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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > I lost my baby yesterday, can someone help me breathe again?

My husband and I lost our baby Hazael yesterday. I was 6 months pregnant, she was our first. I stopped feeling her move so I went to the dr. They did an ultrasound and Hazael no longer had a heartbeat. They let my husband and I be, grieve, mourn, do the thing that you do when you just find out that your baby died. I am scheduled to be induced on Thursday, so last night I slept knowing that my baby Hazael is in my body but shes not alive. I honestly cannot bear this. I am not angry but completely broken. I am hurt beyond repair. I am praying that maybe Thursday she will be born alive, I feel stupid for hoping but my only other option is absolute despair.
My only other option is being in this reality where our little girl will no longer exist. How do you deal? How do you breathe when pain is crushing you down? How do you eat again? How do you sleep again? I just dont know how to do this anymore, it has escaped me.
May 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUnbearable Despair
Oh Unbearable Despair. I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your daughter, Hazael. I, too, lost our baby girl Evelyn (also our only child) in the 6th month -- she was born on August 15, 2016 after being unexpectedly born prematurely and passed away the following morning. I'm so very sorry for your pain and your despair and suffering.

This is very fresh. Very, very raw. This new reality is just beginning to sink in and it will take time...a lot of time, I'm afraid. We have lost a child, a beloved member of our family -- we will be grappling with what has happened and the aftermath for the rest of our lives. After all, a great sorrow follows where a great love existed first. All you can do is take life one day at a time. One day can seem too long, too big in the beginning, so maybe just one moment at a time. Until those moments can be strung together to make an hour, then a few hours, then a day. And so on.

I experienced phantom kicks in the first few days after Evie was born and I thought, wait, maybe she's still in there! Maybe this is all just a terrible nightmare and I'll wake up and she will still be in my womb, safe and alive. It took weeks for my husband and I to really realize that what we were living was reality, that our nightmare was real and not an elaborate figment of our imagination. Because the truth is so awful, that you want to believe something, anything else. Be as gentle with yourself as you can be and know that whatever you're feeling or thinking, you're NOT stupid. You're in immense pain.

In those first few horrific days following our daughter's death (and even into the first few weeks), I didn't want to eat or sleep or do anything, really. I had to be reminded to eat, I had to be reminded to close my eyes and rest. I didn't care about myself. Those innate things we all do every day -- eating, drinking water, sleeping, conversing -- they take awhile to come naturally again (at least they did for me) but they will, in time. Unbelievably, they will.

I understand where you are. I understand the despair and the shock and the numbness. You are not alone. Though our stories differ, though each person who finds themselves here has a loss that is unique to them, we all share this incredible pain and sorrow. I wish I could reach through my computer screen and hold your hand. I wish I could gather you up in a giant hug and just sit with you for awhile. I will keep you in my heart, especially on Thursday. I wish I had something better to say than how sorry I am but my condolences are sincere. Sending love and strength your way.
May 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Unbearable despair, I don't have the right words, but I am really sorry for your loss. Will be thinking of you and your Hazael tomorrow. In 2012 my first baby was diagnosed with a condition that made him 'incompatible with life' when I was 32 weeks along. He was stillborn 5 days after the diagnosis. So I carried him those 5 days knowing he didn't have a chance of surviving the birth. Not quite the same experience as you, but it was heartbreaking to have him in there, but at the same time he wasn't really there anymore.
Please be gentle to yourself and do whatever you can to just survive the day, the moment. Get all the help you can from people around you. Wishing you strength, and patience. With time, it does get better although it never goes away completely.
May 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEYR
Oh Unbearable Despair, I'm so sorry. This is so unfair, it hurts like hell and there's no way around it. The only thing that helped me in the first little while was knowing that it will not feel like this forever. It seems like it will, but it won't. Do whatever you need to in order to get through (even if that's believing in the impossible for a while - you're her mother and it is absolutely logical for you to want to be hopeful for her). It will never be ok that your baby died, but you will be ok.
May 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterK West
Oh, unbearable despair I am so sorry. I am so sorry you find yourself here. My husband and I lost our baby boy, Carter, 3 months ago. He suffered a loss of oxygen in utero that caused severe brain injury. We withdrew care after 3 days in the NICU. We miss him terribly.

It is all so raw for you right now. Please be gentle with yourself. Surround yourself with supportive people you can lean on. The intensity of emotions you will feel in these initial days and weeks will be immense. Feel what you need to feel. None of it is wrong. You do what you need to do to survive. You and your husband are the priority. And take it one day at a time. Sometimes there are days that I have to take it minute by minute. At 3 months out the rawness and shock has disappeared - but the hurt is still so present. I believe the pain will always live alongside joy in my heart; but hopefully with time it fades into the background.

Please continue to reach out. Our stories and grief are unique but we all know the pain of losing a child. You, your husband, and sweet daughter, Hazael, will be in my thoughts on Thursday and the days and weeks ahead. Sending you so much love. I'm holding all three of you in my heart.
May 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJenna
I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this. There are no words to describe the horror. I keep thinking about you ever since I saw your post.

Please come back to us when you have the strength, and feel welcome to stay in our community.

I kept having these brief flashes of hope that my daughter might be alive even after a couple of days after her birth and death. This is not unusual. I was aware the the hope is unrealistic, but what felt new and different was the sheer ferocity of that hope.

Tomorrow you will most likely be offered the opportunity to see and hold Hazael, to bathe and clothe her if you want, to take pictures, to spend some time with her. If you choose to do that it will be somewhat disturbing but mostly beautiful. You will also go through the process of giving birth, a monumental life event. I'll keep thinking about you.

As for what comes after... it will take some time to get beyond the shock, and then some more time to slowly reintegrate into normality. This can take months, but most of us have discovered that breathing becomes easier over time, but that we also have a lasting bond with our children, and that this bond continues to develop.
May 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAna
My husband and I lost our daughter six months ago yesterday. She was damaged during birth and died a few hours later. What you are going through is a nightmare. It is beyond most people's comprehension.
Please be as gentle to yourselves as possible, in the days weeks and months that are to come let people help you - I didn't and it doesn't help.
Do take photos or get someone to do so. I treasure my locket with some of Eleanor's hair and a photo of her little face after she died.
I will be thinking of you, your husband and Hazael tomorrow- sending my love.
May 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKE
Thank you for taking time to comfort me. You all will never know the amount of gratitude that I have in my heart. I feel validated, my pain feels validated and im truly sorry that you guys have gone through a loss. I know that one day I will breathe again. I have to be induced in a couple hours, pleas keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I just cant believe this is really happening. I cant believe that people have to go through ths. I feel terrible that so many families have experienced this and I never was aware of their stories or pain. So man thought s today. I don know if i can do this.
May 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUnbearable Despair
Thinking of you Unbearable Despair
May 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCristiane
Me too.
May 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAna
Unbearable Despair, I am so very sorry you find yourself here. My heart hurts reading your story and I'm immediately transported 5 years back to when I was in a similar position. We lost our Shelby in the 6th month and I had to wait to be induced too. I too hoped for a miracle. I too lay in bed at night counting the minutes I had left with my baby inside me.

This is heart breaking and all you can do is keep breathing. Keep going through the motions of living and get through hours/minutes/seconds at a time. And keep coming here, Vent, cry, share feelings and come here. Because it helps to know you aren't alone and everything you are feeling is normal and ok.

I'm so very sorry xxx
May 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
I just wanted to check in and say I was just thinking of you all today, sending my love
June 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKE
Thank you for the thoughts. Today we held a funeral for my daughter Hazael. She was buried in my family plot, next to my late 27 year old brother. It was bittersweet, but due to the autopsy I had a couple weeks to actually realize that this is happening or I should say come to terms with what happened. The doctor told me that it was most likely a cord accident, like a knot. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt when someone inquired whether her kicking was actually her showing me a sign of struggle. Ahhh, the things the well-intentioned people of the world say to a grieving mother. I try not to get upset at someone insinuating that my baby was kicking so that I could rescue her,and died as a result of my inability to decipher her struggle. My birthing experience was smooth, besides the agonizing heartbreak of her not being alive. But I felt some comfort in having held her, and seeing my husband hold her. I felt comfort in my immediate side of the family holding her, because I felt that she was acknowledged by them even though she came into the world lifeless. The hospital staff were nothing short of amazing. The nurses taking care of me had all had similar experiences and it showed in their compassion. I had the most horrible experience with the radiologist who came to my room to do a confirmation ultrasound. She refused to let my husband be in the room while she did the ultrasound because she thinks more clearly with no one in the room and didn't want anyone breathing down her neck...those were her words, not mine. I became nothing short of hysterical. I explained that our child has died, and I need my husband to be able to see his daughter in her last ultrasound of her. He needed to see no heartbeat because we both were playing for a miracle. She didn't get it, there was no compassion there at all. I became hysterical, my father is an oncologist came in the room and said hes not leaving. The nurses asked why my husband was standing in the hallway, when they found out that they radiologist was not letting my husband in the room. They then told the radiologist off and said he (my husband) had a right to be in the room. The radiologist put up a stink, but she let him stay. Then when she was finished she was pulled into a room with the nurse manager, floor manager and attending obgyn. Afterward she apologized, the managers apologized on her behalf....etc etc just all the apologies. I didn't dwell on it, even though I found it infuriating. I had lost my child at the end of day, dealing with a horrible person is a cake walk compared to that. Anyways, we spent 16 hours with my daughter before I was like ok we need to leave. I fell asleep a few times due to being medicated and emotionally exhausted. I was wheeled out eventually. It was so hard to leave her behind, I felt like I had abandoned her. It was so hard leaving, my arms were so heavy but empty. It took my a while to wrap my head around the fact that I had a baby but left her behind. I can't help but wish that I would have had a chance to fight for her life, a chance to save her. I know its very difficult to have a child fighting for their lives in a nicu. But in my heart I felt like she could survive, she was 25 weeks. I wasn't thinking rationally about the otherside of that situation, the side where the child is fighting for their lives and still passes away. Anyways, today I laid my baby to rest. I hurt but I am breathing. I feel alone, but I am praying that no one loses a child ever in life, but I know that is being silly. So I just pray that one day I will be able to help someone. That I will be able to encourage someone like you guys have encouraged me. I hope that I can make lemonade. I hope that I can feel true joy again, instead of wearing a mask in public. Sorry for the thoughts are all over the place!
June 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUnbearable Despair
Thank you for sharing your experience. Laying ones baby to rest is awful and something no one should have to do. But you're right it is shockingly common. I think in this 21st century world we are led to believe that everything will be OK and that once you've had a couple of scans it will automatically be all well - of course it usually is- but ask around and this is not always the case.
I think that we all feel some element of misplaced guilt, we all wish it was different and if we think we could have changed things then inevitably we will feel guilty. However we all did our best in the worst of circumstances and I hope that I can allow that thought to prevail eventually instead of all the " if only I'd insisted on an elective c section" or whatever.
Please have a quiet time with your family and love your daughter all together.
I don't know why but I found myself thinking of you all yesterday and wondering how you all were.
June 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKE