Losing Sparrow: National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Baby Announcement Collage THE HWL

Our Pregnancy Announcement in May 2014

I have not known much for certain in this lifetime.  Indeed, it is nearly impossible to – the second you’re certain about an idea, you’re sure to encounter something that’s going to change your mind. As they say, the only constant in life is that nothing is constant.

But one thing I could tell you with 100% certainty, from day one of my life to today, is that I was meant to be someone’s mother.  In fact, the first thing I ever said that I wanted to be when I grew up was a mom, and I was two.  I’m not really sure why I decided this – probably because my own mom is freaking awesome, and even though my childhood definitely had it’s rough spots, she was always there as my best friend, my rock, and my cheerleader.  I would be nothing without my mom, that much else is certain.

Or maybe it’s because I have always been older than my years.  While most of my peers were eyeing their future full of the wild abandon of college years, I was waiting patiently for age 30, so my “real” life could begin – with a marriage and family. Being reckless has never appealed to me; but love and loyalty and the responsibilities owed to another always have.  I was incredibly lucky, in September of last year, to take those vows of devotion with a man I love beyond words!

Mother's Day 2014 The HWL

My First Mother’s Day – 2014

So when we found out in March, that we were expecting a little one due this Winter, we couldn’t have been more excited – even though the surprise had us feeling slightly unprepared and a little scared. This was what we had both always wanted.  A family.  And it was happening!  A little earlier than we had planned – but still, if life has taught me one thing, it’s that sometimes the best things to happen to you come straight out of the blue.  Which is why we couldn’t wait to shout the news from the rooftops!  We shirked the traditional “3 month wait” and shared it with our family and friends (including all of you wonderful readers) as soon as we could.  We were having a baby and it was time to celebrate!

Unfortunately, the pregnancy had been rocky from the start.  I had been spotting from the very beginning, and the cramps had me worried.  Not to mention the nausea.  I was on bed rest, not from doctor’s orders, but just based on the sheer fact that it was impossible for me to get OUT of bed.  If I was lucky, I made it to the couch for the daytime.  I was exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep without getting sick the second I opened my eyes.  Let’s face it, I couldn’t move without getting sick, and I certainly couldn’t eat.  I could not take care of myself, and Captain America and my mom spent their days feeding me ice chips and ginger tea and chicken soup, trying to keep me from getting too dehydrated or malnourished.  There was a week where I literally thought I was going to die.

This was not the way it was supposed to be.  Something was wrong.

Miscarriage Announcement The HWL

Our Miscarriage Announcement in May 2014

Something was wrong.  The doctors say it was probably a chromosomal defect – during the dividing and multiplying that the cells went through, a catastrophic failure occurred.  A birth defect.  We lost the baby.

There aren’t really words for anything, after that.  The pain is so visceral and personal there really aren’t any to describe it.  It is unlike anything I have ever felt and never hope to feel again.  The lights went out.  Everything just went dark.

I was supposed to be a mom.  I was supposed to leave the hospital with my new infant, not the mortuary with their ashes. No one should ever have to go through that kind of pain.

And yet they do – 1 in 3 pregnancies will end in a miscarriage, but most people would never guess the rate is that high, because traditionally couples do not announce their pregnancies until the 2nd trimester, after the threat of miscarriage is over. While I can totally understand this desire to keep such an intense pain to oneself, it also puts miscarriages into the “secret” pile.  And when something is secret it begins to feel an awful lot like shame.  It’s also a lot harder to reach out and find support, because you might not even know it’s there.  Which is why I am sharing my story with you today – because October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and after all we have been through this year, that’s not something I can ignore.

After our experience, I had several people, some close friends, some just acquaintances, come forward and tell me their stories too.  Sadly, I had been initiated into the club of loss – and to my surprise, it was a pretty big one.  The good news is that for most of us in this club, miscarriage is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.  The sad news is that women are joining the club every single day.

If you or someone you know has suffered through the pain of a miscarriage, I encourage you to please take the time to check out the important resources below:

The Tears Foundation – Helping bereaved families honor the life of a child

A Place To Remember – Uplifting support resources for those who have been touched by a crisis in pregnancy or the death of baby

My Baby Angel Foundation – Helping transform our society’s response to pregnancy and infant loss

American Pregnancy Association – Pregnancy Complications and Miscarriage

Mayo Clinic – Pregnancy After Miscarriage: What You Need to Know 

Sparrow Face Painting The HWL

Sparrow Face Painting  – The Oregon Country Fair – July 2014

 

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16 thoughts on “Losing Sparrow: National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

    • Thank you so much! I was so scared to press the “publish” button, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive I am glad I did. I really appreciate your support and encouragement!!

    • Thank you, Diana!
      I knew that if I was willing to share the good news with you all, I had to be willing to share the bad as well..it definitely took me a while to get up the courage, but I’m so glad I did!
      Your kind words really, truly, mean a lot to me.

  1. Andrea, You are so beautiful, inside and out. Articulate, wise beyond your years, honest and so caring.
    My heart breaks for you and all who have suffered such an indescribable loss.
    You reaching out to other’s in such a personal way is helping Mom’s and Dad’s cope and manage their losses. I always try to look for the silver lining in every tragedy or disappointment. Not easy, certainly not how you and all wanted but you have created the silver lining for so many who might not have had the ability to share their grief also. Your beautiful sparrow lives on in spirit dear one. I love and admire you so much. <3 ~ Marie

    • Thank you so very, very much for all of your kind words, Marie. You are such a sweet person, and I am so glad we have gotten to know each other! Your support really does mean a lot.
      It’s surprising how cathartic writing this was, I really didn’t even think about how much weight it felt like I was carrying around until I let it go – I am so glad that by expressing myself the way I needed to may give someone else the permission to do the same thing in whatever situation they may be facing. Thank you for giving me that added perspective of the silver lining, that way. It’s not something I had even thought about when I decided to write this piece, and your comment really opened up a lot of room for some peace to take place. <3 <3

  2. “puts miscarriages into the “secret” pile. And when something is secret it begins to feel an awful lot like shame”. This is something I had not thought about quite in this way before and it is so very, very true!!!!! Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts!

    • You know, it’s weird, but I hadn’t thought of it that way either, until I wrote that!! It was just sort of a stream of consciousness thing and then I stopped and almost deleted it because it’s not the direction I was intending on going…but I realized it was important so I kept it! Thank you for sharing it, and I’m glad you liked it :)

  3. This was so very touching to read. You are such a strong woman beyond your years for sure! It takes a strong man to be with such a strong woman, and you have found your match. Beyond happy for you both.

    • Thank you so much, Kristi, that is so sweet of you. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment with your support, it means more to me than I can say!
      I hope you and the new hubby are doing well, and enjoying the newly-married life <3

  4. Thank you for sharing..I too lost a baby in April and thought I would plant a cherry blossom tree in his/her memory. It is spring here in New Zealand and cherry blossom trees are in flower, so everywhere I go, I remember..Much love.

    • A Cherry Blossom Tree would be such a beautiful tribute! I love that idea. And I know that when you see them, they truly are a sign from your little one. Ever since we lost Sparrow, my husband and I have been seeing feathers everywhere, it makes me smile to think it is Sparrow’s way of letting us know he/she is still with us.

  5. Such a raw, emotional thing to share and a burden to carry in silence! So glad you felt the strength and power to share it with us. My second child did not make it past the first trimester and I always believed it to be the little (biological) girl I’d never have. (I knew I’d always be blessed with daughters by marriage) My first was a boy, with the three following my loss also being boys. My mother had had two miscarriages before she had me. And I firmly believe it was in her relaying her losses to me while I was growing up, that provided me with all that was needed to endure mine. How giving it is of you to share this and give strength to strangers who may now or someday find themselves in the same situation. I pray that, not only does this writing give something to others, but that is brings more peace and solace to you!!!

  6. Pingback: Losing December and Sparrow: National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month | The Hand-Written Life

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