Unfortunately, I know all about pregnancy loss. I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy (prior to my daughter), and my first son was born still at 41.5 wks. There’s nothing that can prepare you for any of this.The one thing that I have found helpful with both of my losses has been finding people that understand. Its pretty easy to find people that have been through a miscarriage…1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage…chances are that a good number of people you know have dealt with this. And they all seem to come out of the woodwork when something like this happens…people will come up to you and tell you they’ve had a miscarriage, and it may or may not be comforting to you.
My miscarriage experience: I miscarried my first child at 9 and a half wks, but the ultrasound showed h/she had stopped growing at 6 and a half weeks. This was a fully planned, very wanted child that just devastated us when he/she was lost. We went in for a routine checkup and ultrasound and they could find no heartbeat. I then had to wait a whole day for another more thorough ultrasound (an agonizing wait, during which time I came to accept that the baby was dead), which confirmed the pregnancy loss. I then had a natural miscarriage…my body started the work itself later that night, I believe…and I ended up in the ER in excruciating pain and lots of bleeding & vomiting. A follow-up visit showed that I still had tissue inside me which needed to come out, so we opted for a D & C to speed up the process so that we could try again to get pregnant sooner. (The doctor told us that sometimes it can take months for all the tissue to be expelled and I didn’t want to have to wait that long.) We then waited 2 cycles (dr said to wait 3, but we only waited 2 to start trying again), and on the 2nd cycle trying (3 months after my miscarriage), we conceived our daughter. She is the only thing that brought me out of my depression…once I made it to the 2nd trimester, my sadness was replaced by such a joy over the new life in me. And then after her birth, the realization that this precious little girl wouldn’t have existed had we not lost our first (we never knew if it was a boy or girl), really helped as well.
My stillbirth experience: We lost our son in April 2004. It was just devastating. There was no warning, no reason that we could find. He had heart decelerations which were within the range of normal but from the moment he came out fully he had no heartbeat and never even tried to breathe. Autopsy results showed a healthy baby.
I had an uneventful pregnancy, other than being strep B positive, which is very common. We had no inkling that anything would go so terribly wrong. He kicked me all the way through labor and even when I was pushing him out!! We had very raw emotions over this and it was a long time before we were really happy again. Fifteen months after we lost Baelin, we had his brother, Tyren (TEER-en). His birth has been healing for me, but I will never forget nor stop wishing it could have been different with Baelin.
What doesn’t help: For those reading this that have not dealt with the loss of a child, I’ll tell you some things NOT to say.
- It doesn’t help to hear “he’s in a better place”…what better place is there than his mother’s arms? No matter what your belief, this does NOT help a mom to hear he’s in a better place…he’s NOT!
- It doesn’t help to hear “you can have other babies”…no child can or should ever replace another. They are all individual, precious and special. Even though I so desperately wanted to have another child, it was not to replace Baelin…he will always be in my heart. I will always mourn for what could have been.
- It doesn’t help to hear “you will be with him again”….I WANT TO BE WITH HIM NOW!!! No matter what my beliefs, he’s not here now and I don’t care about anything but now!
- It doesn’t help to hear “at least you didn’t get to know him”…I DID get to know him…he grew inside me for 9months! I felt him move every day. Now granted, I do agree it would have been harder to have spent time with him outside my womb and to have seen him move, hear him cry, etc…hearing this still does not help.
What does help: There really isn’t any magic fix that really helps to ease the intense pain of losing a child, so please don’t try to make it better. You can’t. Its just something families of loss have to work through. A simple “I’m so sorry for your loss” is really all you can say. I also found it helpful to be able to just talk to people that listened quietly. Later, when I was at the point of being able to handle it, a support group of people that had been through the loss of an infant was very helpful as well.
Local Support: This is a local organization that I have learned about since the death of my son. I found it very helpful to talk to one of their people on the phone when we were agonizing over whether or not to view our son’s body one last time, after an autopsy had been done. (We did decide to see him and I have not regretted it. It was a hard thing to see, but I am so very glad I did.) They have an infant loss support group for couples that we found very helpful, as well as a group for moms pregnant after loss that I also benefited from.
Angel Babies of Hinds Hospice
1616 W. Shaw Ave., Suite B-6, Fresno
The intent of this program is to offer perinatal hospice services and grief support services to families. Support services may include home visits, periodic phone calls, and bereavement mailings. Written materials may be provided.