Hannah

Mom to baby lost at 6 weeks August 2007

Benjamin Jason and Naomi Makenzie (twins), lost at 17 weeks
Born sleeping January 2, 2010

Albuquerque, New Mexico

In 2007 I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. It definitely wasn’t planned, but I was immediately very excited from the time I saw those two pink lines! I was on cloud 9 because all I ever wanted was to be a mommy. My boyfriend at the time was living out of town so he decided he would move to where I live and we would get an apartment and start our little family. We started thinking of names for our baby. My boyfriend thought of Doroteo for a little boy, named after his grandfather, who was his main father figure and who he actually called dad rather than grandpa. I agreed that if we have a boy he would be named Doroteo and I decided I liked Imalda for a girl. I started being very cautious of everything I ate, drank, I didn’t lift heavy things, I took my prenatal vitamins every day. I made sure to take care of my baby so I could have a healthy little boy or girl. [Read more...]

Augie

Mom to Dominic McDylan, Feb 2, 2007 (EDD: Oct 10, 2007)
Gwendolyn Elizabeth, Jan 30, 2008 (EDD: July 8, 2008)
Aiden Alexander, Nov 10, 2008 (EDD: July 20, 2009)
Jillian Evelyn, Jan 19, 2010 (EDD: Sept 28, 2010)
Katherine Anne and Samuel Kenneth, Dec 31, 2011 (EDD: Aug 19, 2012)

Winchester, VA

Our journey started unexpectedly in January 2007 when we conceived our first son. We hadn’t been trying and in fact had just started birth control. We lost our little boy before we even knew of his existence. For the longest time, I didn’t even tell Chris (or anyone else for that matter). I just dealt with it on my own and reminded myself that we were nowhere near ready to have a child together. [Read more...]

Magen

Mom to chemical pregnancy, May 2011

Eliza Rainn, missed miscarriage at 10 weeks 6 days

November 23, 2011

Madison, Alabama

 

I cannot remember a time when I did not dream of being a mother.

In December 2010 my husband and I decided to start our family. I went to the OB in February and had a prenatal checkup before we started actively trying. Everything came back perfect and we were given the green light to start our family. On Mother’s Day 2011 I got my first positive pregnancy test. It was very faint but it was a positive. I was cautiously excited. It was a Sunday and both of my best friends got positive pregnancy tests that same day. I tried so hard to be excited but I didn’t feel well. I was having some spotting, but everyone kept telling me it was normal. Unfortunately, two days later I started bleeding. My doctor saw me that day and did some lab work. He confirmed a chemical pregnancy. My heart hurt, I was so ready to be a mom. [Read more...]

Marilou

Early miscarriage, August 2006

Ectopic pregnancy, November  2011

Corona, California

I am a mother, but my two babies are in Heaven with Jesus. I am the face of ectopic pregnancy loss and early miscarriage.

My husband and I eloped to Las Vegas in July of 2006 after only dating for one month. In August, we found out that I was pregnant. That was a shocker. We weren’t ready, I wasn’t done with nursing school, we both didn’t have jobs to support a baby (much less ourselves) and quite frankly, we weren’t done growing up. But after the initial shock, we were excited…excited to welcome this baby into the world with loving arms…excited to embark on this unpredictable new journey. That excitement was short lived when I began bleeding while I was at work one day. We went to the doctor the same day and they told me that I was miscarrying. How can you describe the pain of losing a baby? My sorrow was brief because everyone around me seemed to get over it just fine, so I felt like I needed to as well. [Read more...]

create. heal. inspire. beth morey.

I just recently had the pleasure of being introduced to Beth Morey of Epiphany Art Studio and I am so glad she is sharing the newness of her journey through loss with all of you today. After losing her precious baby only a few short weeks ago, she has turned to art to process her feelings on grief and life.  I love the concrete ideas she gives today for incorporating art and creativity into your own loss journey and she’s graciously giving away one of her art prints here today too. ~beryl

Everything feels hard.  Eating, breathing, waking up and laying down, shopping, showering, thinking, being – each movement of each day feels impossibly large.

This is grief.

This is where I am living – and, if you are reading this, chances are that you or someone you love is living in this place, too.  Here we all are, each trying to piece our broken hearts back together, trying to stitch together a new life, because the old was shattered by the loss of a baby.

My baby’s name was Eve.  On Friday, November 18, 2011, at 31 weeks of pregnancy, I realized that I had not felt her move all day.  My husband and I went to the hospital and were told the worst – that she had died.  I birthed her little body into this world on November 20.  She had my dark curly hair and her daddy’s face.  Even after an autopsy, no cause of death could be determined.

I can’t believe that this happened to me – or rather, that it is happening to me.  Because losing a child is not a one-time event.  Instead, it is a daily loss, an everyday accumulation of pain as a new aspect of  her gone-ness is realized.  Even though my faith in God’s promises is somehow stronger now than it ever has been, and even though I believe that there is always hope, I have a hard time seeing what my life could possibly become after this.  Because I did not just lose Eve – I also lost a lifetime shared with her.  I was supposed to start raising my daughter this January, but instead all I have are empty arms and an aching heart and a container full of ashes on my mantle to remind me that I was ever a mother at all.

I know that I am not alone in my pain, in this confusing emotional gamut of grief.  So I must ask, for all of us – what are we to do now?  How are we supposed to go on after experiencing what can only be described as senseless, horrifying death?  How in the world are we supposed to heal?

Obviously, I have not been walking this path of grief for very long – only seven weeks at the time of this writing.  In that time, however, I have discovered that there is profound comfort to be found in the act of creating.  I had already known this to some degree; earlier this year I found that making art was pivotal in freeing me from a seventeen year battle with a disordered eating.  After Eve died, however, I wondered if art would remain the same safe haven of healing and catharsis that it once had been.  I wondered if perhaps art would become a source of grief, as it was something that I did “with” Eve when I was pregnant.

[Read more...]

Jana

Mom to Carter Garen

Born and died on June 5, 2011

Lynden, Washington

 

On February 10, 2011 we found out we were having twins. We had known we were pregnant for a little bit and had been anxiously awaiting our first appointment to see our baby for the first time. Little did we know what a surprise we were in for! Nothing about our pregnancy was routine, normal, or easy. [Read more...]

create. heal. inspire. stephanie dyer.

Today hear the story of how Stephanie from Beyond Words Designs used art and painting on her healing journey.  I have one of Stephanie’s gorgeous canvases hanging prominently on display in my office, and it’s a beautiful reminder that our daughter was real and she was here even if only a short time. ~Beryl

———

The Dr. said “Your baby is very sick . . . ”

As I lay there with my belly exposed and the warm gel turning cold, a feeling of total violation swept over me. “Wait, we are supposed to be here to see if I am carrying twins because I am so big already! There has to be some mistake. Please tell me that this is a mistake!”

The joyful tickle of waiting to hear “TWINS” quickly turned into an icy dread . . . a stone in my stomach. In a space of a few seconds, my life had turned upside down.

For the next 16 weeks of my pregnancy, I faced the nightmare of planning Amelia’s funeral at the same time as I planned her birth. I was crazed all wrapped up in a functioning facade. How can I survive this . . . HOW!?

Like a boiling tea kettle, the pressure built each day. I was a pregnant mother of three very active children who was now overshadowed by a terrible grief. I knew what was coming. Amelia’s little body would not be able to survive without mine. I had to anticipate things that no parent should ever have to deal with.

I was obsessed with the idea that Amelia’s name be spoken aloud long after her death. That her life, no matter how short, not be forgotten. So, I decided to do everything that I could to create tangible memories of her for my family.

Art became my distraction, my sole purpose in life, my survival mechanism. My house and the job of keeping it didn’t seem nearly as important as using the time we had left with Amelia. It was as simple as that. I was given time and I threw myself into my role as Amelia’s memory maker. I painted, I wrote, I created during my pregnancy and after her birth. It gave me hope and helped me remember that I was still alive and that I had a purpose ~ a reason to keep going.

[Read more...]

Nikki

Mom to Alyssa, born and died February 22, 2008 at 22 weeks,
David, born January 12, 2009 and died January 15, 2009,
and miscarriages in 2008 and 2010

Springfield, Missouri

I had my first miscarriage in June 2007 at 12 weeks along. I was devastated. I blamed myself because I was diabetic, and my sugars hadn’t been controlled. I just knew it was my fault. My doctor told me it would be fine to try again, that we would just get me on insulin sooner and monitor me closely. I did get pregnant again about 3 or 4 months later. I was having a baby girl. [Read more...]

Erika

Ectopic pregnancy

July 29, 2011

Stafford, Virginia

My husband and I hadn’t planned on having a baby for a few years, since were both still young and starting out our marriage. On July 21st, I went to my physician to get my hypothyroidism checked out like I do every 6 weeks, and while I was there I had asked the physician randomly about how my thyroid disease would affect my fertility. She had said, “You will have a hard time getting pregnant, if it even happens at all.” After this I had just given up hope of ever having a child, even though it’s all I had ever wanted. [Read more...]

Emily

Missed miscarriage at 12 weeks in December 2010,
Blighted ovum at 7 weeks in April 2011,
and missed miscarriage at 17 weeks in September 2011

Near Albany, New York

The story of my first missed miscarriage is here: http://facesofloss.com/2011/01/652.html. Since that time, I’ve had two additional losses.

I found myself pregnant again at the end of March 2011. I had betas drawn, and it didn’t look good. It was a 133 hour doubling time, when it should have been 24-48 hours. I went in for my first ultrasound at 6.5 weeks and only saw an empty sac. They tried to reassure me that it was in the right place, to give it time, but I started bleeding a few days later. Follow-up ultrasound and betas confirmed a completed natural miscarriage. It had been a blighted ovum. [Read more...]

Tania

Mom to twins Jackson and Isabella

Passed away at 18 weeks and 22 weeks

D&E December 20, 2010

York, Pennsylvania

We live in York, PA where we have one of the best NICUs around. We know this because of our experience with our son, Wyatt, who was born 5 years earlier at 27 weeks gestation, weighing 1 lb 9 oz and measuring 12 inches long. There was no explanation as to why he was born so prematurely, other than the blood flow through the cord was not adequate. Every other test on me, the placenta and the cord…nothing was found. We had a lengthy stay in the NICU, three and a half months, but were able to come home and today, five years later, have a healthy thriving boy, our miracle! [Read more...]

Tonya

Miscarried in July 2010 at 10 weeks,
November 2010 at 9 weeks,
January 2011 at 8 weeks,
and October 2011 at 7 weeks (IVF)

Costa Mesa, California

I had a perfect pregnancy with my son, zero complications getting or staying pregnant. I have miscarried four times since his first birthday:

  • July 2010 10 weeks
  • November 2010 9 weeks
  • January 2011 8 weeks

    [Read more...]

Brooke

Mom to Eliza

Stillborn December 6, 2010

St. Louis, Missouri

In early December of 2010, I was thirty four weeks and three days pregnant with my first child, a little girl. We called her our “Baby Duck.” I’d had an easy, uneventful pregnancy, and even in my third trimester, I felt good. The timing seemed to be perfect for our baby, who was due in January, and I joked that the only people more excited about this baby than my husband and I were my parents. I remember thinking at my baby showers how lucky my baby was to already have so many people who loved her. I couldn’t wait for her to meet all of our friends and family. [Read more...]

Jodi

Mom to a little one 

Lost to ectopic pregnancy October 2008

Akron, Ohio

At nineteen years old I was diagnosed with PCOS. I was told many different things from many different doctors, ranging from, “You will never be able to have children,” to “The only way I tell someone they will never have children is if they do not have a uterus.” December 25, 2007, at the age of 33, I found out I was pregnant (exactly 17 weeks 4 days…yes I missed my entire first trimester!). I had defied the odds that were against me…this was a miracle!! At this point I was single, finishing grad school and a full time teacher. May 29, 2008, Jacob came into this world and today he is a healthy, happy, intelligent light in my world!! 

[Read more...]

create. heal. inspire. kara jones (mother henna).

So glad to have Kara Jones sharing her ideas here with you today. Kara is such a beautiful creative soul and I know you’re just going to appreciate her healing prompt and artistic vision. She is also including a giveaway here today for oue readers, so be sure to read through to the end of the post for the details. xo. ~Beryl

Body Map 
creative prompt from Coach & heARTist Kara LC Jones
inspired by Arts For Social Change by Beverly Naidus

When my son died at birth, I quickly checked out of my body.  There was so much disappointment, so much grief, and feelings of how my body betrayed me and him entirely.  Later on when talking with a local law maker about getting a state law changed for stillbirth documentation, I was told to my face that I did not give birth to a child.  I was told I had a fetus and *it* was dead.  The law makers were trying to intimidate and shame me — and other mothers like me — into being quiet, leaving them alone, to cease our efforts in the fight for women’s rights.  While I knew intellectually what they were doing, it was hard on me emotionally because I was still in a crisis of faith about how my body failed me.  With time, conscious processing, and art making, I’ve been able to explore these issues and try to find ways back into my Power.

So today’s prompt is a share for you to explore your relationship with body.  Of course this could work for anyone, but I’m also offering this specifically to women who’ve had pregnancy or infant death losses.  Just seems to me that this kind of loss complicates our relationships with our bodies, and however empowered we felt prior to the death, there is some shake up with our bodies in grief’s wake.  So here’s how you can creatively explore this:

  •     The first thing you need is the outline of your body or a body shape you feel represents you.  You can either:
    -Get large sheets of butcher paper on which you outline your real body, full size.  This can be a very powerful way to work because you are looking at your actual body shape.
    -OR you can do line drawings in a more representative shape — click the image at the top of this post to see full size version.  You’ll see that I used a very simple outline.  For me, this worked to show the plump, roundness of my body – and it also showed how dis-empowered I felt in my arms.  Empty arms idea.
  •     Once you have your body shape, duplicate it three times.
  •     Then consider how you feel/felt in your body
    1) at the moment of trauma,
    2) when in an unsafe environment, and
    3) when you feel like you are in a safe environment
  •     Ask yourself what color represents each of these times?  Consider how your body felt in each of these times?  Are there areas that felt achy or soothed?  Are there words to represent various parts of your body?  What did the areas surrounding your body feel like?

create. heal. inspire. kristin cook.

Today, I get to introduce you to our first guest poster who certainly shouldn’t be considered a guest around this place at all. Kristin is the founder and mastermind behind Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope and is one incredibly talented, creative, hard-working soul who has used her love of writing to help heal the hearts of thousands of women across the globe. Today she’s here to share a special project idea and giveaway with all of you. Get your pens, journals, and laptops ready! ~Beryl

Hi everyone. My name is Kristin, and you may or may not know me as the founder of, or “the face” behind Faces. I became a part of this ‘babyloss club’ about a year and a half ago, in May 2010, when my daughter Stevie was stillborn at 26 weeks. Losing Stevie has been hands-down the worst, most difficult thing that I’ve ever had to go through. But it has also taught me so much, brought new fulfillment to my life, and allowed me to rediscover passions that had been laying dormant for quite some time. While of course I would do just about anything to have her back, I truly believe Stevie had (and continues to have!) a beautiful purpose for existing in this world, even if was only for a few short months.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been a writer. My mom has boxes and boxes full of the ‘stories’ I would write from as young as four years old. In middle school, I would spend my evenings on the computer, typing up literally hundreds of pages of ‘chapter books,’ then read them to my friends on the bus on the way to school in the mornings. I even got my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Writing in college. Then real life began and unless I was doing it for my job, the writing pretty much stopped.

Then May 8th, 2010 happened, and that all changed. After Stevie died, I had so many crazy feelings and emotions running through my head all the time, and it seemed the only way to get any relief from them was to get them out and write them down. So write them down, I did. I began recording my feelings, in the form of letters to my daughter, on my blog, Dear Stevie, a few days after her death (click here for a list of some of my ‘best of’ earlier posts). At first I was writing just for myself, as a form of therapy almost. But within a couple weeks, all of a sudden I was getting emails and comments from other girls who had also lost a baby, telling me how much they could resonate with my words; thanking me for putting into words the exact things they had been feeling.

That summer, I poured myself into my blog, my writing, and the whole process brought me incredible healing. It felt so freeing to take the jumbled mess of thoughts in my head and sort of ‘package them up’ into cohesive ideas that other people were able to relate to. I found so much validation from others who were commenting and writing on their own blogs. Coming to the realization that I was not alone, and that I wasn’t crazy or weird for feeling the things I did, was one of the single most important stops on my healing journey.

Writing letters to Stevie has also helped me stay connected to my daughter over the last 18 months. It’s hard to put into words without sounding slightly crazy, but although I know she can’t actually read the words I write to her, I believe she can feel them somehow. I feel a deep, unexplainable bond with my child that I think has been greatly strengthened by the act of writing to her.

Other forms of creativity have been important to me as on this journey as well–photography, crafting, my work with Faces–but writing has been by far the most crucial to my healing, definitely.

[Read more...]

create.heal.inspire. it begins

Hi, I’m Beryl. Mom to an angel, Bella Rose born September 11, 2009 at 20 weeks gestation; and her rainbow sister Brielle a 15 month old miracle. I am a teacher. A photographer.  Founder of the Illuminate e-course. And a true believer the magic and beauty of using photography to heal the soul.  You’ll get to know a bit more about me, Bella, and our family a little later this month, but I wanted to give a proper introduction as I’ll be your ‘tour guide’ of sorts  as we take time this January to explore the link between our grief, creativity, and healing. Let’s begin, shall we?  It’s time to:

The start of a new year is a lot like cracking open the freshly pressed pages of a brand new book.  That first day you settle in, anxious anticipation washing over you as you wait to meet a new cast of characters and watch the story unfold.

Unfortunately, all of us in this community have had a story that didn’t end in “happily ever after”.

It’s why we’re here.

For some of us that story was last year. For others it may have been many years ago. And for some of us this tragic story may be repeating over and over again.

But, the wonderful thing about starting a new year, and writing a new chapter in our story is the HOPE that we can feel as we are granted a “fresh start”. Not to wipe away the past, but to start to build a stronger tomorrow.

January is International Creativity Month.  And this year at Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope we thought it would be fitting to get the story of 2012 started off right by sharing some incredibly creative baby loss mamas and their angels with you. As I’ve learned myself over the past two years, creativity was key to me learning to love life again and live a life without our Bella.

[Read more...]

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