A year ago today I was happily pregnant with my 6th baby and easing into my second trimester. Within 24 hours I knew that my baby was dead. I became pregnant again after 6 months of sorrow and grief. I was over the moon happy and put aside my fears of losing the new life growing within me. I lost my seventh baby by 8 weeks of pregnancy.
Since I work in labor and delivery, each day is a constant reminder of the two little holes in my heart. I’m beginning to see women come in with the due date I should still have. I literally bite my tongue to not cry sometimes when I place the fetal monitors on their growing bellies. When I teach childbirth class for new parents, I can’t watch the birth videos. I thought about leaving this area of nursing, but I couldn’t do it. It’s my life work and I’d be even more empty if I left it behind.
I just discovered that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss month. I had no idea. My first reaction was a little incredulous. Parents don’t need a special month to remember their loss. All they need is for it to be any day of the week or to get a well wish from someone who still thinks you are pregnant or seeing a TimeHop from about your happy “I’m pregnant” Facebook announcement you couldn’t bring yourself to delete. I have been thinking about it over the last few days, as the one year anniversary of my first miscarriage is closing in on me. Maybe it’s a good idea to have an awareness month for perinatal and infant loss. Maybe it’s a blessing to have an excuse to talk about our wee ones that aren’t with us. Most people don’t want to be “that person” whom is constantly talking about their dead baby. It’s too depressing although incredibly common.
Part of coping is moving on with life and a lot of people are trying to do this every day. But this month is set aside for awareness and it’s not taboo to talk about perinatal loss apparently. So today I will cry while I’m blogging and share my feelings and remember my two little babies I won’t see grow up. Tomorrow I’ll paste on a smile and try not to relive all the horror from a year or six moths ago. Next month will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas and I’ll pretend that my heart isn’t broken, because there isn’t another stocking to be hung up for Santa. Eventually I won’t think about it every day or even every week. It will get easier, but it never goes away.
To remember and honor the little ones who left us too early, reach out to a parent this month and let them know you remember their baby and are thinking of them. Having someone acknowledge my baby’s existence, near my due date or the anniversary of the miscarriage, has been the most helpful thing anyone has done for me.