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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.

ttc | pregnancy | birth after loss > How did you cope with this hell?

I am an odd mixture of bitter, angry, hopeful, and fearful today.

Each day grieving the stillbirth of my son seems to dull the pain a bit--or at least, when that wave of grief decides to hit me (Which it still does, every day), it is still intense but I come out of it feeling alright. But I can't get past the immense bitterness of this situation. The living hell feeling. I am one of the most optimistic people in the world, and so is my husband--so it seems like I am literally trapped in an ocean with different tides of looking forward to the future, refusing to blame myself, then suddenly drowning in waves of "why did this have to happen to me?" and "it's not fair that he died," and "it's my fault."

Most of all, I am bitter that we have to TTC again, and go through pregnancy again, with no guarantees. I know my OB was confident it was a "fluke," but placental abruption itself has low statistics, and we were on the losing side of that. I am bitter that I have to go through another full-term pregnancy with a fear and apprehension I did not know before. Since my son was my first pregnancy, and I lost him, I feel naive and foolish looking back at the wonderful 38 weeks I had that were so easy and so happy and effortless. I feel stupid for bonding with him, stupid for setting up the nursery and having a huge baby shower, stupid for looking forward to his movements every day and singing to him while in my stomach. Everything was "too good to be true," in a way.

How do you other loss moms deal with this?? With having the courage to TTC and be pregnant again, after this agonizing loss? I am good at going through the motions of every day, good at staying productive. It's only been 5 weeks and I am back at work and finishing school this week. But when the grief hits me, it hits--and I am so, so bitter. I know I shouldn't be working right now, I shouldn't be focusing on my class, I should be at home nursing my beautiful baby boy and elated with my husband. Not this.

And now we want to get pregnant again, and--despite my husband being much more hopeful and optimistic than myself right now--we will go through the anxiety, the dread, because he was full term, there was nothing "wrong" with me, and this may very well happen again. But we want a family so badly, we want to have children together, and I know we inevitably will have to take this risk.

This is just awful. A bad nightmare. An alternate dimension I woke up in once we heard the words "no heartbeat."

How did you cope??? How did you stay afloat and make it through to a rainbow baby?
December 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Oh Nada, I read this and it took me back to how I was feeling early on, through my rainbow pregnancy and before that the figuring out when we were ready and all that. 2.5 years ago, we lost our daughter to placental abruption, like you silent, concealed and so so shocking. My rainbow son turns one tomorrow. It's been a wonderful and bittersweet year for us:now we know all that we've missed since our daughter died..but to answer your question on TTC and pregnancy after loss, first, we waited 9 months before trying again. We simply weren't ready before then--our grief was simply too raw. My issue has never been getting pregnant: I had 2 early miscarriages before our daughter...I think the longest it has taken to conceive was 3 months. My problem was staying pregnant: I have a uterine anomaly...as my maternal feral medicine specialist says:my pregnancy house just isn't very welcoming (that sounds harsh--he's actually very kind and compassionate). In any case, after our daughter died, I changed Ob, found an MFM and went from there. Once I became pregnant, I saw OB and MFM alternating weeks until I think 14 weeks, then alternating OB and MFM every other week until 28 weeks, then again one of them once a week until 34, then both once a week until I delivered via scheduled c section at 37! I was on baby aspirin the whole time even though they found no clotting issues (MFM says it can't hurt, only help), i got myself a Doppler, I saw a therapist, I went to a monthly pregnancy after loss support group, I leaned on the pregnancy thread here and I clung to the mantra: today I am pregnant. I was lucky too because I became pregnant at the same time as several women from the perinatal loss grief group I had found in our area. We helped each other too. And that's how I survived a stressful, high risk pregnancy...it was very very hard. Sending you peace, love and courage.
December 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAB
Nada, today my baby girl would have been 7 months old. She was born still fullterm, and we dont have an answer as to why.

I do not have words of wisdom for you, as to how this hell gets better. The beginning was horrible, waiting for my physical body to heal wa sthe wrost as I had so much pain and rawness that it was a reminder of how much I gave to have a baby and dont have one in my arms. I had alot of anxiety and disraughtness during those first 8 weeks. - Ihave no idea how you are back at work - I thankfully am from Canada and we get 15 weeks maternity leave for a stillbirth.

Do not feel stupid for celebrating the life you created. Do not feel stupid for bonding with him. He knew love, and that is all he knew because of you and your husband and your family. He knew love.

I wish I could give you a hug, I found that talking to my closest helped. confided in my two closest to me. I saw a social worker for a little bit who knew what I was going through. I found reading helped I got two books trying again, and pregnancy after loss, they were great to read, explaining why things happen, validated feelings about the loss and then the feelings of trying again. I read every word written on this website, I found it helped. We are not alone.

For trying again. My menstral cycle didnt come back for 8 weeks, and was not regular after that. I had to wait to start trying until I had blood work done - and I couldnt be pregnant for it - we started trying at 3 months after out loss. It took us 3 times to get pregnant, but we just had a misscarriage with that pregnancy, a blighted ovum - where no baby developed.

Wait until you are ready to try again. I found that the more time had passed, the more ready I was prepared mentally with the thought of making a sibling for my baby girl. whereas I feel at the beginning I just wanted her back. I do desperately want her back, I would trade anything for it, but I know that when we get pregnant it wont be her.

I agree with finding a mantra and repeating it to yourself when you get anxious. I have found a ton of loss and pregnancy after loss mantra/sayings on pinterest, and keep them on my phone when I need a reminder to be gentle to myself, to my husband. You are a strong women, you have a baby in heaven, and you are thinking about trying again. It takes so much courage and strength to just be thinking about this. Putting your body through pregnancy and preparing your mind for what is to come.

Be kind to yourself, your husband seems like a great support. Enjoy each other. Live each day to the fullest. Hugs from me, we are here foe you.
December 17, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterstill0517
Dear Nada

I am so sorry for your loss... It is a long way you have in front of you, and the first weeksare the worst. Besides, it was your first, a situation that may or may not help. You were so more loving to your baby than I was! The first trip is the miracle ride, every sensation is new!
I lost my second exactly two years ago (minus 1 day)... the early days were horrible, I remember going from acceptance to rage, to why me, it could have been worst, etc... crying, crying crying (hidden from my daughter after a few weeks)
But I remember well that having another was an obsession. I waited because my doctor said wait at least 18 months, and scared me a lot.
She appeased and allowed me to start 1 year after!

It was a very long long wait! The due date, the 6 months, the 1rst birthday was very dificult, and even this second birthday will not be easier because I am afraid I loose my rainbow the same way I lost him.

But its not all sadness, especially if you are a positive person, and you have your husband supporting (remember that you are alao supporting him, in my case my husband had a very serious depression when I "started to come"of mine! )
Be kind to yourself, accept that you can live withouth crying and remembering ALLthe time, but accepting that from time to time (the space intervals will become larger and larger) you will see something, hear someone, a stupid small trigger that will make you remember and grieve and cry... the intervals will get bigger as time goes by...

there is no right or wrong moment for anything in our long journey. For getting pregnant again, for having boots of depression, for grieving forever the idea of them!

Much love
December 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarta
Dear Nada,
I wish I could give you also a hug. I do know how thise first weeks are. I lost Miguel at 39 weeks due to a severe placental abruption 8 weeks ago. I had an emergency c-section and it was too late. Our children left us without saying hello to us, we are prepare to say hello but not goodbye forever. It has been hard for me too. I also come back to work.I am glad I have a home office and I stopped lactation 6 weeks ago. It was really depressing. I hope you can find consolation in those memories you built during your pregnancy, songs you sang for your baby help too. I also have the wish to conceive again but my husband is afraid of what happened. He has not been a "real" support, he grieved in his way, he got aggressive to me and it hurt. I am glad he realized and he came back to be the happy man he was before we lost Miguel. Anyways, I want to try again, I am 41 years old and do not want to wait 18 months. My OB said we could start in 6 months. Now, I just feel lost like you but I kiss my baby's prints, his hair and I feel better. I start doing cardio again, working out slow to heal my body and make it ready for TTC. I wish you serenity and patience. I have lost it with some people who try to console me with empty sentences. Keep negative people and comments away from you. Many hugs for you, taje care of your health, stay positive. I tell you this because in spite of my depression I want to think there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel. There is a hope, we won't get back our beautiful babies but we still offer his/her new sibling the love he/she feels where ever they are. I sing everyday three songs for Miguel and while crying it makes me feel better. Good night my angel, Billie Joel; To where you are, Josh Groban and the song I sang my son during 9 months: you raise me up, Josh Groban. I hope through music you find consolation like I do.
I also thank pther moms here who have given me more love and consolation than my own family and friends... without this page I will be lost. Thousand hugs. Julie
December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel Angel's mom
AB, still0517, Marta, and Miguel Angel's mom--thank you so, so much for sharing your stories and I am very sorry for all your losses.

I find myself reading your messages several times over to get comfort from them. Also hearing how you each dealt with grief in your own way is very useful. This loss feels so alienating because nobody wants to talk about stillbirth, or-- bluntly put -- the death of babies. Knowing there's women who have walked my path before and come out okay helps. It helps me feel less bitter towards all my friends and loved ones who haven't suffered infant loss. To know that there's women who felt my pain, and still feel it, and have managed to be okay and even get pregnant again.

AB, congratulations on your precious rainbow baby. And thank you for the breakdown of how your subsequent pregnancy went. I believe that mine will be mapped out in a similar way once I am pregnant again. My current OB (I'm probably going to switch) suggested weekly NSTs starting at 28 weeks, baby aspirin, etc. It's good at least that they spotted the uterine anomaly, because they created a plan to monitor you more that was suitable to what was going on. I know that I tested negative for clotting but I would actually have preferred that they found SOMETHING, so that it could be treated next time. At least they will throw in the baby aspirin.

still0517, I actually find it more comforting to be at work than at home. I have a family business so the hours are more flexible for me. But yesterday I just felt so, so upset and overtaken with grief that I ended up not going to work at all. And I think that made me feel worse. Sitting at home with nothing to do but linger over the unfairness of my loss, the memories of my beautiful baby boy, hurt me more than at least having these thoughts but simultaneously being productive...feeling like life is moving forward in that small way. I am going to try not to feel stupid. It's just ridiculously unfair that we bond with our babies so deeply the entire time we are pregnant with them, only to have it all ripped away in one day. But knowing that he knew our love the entire pregnancy is comforting. I also got the Pregnancy After Loss book and I find that to be useful. I really want to get pregnant again, to have that hope that things will go okay, and because my husband is getting older (he's 37 and I'm 27, turning 28) and I really want him to have our children around while he is still young. So while my "clock isn't ticking" I feel like his is, and because we were so ready to have this baby here now, it makes things seem all the more urgent. But yes, I do think that getting pregnant NOW would not be a good thing because I am still grieving over my baby and wanting him back. I have to differentiate between this new life and the one that was taken from me, and it will be harder in terms of accepting if the next baby is a different gender, etc.

Marta, I absolutely hate this situation for everyone. And I do hate that it was my first baby as well. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your second child. I feel that if I already had a child in the house, this loss would hurt me more in the sense that I know what we are "missing out on" with our baby--watching him grow, increasing the love and the mutual bond between us. In that sense, I don't really know what to expect yet with a child. But at the same time, having lost my very first makes it hard for me to imagine I can get pregnant again and have children successfully. I know logically it doesn't make sense because my loss was full-term, the pregnancy as a whole was uneventful, and I didn't have trouble conceiving. But it really dampens our hopes of starting a family. I feel that a new pregnancy will be somewhat healing to myself and my husband and renew that lost hope. Though it will be fraught with fear for me, especially towards the end of the pregnancy, and I have no idea how I will bring myself to bond with this baby....but like you said, I have to remain as optimistic as possible throughout the process.

Miguel Angel's Mom, I am so sorry for your loss. By now it has been about 6 weeks for me and I still feel lost. It's crazy how close our losses were, and for the same reason. My husband hasn't been exactly sure how to be supportive in my case as well. He is being his optimistic self and giving me as much love and support as he can, but I know that as men, their experiences have been so different from us throughout this pregnancy and they experience grief so differently. He gets upset when he sees me upset. So I am trying to shift my full on grieving to other supportive people in my life, like my sisters, and the therapist I just started seeing yesterday. Cardio helps me too....I need to do it more when I have the time. Sometimes I just want to lay down and do nothing right now, but when I did push myself to exercise I felt so much better. I also need to stay away from negative people. Most people don't understand the intensity of our losses. For me my family and in-laws have been positive and helpful--but since they don't REALLY understand, it helps for the moment. I am finding this community helps and I am going to reach out to the local support group in my area as well...it just helps knowing there are others out there that have suffered like us, and that there IS, as you said, a light at the end of the tunnel.
December 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNada
oh Nada, reading your post makes me feel understood as well. You were right in saying that it is harder to have lost a second child. It was my case, I already have a 4 year old. When Miguel Angel died, my son Leonardo was still kissing my belly and saying he loves Miguel Angel. He did that 3 weeks after his death. It was hard, each one of us grieved in a different way. My son changed his behavior, so I did. I know we need support from our families but for me it was the contrary. My sister traveled from my home country and in spite of her help at home, she has not been a help for my sadness. Her comments, her religious thoughts made me sadder and upset. She leaves in three weeks and I think after that, I will be able to grieve in the way I want. My other sisters also said things like "you should not cry for him, he is an angel, God took him because his mission was over" and things that made me just feel horrible. I am honest. I prayed my entire pregnancy, I ask God to protect Miguel Angel and have a nice birth. After my plancental abruption and his death, I could not pray for two weeks, I just hated those religious comments saying he was an angel. I asked myself: "but...I did not give birth to an angel, he was from this earth", I deserved to be mother again... I am 41 years old and you can imagine how Miguel Angel meant to me. As you, I do not give up motherhood, I do agree what you said, we do not want to replace our child but we would love to give a child all our love and life. I also tested negative for blood clotting but in January/17 I am going to ask for further testing (Thyroids, sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure). I feel really frustrated because the doctors did not find anything logical that can explain what happened to me. I think that is also your case. It feels awful that you have such a wonderful time with your little one and suddenly, he is gone after you have felt his kicks one hour before your placenta separated like in my case. My therapy is as many moms here is thinking positive, keeping my child`s memories close to me, sing to him, talk to him and lately, start talking to God again, asking for a new chance to become a mother in spite of my age. Keep the hope, do not tell anybody negative your plans, go for a walk, let the breeze touch your face, cry and remember your baby who was a miracle of life and think about your new change every day. Take care of yourself and write here if you feel sad or lonely. I do it and I am glad that there are other moms who take their time to console me and tell me it is ok to cry, it is ok to grieve. I still have my baby`s nursery, exactly like I prepared it before he was born. My advisor said, I can keep it as long as I need it to grieve. My sister tried to put everything away and I just wished to call the airline and ask for her return ticket to her home...We do not need things like that. I am glad your husband supports you. That is what you need, so many hugs and kisses as possible. My husband is in the process but he does not like to see me crying or sad. He gets "aggressive" and he leaves the room when I start crying. It hurts me a lot but it has made me strong. I know that is his way to protect himself for being sad. He is afraid that it happens again. I am the one who is positive and think that everything is going to work... let`s see how it goes here.
I am glad you can work and have your mind distracted for some hours. It helps. It has helped me too. I wish you a less sad Christmas. Sending you hugs and positive thoughts...
December 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel Angel`s mom
Miguel Angel's Mom,

I feel like we all have family members who do the wrong things right now. They think it will "help," but they can't understand, and it backfires. My mother is acting like your sister in my case. She wanted to lock the nursery door because I would go in and cry when I felt like I needed to. She also wants to give away my son's clothing to a relative whose sister is pregnant with a baby boy. I told her no, that I would be very upset if she did this. There are boundaries that just can't be crossed and unfortunately they think that putting everything away will erase the pain from our hearts. I am still looking for the ultrasound photos of my baby, I don't know if she put them away while I was resting in the hospital. That angers me as well. But I understand she is trying, in a stupid and damaging way, but in her own way, to help (even though it just doesn't).
I hear you with husbands, I know yours also loves you so very much and it just hurts him to think he couldn't protect his family and protect you from the pain you are feeling.
Writing here IS really helpful, one of the most helpful things I've found that I've done so far. I hate how we all ended up here but I'm glad we found each other to offer support and understanding through such an isolating, painful tragedy.
December 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Dear Nada,

Don't loose hope. You will have your chance. My aunt lost her first, she only lived 36h and was full term. I have three more cousins, and no other problems in between.

My case of knowing what to expect was also because they were due to the same date, so I think I projected a lot on reliving my 10-y old as a baby again. He was more a blond carbon copy of her, and I kept looking at her pictures all around the house and wanting to have that, again, but with him! The same age on the same date...

Live each day and be really nice to yourself. And do have a strong conversation with your mother to establish limits. I had to do the same, and still do when she overdoes it! And itsbbeen 2 years!
December 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarta
Dear Nada, How have you been these Christmas days? I do hope, you feel "better". In this time of the year is really difficult to cope with everything and it is also hard for the ones living with us to understand why we feel like we feel. I thank Marta to mention the establishment of limits when it is about things that affect us emotionally like moving our babies`things or saying hurtful things that they "think", they are normal. After Marta`s advice I spoke to my sister who has been here the last two months and arrived two days after Miguel died. We ended fighting, she does not understand why I feel intimidated with her words and behavior. She said, she was trying to help but all she has done is to make me feel sadder and more aggressive. Trying to move my baby`s stuff, telling me things like "be happy, he is gone and not that he could have lived disabled due to his lack of oxygen", or trying to convince me that God "lent" me my child and he did not belong to me or that I have to move on because I have another child to take care of.... or that I should not speak to other mothers who lost their babies because that is wrong.... my blessing is to have found this page and all of you, I read you and I feel understood...... I am sorry Nada, I am venting my frustration in your post but this is happening to me exactly 9 weeks after I lost Miguel. There are some moments you feel better other moments you just want to disappear for the world.
I wish you patience with all the people who "without knowing" tell you the wrong words in the wrong moment like my sister does. I hope, you can find a support group (I am still finding one on my area) that can help you to release the sadness and give you positive thoughts to plan your new pregnancy. Everything is possible, I am also convinced that we can have our rainbow babies if we are positive and leave out of our lives so many negative events and thoughts....
Take care of yourself. I found good postnatal workouts (4-8 weeks) on youtube, I am drinking plenty of water an hoping my c-section incision heals well to start planning my rainbow baby. I do not want to rush, I let it happen....I wish you the best and just let us know how you are doing. I must admit, I cry everyday looking at Miguel`s pictures... but as Celine Dion signs "A new day has come..." keeping our children in our hearts and lives makes us happy at least it works for me... thinking about him, looking at his pictures, touching his foot and hand prints, his nice black hair (I got it laminated).. :)
Be blessed.
December 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel Angel`s mom