She was perfect. She had 10 fingers, 10 toes, and the cutest lips I’ve ever seen. My daughter Sam was born at 14 weeks and 6 days in the summer of 2018. She was 6 inches long and weighed about 2.5 ounces. I was shocked at how perfectly formed she was despite being so small and fragile. The doctor handed her to me wrapped in a tiny blanket. All I could do was stare at her while I held her. I remember our nurses and doctors very vividly simply because of how kind and compassionate they were. They made me feel a little more at ease during the whole process. My husband and I continued to hold Sam throughout the day. We mostly sat in silence, but we did have some moments of tears together. After about 8 hours with our daughter, the time came to check out of the hospital.
We went home that morning without our baby,
our first baby.
The days that followed losing Sam were a bit of a blur. I was in shock. Just as quickly as she came, she was taken away. I slept. I barely ate. I cried a lot. I asked daily, “Did this really happen?”. No longer did I have the joy of looking forward to many years of a new best friend. No more thoughts of cute outfits, first steps, girls nights, or seeing her grow up. Instead I was left empty, in more ways than one. I knew this was going to be a long, painful journey so I decided that I must make an effort to honor her.
I began talking and writing about Sam.
I refuse to let anyone forget my baby. Social media has been an outlet for me to share my story and educate others about pregnancy loss. Since sharing our story, many women have confided in me similar stories of loss while others have asked for advice.
Pregnancy and infant loss is viewed as a taboo subject, so many women feel they need to keep silent about their angels. Sometimes you don’t know who is suffering alone. I try to take as many opportunities as I can to remember Sam. I created a small scrapbook, I have many different prints and photos, I have received multiple necklaces, and I took the permanent route getting a beautiful tattoo. Many women (and men!) choose therapy, exercise, meditation, art, etc to help cope with their loss. I personally suggest finding a support group at the very least. Our group has helped my husband and I share our feelings and thoughts in a space where others understand and relate.
I know this is a long, never ending journey of grief. I have feelings that I can’t explain, and thoughts I wish would go away. I often feel like babies born sleeping are ignored or “forgotten”. Her name is Sam. Would you have talked about her if she was born alive? If she had lived days, months, years? Would you have mourned her like I mourn her? Maybe those thoughts aren’t fair to others, but I cannot help but have them. We as parents want those we care about to love our babies and miss the ones who left too soon. There are important dates that seem unbearable; a due date, a birthday. On some of those days I choose to stay home and remember Sam quietly. Some days I visit a special place to celebrate her. I do what I can to survive it. You have to find the things that help you and make you feel better!
I can’t tell you how many times I heard the phrase, “it will get better” and how many times I thought to myself, “how could it?” I’m here to tell you, sweet mama, the longing for your baby won’t go away but it will be easier to navigate. You will learn along the way which phone calls to ignore, which friends and family to avoid (like it or not, this one really happens), and how to stand up for yourself. You will be happy one moment and sad the next. You will be angry at pregnant women for no reason other than jealousy. It will be hard to wake up some days. It will be hard to sleep on other days. It will be hard. But you can do it. You carried an angel.
Here I am, 10 months after losing my daughter and I am still thinking about her every day. I still long to be holding her, laughing with her, and watching her learn about our world. I have learned and grown so much from my experience. I’ve learned to be more vulnerable in sharing my emotions. I have become more aware of the grief of others and I feel more capable of helping them through it. I have taught myself to be an advocate for my daughter and the babies of many other families around the world. Losing my baby doesn’t have to define me, but it is part of me and it matters.
You are not alone. You are strong. You are loved. Your baby is loved. Your baby is important.
If you have experienced a loss and are not sure where to turn, The National Share organization is a great resource. They have online and in person support groups and they hold events for pregnancy and infant loss families. Their website is Nationalshare.org
You can read more from Kayla on her personal blog at https://wherethemoonwalks.home.blog/