smooth and almost perfect delivery. He was perfect in every way. Beautiful, loved to be held by mama, fed well, anything a mother would dream for. 48 hours later, all that would be turned upside down. From his pulse ox test, something seemed off. He had an echo and the radiologist’s face showed a look of despair. I was told they didn’t know what was wrong, but he was going to the NICU to be put on oxygen. My mama heart was shattered already. Come to find out, the oxygen shut his body down. He was soon life flighted to Duke.

At Duke, they realized he had hypo-plastic left heart syndrome. His left ventricle was not developed. They did everything they could to bring his organs back close to normal to have him strong enough for open heart surgery. We went through 11 days of a lot of bad, but slivers of hope. Eventually, on September 30th, we realized there were no more slivers left, the only thing keeping him alive was the ventilator and the millions of tubes and IV drips. I knew I had to say what I couldn’t get into words after speaking to the doctors. As soon as we were pulled into the conference room, we knew. All I could get out was “I don’t want to see him suffer anymore”. We were taken back into his room to hold him one last time as they stopped care. I was numb. A zombie. I will never forget the doctor touching my shoulder and saying “he’s gone”.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

I am 1 in 4. I am not alone, and neither are you. The grief cycle is hard and long, and it never goes away. You just learn how to cope with the constant swinging emotions. Hold onto everything you can. Talk about your baby every chance you can. Save everything. Keep their memory alive. Do things to honor their life. Know their life had a purpose, though you may not know the reason they were taken from this world. Know that you have hope you will see them again one day and they are pain free, away from the evils of the world.

Mommy will always love you Wyatt, and nobody could ever take your place.

Azlynn:

My miscarriages robbed me of what could have been. Of who my children could have been. We will never get that chance back, but I’m thankful we will see them again one day. Whole and perfect. It doesn’t take away the pain, but it makes it better.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

I thought I would never get a chance to love a child of our own until we adopted our little boy this past May. I know his baby sibling and his baby sister, Emery Grace are watching over him.

Alyssa:

Silence, I’ll never forget the silence. There were no bustling nurses, no midwife counting, no monitors beeping. There was only silence…and the silence was deafening. When he was born the room was silent. No congratulations, no cheering, no newborn crying. Silence.

It wasn’t until my midwife whispered, “Oh, he’s perfect,” that the silence was broken.

The flood of tears spilled forth furiously down my cheeks. It was true. He was gone, just as they had told us when we arrived not four hours earlier while I was in active labor. I had prayed for four hours that they were wrong, that they had simply missed it. After all, I had felt him move that morning. The silent truth was deafening. My little boy was gone…he would never live outside my womb. He would never run and play on this earth, he would never go fishing with his daddy or be rocked to sleep by me, his mommy.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

So many nerves, so many missed firsts.

Our lives were forever changed. Looking back I can see God’s blessings in every aspect. I felt my little boy move from ten weeks on, I had twelve different ultrasounds from six weeks to thirty-four weeks, my husband was able to feel our little boy’s kicks every single night. We called him our little boxer. I had forty weeks exactly with my little boy, what a beautiful blessing. Our little boy was stillborn unexpectedly on his due date this past March due to a silent placental abruption. He was absolutely beautiful, uniquely special, and created by God. I know, without a doubt, one day I will see my little boy again. Oh what a wonderful day that will be! One that my heart longs for every moment of every single day. Heaven is made that much sweeter because I know my little boy is running and playing there.

Lili:

You hear of all the exciting parts of pregnancy, but never the scary risks. When you’re pregnant for the first time you don’t think of what can go wrong. You go into the pregnancy excited and looking forward to the milestones you’ll get to see your child achieve. Sadly, with my first pregnancy, I experienced my first loss on April 15th, 2016.

I delivered a beautiful baby girl when I was 20 weeks along into the pregnancy. It was all a scary and confusing experience. The pain is an unimaginable pain. Your dreams are taken away from you in the blink of an eye. We named our first baby girl Catherine Ailani Castrejon.

Thinking of trying again becomes scary, but also gives you hope. I was surprised with my second pregnancy because it was unexpected. I was pregnant with another baby girl; it was a nerve wracking pregnancy to the point you want to stay in the doctor’s office. I never imagined I would have gone through this pain twice.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

With my second baby girl, the doctors were able to find the reason why I deliver early. I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix which happens in 1-2% of pregnancies. I researched that almost 25% of babies miscarried in the second trimester are due to incompetent cervix or also known as cervical insufficiency.

Fortunately, there is hope for women who are diagnosed with this. Future pregnancies would require a cerclage and there are multiple types of cerclages. Hopefully one day I will get my rainbow baby. We named our second baby girl Alaina Grace Castrejon. I delivered her on January 30th 2019, she was beautiful. The father of my girls and I are supportive to one another during the difficult days when their birthdays arrive. It’s painful because each year that goes by you think of the milestones you would of watch them achieve.

All you’re left with are broken dreams.

Courtney:

After enduring an early missed miscarriage, hearing the words “Congratulations! It’s twins!” brought forth an abundance of emotions. The emotions ranged from shock, excitement, overwhelmed, and scared. Processing the fact that I was gaining two rainbows babies after my loss.

It became even harder to find out that the twins showed a weight discordance (TTTS) and I was going to be referred to a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) Specialist for the remaining of my care. Before I could make it to my appointment, my waters ruptured (PPROM) with both sacs at 16 weeks and 3 days leaving the babies with no amount of amniotic fluid left. My doctors at the hospital told me that the twins would probably make their appearance within the next 24 hours after my ruptured membranes. The doctors told me that I had an increased risk of developing an infection and other health complications that may even cause me to lose my life. My appointment with my MFM came the following week and I was presented with an overwhelming amount of information in regards to my complications. The first complication the girls had was the ruptured membranes (PPROM) leaving little to no amniotic fluid in their sacs. The second complication was a twin related condition called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. This condition was described to me as one that interferes with equal distribution of my blood supply from my placenta. The twins were identical and shared only one, which meant that my twin A (the recipient twin) was receiving too many nutrients and blood supply while twin B (the donor) was not receiving enough. TTTS brings forth many potential complications and life-long challenges that could affect their brain, heart, and quality of life.

It was devastating to hear the only options for “treatment” included termination of the pregnancy or selectively reducing twin A to potentially allow for twin B to survive (which was not guaranteed). After a very stern disagreement, I decided to go with the less preferred method, which was to monitor and watch the status of the twins. The decision to closely watch and monitor required weekly appointments to my MFM with thorough 90-minute ultrasounds. I honestly expected to go in each week and hear “there’s no heartbeat.”

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

However, my girls showed everyone that they were fighters. After 5 weeks of appointments to closely watch and monitor, my body went into active labor at 21 weeks and 2 days. As I arrived at Chapel Hill, I was given a pelvic exam that showed that Twin A (Cora) was presented feet and buttocks out of my cervix. I also presented with signs of chorioamnionitis (infection of my uterus) and that ended my “fight” with the girls. The choice to induce my pregnancy to decrease my risk of life-threatening complications has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever made to this day. The induction process started around noon on March 6, 2019. After 3.5 hours of labor, I delivered my 12-ounce baby girl Cora Ainsley Brink. One minute later, my 7-ounce baby girl Ella Catherine Brink was born.

My journey may not have the happiest of endings or a picture-perfect storyline, however, the journey to motherhood oftentimes ends in a similar way for 1 in 4 women. My girls have brought forth a lot of learning experiences and eye openers to allow for myself, as their mother, to grow into a better individual. Their strength that was displayed throughout my pregnancy left me the motivation and drive to reach every single dream that I wish to accomplish. The raw fact that everyone will experience death, but not everyone will live left me with the desire to get out and live even more. The girls showed me that I am capable of enduring the unimaginable and no matter the circumstance that I can look for brighter days ahead.

Dara:

High School All-State goalkeeper, softball collegiate softball scholarship receiver, 3rd leading high school basketball scorer…. How could I be able to perform so naturally at these athletic physical tasks? YET, I could not successfully do the one thing (in my mind) a female “should” be able to do? I knew from an early age I wanted to be a mama. It was the thing I looked forward to the most. 3 miscarriages, and 1 D&C later… I now hold my rainbow babies.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

“I’m sorry there is no heartbeat”…. I remember these words like it was yesterday. If I could give myself any advice at the time, it would be to trust in God’s timing. My babies are in God’s hands with the best company. They are looking down on us with my Granddaddy.

Karen:

Every parent is excited when they find out that their family is growing. My husband and I were thrilled to find out that we were expecting our third child. We began to make preparations for adding another person to our family and began to get our daughters used to the idea that a new baby was going to be in our home. As we approached our anatomy ultrasound, we planned a gender reveal with a few close friends to surprise our families with on Valentine’s Day.

On February 9, 2017, we went in for our anatomy ultrasound, and our world was turned upside down. We were told our son, Emmanuel, had a fatal birth defect called Limb Body Wall Complex. We wouldn’t get to bring him home. He wouldn’t live outside the womb. We would be lucky to carry him to term. In a follow up ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis, Emmanuel yawned at us and waved to us…as if he knew we were watching.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

We chose to continue to carry Emmanuel because we believe in a God that can heal every ill…..including birth defects that are death sentences. We also chose to give him as much of a life as we could knowing that he wouldn’t get a traditional life like our daughters. So, we made the baby bucket list. We took Emmanuel places that we would take our family and do the normal things that families do. We went to a bacon processing facility, the zoo, the aquarium, a baseball game, my alma mater, my husband’s alma mater, strawberry picking, the beach, on a spa day, and a wedding…..just to name a few.

We delivered Emmanuel ALIVE! on June 13, 2017. He lived for 73 minutes and was loved for a lifetime in those short 73 minutes.

Sarah L:

I very vividly remember as a little girl sitting in my playhouse with my childhood best friend and dreaming of every detail of my future. It included a husband, a big beautiful home, a dog, great successful careers, and last but not least, children. We dreamed of how many we would have, what color hair and eyes they would possess, and the years in between them. Those were all just that, dreams.

Reality set in October 2008. I had very unexpectedly gotten a positive pregnancy test in the midst of me working 2 jobs, no health insurance, and my husband in a rigorous educational program. Nonetheless, we were excited as this meant my years of fear of not being able to conceive, were finally coming to an end. I scheduled a first-trimester appointment and was ready to go hear my baby’s heartbeat, as I would have been close to 9 weeks gestation. That morning I woke up in a pool of blood, not knowing what this would eventually mean I eagerly went to my appointment and was then told to immediately go to the ER.

Just like that my world quickly spiraled out of control as I was told by the on-call physician I was having a “spontaneous abortion”, these are very common and you’ll “get over it”. Those are words I would never forget.

Three months later we got news of another positive pregnancy test which quickly turned to tears of sorrow as we spent another restless night in the ER with not very much hope and not even a mustard seed of faith. As soon as we got home and sat on the couch, my brother in law called to let us know his joyful news. We were gonna be an aunt and uncle. I lost it, the emotions were unreal. This began a series of months in a deep depression, questioning the Lord’s plans for my life, as my plans were failing in the midst of all this pain. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and future.” These minutes/hours/days felt like the farthest from that promise I would ever get.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

On July 13, 2010, after 28 hours of labor our miracle and “Rainbow” Selia Jayde was born at 10:42 AM. I would go on to have another 4 miscarriages with no answers ever being provided, and us being told that it was “unexplainable”. There was no rhyme or reason, I just wasn’t able to carry a baby past the first trimester, it was more than likely a genetic abnormality between my husband and me and we should be thankful for the “one” child we did have. However, my God told me that he would prevail. In December 2016 after my husband and I completed foster care classes, 3 days before Christmas came two pink lines. 1 Samuel 1:27-28 “For this child, I have prayed; and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart.”

On August 24, 2017, Mathias (gift from God) Gordon was born at 8:59 PM. He was everything we as a family of 3 had dreamed of and more, the perfect addition to our family. I would, a year later, have 1 more miscarriage. Even though you never “get over it” you DO “get through it”. Psalm 34:18 says the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God’s plan for my life did include this pain and heartache, but it would never be wasted.

As a nurse, I finally found myself on the postpartum unit of my local hospital helping other women get through the agony of infant and pregnancy loss. It was clear to me that God would never waste a single tear I shed. He gave me strength in my weakness; joy in my despair, and hope when all seemed lost. I am proud to say today that I am that 1 in 4.

Summer:

My husband and I started to try for kids in 2016 and it took 2yrs to get our first baby. We sadly lost him at 6wks. We were devastated that after a long time, I miscarried. I blamed myself. My husband blamed himself. We were destroyed. It hurt. I told my mom first and we both cried in a Quiktrip parking lot. I went back to work about 3 days after it happened and some random lady, who heard me tell a close friend who frequented my work, that God took my baby for coloring my hair. It hurt a lot. The same day my own grandmother told me, “At least you were married first.” Why does that have anything to do with it? I don’t know.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

It took a while to heal. But a week later, my husband and I were doing our usual weekend thing of going to the SPCA to look at cats and dogs for adoption and we fell in love with this very sad, very quiet American Bull Dog named Huntley. It didn’t take any days of seeing him. We knew he should be ours and he was home with us the same day. He really helped me with the loss of our first child, not even 2 weeks prior. Huntley may love my husband more but he’s the best thing to happen after a loss. I have a rainbow baby named Charles but I consider Huntley to be my rainbow baby as well. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Zoe:

My name is Zoë Marie Roberson. At 20 years old I got pregnant with my daughter Everleigh Jane. She was only 3 months old when I found out I was pregnant again.

When I went for my ten week ultrasound, they told me I was only measuring 8 weeks, that the heartbeat was great, and that my dates must have been messed up. I knew something was wrong but no one would listen to me. About 4 weeks later I began spotting. I went to the ER and 4 hours later they told me and my husband there was no heartbeat and prepared to send us home. With a history of hemorrhaging, I asked the ER doctor if there was a chance I could hemorrhage, and he said “No you’re only 8 weeks, it’ll pass and you’ll be fine,” even though I explained I had been pregnant for about 14 weeks.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Gray Photography based in Wilson County, North Carolina

I went home and at about midnight I woke up to my daughter crying and I had some pretty bad cramps. I laid down on the couch and within minutes I felt a pop and a gush and I began bleeding out. I was transported to the hospital where I received multiple bags of blood, fentanyl for the pain, and then shortly after I had to have a D&C surgery. The next few weeks I felt like it couldn’t have been real, why was I a part of the #1in4.

I wish I would have known soon how common it was, and now I want other mamas of angel babies to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I’ve heard it all from “you can always try again” to “at least it wasn’t a stillborn.” Loss is loss, no matter how early. I love my son Henry Allen and I know he is in Heaven watching over his sister, and he will do the same for his siblings in the future too.

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2021-05-06T17:08:03+00:00May 2nd, 2021|Families, NILMDTS News, Parents|Comments Off on Bereaved Mother’s Day Blog Series