Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Today's post is in memory of my son, Benjamin David, who was due to be born October 26th of this year, but instead, we said goodbye to him on June 2nd.
After a rather uneventful, complication-free pregnancy and delivery of my son Liam, it never occurred to me that something could wrong with my second pregnancy.
But it was different from the very beginning. My morning sickness was more severe, and lasted longer. I had significant bleeding, a "threatened miscarriage," at 14 weeks. They told me that night that although they saw a strong heartbeat and a bouncing baby on the ultrasound, there was still a possibility that I could lose the pregnancy.
I had just begun to feel the baby kick, and on the night of Saturday, June 1st, it was strong enough that Dave could feel light flutters under my belly.
But in the middle of that night, I woke up to the feeling of gushing fluid. My side of the bed was soaked. At the hospital, they told me I had no amniotic fluid left, due to Preterm Premature Rupture of Membrances (abbreviated pPROM). Our baby's lungs couldn't develop without it. We would have to say goodbye.
We didn't even find out until almost a month later that the baby was a boy. We named Benjamin David.
I'm still very much in the stages of grief. There are many days I appear normal, happy. But it is always in the back of my mind. Though I've stepped back from my personal social media outlets, Facebook in particular, I can't escape little reminders. Pregnancy announcements on other blogs I read, commercials about expecting couples on TV, pregnant women in stores where I shop. The reaction is almost always wistful sadness mixed with jealousy, "I wish that was me." As Benjamin's due date gets closer, I feel some anger, not at the expectant mother, but that Benjamin was taken away from me.
We received so much love and support from family, friends, and near-strangers, women I talk to in various forums online but have never met in person. I'll be forever grateful to the women of the cooking forum for contributing together to buy a memorial necklace for me, but particularly Courtney and Kylee for organizing it.
Also, the women of a pets forum, and the women in the birth month group from my pregnancy with Liam were so sweet in sending gifts to let me know they were thinking of me.
I am also thankful for finding Unite, Inc., a support system for parents who have lost a pregnancy or infant. Our group meets once a month, and though I feel sad while there, I look forward to every meeting. Our monthly meeting just happens to be tonight, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We've been invited to bring in any photos or mementos we have of our baby. We will be bringing the memory box provided by the hospital, containing Ben's footprints.
And in between Unite meetings, I have Through the Heart, a new organization dedicated to assisting the grieving parents, as well as their friends and family, in coping with the loss, and make pregnancy and infant loss a topic that is discussed more openly and honestly. I write occasional blog posts for them about my journey through grief and recovery, and hope to find other ways to get involved in the future.
According to statistics, one in four women experiences the loss of a pregnancy or an infant. If you know someone who has, please reach out to them today, and let them know you're thinking of them.