Sharing News Early

The rule is you wait until after the first trimester to share your pregnancy news. After 13 weeks, it is “safe to make the announcement” and accept the congratulations and well-wishes.

News Flash! There is no safe zone. Certainly, the majority of miscarriages take place in the first trimester, but that doesn’t mean that when you reach 13-weeks gestation that you magically enter into a promise that you get to complete your pregnancy and bring your baby home.

We lost James at 17 weeks. We lost him on the very same day that we went public with our pregnancy. We accepted congratulations and condolences, simultaneously. We were well past the first trimester—we should have been safe to share our news. My OB even made the statement, “We just don’t see many miscarriages this late,” as though trying to understand himself. And what about the parents who lose their babies at 24 or 30 weeks, or at birth? They should have been safe, too.

Pregnancy… birth… life… love… all come with risk. Losing James did not hurt more because people knew we were pregnant or because we had to tell them of our loss. It hurt because we lost our son. We lost a child we hoped, prayed and dreamed for.

Because people knew, we had support, understanding, and love, rather than grieving alone. My regrets with James center around the lateness in the celebration. I was 16 weeks before I took the first belly pic; 17 weeks before I told work. I was busy with Connie and other life duties… I wish I would have paused more often and reflected on my child during those 17 weeks I had with him.

So when we became pregnant again, I decided I didn’t want to wait for some false safety net to share our news. I wanted to exhibit my excitement and rejoice in pregnancy. I wanted those that cared about us to target prayers and positive thoughts on the life I was carrying, that it be strong and lively.  And I wanted our loved ones to celebrate with us.

At six and seven weeks we told family and close friends. At eight weeks our Christmas cards were hitting the mail which contained the news of a baby due to arrive in the summer. On Christmas day, one day shy of nine weeks, we experienced loss, disappointment, and heartache. Another miscarriage.

I could tell that some felt I shouldn’t have put it on our card, that I must regret doing so since we lost yet again with the reveal of our pregnancy. I shared my news ‘too early’.

Once again, having people know, especially over the holiday, was more of a blessing than a regret. I did not have to cover up my broken heart during family gatherings. I had empathy, and many needed hugs. As it was with James, I am glad for the support and that I don’t mourn alone. I’m glad that I made this life known–our baby was worth celebrating.2016-christmas-card_photo-collage

2016-christmas-card_year-in-review

 

Remembrance

“When a child loses a parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses their partner, they are called a widow. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” In 1988, President Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This month recognizes the loss so many experience. Continue reading

Pure Grief

It’s funny how when something happens to you personally, especially something that may be unique to you, or for you, you tend to see mentions of it when you wouldn’t expect it. In 1997 my youngest brother was struck by a train. Yes, a moving train. What are the odds, right? That same summer, 17 others in Wisconsin had the same experience. Go figure. Continue reading

Thy Will Be Done

Life resumes without any hesitation. Certainly that is a good thing, but the slightest of a hesitation would be good too, to not feel like I am plowing ahead at full speed without him.

There is this pressure—most likely self-inflicted—to act as is if nothing happened. To move on, to be normal. To not bring others down with my sorrow, to not reopen my own wound.  Continue reading

Coming Home—Guilt & Fear

It’s been two weeks since we lost James and today, we finally got to bring him home. We opted to have him cremated. That only took a few days, but awaiting his urn and stone/marker took more time.  It was important for us to memorialize him. As we looked through the catalog of options I couldn’t help but realize how the decisions we were trying to make were unfair—young parents picking products for our dead baby. The traditional urns seemed like they should contain the remains of an elderly person, someone who had lived a full life. They did not look suitable for our son who entered and left this world before having a chance. Continue reading

Our Loss of James

Timing. Within hours of going public with our happy baby news we experienced the loss every parent fears. Many may wonder why I would share this or write about it, especially so soon.

I write. I enjoy it and it helps—a form of therapy if you will. I also write to recall our experience, to memorialize our child, to help—mostly me but perhaps others as well. This blog is our story and this is a chapter in that story. Continue reading