Saturday, October 15, 2011

National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I don't mean to dampen anybody's experience with loss of a pregnancy or the still birth of a child, but I think it's also important to remember those who didn't physically lose their child, and still lost so much.

I know a little bit about how much it must hurt to lose a child. I know because I experienced it. Sure, I have Sadie now, but I was told I wouldn't have her. I know what it feels like to have a baby and go through hours of labor and pushing and then be told that all that work was for nothing, that the nursery you'd spent so much time making perfect will be empty, and to take as many pictures as you can now because you won't ever get to again. We cried ourselves to sleep every night after we came home from spending all day at the hospital. And when we made the decision to unplug Sadie's breathing tube and to not resuscitate her, we spent 2 sleepless nights at the hospital waiting for her last breath, both dreading it and wishing it would hurry up and happen so we could grieve and get on with our lives. Even after we brought Sadie home, we were told not to expect her to live through the week. Every night she slept between us as we listened to her breathe, not knowing if she'd still be with us in the morning. And even though she survived that first week, and a lot more, I still feel like I lost so much. And I feel like it's also worth recognizing so many of that didn't lose our child physically, but lost so much in other ways.

I grieved when Sadie was born because I thought she might die, but I grieved again when I learned that her head was small and it probably always would be. And I grieved again when I learned she has a significant visual impairment. I grieved when the realization hit me that my child will never look normal. I grieved when she couldn't eat enough to gain weight and when we had to start tube feedings. And I grieve everytime I know my child is in pain or uncomfortable but she is unable to tell me what's wrong. It took me most of that first year of Sadie's life before I stopped wishing she had passed away, because things might be easier. In fact we're coming up on 2 years and I still entertain the thought of what life would be like if we didn't have Sadie and had gotten pregnant again right away and now had a perfectly healthy normal child. Would life be easier? Probably. Would it be less sad? Probably not. Because as Sadie grows and we encounter new things like wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment, I will continue to grieve and be sad, but not in the same way as if I were wondering what my child would have looked like or who she would have grown up to become. Not sad like wishing she was still here in my arms.

It's really sad when people lose a pregnancy. I cried when my best friend called me from the ER after she had lost her baby. And I bawled through reading about my cousin's miscarriage via her blog. But, as you recognize these situations on days like this that serve to promote awareness, please don't forget those of us who are living with our losses each and every day.

3 comments:

  1. God has taught you so much these past 2 years!! My prayer is that God will use all our losses, in whatever form they come, to teach us His comfort and His compassion. Thank you for sharing your life with us!!

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  2. After watching and waiting for my grandma to die for over a week I completely understand what you mean when you say you were wishing for it to just happen already when you were waiting for her last breath, the waiting was absolute agony and left everyone on edge unable to grieve and unable to move forward. You did lose something after Sadie's birth, even if you got to keep her in the end, so thinking of you today (yesterday really!) as we all grieve for what pregnancy and birth denied us.

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  3. Thank you Ms. Beck for putting into words what I have often thought as we travel this journey into the unknown.

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