October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day is a day dedicated to those who have suffered the loss of an infant due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or any other cause during pregnancy or infancy. 1 in 4 women will lose a baby during pregnancy or infancy, so why is there no word for a parent who loses a child? The pain of pregnancy and infant loss can often seem too much for words. It is crucial that we talk about pregnancy and infant loss more and bring awareness to the families who are continually left to grieve alone.
Two of our own staff members vulnerably and courageously share their stories of pregnancy loss and the grief and turmoil it brought upon them and their families.
The loss of a pregnancy, or rather your child, is something you don’t really expect to happen to you. In 2016 I found out I was pregnant rather unexpectedly with a beautiful baby boy. He was perfect and healthy, and my pregnancy was pretty uneventful. I took all those things for granted, of course. Even how easy it had been to get pregnant was something I hadn’t batted an eyelash at, hadn’t really understood that my husband and I’s experience could have been much more difficult. That was until 2019 rolled around and we found out we were pregnant with baby number two.
This is perfect, I had thought. Our children would be two years apart, something I had always wanted. Two months later, I noticed I was bleeding. When I called my OBGYN, she told me mild bleeding could be normal in pregnancy but if it progressed, I should head to the ER. Over the next 24 hours, the bleeding didn’t stop. An ER doctor confirmed for my husband and I what we had feared the most: our baby’s heart had stopped, likely a week prior.
“It’s not your fault,” the doctor said, and there was compassion in his eyes. “This is quite common, but most women only experience it once. It was likely a genetic abnormality, and your body rejected the pregnancy. But it’s nothing you’ve done.” I remember his words so clearly, and they echoed through my brain for weeks as I mourned my baby. It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault. I had to remind myself of this daily as sadness and what could have been scourged across my mind, flooding my eyes and my heart with grief I hadn’t experienced yet in my 25 years of life.
It took a while to be ready to try for another baby, but in 2020 we decided we were ready. Unfortunately, we hit the two month mark and again I started to bleed. My heart felt emptier this time around, and I was confused. I remember crying on our living room floor, my beautiful three-year-old hugging my neck asking me why I was crying. For weeks after that I held him a little closer, and I decided in my heart that if it was God’s plan for our family was one biological child, I could be content with that. A thankfulness grew in place of the emptiness that my miscarriages had left, a thankfulness for this soul God had entrusted me with earth side. I knew my two babies were with the Lord, safe and at peace. This was my greatest and really my only comfort.
In 2021 my husband and I decided to try one last time for a baby, and we immediately told pretty much everyone we knew so they could begin to pray. With the help of my amazing doctor, I took some supplements that were supposed to help give my baby the best chance of thriving that first trimester which is sometimes the most treacherous time in pregnancy.
My baby girl was born February 2nd, 2022. The night she was born there was a snow storm, and as my husband and I drove to the hospital the snow fell quietly and peacefully, not another soul on the road that late at night. I was reminded of God’s goodness, and how through the storms of life there is a deep peace that only He can provide. I often snuggle my children and thank God for blessing me with them. Through the painful circumstances in this life, God’s plan prevails and he remains good.
When my husband and I decided to start trying for our second baby, we didn’t plan for a miscarriage. In fact, miscarriage never even crossed my mind in that sort of “it would never happen to me” way. And let me just say, it’s not a club I want to be a part of.
In October 2020, my husband and I found out I was pregnant. About two weeks later, my body started miscarrying. I initially thought that what I was experiencing was early pregnancy symptoms, so I tried staying positive.
Things quickly took a turn for the worse and I knew something was wrong. What initially started out as minor cramps and spotting quickly turned into heavy bleeding and unbearable pain. It felt like my insides were being ripped from me and I worried that I was losing too much blood.
I left a message with my doctor and explained everything that was happening. I hadn’t been able to get an appointment for my first ultrasound, so my doctor didn’t even know I was pregnant. The next day, I got a call from another doctor in the office who coldly told me “It sounds like you’re having a miscarriage. Things should clear up in a couple of days.”
I was heartbroken. I felt empty.
We hadn’t told many people when I found out that I was pregnant, so the list of who to tell about the miscarriage was short. Still, with every call and text, I broke a little more.
Over the next few weeks, I fell into one of the darkest holes I have ever been in mentally. I convinced myself that I was broken. My body failed had me. I had decided (wrongfully) that for some reason, I must not have deserved another baby. I also knew that these thoughts were lies, but my heart was so broken and for too long, I believed the lies.
Having a miscarriage made me feel so isolated. I knew there were far too many women who, like me, have experienced the loss of a baby that was so desperately wanted. But I still somehow felt alone. My husband was heartbroken too, but he didn’t suffer physically like I did. He didn’t know what it was like to feel my body reject this pregnancy. He did his best to support me in every way I needed, but I still felt like I was alone in my pain.
It doesn’t matter what stage of development a baby is in when this loss occurs- losing a baby suddenly is heartbreaking and soul-shattering.
When we were able to get pregnant again, I was filled with a mix of excitement, joy, fear, and so much anxiety. I kept multiple positive pregnancy tests just so that I could look at them and remind myself that I was pregnant. Every slight pain came with fear. Every ultrasound started out with anxiety as I waited to hear the thump-thump-thump of my baby’s heartbeat. As I got later into my pregnancy, I would do everything I could to make sure I felt my baby moving and would worry if hours passed without feeling movement. With as much joy as pregnancy brought, I still feared the “what ifs” that came after that initial loss.
It took a long time for me to trust God with this pregnancy. I knew that ultimately, this baby was His first. Despite knowing that truth, I battled anxiety right up until the day our second baby girl was born- just nine days shy of the one-year anniversary of my miscarriage.
Our daughter is almost a year old now, but I still often think about who our other baby would have been. Would they have been a boy or girl? What would their favorite toys be? Would they look more like me, or their dad?
I know now that there was nothing wrong with me and that I did nothing wrong to cause a miscarriage. Often I wish I had answers and knew what happened, but I find so much peace knowing that I will get to meet that baby one day. I now have two beautiful girls; our oldest just turned 5 and our baby will turn 1 in November. They both bring me so much joy and have helped me as I still sometimes battle with the grief of miscarriage.
The Tragedy of Pregnancy and Infant Loss
The tragedy of pregnancy and infant loss can leave people feeling helpless and hopeless, but there is a way to save abortion vulnerable babies from the same fate. When we bring awareness to those grieving the loss of a pregnancy or infant, we can also educate and promote that life does in fact begin at conception. Abortion is the loss of a child, whether society recognizes it or not. In light of this day, we ask that you consider giving one time or becoming a monthly partner. Over the past 10 years, our Stork Buses have saved the lives of over 8,000 babies. You can join the fight to end pregnancy loss due to abortion and the unnecessary trauma that follows.
The best way to honor those who have been lost is by saving others and showing women that there is still HOPE.