Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bittersweet October

I am definetly not a writer, so please bear with me on this one :)

October is such a fun month for me because of all the birthdays, Halloween, the State Fair, and just seems to kick off the beginning of the holidays. But many of you know that we lost a baby named Emily (whom the Emily Project is named for and inspired by) many years ago. You might not know thought that tomorrow will be the 10 year anniversary of the day she was born.

I have blocked this day out of my schedule since January and was hoping that by now I would know what to do with myself on this day. I still don't. I thought I might do an Emily Project session but just can't muster it up.

So I thought that I would do the best I could and try to bring a little bit of awareness to my readers in hopes that it will help someone out there who might be going through what we went through.

Emily was stillborn. I was almost 6 months pregnant and had just become aware of her kicking a few weeks prior, and didn't know that you should feel babies kick at least once an hour. We went to the OB after some time and discovered that she had died. It was truly the worst moment of my life that I have tucked somewhere in the back of my mind so that I cannot relive that pain over again.

After we lost her, our nurses gave us some literature about various organizations that help parents and loved ones cope with the aftermath of such a loss. I sought counseling but it was only after I joined one of these support groups that I began to turn a corner. I also was able to meet and keep in touch with other moms who had gone through my exact situation and having the same feelings I was having. When you lose a child, it almost becomes necessary to take a step back from the rest of society while you heal, as the rest of the world goes on with life and you have just had an atom bomb go off in your own life. Reaching out to others who have been through the same "bomb" is an amazing way to start the healing. Here are the organizations that helped me through:


What can you do if someone you know has experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of an infant?

There are things that you definetly should not say to someone who has just lost a child. The first being "There will be more children" or "You can try again". Being as young as we were we heard these a lot. Nothing or no one can ever replace the child you lost, even if it is an early miscarriage. The best thing to do is just to sit and listen, let them cry on your shoulder and let them know it's ok to cry and be sad. Remember important dates with a card or a phone call (I personally don't talk to anyone on Oct. 10th) and if the pregnancy was late enough, always call the baby by it's name. Everyone is different, but these are things that have helped me or people I have known. If you know someone who has lost a baby or child and you want to help them, visit the above websites for suggestions on what to say, how to honor the baby who died, or just to read about what your loved one is going through. This will help more than you will ever know.

If you are pregnant or know someone who is, there are ways to help prevent stillbirth. Blair Blanks is a photographer who recently lost her son James to stillbirth the morning she was set to be induced. In his honor she has done tireless research on the subject and is devoted to educating pregnant mommies about counting their kicks. Please visit her website for more information: http://www.blairblanks.com/kickcount/

Finally if you or someone you know does experience such a loss, there is a wonderful organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep that connects local photographers with families who have lost babies. Photographers volunteer their services to these families to conduct sensitive and private photo sessions, and the photos are then retouched and given to the parents on CD or DVD. When we lost Emily, the nurses were thoughtful enough to take pictures of us for her, and I am so grateful to now have those, but I would have given anything to have professional, retouched photos of her or pictures of me holding her.

I will be unavailable tomorrow but will attempt to return to work on Thursday. Thank you for any prayers you might say for us, for those out there experiencing this loss right now, and go home and hug your babies a little tighter tonight.



Anonymous said...

I am coming to Dallas from Indianapolis today with my 9 week old son and was looking for photographers for a session with my identical twin sister and her 12 week old son. Both babies are our first.

I lost a baby 3 years ago at 5 1/2 months, so it was with tremendous heartbreak that I ready your story.

I wish you peace today.

Tonya Marie said...

Oh Deanna. I didn't know you lost a baby. What courage you have to share your story and help spread awareness for this super sensitive issue.