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Pregnancy Loss

Holiday Reflection on the Year’s Pregnancy, Loss, Grief and Hope

“This time last year, I was eight months pregnant.” “I should have a baby that is almost turning one year old by now.” “I have been pregnant, and doing IVF for 2 years and still I have no baby.”

These are the words of the women I sit with on a daily basis. Holidays are difficult for many people, but for our community at The Blossom Method, it is yet another reminder of what they do not have.  Calendars mark time. They are a snapshot of progress and success. Many people feel foolish that they were so excited to deliver last December, only to lose their baby days before their due date. They feel silly that they were so excited and ashamed that they have nothing to show for that pregnancy, or the other failed ones that came before that one. As I see it, there is nothing foolish about how they behaved. In that moment in time, they were expecting a child. They were beaming with excitement and joy and ready for the journey of parenthood. Those emotions were real and honest. Why would anyone want to erase feeling good and happy?
Moving Past the Grief of Loss
Those moments of feeling hopeful, happy and excited are as much a part of one’s life as are moments of despair and heartbreak. Happiness, joy, devastation and heartbreak are all patches on our quilt. It is hard to have one without the other—not all days are bleak and not all days are euphoric.

The holidays are a period of weeks where we take stock—where have we been? Where do we still want to go? Who has made this journey bearable?  What will we do differently next time?
Celebrating Change, Keeping […]

Rebuilding After Loss: Find Hope After Losing Multiple Pregnancies

At the Blossom Method, one of our areas of care revolves around helping women and couples who experience the loss of a pregnancy or multiple pregnancies. In this story, read about one of our patients’ experiences and how she was able to find comfort in support groups and renew her hope for starting a family.
A Mother’s Journey Through Pregnancy and Loss
My life is marked by a series of dates. I am a numbers person and dates always stick out in my head. On March 3, 2012 I went off birth control. It was my husband’s 29th birthday, and we wanted to have a family. We tried month after month, and on September 30th, we found out we were pregnant. We were so excited, but we knew anything could happen. I was well aware I could miscarry—my mother had two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy so I knew it could happen to me. On October 31, 2012, my baby was nine weeks and we heard the heartbeat. Three weeks later, Thanksgiving weekend, I was the magical 12 weeks and the grandparents were finally able to shout it from the rooftops. On January 18, 2013, we found out our baby was a boy—we named him Jack.
The Tragedy of an Unexpected Loss
On February 17th, at 24 weeks and 2 days, I started having contractions and experiencing heavy bleeding in the middle of the night. I turned to my husband and said, “We need to go to the hospital, something is not right.” In triage, my water broke. I will never forget the look on the RN’s face and the resident on call saying, “I’m sorry.” We didn’t get it. Jack still had a heartbeat, though. We […]

All The Pain & None Of The Gain: Losing a Pregnancy, Not the Pregnancy Body

One common experience of women who have lost pregnancies is the frustration that comes from having to go through the pain and struggle of a changing body during pregnancy, only to be left with no baby. Obviously, this pales in comparison to the grief that comes from losing a pregnancy. In today’s blog, we recount the experience of one of our patients, a woman named Mona who lost her pregnancy at 38 weeks.
Mona’s Story of Pregnancy Loss
Mona came into my office and the moment she sat down, she began to cry. “Look at me! I am wearing a fat suit!!! You don’t even know me, and you must think I am the chubby girl-the one who always cannot pass up a dessert!”

Mona made me laugh from the moment I met her—she is one of my most favorite people to see!  One of the many punishments associated with a loss-seems to be the lack of a justification for the weight gain. For women like Mona, who had gone to 38 weeks, delivered a stillborn daughter, and left the hospital empty handed-having endured all that pain for a poor outcome seemed incomprehensible to her. She was right! Her milk had come in, her breasts were tender and painful, she was in pain, and most of all she had been denied the joy and privilege of being a mother to a live baby. Over many heated sessions and debates, Mona came to realize, as many women before her had, that life is not fair, and she deserved better. A lot better.
Coping with Post-Baby Bodies with No Baby
How do I explain to a pregnancy loss patient that having the postpartum body and physical ailments associated with child birth […]

A Genuine Smile: Coping with Pregnancy Loss

When a woman is told her pregnancy is low-risk and there’s nothing to worry about, getting past the first trimester generally means they are out of the woods, so to speak. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Read this account of one woman who experienced the loss of a pregnancy at 24 weeks along and how she is managing to cope with the grief.
A Mother’s Story of Pregnancy Loss
July 22, 2014 – 24 weeks and 1 day pregnant: In my heart, I knew something was wrong; call it a mother’s intuition. You failed to show up for our designated time together the past two mornings. I would stroke my belly after my 7:30 a.m. shower and you would always respond with many loving kicks. I would tell you how much I loved you and how excited we were to meet you and I could tell you felt the same way.

I called the doctor and told her that I hadn’t felt you move in about 36 hours, they told me to wait 48 hours, but I insisted that something was off.
The Pain of Losing a Baby
The doctor agreed to see me at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23. I went in with every intention of having the doctor see your heartbeat but I saw the ultrasound and you were lifeless, a floating entity that I would never feel alive again. My world shattered in that moment, I broke and will never be the same. One minute you were kicking, the next you were gone.

My first baby, my only baby and my future, just gone and without an explanation. The moment when my life fell apart will forever haunt me through recurring dreams and repetitive thoughts. […]

One Size Does Not Fit All: Coping with Pregnancy Anxiety After Loss

The majority of women I work with come to me because something happened to them during a previous pregnancy that resulted in some type of baby or pregnancy loss. Now, they are pregnant again—anxious and frightened. The formula they had put in place last time will not work for them now. I’ll hear things like, “I adore my OB, but going back into that waiting room, seeing the receptionist, hearing those phones ring sends me into a panic,” “The second bank of elevators in that building is where I was when the call came in,” or, “The ultrasound room has too many bad memories for me.”
New OB/GYN with a New Pregnancy
For many of these women, they want a fresh start. They want a new office, a new doctor, and in some cases, a new hospital altogether. Their OB may have graduated at the top of their class from Harvard or Princeton, but to these women, it’s a bad feeling, a foreboding premonition, a bad omen to return. I tell them that there are no rules—it is up to them to make the decision that feels right. One patient told me that after she became pregnant again and went to several visits at her old OB’s office, the OB told her that seeing how painful it was for this patient to return to the “scene of the crime” each month for her checkups was too hard to watch. The OB told the patient to switch to another doctor, and to return once the baby was born. That is exactly what the patient did—that OB clearly cared about her patient.
Extra Medical Care to Avoid Pregnancy Loss
I have other patients who decide that being seen by a […]

Abrupt Endings, New Beginnings: Coping with Pregnancy Loss

At the Blossom Method, we feature real-life stories from some of the people we have worked with and helped. This week, we feature a story from a former patient of ours who had difficulty with pregnancy loss and turned to the Blossom Method support system for help coping with the frustration, anxiety, and nerves that are inevitable when one becomes pregnant again after losing a pregnancy. Often, patients find comfort from stories of others’ experiences coping with loss as well as in sharing their own stories. 
Babies, Loss and the Future
When I was four years old, I asked my mom, “How do you become a mother?” She thought about it for a minute, and then she said, “You just put your heart into it.” So, at the ripe old age of four, I set for myself the ultimate goal of my life: Eventually I would “put my heart into it” and become a mother.

Three days before my tenth birthday, my mom went in for her 20-week ultrasound and discovered that my baby brother had died. It stopped me in my tracks, essentially ending my childhood at the exact moment my dad told me. How could a baby die before it was born? How could there just be no reason? What other tragic horrors awaited me in life? We were all sad, but I took it the hardest. I always imagined him as with us, as part of our family. I think of him each year on his due date—how old would he be now? When people asked me if I had siblings, I responded that I had a sister and also a brother who was in heaven. Mom told me not to mention my brother–people […]

Pregnancy Termination Support for Genetic Testing and Complex Medical Diagnoses

I could barely understand what she was saying on the phone. Finally, her husband took the phone from her and spoke on her behalf.  “Jane Doe” had been given the all clear at her 19 week checkup and thought that everything was going fine with her pregnancy. However, a mix up at the lab confirmed that their baby had a severe heart defect along with chromosomal abnormalities.

Jane’s experience with her OB was less than stellar. Both she and her husband were recent transplants to the United States, and noted that where they come from, there is no such thing as changing doctors depending on new issues and needs—one doctor manages everything and all decisions go through that doctor. She felt, after the complex medical diagnosis, that her OB was rushing her out of the practice once it was realized that the baby would not make it to delivery and that the pregnancy would be terminated. She felt alone, isolated. Her OB gave her a phone number to call regarding what she should do next, then stepped out of the equation. He also gave Jane my phone number.
After the Testing and Diagnosis
In the state of Illinois, a pregnancy can legally be terminated under 24 weeks. Twenty-four weeks is the magic number; after that a patient looking to terminate would need to leave the state and travel elsewhere. Jane understood that time was not on her side.

Fortunately, I was able to help Jane navigate through the maze of doctors and providers who do this type of work and don’t make the patient feel even worse about their decision. Initially, Jane was not told that she had the option to have surgery where she would be put […]

Coping with the Loss of a Pregnancy

With the struggle that many women have to go through in order to conceive a baby, even more devastating than that can be pregnancy loss. Losing a pregnancy can cause feelings of depression, inadequacy, despair and anxiety—you may find yourself wondering if you’ll be able to get pregnant again, and if you do, how long you’ll have to worry about a repeated loss. Coping with this type of loss can be very difficult and are too often internalized. These complex situations can lead to feeling overstressed, which can cause its own host of problems.

While coping with hardships such as infertility, the loss of a pregnancy or stillbirth can be very tough, it’s important to remember you are not alone. Infertility support groups and pregnancy loss counseling can help you get through the hard times and move onward to keep trying for pregnancy and growing your family.
Feelings You May Experience After a Loss
There are a range of different feelings you may experience after losing a pregnancy. Anger or resentment, particularly toward your body for “betraying” you, is extremely common, as is feeling guilty, as if the cause of losing the pregnancy was something you did that could have been prevented. If you become pregnant again, there are other issues you may experience, such as not trusting the pregnancy to carry to term, or being afraid to bond or become attached to your child until you are certain the pregnancy is viable through the end.

These emotions can drain the joy out of your life and make you feel hopeless and depressed, unable to get through the day at times. Again, it’s essential to know that you are not alone and that there are loss support groups […]

The Power of Hope: Conceiving After Pregnancy or Baby Loss

I cannot speak to the biology or chemistry behind it, and I will not attempt to try, but the common refrain I hear from patients who are trying to conceive after a loss of a baby is that each month, it just doesn’t happen. Maybe they had a pregnancy loss at 10 weeks, maybe it was a full-term baby loss, or maybe it was a fetal anomaly that was lethal and they had to end the pregnancy. Either way, they’re ready for a baby now, but it just won’t happen.
Fertility Treatment
These patients often consult with fertility doctors. They take medication to stimulate their egg production, or they start the “fertility diet” of foods said to boost fertility like beans, pineapple and specific herbs. But in the end, months pass and nothing happens.

Then I have my fertility patients. Transfers get cancelled, not enough embryos are high enough quality to implant, chemical pregnancies come and go, and still, no positive pregnancy test.
Grief & Loss Counseling
What can I say to them? How can I keep hope alive? I start with the truth—the good news is that they have proven that they are able to conceive. That’s huge! Until there are three consecutive losses, most OBs will not initiate any testing as that is still within the range of “normal.” But no one in this situation wants to hear that what they’re going through is “normal” and that all they need to do is simply go home and try to get pregnant. For this reason, pregnancy loss counseling, infertility support groups, and loss of a baby support groups in Chicago are plentiful. Women aren’t alone in their struggles with conception and the grief felt by their loss.

And what […]

The 33rd Chapter – Coping with IVF, Complicated Genetic Testing & Pregnancy Loss

A regular at the Blossom Method with his Wife Mandy, Creative Director and new Author Justin Winget shares the final entry, “Lessons Learned,” of his forthcoming book, The Thirty Third Chapter. Documenting the couple’s journey back from harrowing 20 and 38 week pregnancy losses, the narrative began on July 12th 2013:  Justin’s 33rd birthday and exactly one year after they celebrated a positive pregnancy test for their later stillborn son Carter. Setting a pre-defined ending date just before the clock turned to his 34th birthday, Justin picked-up writing just as the couple stood on the verge of another go at their dreams of parenthood. With hopes of pregnancy after loss via IVF layered with complicated genetic testing for the same rare genetic condition which plagued their first pregnancy: PGS and PGD

Written as a form of self-therapy for coping with pregnancy losses, Justin shares the culmination of his efforts surrounding IVF and genetic testing in “Lessons Learned” – the first complete entry revealed to readers. Follow along on Facebook and the Blossom Method Blog for more excerpts, and keep on the lookout for the book release sometime in 2015!

The Final Entry:

As I laid restlessly in bed watching the clock on my nightstand slowly tick towards midnight, I rewound back through all the bittersweet memories that culminated in the 33rd chapter of my life. It was not a particularly great year with more valleys than peaks, but I acknowledge it was one I needed to endure. While it tested every last ounce of my resolve, it was the only path that led to that next unrelenting chapter as a Father…

When I started writing 365 days ago, I thought this would be a completely different story. Sitting on the […]