Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness | Spread love, not shame | Angie Englerth Photography

October 15, 2015  •  7 Comments

Spread Love, Not Shame

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October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. You may have seen posts on social media about it or you may have no clue what it even means. I certainly did not pay much attention to it. At least not until it applied to me. Infertility and Pregnancy loss is such a touchy topic. Too many women are ashamed to share their stories. This blog post is a platform for women to stand up and share what they have struggled with. This is not anyone's fault. It is simply a journey you have been put on to reach your end goal and we all have very different journeys. There is no story too small or too insignificant to matter. You all matter. God loves us and He is here to support us through our struggles. We may not know why He has laid out the plans for us like He has, but we can trust in the fact that He knows those plans and can help us through the trials as we face them. 

Here is a collection of stories from women who were so brave to share their journeys with me. Please feel free to leave your story in the comments section or send us an email if you are just looking for someone to listen!  

 

Angie's Story

Some of you have heard my story, most have probably not. I feel the need to share after asking so many other women to be vulnerable and share their story as well. 

Ben and I decided pretty shortly after having our son Jackson we wanted to try for a second baby. Jackson was a pleasant surprise so we were expecting it to be just as easy the second time around. As most of you already know, that is just not true. We started trying in February of 2014 and were thrilled to find out we were expecting again in July of that year. 

Unfortunately, the excitement was soon replaced with sadness and frustration. We lost the baby during the sixth week. I remember that day so vividly and could tell you start to end how it went. I woke up with awful cramping and immediately started crying. I just knew. I knew what was happening and I didn't want to accept it. I texted the only friend we had told about the pregnancy and told her what happened. Immediately, I had to put a mask on as I had a newborn session scheduled for that morning. My sister in law picked Jackson up and the session began. I made it through the whole thing without a hint of a tear. Once my client left, my sister in law came back with Jackson and I invited her in. Then it hit. I just broke down and told her everything. (Rachel - love you! So thankful you could be there that day!) I won't bore you with the details of the rest of my day, but it has definitely stuck with me. 

"A miscarriage (early or not) is a loss of a life. It took me a long time to not be ashamed of it."

A miscarriage (early or not) is a loss of a life. It took me a long time to not be ashamed of it. It took months for me to share what happened with close friends and family. Once I did, it opened a whole new can of worms because now everyone knew we were trying to get pregnant. The pressure that comes along with that is at times almost unbearable. Hearing from other friends and family that they were expecting. Seeing pregnant women everywhere you go. These are little things that normally wouldn't bother you, but when you spend every day thinking about what ifs and trying to get pregnant, it can certainly get to you. 

Fast forward to April of 2015 and we scheduled an appointment with our doctor to discuss our options. I decided to take a test the Friday before our appointment. There was the slightest and faintest line. I immediately got Jackson dressed and we headed to target to buy all the fancy (and expensive) pregnancy tests. The lady at checkout gave me the biggest smile, but all I could think about was rushing home to see for myself. They were all positive. I called my doctor right away and they had me in for blood work and we followed up Monday with more blood work. We were cautiously optimistic. Anxiety was at an all time high for those first few months, but we finally felt comfortable enough to share with everyone. I am so blessed to say we are now in our third trimester and can't wait to meet this little boy. I still think about the baby I never got to meet, but am humbled by the experience and perspective God gave me on this journey. 

"I still think about the baby I never got to meet, but am humbled by the experience and perspective God gave me on this journey."

 

Brittany's Story

My husband and I have now been together 9 years, we are high school sweet hearts and have been married for almost 5 years. We started "trying" for a baby shortly before we got married, we were young and had so many negative feelings towards us from our family and friends. So fast forward a year, we still we not pregnant. Shortly before thanksgiving I started bleeding to the point I ended up in the hospital, that was the first miscarriage. We didn't know how to handle it, we were at the point where we were getting impatient. Then to find out we were pregnant with a baby we didn't even know about.  At that point we decided to seek help, add another 5 months to that, I was finally diagnosed with pcos. So at this point we had been trying to conceive for a year and a half. They decided to put me on medicine to help the pcos and regulate my cycles, in hopes I would ovulate on my own. I was on the medicine for 8 months, my cycles were regular and still no pregnancy. I started to get frustrated with my doctor.

"I had never in my life felt so many emotions all at once."

At this point it had been over two years, one loss and nothing more. So, we moved forward with medication- clomid. I was thrilled and felt like we were finally getting somewhere, but I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. I did a cycle with provera to help induce a period, and the clomid. I got pregnant, three weeks after taking the medication I got two pink lines. I had never in my life felt so many emotions all at once. We had been trying over two years and this was the first positive test I had ever gotten. I followed up with blood work confirming we were pregnant. Of course, being nieve we announced right away. Two weeks after I got the positive test, I started bleeding. Devastated doesn't even describe it. The pregnant was ectopic. Factor in a few horrible nights in the hospital, shots in my hips to make me completely miscarry the baby since it was still in my tubes. I was done. I didn't even want to think about having children.  Everything we worked so hard for, the timed sex, the blood draws, the medication and horrible side effects all of it and and it was all ripped away so fast. My husband was in the Marine Corps at the time and stationed in SC, I had no family around, our friends were all pretty young and didn't understand what we were going through. It was a really bad time.

"Two weeks after I got the positive test, I started bleeding. Devastated doesn't even describe it."

We waited a few months and decided to try one more time, my body couldn't handle another ectopic pregnancy and if this time didn't work we were done. We started another round of the medications, and again I got a positive pregnancy test. They monitored me closely, I was barley 4 weeks when they did the first ultra sound. The sac was there but no heart beat yet. I had blood work every 3 days to insure my levels were rising. At 7 weeks, we had our first ultra sound where we heard the heart beat of our rainbow baby. Our sweet little miracle who was the answer to all of our prayers. It took us just over 3 years to conceive her. I had a completely healthy pregnancy, she was born healthy and beautiful. Her name is Adaleigh and she's now almost 2. It was hard, but I would do it all over again to get my sweet girl. We had another miscarriage just a few months back in July, we've started trying for a second and I did a round of the medications and got pregnant. However lost the baby shortly after finding out. We are currently in the middle of our second cycle, and are praying this cycle pans out for us. 

"It was hard, but I would do it all over again to get my sweet girl."

 

Samantha's Story

We had decided last year around December to start trying for baby #2 and with anticipation we did. Because our first child was conceived in one single month of trying, we had assumed the second would happen that quickly as well. We found out at the beginning of March that it finally happened! Eric and I told all of our family right away and everyone was so excited. I started getting morning sickness andmy breasts were swollen. Everything was happening just as it was supposed to! We went for our first Dr. appointment and went through the whole question and answer session with big smiles on our faces, this was actually happening! A few weeks later around week 8 of my pregnancy, I got a sinking feeling something was wrong. I bled very lightly on and off for a few days but the nurses kept telling me it was normal and not to worry.


"I answered with a nervous 'hello' and my mind immediately went in to a whirlwind when I heard the words 'no cardiac activity' and 'no development past 6 weeks'."

 

Finally, on May 4, 2015 I called the nurse again and demanded that they check because I had a bad feeling. I was told to come in for a STAT ultrasound even though they were sure everything was just fine. My husband and I went in thinking everything was ok, we just wanted to settle our minds. The screen lit up and there was our baby! The ultrasound tech immediately turned the screen so we couldn't see and began scanning. She never said a word. She did her job and kept a straight face. When she was finished she said she was going to send them to the Dr. and would be right back to help me out of the room. She forgot to turn the screen off so I got up and started pointing out our baby to my husband. I didn't yet understand at that point that something was wrong. I think Eric did though, he barely looked at it and just pretended not to hear me. I went to the bathroom to get dressed and was sent to the waiting room. We waited for an hour and a half when the tech finally called us back and said "The Dr is on the phone" I answered with a nervous "hello" and my mind immediately went in to a whirlwind when I heard the words "no cardiac activity" and "no development past 6 weeks". A silent tear slipped down my cheek as Eric was asking me what was wrong over and over again. I couldn't speak, I was angry. When we reached the parking lot I blurted out "it's not alive!" He held me tight there in the parking lot as we both cried.  

The next day I was scheduled to meet with a Dr to go over our options. I was told I have 3 options. 1. Let the miscarriage occur naturally. (Which could take months) 2. Take medication to help it happen. (Which causes an intense amount of pain) 3. Have a D&E surgery. We chose option 3 because I didn't want to watch it happen. I was scheduled for surgery the very next morning. 
 

"I was numb and remember feeling like I had a giant sign on my back telling everyone why I was there."

 

We arrived at the hospital, I had a pit in my stomach and didn't say a word. I was numb and remember feeling like I had a giant sign on my back telling everyone why I was there. They called my name and we both went back to surgery prep. The nurses were gentle, kind and understanding unlike the Dr the previous day. I started to feel more comfortable as the morning progressed. A nurse came in and said we had another decision to make. We had to decide what to do with the remains of our tiny baby. We could take the baby home to bury, have a private service or bury the baby with other babies who were lost the same way. We chose the 3rd option again because I selfishly didn't want to see anything. My surgery was done and I was sent home to recover. 
 

It's been 5 months and we have been blessed with our 3rd pregnancy but a day does not go by that I don't think of our baby in heaven. Eric and I believe that life begins at conception. Our baby was a person, our baby was wanted and loved and will never be forgotten.


"Our baby was a person, our baby was wanted and loved and will never be forgotten."

 

 

Kristin's Story

Matt and I were married in 2011 and were quickly able to get pregnant. To our surprise we found out we were having twin girls! Sadly March 22, 2012 they were born early at 20 weeks and did not survive. I underwent multiple surgeries that resulted in me not being able to get pregnant naturally so we underwent 2 rounds of IVF. The 1st was unsuccessful and the 2nd resulted in a miscarriage at 6 weeks. We then turned our hearts to adoption and began the process in January 2015. We completed all the paperwork and became a waiting family in May. On July 10th I received a phone call at work that a little girl had been born on July 9th and her birth parents had chosen us to adopt her. We brought Madelyn Emma home with us the very next day. She has blessed us in so many ways and shown us the true meaning of love. Our journey has been long but it resulted in a gift greater than we ever dreamed of. 

"Our journey has been long but it resulted in a gift greater than we ever dreamed of."


*****


I would like to encourage anyone who has struggled with pregnancy & infant loss or infertility in general to share your story. There is something so therapeutic about speaking up. Your story is important. Your struggle is real. Surround yourself with supportive people who encourage you to share how you're feeling. Please do not be ashamed. Please do not bottle it up. If you are looking for a safe place to share, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy just to listen! 


Comments

Alina(non-registered)
These brave and beautiful mamas, thank you for sharing their stories.
Melissa Pfannenstiel(non-registered)
Such a heartbreaking and heartfelt story.
Mai(non-registered)
Thank you for sharing this story. How sad... As a woman who will want kids in the near future, it hurts me to hear something like this.
Van Tabbert(non-registered)
As a woman who struggles with infertility, this post was a blessing to read. "Your story is important. Your struggle is real." This is true. Many women struggle and hurt in silence, but it's important to know that you are not alone. <3
Bobby Jo(non-registered)
This is very hard for me to say out loud unless you know me let alone type. Most of my family and friends didn't know I was pregnant because we were waiting to make the announcement until I was 12 weeks along. We told those immediate family members, friends, and co-workers(only because of my job) but we didn't tell anyone else. My husband and I had tried for about 6 months before I found out I was pregnant. We were in shock and excited all at the same time. I can't explain the feeling of pure joy knowing that we get to finally be parents. It was the most amazing feeling. My pregnancy was great in the first 11 weeks. I didn't get sick but had nausea at night, dizzy, and light headed. It felt great. On Tuesday September 29th I started to spot in the evening and it was really light. At first I kept telling myself this is normal and the nurses told me that but I knew it wasn't. I didn't have any spotting throughout my entire pregnancy so far and felt great. Wednesday morning the spotting got worse and so did the cramping. I had cramping before at the beginning of my pregnancy but the nurse told me that is Normal and would stop when I was 10-12 weeks. Which was true because I didn't have any cramps for 2 weeks or more. I called my doctor and told them something felt wrong. They requested an ultrasound right away and blood work. I left work early and my husband went with me. The ultrasound technician we had was really nice and talked to me the entire time. She did everything possible to make me comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. Unfortunately the baby wasn't showing up on an external ultrasound so she had to do an internal and that wasn't pleasant. The ultrasound technician said she couldn't find a heart beat. After waiting what felt like forever we finally spoke to the doctor over the phone. She said it looked like the baby was only developed at 5 weeks and 6 days. Which was why we didn't have a heart beat and that I may not be as far along as they originally thought. Then came the blood work to check my hormone levels. I was crying and upset the entire way home because we didn't have a solid answer. I kept hoping that we were lucky and found out early but my gut told me something else. That Friday I went for a follow up blood test per the doctor to check my hormone levels. On Wednesday September 30th, 2015 they were 12,500 and on Friday October 2nd, 2015 they were under 10,000. My hormone levels should have doubled in two days and I knew we had lost the baby. I kept bleeding and it was only getting worse. The cramps weren't going away. I got the call at work and luckily for me my husband was there while I was eating lunch. I couldn't stop crying or apologizing to him because it was my body that did this. I am truly blessed to have the co-workers and office manager I do because they have been so supportive throughout this entire situation. On Friday I saw the doctor for an exam and he told me my body was starting to miscarry the baby. I decided to take the pill and pass the baby at home. In the last three days I was poked enough that I didn't want anymore needles or faces looking at me with guilt. At midnight on Saturday October 3rd I started the first dose of the medication and within 15 minutes the cramping started. At 8 am Saturday morning I started the last dosage and the cramping became worse. The baby had stopped developing at 5 weeks and 6 days. Somewhere throughout the weekend to Monday I passed the baby. The cramps were horrible and I felt like crap but the emotional part was the worst. Having to face people and tell them felt like a never ending thing. Our oldest nephew made it the hardest on me because he has this honesty and purity that makes me smile but want to cry. On Tuesday October 6th I went into the doctor for the follow up ultrasound and appointment. I had a horrible doctor who was compassionate and made me feel like screaming but I had the same ultrasound technician. She was just as pleasant this time as last time and she gave me hope after hearing her story. I know there is a light at the end of the this tunnel and there is a reason for everything. One thing is for sure I won't give up and one day will be a mom.
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