Every day in the United States alone, 26 babies are stillborn.
This is Ruth's story:
i don't have any leather pants to strap on, as i have been invited to do on the homepage, but i'm gonna share my story. i'm 37 years old, happily married, and the proud mother of three (living) children.
last year, almost this exact time of year, i found out i was pregnant with our fourth child. the news came as a bit of a surprise, as i was on the pill, and we'd thought we were "done" - our kids are 12, 10, and 8.
after the initial shock wore off, we were thrilled. it was going to be so much fun this time around, knowing what we already know about having kids and whatnot. all the stress of just keeping the little buggers alive and well until they started school was behind us. we could relax and just enjoy having a little one to hold and snuggle.
at our 20 week ultrasound, we discovered that it was a girl we named ruth, and her umbilical cord had only two blood vessels instead of the usual three.
the doctor explained the problems this could cause, and after educating ourselves about the risks involved, we felt confident that we could handle whatever GOD chose to bring our way. her due date was set for january 11, 2013. because mine was considered a high-risk pregnancy, i had weekly ultrasounds scheduled for the last two months of the pregnancy.
on january 2, just nine days before our due date, my ultrasound revealed that there was no heartbeat. ruth was dead.
i headed to labor and delivery to be induced. early the next morning, I delivered my baby girl who had already left this world.
the pain and shock have been enormous. i am so grateful to my husband for being my strength over these last 4 months. he lost a daughter too, but somehow he manages to rise above his grief when i need him.
our families have been wonderful, letting me grieve in my own way, never judging, always loving. we never did find out what happened; why she died. now the big question is, do we want to try for another baby? we know we can't replace the one we lost, but it just seems so sad to end our baby-making years with a tragedy.
if anyone reading this is interested, Jason Collins, MD of knoxville, tennessee is an ob-gyn studying the causes and risk factors for stillbirth. i was able to get in contact with him after losing ruth, and discovered that this tragedy is all too common: every day in the united states alone, 26 babies are stillborn.
i'd become concerned during the last few weeks of my pregnancy that the baby wasn't moving enough, but when i contacted my doctor, i was told that it was fine; babies slow down as they get bigger.
listen up, everybody! babies DO NOT slow down. all pregnant moms: do a kick count. be a pain in your doctor's ass. drive the nurses at the hospital crazy. do whatever it takes for that little one.
s/he is counting on you.
GOD bless all of you who read this. GOD bless ALL the unborn babies.
thanks, the band, for letting me have the floor for a moment.
Something awful happened yesterday.
Suddenly looking through my Facebook and Twitter feeds I found out that there had been several explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Explosions. Injuries. Fatalities.
Unfathomable situations to consider.
Social media is incredibly informative. We learn news in the blink of an eye, but just as quickly we can receive misinformation and find ourselves giving out incorrect details because we want to share and we want to help.
Social media can also be terribly triggering when it comes to disasters such as these. Sometimes we cannot handle what is happening in the world. Stories such as this horrible tragedy in Boston trigger dark thoughts for many of us. We get stuck in that mindset and can't push it down.
These are perfectly normal reactions to a tragedy such as this one.
But it's also totally okay to WALK AWAY.
We want to remind you that it is perfectly acceptable and often REQUIRED to walk away from the news stories. YOU are most important here. Yes, it's a horrible thing. Terrible. Emotional. Anxiety-provoking. But you need to know that if you are overwhelmed with the news you do not need to watch it, read it or listen to it.
Don't look for it. You'll hear it all eventually. It's not critical for you to know immediately what is happening.
Nobody will judge you for not participating. Nobody will ask you if you watched the Anderson Cooper show or read the latest AP News information. There will be no quiz here.
Social media IS amazing. But sometimes people just jump feet first without actually thinking or researching. And pictures that do not need to be seen get tossed about. Horrible. What for? Nobody needs to see that. Especially you.
If you are a parent, you are probably protecting your child(ren) from these things. There's no harm in protecting yourself, as well. I would recommend you do it.
I remind you, because I know that in times like these we often forget, that taking care of you is most important here. Avoid triggers. Close the laptop. Take a walk. Play with your kids. Eat something chocolatey. Dance around your living room. Sing your favorite song. Buy yourself a fancy coffee. Cry if you think it will help. But don't hole yourself up with the footage. It's not healthy and it's not necessary. Because we want you to take care of you. We want you to remain safe. And we want to help keep you that way.
If you find yourself looking for answers or resources, please consider reviewing some of these Band Back Together resource pages. And if you need to, reach out. We're here.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Resources
Emotional Shock Resources
We, The Band, keep the people of Boston in our hearts today and in the coming days as they face the aftermath of these horrible events.
Grief takes a different form for everyone, and coming to terms with a sibling's death can take some time.
This is her story.
Not going to lie, grief is one tricky bitch.
The past month has been the worst for me grief-wise. Little triggers have happened and when they do all I want to do is cry, cry, and cry.
Some days are better than others, I’m sure all of you know this. If I can get through the day without tears I find it a victory. However it’s not long before something reminds me of my sister and I shut down.
The whole process is a total nightmare. Never in a million years did I think losing my sister would make me into a broken, hot mess. I am usually - to quote Phil from Duck Dynasty - "Happy, Happy, Happy" despite that what has happened to my family is sad, sad, sad.
At church not long ago, we sang "Jesus Loves Me" during communion and for some reason it got to me. It reminded me of Jenny so I cried, which made dad cry too. Good one, Mags.
Later at lunch dad told that Jenny’s main caregiver, the one who had been with her for 20 years was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Fuck. We can’t win, can we?
The following Tuesday I had choir practice and since it was nice out, I decided a quick trip to the cemetery was in order. I was concerned about the flowers I had put out since 11 inches of snow was dumped on us. The flowers were fine along with the solar light dad had gotten but the pretty pink pinwheel didn’t survive thanks to the high winds.
As I pulled up the pinwheel from the fresh ground, I noticed the death date plaque was put in place. Cue the waterworks. I stood there a few minutes then went to toss the pinwheel. I noticed the pieces of the pinwheel were strewn about not far from where Jenny was buried. In fact, one was near where my grandpa was buried just a few feet from Jenny. I collected them in order to try and fix them.
I went home and sat in the rocker that used to be in Jenny’s room and cried. I felt silly to be crying over something so ridiculous as a dollar pinwheel that can easily be fixed or replaced. I blame that time of the month for that one. I was extra emotional then.
What triggers my emotions and what doesn’t is another funny thing.
A week ago I went into Jenny’s nearly empty room. I felt that heavy feeling you get when you’re sad but it quickly vanished. Later when I got home and heard a song on the radio, boom, it hit me.
The following Friday I was at the store when I ran into someone who once again expressed their sympathies (another thing I am tired of). Then I ran into one of Jenny’s longtime caregivers. After we exchanged hugs and hellos she told me it gets harder and harder every day. Then she dropped an unexpected bomb on me. Jenny’s room was painted.
I knew this would happen because eventually Jenny’s room would be given to another client who needs it. But to paint it so soon? After a month, when we were told to take all the time we needed? Granted, there isn’t much left but how am I to go there now and not see the cheery yellow room that was Jenny’s? It was too much. I ranted at my dad about it later because I was angry, and when I got home I was exhausted again. I cried.
I was told by a friend of mine that I’m empathetic. I feel more than most people; births, marriages, sicknesses and especially deaths have more of an effect on me. "Lucky me," I replied sarcastically. They told me it was a good trait to have and more should have it. Then how come I feel like shit and cry at the drop of a hat?
I’m tired of being sad, crying at any given moment. Tired of complaining to people about it when I’m sure they’re tired of me too. I used to be so strong. It took a lot to get me to cry but I don’t think I’ll have that strength again. I heard that Dad said I was his backbone through all this.
Some backbone. I feel spineless.
I know it takes time to heal. I get that, but it just seems endless. I’ve considered going to a grief support group in April. It’ll be hard with my schedule but I’m going to try to work it out because I think it just might help.
I enjoy writing on here, I’m glad there’s understanding for what I’m going through.
A diagnosis of cancer affects the entire family.
This is her story.
Two years ago, my sister was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
She was 35 at the time, had a twelve year old son, ten year old daughter, and a three year old daughter. She underwent months of radiation, a double mastectomy and then months of chemotherapy. Six lymph nodes were also affected.
Just a few of months ago she got the all clear from her oncologist that he didn't need to see her anymore, that she was cancer free.
She has been having a lot of pain in her hip the last few weeks and finally had a CT scan on Friday.
At this point we don't know if it's on the bone or in the bone, if it's metastasized, or if it's a whole new cancer. We know the odds are it has metastasized. We have been hoping and praying that it's a misdiagnosis or just a new cancer that can be treated. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst, I guess.
My sister lives about 3500km away from our family. We do have some family where she is, but no one that is close to her. Her husband's mom died in September and she was really the only family they had. Our mom and our brother live where I do.
I want so badly to be there, but I just can't right now. We were planning a visit in June but it seems so far away. I want to be there with her right now. She's scared, her husband and kids are scared, I'm scared. She doesn't deserve this. I know that no one deserves cancer, but she really, really doesn't deserve it. She has already been though enough.
And I'm terrified.
And I'm so frustrated I can't be there.
I'm not strong.
I'm broken, afraid, grieving, mourning the loss of the man I still love. I'm in constant pain. I miss my life before the accident, before I was broken. And yet you pat my hand and say, "You're so strong. You're handling this so well." You refuse to acknowledge that I don't feel strong. You refuse to see that I'm hanging on by the skin of my teeth.
My pain, my suffering makes you uncomfortable. We don't talk about these things in our family. I want to break down and cry, I want to wail and ask why this happened to me.
I know that life is not fair. I have known it since I was molested by a relative when I was five years old. I was reminded when I was raped at seventeen. I had my nose broken when I was eighteen on Martin Luther King Day because my skin was the wrong color. I've never thought that life is fair, I know better.
I never brought those things up because I was taught that strength is suffering in silence. Strength is not talking about your feelings. Strength is keeping other people's secrets, even when you shouldn't. Strength is taking care of everyone even though your heart is breaking. Strength is putting others' needs first, even when you can barely take care of yourself.
But I can't do it anymore. I'm not that strong.
I refuse to hide my pain. I need you to bear witness. Just listen to me when I cry, hand me a tissue, hold my hand. I don't expect you to fix things, there is no fix. I just need you to listen.
Please don't tell me I shouldn't feel broken, useless, discouraged, and so terribly hurt. This is how I feel. If my feelings haven't changed in the last 531 days what makes you think you can change them by telling me not to feel this way? I'm not strong and you saying I'm strong doesn't make it true.
Please just be there when I cry. Hold my hand in the car because I still have flashbacks. Listen to me when say I'm hurting and just need to talk.
I'm not strong.
Not right now.
Maybe someday I'll be strong again.
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