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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 > The First Step

This week, it has been four months since we lost our boy at 40+5 during labor. And the week has been ok - good even - in fact, this week was so ok that I didn't even notice the exact day that marked the month. I remember a time I didn't think I'd ever forget exactly how many weeks it had been and so I feel simultaneously relieved to know that the pain is not always as raw as it was and guilty because how could I possibly not notice that day. I feel simultaneously amazed that it's been so long and surprised that it hasn't been longer. We also said goodbye to the biggest day to day physical reminder of our baby and our preparations for him - we sold the empty dresser that has stood in the corner of our bedroom since March. And that was hard and sad - but it was time (we are moving at the end of the year and can't take it with us).

But on the exact same morning, the prenatal vitamins I ordered arrived. We aren't going to start trying until November (our MFM said to wait six months and we're planning to delay another month due to logistical reasons related to our move), but we figure I should start taking them again in September. And that is the first step to a new story, a new pregnancy, and a whole new type of anxiety and emotions - just when I feel I'm getting a little bit of a handle on living with grief. On the one hand, I think I will be ready by then. On the other, I feel like I'm not going to realize just how terrifying it will be until I'm in it. My loss pregnancy was easy - we conceived the first time we tried, I had a little morning sickness but not too much, no problems, not a ton of discomfort. I know it can't and won't be like that again and even taking the first shaky step of getting prenatal vitamins (not even taking them yet) is starting to bring that into focus. But I'm still not certain how I feel about that - or if I will ever feel just one way about anything again or if everything will be tinged with apprehension or some necessary distance.

I don't really have a question - I just wanted to share with people who might understand how I'm feeling.
August 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSR
Hi SR, I'm so very sorry to meet you this way and especially for the loss of your sweet boy. We lost our firstborn daughter at 39 weeks due to a cord accident on June 4th, so we are very close on this journey. It's encouraging to see that you feel more hopeful at 4 months out because I must admit, the approaching 3 month mark has me feeling extra depressed.

My husband and I are contemplating ttc in October, not official on that... but while trying to be hopeful, everything seems so overwhelming. I know that time can be agony and also be a friend, I'm hoping in the upcoming months we can find those bfp we desperately want and maybe even a little joy? Sending you love and strength ❤️
August 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArliesmama
SR and Arliesmama, I'm so sorry for your very raw losses and the babies that should be in your arms. My baby Raspberry died suddenly and for still unexplained reasons at 37w5d in Decemeber. I could never bring myself to stop taking the PNVs, even though our MFM also had me wait to start trying again. It was like the only thing I could DO in the interim. And it was a rare ritual that made me still feel connected to my very loved pregnancy. So I just kept taking them. Sometimes it's small, quiet, and personal actions like these that can bring a tiny sense of peace or hope or control back to an otherwise very tumultuous time. Something about the familiarity of those vitamins in the midst of an otherwise very confusing and anxiety-provoking experience gave me a thread of comfort. Thinking of you.
August 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteph M.
SR, well done on making it to four months and for taking your first steps (sometimes I think we forget that these sorts of things are actually huge achievements!). I completely relate to your very mixed feelings, and to wondering whether anything will ever feel 'simple' again. It's been 10 months since our baby died at 6 weeks old and I'm currently 15 weeks pregnant. I'm getting better at it, but I too find it really hard to work out how to hold and process so many conflicting emotions at once.

I don't have any particular wisdom for you but wanted to say that I get it. Also, I wanted to share that, although my pregnancy feels different this time, it's not all bad. An OB I saw before TTC said how we would all feel like we were holding our breath for a full nine months of a next pregnancy. It's early days, but it doesn't feel like that for me. Some days I am nervous or devastated about the baby I lost, but other days I can feel happy and hopeful and grateful for both my pregnancies. Most days, I feel some complicated mix of all these emotions. I think that part of this process is that we learn how to feel devastated and joyful, worried and trusting, happiness and pain all at the same time. Hugs to you.
August 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterK West
Thank you all for responding - it's always so great in this community to reach out and get such non-judgmental support. I'm sorry you all are here, but at the same time, I'm glad we have this space. I can't imagine what it must have been like for baby loss parents before people had the ability to connect on the internet.

Arliesmama - I'm so sorry for your loss which is still so raw. I agree that right now time is both a gift and an agony - it also just doesn't seem to make sense anymore in the way it did. In some ways, I feel like time stopped in April and I am constantly surprised that summer is gone. I hope that at four months you are feeling more hopeful - but remember, this isn't linear and we all process differently. At 5 mos, I'm fully aware that I could be feeling much much lower. So if you aren't feeling more hopeful at 4 mos, that doesn't mean you won't. I'm thinking of you, sending you strength and hope for that BFP when you are ready for it.

Steph M. - I love the idea of staying connected to your pregnancy by continuing to take the PNV. It's so interesting how differently we can all process and react to certain objects. For me, I wanted every item we'd had prepared for our baby out of my sight by the time I came back from the hospital - though I know many people never want to pack up those things. I wouldn't even let my husband save my half full bottle of PNVs at the time. Thinking of you and your Raspberry.

K West - Thank you so much for that hope. One of my big hang ups when thinking of a subsequent pregnancy is all the people who have told me it will just be hell the whole time. It's nice to hear that it really isn't always like that. I am sending you good thoughts and gentle congratulations for this pregnancy.
September 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSR