Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Shame is yet another topic that I have been stewing over in my mind for quite awhile and that I'm going to try to put into words. Bear with me.

Through research I've done on infant loss, I've come across the statistic that 1 in 4 pregnancies end with a loss, either through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. 1 in 4. That is a staggering number and, quite frankly, shocked the hell out of me. 1 in 4. Think about that - 25% of the time a woman is pregnant it ends in a loss. Why have I never heard this statistic before? It's mind blowing to me that a huge portion of women out there have experienced this, yet we never hear anything about it. My guess is that shame has a lot to do with it.

As women, we spend our whole lives knowing that our bodies can produce babies. Many of us want to. We hear our biological clocks ticking and start feeling those motherly urges to bring a baby into this world. When we lose this baby that we worked so hard to create, we feel that our bodies have failed us. We feel that their is something wrong with us because we were not able to produce something that we are supposed to. And because of this failure, we feel dirty, we feel broken, we feel like less of a woman. We feel shameful so we don't talk about it.

The strange thing is, when you lose a baby, people start coming out of the woodwork and telling you about their own tales of loss. I can't even tell you how many stories I've heard in the last few months. I think this happens because when a woman experiences a loss, they feel more comfortable telling their story to someone who has gone through something similar because they know they won't judge them. They lose that sense of shame because they know the other person will understand. I know I feel like that. I hate running into people that don't know what happened but knew I was pregnant and they ask about the baby. I can't help but think that underneath their genuine sorrow for me, there is a smidge of judgement. That just for a moment, they are thinking that somehow I did something that caused this to happen, because whose baby dies? And even if they aren't thinking that, I'm still worrying about them thinking it. Hell, I still think it about that myself. I know that everything happened was out of my hands but I still feel that I failed at my responsibility as a woman and a mother.

And that leads me to my goal. I want to help get rid of the shame that surrounds pregnancy and infant loss. It's unnecessary and completely unhealthy, especially since 25% of women go through it. If all of us women who have lost a baby could speak out and not be ashamed of something we ultimately couldn't control, maybe some of the stigma could go away and make the loss a tiny bit easier for all of us. Because, unfortunately it happens. I am not the first to experience this and I am definitely not going to be the last.

So how do we go about this? I think the obvious answer is by talking about it. Perhaps loss statistics should be discussed in birthing classes, because it happens. Maybe OB's should have conversations about it with their patients, because it happens. Maybe everything shouldn't be so sugar coated when you're pregnant because bad shit does happen to good people. It might scare the shit out of some people and open their eyes a little to the fact that pregnancy does not always end positively but is that a bad thing? Our society is so focused on being happy all of the time and ignoring the bad stuff that can and does happen that it does a great disservice to us as a whole. Especially because 25% is a big number.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Got through that one

We knew the holidays were going to be tough. As much as I prepared myself for Thanksgiving, it still struck me in the back of the knees with a baseball bat. I honestly think it was three fold. 1.) It's the first "holiday" since Naya passed away and therefore the first one that she should of been spending with us, her family. 2.) Thanksgiving happened to fall on the 24th this year, so Naya would have been exactly 4 months old. 3.)We had such a good week prior, that things were bound to fall downhill from there.

But we got through it. Somehow. By means of alcohol and food coma. I don't mean to joke about that but it's true. I have basically spent this whole long weekend stuffing myself with food and alcohol to try and forget. I know I should be sitting here writing about what I'm truly thankful for but it feels too fake. I do have a great husband, a great son, a great family, a great job, great coworkers, etc. but I don't have Naya. I would trade everything I have (except Ty) just to have her here. But I can't. I'm stuck in this shitty position where I do have everything to be thankful for except the one thing that I want the most. And don't get me started on Facebook and having to read all of the bullshit that people are thankful for this year. Yeah, yeah, I'm glad you are thankful for your family and friends and la-di-da but somehow, I get the feeling that you are just saying that. I'm sorry but you have no idea. I don't think that anyone has a real idea until they have they experiences something as profound as a loss so great, that it puts anything else in perspective. I know I am being bitchy right now but whatever. I really don't believe that anyone can understand until they have experienced it. Believe me I didn't before - everything I said before was well-meaning words without a real sense of purpose. I'm sorry, but that is the truth.

Thank you guys for listening to this rant. I apologize if it seems like drunken ramblings but that's what I have to give right now. Just had to get it out. Hopefully, I can find some more positive ways of thought in the future. I can't wait until this holiday season is OVER.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Staying busy has been good for us and we had a very busy last couple of days. Dan and I both worked late on Friday night (Dan very, very late) and worked Saturday morning and afternoon. Doesn't sound fun but it definitely helps keep your mind off things. I was quite proud of myself that I was able to make it through a whole show at work and deal with actually people. (I work in a performing arts center and a lot of my job has to do with interacting with the public, something that has been hard for me to do thus far.)

And then the fun began. Yeah, I actually said that. We had fun this weekend. On Saturday, two of our nurses came up from LA and we had a blast. We went to dinner on Saturday night and then wine tasting on Sunday. (We live in wine country.) We started off at Tobin James (which is a lot of fun) and then continued onto Clautiere aka the wig place. This winery is absolutely adorable and the best part, is they have bins of wigs for people to wear while tasting. We decided to switch wigs with every different wine and had a blast. Hopefully no one gets upset at me for posting this pic but I think we look adorable.

After Clautiere, we went to an adorable winery called Penman Springs that has two adorable women working there. I have to say, this might be my new favorite winery in Paso. They were so welcoming and hospitable. We had a blast despite the rain. Hell, we even saw a double rainbow. That's got to mean something good, right? What else does a double rainbow mean (and yes, I am parodying that youtube clip). We ended the evening with an awesome dinner and great company at Brooke's parents house. I think this was the first time that I could say we had lots of fun and felt like ourselves again. Thank you ladies. We love you. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. I'm glad that something good came out of this situation.

Anyway, yesterday I went to my OB to talk about the future which was probably not the best idea after a day of wine tasting and a 30 year-old body (draw your own conclusions here) but I'm glad I went. We discussed the idea of future pregnancies and laid out a game plan for when/if it happens. My doctor is so amazing and understanding. She said that we will do anything to make me comfortable and to releive as much stress as possible. I walked out of that office actually feeling excited about the future. Feels weird just typing that but it's true. I'm hoping for more bright days in the future. After living in such a fog for the majority of the time, it's nice to know that some days bring light.   

Friday, November 18, 2011

Body Image

I've been stewing over this topic for awhile but it was really brought to light to me yesterday. As all mothers know, your body takes a beating during pregnancy/birth. While you are pregnant (and believe me, I was guilty of this too), you worry about what your body will be like after having the baby. In most "normal" pregnancies, this is probably one of the #1 thing women worry about besides the actual delivery process. At least I did. I worried about stretch marks, fitting into my favorite pair of jeans again, if Dan would still find me attractive post birth, etc. I never once worried about losing my baby. I had fleeting, nervous thoughts every once and awhile but it never consumed me. I thought, like most "normal" people, that other people lost babies. My pregnancy was 100% normal, no complications, perfect ultrasounds, etc. so I was in the clear. Losing my baby was not something that could ever happen to me. To say I was naive is an understatement.

When Naya got sick and was rushed to a hospital across the state, I was 5 days post-partum and still recovering from her delivery. I literally had the clothes on my back and my purse and didn't come home for 2 months. I had nothing and was still healing and dealing with my new and very sore body. Granted, we had people from home come visit us and bring us clothes, books and other little things but I didn't have the luxury of easing back into the world in the comfort of my own home. None of my clothes fit me and my maternity clothes were just too depressing. I lived in sweatpants for a month (how I must have looked!) until I finally dragged myself to Old Navy to buy a pair of jeans that were two sizes bigger than I wore before getting pregnant. I looked and felt fat, tired and miserable which only added on to the emotional hell I was in.

Most women take awhile to return to their pre-pregnancy size, if they ever actually do. What makes it okay is that most women have a baby to show for their pregnancy. They can look at that tiny, perfect little human  that they created and forget about their stretch marks and the fact that their ass is two sizes bigger than they ever thought humanly possibly. Not so for someone who has lost their baby. Our fat asses have nothing to show for our pregnancy except huge medical bills, a cemetery plot and a broken heart that will never fully heal. Granted, my body is getting back to normal a lot faster than I expected it too but that's what happens when you lose a baby - you have a lot of time on your hands and exercise is a fantastic way to work through your anger.

So to all the women out there stressing about your post-pregnancy body image issues:
STOP. Take a look at the wonderful gift your body gave you and view those stetch marks with a sense of pride. If those physical scars are the only thing you have to worry about, please realize how lucky you are and how much worse you could have it. What happened to me could happen to anyone.

PS - I can't wait for the day that I can proudly display my fat post-pregnancy ass with a new baby in my arms. I am going to wear those rolls with pride.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Months

I miss you baby. More and more everyday. I can't believe you have been gone for two months. It's still too surreal.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss

I'm just going to start this off by saying that it has been a tough weekend. After weeks of calling the pathologists office daily, I was actually able to get through and talk to the pathologist that performed Naya's autopsy directly on Friday. He told me that he is hoping to finish the report in the next week or two. He also gave light to the fact that a preliminary report was and has been available since the day after Naya's death. This was news to me and I contacted both our social worker and Naya's attending doctor at CHLA who provided us a copy of the report on Friday night.

My emotions are spinning. I'm not sure how I feel about having this information. I don't really want to go into speculation as to what the report showed, especially because absolutely nothing is finalized but aspects of the report completely broke my heart. Despite earlier reports from the geneticist at CHLA, there still is the chance that Naya may have a genetic disorder. The point is, we don't know yet and probably won't until after the report is completed, if ever. Although I said that I don't want to speculate, this has caused my mind to start spinning. I know it's not healthy and I shouldn't worry about the future but I can't help it. Dan and want to have children. We would give anything to have a happy and, above all, healthy family and we might not be able to. This is devastating to me. The pure irony is that when Dan and I got married, I wasn't sure if I wanted any more children. We agreed on having one and Naya was our blessing. And then she died. And now, all I want, more than anything in the world, is to have a child with my husband. I'm desperate for it and terrified that we might not be able to. Tomorrow, I start looking for a genetic counselor. It just keeps getting better and better.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I found this the other day and thought of a friend that also lost a child. The words are still making me cry but in a good way. I long for my butterfly, new and old.

"The butterfly has long been a powerful symbol across many cultures. It is a symbol of transformation, of the spirit and the soul, and of the unending cycle of life and death.

To the Greeks the butterfly was the symbol of the soul, and it was believed that each butterfly was a human soul searching for a new incarnation. The Celts also believed that butterflies were new souls seeking life. They believed that a woman became pregnant by swallowing these tiny butterfly souls.

The metamorphosis of the butterfly is a powerful symbol in so many ways for us when we are grieving. They are the beautiful tiny spark of life that came to us, lighted in our lives for a too brief moment before fluttering away. They are the hope that the transformation that loss brings into our life, can result in something different, something beautiful. We may not be the same at the end of our journey, but we have grown, we are able to see things that we could not before. They are the hope that we may swallow that butterfly soul searching for us, and hold a baby in our bodies and in our arms once more."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Irrationality at its best

Anger is a part of the grief process. Unfortunately, irrational anger is a huge portion of this. After you go through a loss of a child, the little "annoyances" of life seem so petty and trivial that they make you angry. I know I am experiencing this now. My irrational anger is definitely having an affect on the way I live my day-to-day life. People's ignorance, naivety and plain old stupidity annoy me to no end and I find it hard to deal with.

An example of this irrationality is that I find myself strangely annoyed at both pregnant women and new mothers. It makes me angry to see them out, holding their babies, posting pictures/info on Facebook, planning their baby showers. I am rational enough to know that I should have no anger towards them, that they are just celebrating the loves of their lives but it's still there. I know this is based on jealously and the fact that most women are blissfully unaware of the dark world that I am now part of. It makes me especially angry because I used to be that woman. I excitedly posted pictures of my pregnant self on Facebook, had two beautiful baby showers and busily prepared myself and my life for the baby that I so much wanted. And then, out of nowhere, it was all taken away from me. I could have been that woman but now I am just the mother of a child that died. I am empty and desperately wish that I could still be so naive to believe that nothing like this could possibly happen to me. But it did and now I have to deal with it.

For now, I have blocked myself from seeing the feeds of friends on Facebook that are pregnant or who have recently had a baby. I am still very happy for them but seeing their happiness hurts too much as it is a reminder of what I should have. I avoid the baby aisles of supermarkets, throw any baby specific mailings directly in the garbage can and go out of my away to avoid babies in public. I long for the day when I can be around babies again but I am nowhere close. Someday, I will get there.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Fake Normal

As I suspected, Halloween was hard. Very hard. In fact, it set me back quite a bit. I thought I could handle it. We carved pumpkins and even set up some of our Halloween decorations.  I had a big basket of candy ready for the trick-or-treaters and was mentally preparing myself all day.

Ty dressed up as Dr. Cube (don't ask, I have no idea but at least we had the costume from our 2 months at a hospital) and I picked him up from school and took him over to a friends house for his first year of trick-or-treating without me. Then I came home and Dan and I waited. After the first kid came, we looked at each other and just said "nope." We put the basket of candy outside and went to Chilis for some margaritas. And that was Halloween.

And then it was over. I made it through the day. One day down, the rest of my life to go. That's the part I hate so much about this. I'm not living my life anymore. I'm just trying to make it through the day. The thought just makes me even more depressed. I don't want to live like this. I don't want to be miserable and cry at everything. I feel like I am just going through the motions of life and not really living it anymore. I get up, I go to work (either at home or in the office), I do my work and I come home. And I cry. A lot. You'd think by now my body would be incapable of making anymore tears but they are still constantly there.

I honestly feel worse now then I did right after she died. In a way, I think it's because of the fact that I have to move on and I feel guilty. Like I'm dishonoring her by resuming my life like she was never a part of it. I know that's not the case but I do. And I don't want to move on. I would give anything to still be by her bedside in the hospital and be able to kiss her head again and hold her hand. I don't have any regrets about any decisions we made. I just wish we hadn't had to have made them. It's cliche but I miss her so much that it physically hurts. I just want to be holding my baby right now rather than sitting by her grave and grasping for signs that she is still with me.

Another thing that is eating me up inside is this damn autopsy report. Seven weeks and it is still not ready. I call the pathologists office every single day. They do not like me very much down there but tough. I am going to keep calling. I've also decided that if we don't have a report by next week, I'm going to move up the food chain and start talking to hospital administration. I've never been one to just settle for answers that I don't like - I take action. I've also decided that if I don't have a report in two weeks, I'm driving down to CHLA to demand it. I don't have a baby anymore so I've got some time on my hands. I know I probably sound pretty bitchy right now but I can't even begin to describe how not having this report is affecting my life. How am I expected to "move on" when I don't even have a grasp on why this happened in the first place? (Well, I have some ideas and it definitely involved some lazy ass people not doing their jobs but that's neither here nor there.) I know having this report is not going to be the end all of my suffering but it can at least help close a chapter. And I need at least one chapter closed.