When a baby dies, we are fragmented. Shattered, we must pick up the pieces and put them back together as we pay tribute to our children, our tables forever missing one, our families incomplete, our treasures in heaven, our babies alive only in our hearts.
It is through our stories that they live forever. These children were here and they mattered. They were loved.
They are loved.
My therapist told me that I hide behind walls of humor.
And I do.
I laugh so I don’t cry. And I have been doing a LOT of laughing lately.
But I have been doing as much crying, just behind closed doors. I have been going through all the stages of grief and grieving in like a minute every single day. It’s wearing me down.
I thought Christmas – her due date – and what would have been her first birthday would have been harder.
I’m okay in public and with those who she’s disappeared to. I can pretend everything is okay; that I am fine.
I’m not fine.
But today. This date which means nothing to me is harder than her day. Tuesdays and the 28th of every month are torture because she was taken Tuesday, July 28th. But today?
Why am I aching for her today, a day that means nothing? Why do I miss her so much that I can barely breathe?
She would be a year old.
What would she look like?
Would she look anything like her sisters?
Would she look like her daddy or me?
Would she be walking?
Would she be talking?
Would she cuddle me when I needed her?
It’s such a punch in the gut, living without her. Having these thoughts. And seeing her and her “birth” (which wasn’t a birth to anyone but those who really loved her) every time I close my eyes.
My therapist wants to talk about it; deal with it.
If I talk about her and heal, will what few memories I have fade?
I don’t know that I can relive that night out loud. I see it over and over in my head. I wrote about it here. But I can’t say out loud. I can talk to my husband and mother because they were there, they know. But even my husband doesn’t grieve with me. He has almost moved on. I don’t think I ever will. I held her in my hands. And always in my heart.
Everyone grieves differently and he just wants me to be better.
How do I get better?
Why on a day when I should be semi-okay does the grief come out of nowhere and take me to my knees? The pain. The anguish. I feel like I am drowning.
All I want is to hold my little girl in my arms. To rock her and smell her sweet smell. I never got to smell her sweet smell. It’s not fair.
I want to punch walls and throw things and scream at the top of my voice, “it’s not fucking fair!”
This aching, this longing for something that can never be. That is the hardest. I miss my daughter. I can’t breathe without her today.
Maybe tomorrow will be better but today it’s not going to be okay.
I have had 10 miscarriages – just saying that is hard for me
For so long I have tried to sweep it under the rug – once my number became larger then three I became numb to it all. I’m not really an emotional person, but this topic always brings up memories as if it all happened yesterday.
I have been through 10 miscarriages in 6 years.
I am 28 years old – I have been pregnant 13 times – and have 3 living children.
I can be a very private person, but I think miscarriage and infertility have enough secrecy surrounding it that I do not want to perpetuate it. The more it is talked about – the more women and families can feel supported and listened to and important – not embarrassed and ashamed like I am struggling to not feel. I am opening up the door to talk about it – so here is my long story:
My first two miscarriages were kind of a blur to me. We were not trying to get pregnant and basically found out we were expecting the same time we realized we were miscarrying. I had always heard that having one miscarriage was ‘normal’ and so I honestly didn’t put too much thought into it. They were still very painful and devastating to me but I thought once we were actively trying everything would be OK – that no one would have more then 2.
My husband and I decided to start trying for a family and we actively began trying to conceive using basal body temping as a guide. We became pregnant again in November 2004 after the first month of trying. I was about 6 weeks pregnant just around Christmas when I miscarried (#3). This time it hit me – hard. I mean I have never heard of someone who has had 3 miscarriages ever – let alone in a row.
Basal Body Temperature Chart using Fertility Friend
I began feverishly doing my research.
With my basal body charts I had noticed that my luteal phase was under 10 days (according to research the shortest it should be for a successful pregnancy) so I began to take vitamins B6 and B12 to lengthen it. I went to the doctor and his thought was that my progesterone was low and that is why I was not able to hold on to the pregnancy past 6 weeks. So a new plan evolved. I would stay on the vitamins and go on a progesterone supplement the moment I found out I was pregnant. This made the basal body temping so important – I needed to know the exact date.
We began another month of trying to conceive (TTC). Thermometer in hand and a plan in mind we became pregnant again in June and I was on the progesterone medication. The plan was to stay on until 12 weeks pregnant and then to slowly wean myself off. When 12 weeks came along we lowered the dose of progesterone but I began to bleed so we quickly went back onto the medication. The baby was doing fine and the new plan was to wean off at 20 weeks. 20 weeks came and I was successfully weaned off with no further complications. I had my first full term baby (Big P) in December 2005 – a healthy boy.
Big P – 8lbs 1oz
My husband and I had always wanted to have our kids close in age, so we starting TTC again relatively quickly. I began the basal body temping again and got pregnant pretty quickly. When I got the positive I went to the doctor to get a prescription for the progesterone and started taking it again. I miscarried #4 shortly after 7 weeks. My doctor and I both thought it was because the progesterone was not started soon enough so I was given a prescription for the next time to begin the day I had a positive test. I got pregnant again and started the progesterone but miscarried #5 at 6 weeks 5 days and I was starting to lose hope. I went back on the vitamins and we began TTC again. Thinking back it probably would have been better to give myself a few months to heal physically and emotionally but I was determined and had the okay from my doctor.
In July 2006 we got pregnant again and everything was going smoothly. I was on the progesterone and we had an ultrasound that showed the heartbeat and the baby was growing. I was on bed rest again for the first 20 weeks and was weaned off the progesterone at 20 weeks. Everything was going smoothly. At 8 months pregnant I awoke with vertigo – fell and cracked my wrist. I was taken to the hospital and without going into too much detail I was diagnosed with possible stroke and they ran a large amount of tests and I was hospitalized.
In one of those tests they discovered I had a blood disorder called Factor V Leiden. Everything was going relatively smoothly with the pregnancy. I was having some weight issues – having only gained 10lbs and was 8 months pregnant they were checking to see if the baby was growing -which she was. I was being induced just over 2 weeks early because of the vertigo and possible stroke. Our healthy baby girl (Princess R) was born in February 2007.
Princess R – 7lbs 14oz
This is where the story starts to get a bit crazy. I had 2 more miscarriages (#6 & 7) due to failed birth control. We were not trying to have an other baby yet – however these losses were still quite painful.
In May 2007 I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and was on a strict gluten free diet. We had wondered if that was an underlying cause contributing to the miscarriages and we’re hopeful that was the answer. I still had the constant vertigo that started in January 2007 and was seeing a neurologist for possible causes. During one of our meetings she mentioned Factor V Leiden again. That was the first time I had heard of it since back when I was pregnant with Princess R. The neurologist thought that could be the cause of my possible stroke when I was pregnant. I was sent to other specialists for that.
My husband and I were ready to expand our family again. I went off birth control in the beginning December 2007 and we began TTC again. I became pregnant the first month but lost miscarriage # 8 at just over 5 weeks. We didn’t take any breaks between that loss and trying to conceive again and we became pregnant again the next cycle at the beginning of January.
I was back on the progesterone and everything was seemingly going okay – baby was perfect. We had made it past 8 weeks of pregnancy and thought everything was going to go smoothly. We had told extended family and friends and had begun taking daily photos of my growing belly – our kids were excited.
Big P and Princess R telling the family about the growing baby
A phone call came to me a few weeks later that shattered me. The baby (Triton) that had made it to 13 weeks was “no longer viable” and he had passed away (miscarriage # 9). I was confused – I had done everything ‘right’ – I was on the progesterone, was on bed rest – everything. I was scheduled for a D&C because I did not want to deliver at home.
The OB who was going to be doing the surgery turned out to be a lifesaver to me. Another miracle that Triton brought into my life. My OB had read over my chart, talked to me for a long time about my history and pegged that I had been diagnosed with Factor V Leiden, a blood disorder that predisposes me to making blood clots.
The surgery was scheduled for April 24, 2008 and I was able to get the answer I needed. When the pathology came back it showed blood clots caught in the umbilical cord cutting off the supply to Triton. He had given me the answer and we had a new plan and a concrete diagnoses for all my losses – Factor V Leiden.
Recovering from surgery, my husband and I were not trying to conceive yet. I did become pregnant (seriously it’s like he just has to look at me to get me pregnant) the next month but miscarried again (#10) likely because I was not healed up completely from the surgery. We were both ready to start the process of adding to our family and met up with my OB again.
The new plan – because Factor V Leiden predisposes me to throwing blood clots normally and any pregnant woman’s risk of blood clots increase anyway – my chances were pretty high. This is the reason for my miscarriages, my possible stroke at 8 months pregnant – but luckily there was something we could do. I was still going to be on the progesterone for 20 weeks because I did have an issue with low progesterone – it was just not the whole story.
I continued with the basal body temping and this time added low dose aspirin (it’s a blood thinner). Once I got that positive pregnancy test – I went on the progesterone and was put on another medication called Fragmin. This medication is a needle that I inject into my lower abdomen – it is a blood thinner that is safe to take while pregnant. This medication was designed to thin my blood enough to stop me from making clots and putting me and baby at risk for miscarriage or still birth.
I injected myself with this needle every day – I was covered in bruises but everything was working. It became second nature to me. Since it is not safe to go into labor while on blood thinners I was placed on bed rest at 36 weeks because I had begun to dilate. The plan was to induce me again just over 2 weeks early – I had to be off the blood thinner to deliver but could not go over 12 hours without the medication or I would risk another stroke. So, the safest thing to do was a planned early induction.
In February 2009 our third full term baby (Baby E) was born perfect and healthy. I was put back on the Fragmin blood thinners and had to continue giving myself the injections for 8 weeks postpartum.
Baby E – 7lbs 13oz
Now, if you are still with me – thank you. It is hard to condense this story into a few paragraphs. I don’t really have a ‘moral’ or ‘message’ to this story except this is my story. It has been a very difficult and extremely painful journey.
It has taken me a long time (and I am still working on it) to accept what has happened and to begin to digest it all.
Three years ago I started dating my now ex-boyfriend. He was my entire world. I thought that no one would ever be anything close to the level of amazing that I saw in him. He was perfect. I made him perfect in my mind.
We ended up moving in together after six months. It was out of necessity, really, since we didn’t have another option.
I loved everything about him. He was tall and strong and handsome and had beautiful blue eyes. He was the only man I’d ever fully given myself to, and he was the first person I ever had an intimate relationship with.
Everyone always teased me about staying a virgin for so long, but I wanted to wait until I felt I was ready. Looking back, maybe I was and maybe I wasn’t. More likely than not, I wasn’t. But in the turmoil of sexual assault, I wanted so desperately to be loved and wanted that I convinced both of us I was ready.
I took us having sex as us being “serious.” I didn’t know any better. Forget that I was 21 and not exactly naïve… I thought I knew it all. I forgave him for messing around with his ex-girlfriend behind my back. I ignored him trying to hook up with his friend’s sister at a party at my house (when he didn’t live there) right in front of me. I looked past how horribly cruel he was to me the moment he threatened to take his own life. He was perfect. More importantly, I was broken, and the only way I thought I could be put back together was the way he was telling me to.
The controlling started small. He would break things off, leave me devastated for a day or two, then come back and apologize, and swear never to leave me again. He felt insecure when he couldn’t perform when we were intimate, but he would blame it on me. Yep, the sexual assault survivor is to blame for everything that went wrong when we had sex. Even when I thought things went well, he had some problem with it. He never even turned off the TV. Christ, he never stopped WATCHING the TV when we were intimate. He would wake me up in the middle of the night to perform oral sex on him… then tell me to go to bed – I was slutty if I wanted something in return.
Eventually the controlling moved out of the bedroom. If I went out, he wanted to know every detail of where I was. It was casual; I barely noticed it at first. I went to a coworker’s birthday party and failed to mention until the next morning that I had stopped with friends to grab a bite to eat at a Denny’s on the way home. He was livid. Why was I hiding things from him? Was I being unfaithful?
Silly me: that was as much protective nature and affection as I got from him. So I chalked it up to him being romantic. Someone anonymously left me a flower at work one day and when he found out, he threatened to sit in the lobby of my workplace and beat the shit out of whomever it was. I laughed it off, but was never entirely sure he was kidding.
Eventually, I wasn’t supposed to dress-up or put makeup on. If I so much as brushed my hair out, he would make fun of me, ask who the hell I was getting all fancy for. We never went out anywhere. I wasn’t supposed to go out much any more, either, or I’d get lectures: “I was gone all the time” or “neglecting my responsibilities around the house.” Even though we lived with three other roommates, it was my job and my job alone to clean the house.
I was supposed to do his laundry. I was supposed to make sure everything was perfect. I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or do anything. If I checked my mail, I had to give him every detail.
When we went out to group gatherings, he’d purposely act like a jackass so we would leave early. He would go out of his way to embarrass me in public so he didn’t have to stay. Work functions, my family get-togethers (he was a golden child at his family’s functions), even hanging out with my friends. He had to talk down to everyone around him.
I was only allowed to go to the bar on the nights he was working security. He had to be introduced right away as my boyfriend to anyone who talked to me, otherwise he would punish me by refusing to touch me in bed. Any affection was off the table: he wouldn’t touch me. He never held my hand in public. He never kissed me in front of anyone. He never once introduced me as his girlfriend.
He’d tell me I wasn’t an equal part of our relationship – I caused all of our fights. And I did. Mostly because if we were arguing, at least he was paying attention to only me. I’d try to stand up for myself, but it always ended with me in tears. He would say anything to make me cry, then tell me I was always crying and he didn’t sign up for my emotions.
This went on for three years. I slipped into one of the worst depressions I’ve experienced. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t shower, I could barely even get myself dressed for work. He hated when I went to work. Forget that I was the only one with anything close to a full-time job (he got paid forty bucks a weekend to bounce at the bar and went to school full-time), and I had to pay all of our bills. He hated my coworkers. They were all scum – I shouldn’t hang out with them.
On the other hand, his parents paid for everything – his rent, his car, his insurance, his cell phone, and handed him gas money every week. They paid for his groceries. I worked my ass off and was expected to pay our rent, utilities, my own cell phone, my own insurance, and for our groceries. What did he do with his money? Bought knives and guns.
When I was raped, my attacker used a gun in places I won’t go into detail about. My boyfriend kept all the guns in our closet, with the door open, on my side of the bed, so I had to stare at them. He complained that I’d never go to the shooting range with him. I can’t be near guns without shaking uncontrollably and losing it, but I went anyway. I fired guns, broke into tears, tried to improve because he was angry that I was a bad shot. But every time I cried, he comforted me, told me how well I was doing. That made him an amazing and caring man.
I was in and out of major depressive cycles. At the beginning of September, I was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. I didn’t know why I wanted to die, I just did. I tried to take a knife to my own throat. He stopped me. He talked me down. I checked into the hospital. I was transferred under a 5150 to another hospital. When he visited me, I tried to show him how well I was doing, because he was threatening to leave me.
I was discharged from the mental hospital, but he couldn’t come get me. If there was no other way, he’d get to it “when he had time.” So my best friend picked me up. That first night back at home, he was so glad to see me. He recreated our first dates, we were intimate on a regular basis, he was affectionate, and doing everything for me – just because. Our lives were finally on track now that I was finally medicated. Right?
A week later, he came home and told me he wanted to leave me – he didn’t love me and never had. He didn’t want to live with me anymore. We agreed I’d get my own place, and we’d work on us from there.
The next day, he told me he had been having an affair with some random girl from at the bar, so I had to move out of the house that day. I told him he couldn’t legally evict me, and I wasn’t going anywhere. He beat the ever loving shit out of me. I told him if he didn’t leave, I’d call the cops. Paranoid as he is, he finally left.
That night, I had been planning to tell him that I’d found out I was pregnant while I was in the hospital.
Where were my roommates? They’d taken his new plaything out to the casino while he dumped me, so, you know, she’d have a nice time and it wouldn’t be awkward for her. Excuse me?
I was angry, hurt, upset. I’d been sick to my stomach and couldn’t keep my medications down, which threw me into withdrawal. I thought I’d never feel again. I had no family, I’d been out of work, so I had no money, and nowhere to go.
I took every single piece of clothing he owned and threw it off the deck. I threw it up in the trees. I dumped it in the dirt. I emptied the entire contents of the fridge onto them and left them to rot in the sun. I packed up all of what had been ours – the bed, all the furniture, the dog, everything and moved into a girlfriend’s house.
I threw away everything that reminded me of him. It wasn’t much – in three years, he’d never bought me a birthday card or Christmas present. He always had the nicest I could afford, but I never even got flowers or a card.
Eventually, I told him that I was pregnant. He wanted proof; I gave it to him. Then I miscarried.
I called him, not sure what else to do. I figured it affected him, too. His response? “Deal with it by yourself, you’re not my problem anymore.”
I had bruises for weeks. The cops did nothing. When I went to collect the last of my belongings from the house, the new girlfriend was in his bed, and she bitched me out. We live in a small community; he runs his mouth every chance he gets: it’s my fault my roommate’s kids hate him; I tried to stab him to death (completely false); I stole the dog (I paid six hundred dollars for that dog and had him before we got together); I left him unexpectedly for someone else. There are a billion lies circulating that I have to deal with. He attacks anyone who knows me out of nowhere.
In that moment, I seriously thought my life was over.
Now it’s been almost three months. I don’t think about him much anymore, and I can appreciate the good memories we had. The more I look back on it, though, the more I realize how many signs I ignored.
So now I’m single. I am spending time with my friends and the people who matter in my life. I’m not dating yet – but it’s by choice. I want to spend some time letting myself heal and figuring out who I am and what I want not only from my life, but also from a life with a partner. I’m learning to define what values are important to me in a significant other. There are guys in my life, but I don’t feel the need to validate myself through them. I stick with my medications. I still go to counseling. I have started attendingAl-Anon meetings in my area. I’m working on saving up to move to wherever I decide I want to be. I’m living. I’m surviving.
At the end of the day, I’m only 24 years old. The last three years do not define who I am. They will always be a part of me, and I am so thankful that I was able to learn these lessons before things got any worse. Are there still days when it’s hard? Of course. But sometimes shit just happens.
My brother-in-law (I’ll call him Tom) has always been flirty with me, but not in a gross way – just normal guy stuff. I knew him before he knew my sister (who I’ll call Heather), I’m 37 and he’s about 5 years older, she is 2 years younger than me.
I own a multi-family home with Heather, I live in my apartment and she rents out her apartment because she and Tom and their son have a single family house about a half mile away.
I recently moved back to this house because I got out of a tumultuous relationship. I had also just had a miscarriage (with the ex’s baby, so nature made the right decision for me) literally about 4 days before moving.
I was happy to be home with my son. I felt safe. I felt calm. I felt like I could heal there.
One day about a week after I had moved, Tom texted me to tell me he was going to be at the house to cut the lawn and to clean out the basement a bit. When I got home with my son, Tom was there and had definitely been drinking. He’s not a big drinker so it was a little strange that it was a weekday afternoon when he started on the beers. But I attributed it to a rough day and he wanted to relax.
At the time, I was still smoking, and I was outside on the porch having one and he came up to me from behind and pushed himself against me. I could feel it. I moved away, laughing nervously and said “OMG stop!!!” Like I said, he had always flirted and he’s very sarcastic and jokes a lot. He came up to me again and talked into my ear about how bad he wanted me and just wanted me to let him touch my butt. I again said “no” and moved away, the ‘whispery’ type voice in my ear was creeping me out.
My son was inside the house playing in his room, so when I went in shortly after that, Tom came in to say hi to his nephew. I was in the kitchen when Tom grabbed my hand and pulled me into the bathroom. I said “What are you doing? Stop”. He closed the door behind us. He continued with that creepy voice, reached up under my dress, yanked my underwear down and put his hand on me, rubbing it around. I was in shock. I said “Stop it! No, this isn’t right, come on!”
At that moment I felt like I was outside of my body. My brain was going “Is this really happening”? and simultaneously thinking “I’m probably still bleeding from the miscarriage, is he going to hurt me?” The only thing I remember next is him pushing my head down towards the sink and saying “Come ON!”, he took my hand and made me touch him. I held it for a few seconds in fear but then let go. I was mortified. This is my SISTER’S husband. I said no, I said stop, I did NOT ask for this.
Because I had been in a physically abusive relationship before, I automatically start to panic when the tone of voice changes, and his “Come ON!” scared me. Would I have been able to physically push him away from me? Probably. Why didn’t I? I HAVE NO IDEA and it is killing me. I remember thinking “Oh my god, he’s going to rape me!” WHY didn’t I fight back? I’ve never physically hurt anyone nor have I ever had to fight anyone off me.
I also knew my 5 year old son was in the next room. I didn’t want to scare him. I heard him yell to me “Mama! Where are you?” I took advantage of this moment, knowing that Tom wouldn’t want my son to know he was in the bathroom with me – and that my son could easily open the bathroom door (it doesn’t lock). I said “I’m in the bathroom, just peeing – I’ll be out in a second!”
I was able to get Tom’s hand out from my underwear, but he held me against the sink until he finished on my back. I cleaned myself off and got out of the bathroom. Tom kept saying “obviously we can’t tell anyone about this” and it’s as if he thought the only “wrongdoing” was that he cheated on his wife with her sister.
He went into the basement and I locked my door.
I got texts a few days later asking how I was and he asked if I liked it. I wrote back telling him that I will NOT talk about this anymore. I told him I felt extremely violated and ashamed, and that I felt like he took advantage of my vulnerability from my breakup, and from the miscarriage.
He still didn’t seem to understand. He thinks “we” just had a little affair. I think he sexually assaulted me. I have not told my sister. I am struggling with this. I want her to know because I would want to know of my husband of 9 years did this. But I also don’t want to be the cause of her family breaking apart and uprooting EVERYTHING. I also believe that Tom will vehemently deny this, or at least deny it was forced.
I’m terrified of the effect this would have on Heather, her son, my entire family, and everyone that knows us. I’m terrified that Tom would be enraged with me. I’m terrified that people would blame me for not fighting back harder. I said no, stop, no, stop – over and over. I never once invited this. I froze in the moment and just let him do his thing as I closed my eyes to keep the tears from coming out. I didn’t push him away physically. Why? WHY didn’t I fight back????
I plan to see a therapist about this, just haven’t made the call yet. This happened in July. It’s the end of September. I struggle with guilt and “why didn’t I fight back?” every single day.
I struggle with whether or not to tell my sister.
This has caused me to avoid family gatherings. My parents do a lot with Heather and Tom. (Vacations, day trips, etc.) I don’t have as much in common so it’s not unusual that I’m not with them. But it’s going to be harder around the holidays. I have a hard time even looking Heather in the eyes, never mind being around Tom. The guilt is horrible. Why do I feel guilty when I did nothing wrong? Could I have physically fought him off? I don’t know. But I didn’t try – and that’s why I feel so guilty.
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss
October is a special month for us here at The Band. Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and other types of baby loss and child loss affect families every day. Too many people suffer silently through the devastating loss. For those going through it, we want you to know, your little ones matter.
October 15th, is Pregnancy, Infant and Child Loss Remembrance Day.
On that day, our Remembrance Wall will go up. We want all our little ones to be remembered. Please send us a comment or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can abide with you and remember your little one(s) as our own. Today, and every day, our hearts ache for those tables forever missing one.
As we go through this month, we want to hear your stories. Stories of miscarriage. Of babies born still, still born. Of baby and child loss. This is your month and there is no story too small.
Our other loss families need to hear your stories.
Please share how your losses have affected you. There is strength in numbers and comfort in knowing you are not alone.
If you’d like to add your baby’s name to our Wall of Remembrance, please fill this out so we can properly remember your lost little one.