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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Better Day

One of my long time clients just left the house. I was so happy to
get Dawn's email this morning asking if she could come visit and bring
me some coffee. We had such a good visit. I got to show her all of
the framed pictures of Mamie, her hand print, the little piece of
curled hair the nurse cut for us, along with all the sweet gifts
people have sent us. I was telling her how amazing all of our friends
and family have been but not just that we have heard from so many
people that we don't even know. Sending us words of encouragement or
their stories of loss and how they are praying for us. We feel so
loved.

I am sitting here now as a storm blows in. I keep hearing the chime
of the angel bell one of my dear friends Shawna sent me that we hung
out on our deck. It is so beautiful! I feel so peaceful today. My
heart is calm........

I called Mike who does all of my business framing a little bit ago. I
wanted to thank him for the beautiful frames he put Mamie's pictures
in. Taylor and I hung them at the end of our hall right in between
our room and Mamie's nursery. I find myself standing there staring at
our beautiful baby a lot. Talking to her and telling her how much we
love her and miss her.

The storm is letting up now. I think I might go take a bath and have
some quiet time with God.

-Sarah

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just another day

Yesterday started off pretty good. I went for a walk with some
girlfriends and all of their babies. It was hard when people would
stop to say something to us because there were 4 of us and 3
strollers. I wanted my baby and my stroller. We had a fun time and
got a good work out. I decided to try and stay out of the house so I
went to Britney's for lunch. Things went spiraling out of control as
I was sitting there with she and Jason. I totally lost it. I became
so angry and just wanted to go home and be by myself. I wasn't angry
at them or anything they said I was just angry. I cried all the way
to my house and as soon as I walked through the doors I started
screaming. I screamed so loud I am sure the neighbors heard. I felt
like I was going crazy. All these thoughts were going through my
head. How in the world am I going to move forward? How am I ever
going to get anything done? What about my business? How will I ever
be happy again? Why was I sitting here without my baby? I was so
mad. It just isn't fair! I took my usual hot bath to calm myself
down and crawled into bed. I was exhausted!

Taylor came home early to check on me. Britney must have called him
to tell him I was having another bad day. He is such an amazing
husband. He crawled into bed and snuggled up to me. Having him close
calms my heart and emotions. I truly do not know what I would do
without him.

After this past weekend and it being Mamie's month anniversary I felt
like I had relapsed. I contacted one of the girls I meet in our grief
class that lost her baby Maddie 5 years ago. I can't even begin to
tell you what all I wrote in that email. I was typing so fast. I
just needed to talk to someone that has had this same kind of loss and
pain. It's hard because everyone has gone back to their normal daily
lives and here we are still stuck here in this nightmare. She wrote
back a long email that made me feel so much better. She said for a
long time she would have a few okay days and then would wake up the
next day feeling that pain just like the day the nurse said there was
no heartbeat. That is totally how I have been feeling. Everything
she wrote I have been feeling or felt. Even though I feel so alone
right now I know that I am not.

Casey a good friend of mine from high school came by yesterday
afternoon to bring us dinner. It was so nice to sit down and talk to
him. He and his wife are having their first baby in about a month and
I am so happy for them.

The day ended better when a few girls came over to watch the last
bachelorette. We all piled in the den and jabbered about who we
thought she was going to pick and how silly the show was. It's was
nice to step out of reality for a little while.

I feel like today might be one of those better days. I really hope it
is!

- Sarah

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 25th- One month later.....

Yesterday was the 25th.  I can't believe it has been a month since we lost Mamie.  It seems like yesterday to all of us.  We have been taking it day by day and I can say we have had some pretty good days here and there.  I feel like some days I am in pure denial about what happened.  It is usually a day that there is a lot going on.  But I find by the end of the day I am a total basket case.  I need to let it out.   Crying that hard makes me feel good ya know.  Nancy (a friend and Sunday school teacher of ours) told me it is like releasing the toxins from your body.  You feel so much better once you get it all out.  
Fayetteville was nice.  Taylor and I saw baby Owen and we both did really good.  I can't say we didn't cry because we did.  But we didn't loose it like we thought we would.  I was even worried about seeing Jayna for the first time.  We have such a close connection with being pregnant together I just wasn't sure but all I wanted to do was give her a big hug.  
The relationship between Taylor and I has grown stronger than I ever thought was possible.  It is really hard for me when he leaves for work.  I want to be with him constantly.  We are starting our grief one on one counseling next week and we are really looking forward to that.  I think having someone outside our circle to sit and talk to us is going to help us get our emotions out even more.  
Our Lord has been right here with us every day.  Sitting out on the deck in the mornings feeling the cool breeze.  I feel so close to God at those moments.  I find myself crying out to Him for guidance, peace and strength to make it through every day.
I had a dream last night that I was pregnant again.  We were at the doctor for my blood work and they told me I was pregnant.  I can't really remember anything else about the dream except that there was a little happiness and hope there.  I know we are going to be so scared when we get pregnant again.  But through all of this I know that we will put all our faith in our Lord that everything will be okay.  
I have photographed 4 sessions since all of this has happened.  3 babies and one maternity.  Everyone has asked me how in the world I have done this and all I can say is God has been there to me holding me up and give me the strength.  

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why???????????????

I have been wandering around today just feeling sick. Why was our baby taken away from us. I want her back so bad. I just want my baby...........................I don't understand why all of these other people get to have their precious babies and we are sitting here with empty arms. My heart is broken and I feel like my world has been turned upside down. I don't know if things will ever be normal again. Everyone has been telling me that I need to rest and quit trying to do so much and maybe that is what I should do. I am not one to just lay in the bed all day. I want to heal.............Lord I just need your strength right now. I am hurting so bad. I feel like there is no way I am going to be able to do this. I just want my baby.................... I am supposed to be changing her diapers and rocking her right now. I feel so alone at times. I feel this emptiness and I know it's because she is not here. Lord please calm my heart and give me comfort. I've been sitting in her room.  We have worked so hard on to get it ready and now there it is - all ready for Mamie, and she's not here. AH! I am so angry right now. WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I am going to go soak in the bath. I have made it through another day. It hasn't been such a good day, but I have made it. Thank you Lord for being with me and letting me cry out to you for help. I know Mamie is in your loving arms and I will never question that.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Morning

I slept pretty well last night.  I didn't even have to take a sleeping pill which is good.  Yesterday was a much better day.  I did my usual sitting on the deck drinking my coffee and being quiet.  It is amazing how peaceful the mornings are.  Gus crawled up on the couch with me (which we usually don't let them do) and lay his head on my belly and looked at me with his sweet eyes. People have been asking me if Gracie and Gus have been acting weird and I really haven't seen a change but I think they know.  Yesterday was my first morning to be by myself and I think I needed it.  I decided to get dressed and make myself get out of the house.  In the process I began to scream and cry.  Sometimes the pain just overwhelms me and I feel like there is just no way of getting through this.  I took my bath and felt like I could handle the next step of my day.  (I take a bath everyday if not twice or even sometimes 3 times a day if I feel like it. It is another peaceful place for me.) 
Driving my car for the first time since all this happened was a little strange.  The beach towel from the Tuesday before all this happened when Britney and I went swimming is still in the back seat.  Thank goodness someone took out Mamie's carrier out.  We had it strapped in ready to go for when she decided to come.  
I ended up going to get a smoothie which has been another daily drink for me.  I can't seem to eat very much these days but smoothies taste so good.  Then I drove to Bed, Bath & Beyond to get some coffee.  I wandered around in there for about an hour picking up things I didn't need and then later putting them back up.  I felt good being out but also a little lost.  
Taylor and I went to dinner with some friends last night and that was nice.  I guess I still feel like I am such a dream right now.  I am just going through the motions.  
First thing this morning I opened the door to Mamie's nursery as I do every morning and went in and started straighting up things.  Moving around tables and chairs so it would look more put together.   We never got to finish the room and I just want it to look a little more put together.  I am not sure why I do some of the things that I do but it makes me feel better.  
I hope to have another good day today.  Anna is supposed to come over and hang out.  We talked about going for a walk and she is going to help me pack for Fayetteville.  We are leaving this afternoon to go stay with Ashley and Dustin.  When we get into town I really want to stop by the Weber's and see little Owen.  I have no clue how it is going to be and how I am going to react.  Owen to me is a baby that is close to Mamie.  With Jayna and I going through our pregnancy together I feel like Mamie and Owen knew each other.  That gives me comfort and I think will give me comfort to hold him.  
I guess that is it for my rambling journal entry today.  
-Sarah

Thursday, July 16, 2009

3 Weeks

Three weeks have past and I feel like some days we have made a little progress and then the next day we are back where we started.  This week has been really hard for Taylor and I.  We met with Dr. Sellers on Tuesday and went over the pathology report.  We left with so many unanswered questions.  All we learned was her cord was short (19.5cm where the average normal cord is 50-55cm).  Her placenta was small.  She was the size she was supposed to be at 37 1/2 weeks so he was not sure about that.  There was a kink in the cord where it met the placenta and there were blood clots in the cord.  The plan is for us to come back on Aug. 18th to do lab work on me.  They will send blood samples off to be tested to see if there is a problem.  If they come back positive then Dr. Sellers will put me on some kind of medicine for my next pregnancy.  We asked him what they would determine if the test results comes back negative. He paused and said he wasn't sure.   He would have to talk to more specialists.  Dr. Sellers and Barbara, his nurse, have been so amazing through this whole thing.  I can't imagine if we didn't have them.  The tears that kept appearing in his eyes shows us that we aren't just another patient of his.  He cares about us and his heart is broken about Mamie's death too.  
Sunday we went to our first support group.  It was pretty overwhelming for both of us.  Most of the people who were there had lost their babies 3-5 years ago. Seeing them still in so much pain made us feel like there is never going to be a good day again.  Taylor brought that up and they told us that the support group was their safe place.  They assured us that it does get easier but that we will never forget.  They have all gone on to have more children with no complications but through their whole pregnancy they were scared.  I can't imagine how worried we will be when we do get pregnant again.  
Last night some friends from our Sunday school class came by to visit.  Daniel is the head of pathology for Arkansas.  We asked him to look over the report and we were surprised and relieved by what he said.  He told us that he doesn't believe that I have any blood disorders.  He thinks that Mamie just out grew her home.  Her placenta couldn't support her anymore.  The kink could have been caused by her pushing against the placenta.  It was just bad luck pretty much from what he said.  Everything he said just made sense.  Going ahead with the lab test he thinks is a great idea but hearing that he believes they will come back negative makes us feel a lot better.  

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mamie's Due Date

Mamie’s Due Date

Today has already been extremly hard for Taylor and I.  Today was to be Mamie’s due date.  The questions that everyone asks you through your whole pregnancy is here.  And we have no baby here with us.  She has gone to heaven.  I woke up crying harder than I have in a while and couldn’t catch my breath.  I keep replaying everything over and over in my head.  How did this happen to us?  Today is suppose to be an exciting day.  I pray that the Lord will give us strength to get through this day.  I lit a candle for our precious Mamie and plan to let it burn for her all day.  

“Mamie we love you so so much and miss you more than ever.”

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Lauren - Sarah, my thoughts and prayers are with you and Taylor today as they are everyday. I have been thinking about you constantly. I'm sure you are wondering when this will get easier. I just know it will. God has a plan for you both and I know you can't understand what it is now but it will reveal itself soon, I'm sure. Take care and my prayers continue...

July 13, 2009 - 8:31 amTammy - I realize that we do not know each other. However, I know that God hears our prayers and I am praying that God gives you and Taylor much strength today. I will continue to pray for your family.

July 13, 2009 - 8:54 amBetty (Miami) - OMG - I'm in tears! Strengh, memories, prayer & family will help you get through this day! My heart goes out to you & your family!!! I can NOT imagine your pain but we are ALL here for you... praying!!! Mamie is looking upon you with a smile today! (a hobby photographer from out southest that loves your pictures & stories)

July 13, 2009 - 9:10 amMeredith - Sarah, I'm so sorry. I actually thought of you and Taylor as I was getting ready for work this morning. Actually, I think about you every morning. I can imagine that today is going to be especially hard. Please know that you are covered in prayer. I love these pictures. Mamie is just beautiful!

July 13, 2009 - 9:31 amAvie Hardin - I know this is such a hard day Sarah. I continue to pray for your strength and peace. January 14th was my due date. Scooter gave me this on that day and I want to share it with you....... May you always have an Angel by your side~ Watching out for you~Helping you believe in brighter days and in dreams come true~Giving you comfort and courage~Someone to catch you if you fall~Inspiring smiles~Helping your hand and helping you through it all~May you always have an angel by your side.

July 13, 2009 - 10:11 amkate tokar - Hi Sarah, Just wanted you to know I am praying for you. I can't imagine your day. I am sure each breath is an effort. I know this is not at all how you had planned this exciting day. Praying that God will ease your pain and give you the strength you need to make it today- and for the days to come. Mamie is beautiful and I know God is treasuring every second with her. I am so sorry you can't enjoy every second with her now. I know you will for eternity, but that doesn't help with the right now. Praying for you to get through those for now. Hang in there.

July 13, 2009 - 11:06 amBecky Gordy - Graham and I are thinking of you both today. I'm so sorry. May God be with you guys all the time, but hold you especially close today.

July 13, 2009 - 11:06 amAshley Andrews and Kurt Garland - I think about you each day and pray for your strength. As heart wrenching as it, I watch the slide show of Mamie often so that I do not forget how beautiful she was and how she was the spitting image of her mother with that little butterfly mouth. I am with you in thought and prayer and hope that each day brings you a little more peace.

July 13, 2009 - 11:07 amClark and Carolyn McCarley - Sarah and Taylor, It was nice meeting you all yesterday. We feel your pain, emotions and everthing else you are going through right now. Remembering back when we lost Mary Madison, life just sucked, nothing was fun. But we found strength through prayer, to move forward one day at a time. Please know we are here if you all need anything, feel free to call anytime. We would love to visit sometime. We pray you will have pease and comfort today. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Love, Clark and Carolyn McCarley

July 13, 2009 - 11:15 amAshleigh Adams - Sarah- I went to bed thinking of you and Taylor last night and woke up thinking of you this morning. I know that today is so hard for you both, and I wish that I could help ease your pain somehow. Please know that we are continuing to pray for you and that Brian and I love you very much. - Ashleigh Adams

July 13, 2009 - 11:17 amEvelyn Wade - I am thinking of you today:) It makes no sense to me...my heart is breaking for you over and over again. I hope throughout the day peace and comfort come to you. You are always in my prayers!

July 13, 2009 - 12:21 pmrobin thibault - sarah, i prayed so hard for you guys last night & this morning, knowing what today means for you & taylor. what avie says in her comment is so true. mamie isn't physically here, but she is your angel, watching over you in heaven, protecting you & walking with you. i know me telling you that doesn't make it all better...i know you would rather have her with you...i completely understand that. just know that i am in prayer constantly for you & taylor. please keep updating us & letting us know how you're doing. love, robin

July 13, 2009 - 1:06 pmDenise Thompson (work with Bill) - Sarah & Taylor: I have no words to offer only my prayers that continue to go up for you both each day! My heart truly hurts for you and I continue to pray for God to pour his love, mercy & grace out upon you both & bless you with a peace that can only come from him! Please lean on each other & know that even though you cannot see them God's footprints are there carrying you each minute of the day as you grieve! Love in Christ! Denise Thompson

July 13, 2009 - 1:18 pmCasey Beard - I love you both and am praying for peace and comfort. Mamie should be here, I agree. I am glad you grieve...that makes you human. Know that we grieve for you and Mamie as well!

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's been 2 weeks

I am sitting here on my deck again this morning. I have a splitting headache.   The past couple of days have been almost unbearable.  I have not stopped crying.  As soon as I wake up I start thinking about Mamie and replaying everything in my head.  Why did this have to happen to us?????????????   I want my baby so bad I feel like I am drowning. So many of my friends are due right now.  Katy had her sweet little boy yesterday.  I am so happy for her but also it makes me very sad.  On Monday Lindsey came over for her last belly picture. We were about a week apart in our pregnancies and I documented her belly for her as she grew and changed. She told me that she was scheduled for a c-section on Tuesday, the 14th. I couldn't help it and started crying. My due date was Monday, the 13th and oh how I wish Mamie would be coming into our lives that day. I pray more than ever now. I pray that He will take this pain away, give me strength and comfort. Sometimes I just wish I could take a pill and make myself numb to all of this. I know He is there right by my side and is crying with me. Taylor is being so strong for me. Sometimes I wish he would just let his guard down and cry with me. I know he hates to see me like this and wants to be my rock. I couldn't imagine not having Taylor in my life. He is such an amazing husband. He is my sole mate. We have decided to go to a support group at St. Vincent. The first meeting is this Sunday at 2. I am very ready to go and visit with other parents who are dealing with the same loss. I think this will be good for us. Dr. Sellers called and the full pathology report is back. We are going in next Tuesday to go over everything. He told me that we will be able to have more children in the future which calmed my fears a bit. I thought I would be able to since I carried Mamie into the middle of my 37th week.  She was full term.  But hearing it out of the mouth of the doctor we love and trust so much just made us feel better.  He said once I am past the postpartum weeks we will start lab work on me.  I am really not sure but I think it might have to do with my blood.  I guess we will know everything on Tuesday. My family has been so amazing through all of this.  I feel like they must be getting tired of taking care of me.  I have only left the house a few days and as soon as I do I want to go back home.  Yesterday Britney and I went to Barbara Graves to get me a few new bra's.   One of the ladies who has worked there forever was very happy to see us come in.  She was helping people but when she walked past me she said something about how's the baby?  I turned and broke down into tears.  She knew I was pregnant but obviously didn't hear that we lost Mamie.  I know this probably won't be the first time this happens, but I hope it doesn't happen again for a long time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8th

It has been 2 weeks now since this nightmare happened. I woke up this morning more overwhelmed by grief than ever before. I began screaming and crying. I cried so hard my head felt like it was going to explode. Why did this have to happen to us? We did everything right. I just kept crying out to the Lord to bring my baby back. I fell back asleep in pure exhaustion until I felt Taylor wrap his arms around me and kiss me on my forehead. It was close to noon and he had come home to check on me. I decided I would get up and see how I felt. It didn't take long for me to figure out I felt like I was still drowning.  Mom and Silas were on the deck when I went outside and sat down. I felt like a zombie....I can't stop crying I told my mom.  It just isn't fair. I want my baby back. A beautiful arrangement was sitting on the table and the card read Joe Marchese, The Rockets. This is one of my favorite bands that plays at a ton of weddings that I photograph.   It just amazes me all the people out there that are praying and supporting us through this time. I was really thinking I might just go back to bed but am so glad I didn't because Avie, a friend of mine stopped by.  Avie lost her sweet little angel last Sept. 15th.  She brought me a HUGE HUG, some books and a gift card to Rejuvenation Clinic from she, Jayme and Kathryn.  I can not wait to go get a massage.  Avie and I had a great talk out on the deck.  Being able to talk to someone who has been through the same thing really helps.  I feel so much better.  I believe that Avie and I will begin a strong friendship though all of this. I was telling her how I just feel like there is a hole that I need to fill.  The other day I thought I might go get a puppy.   Then I decided maybe not.  I really like having 2 potty trained dogs :)   I told her how I got on Anthropology and truthfully I can't even tell you what I ordered.  I do know that I ordered some door knobs.  DOOR KNOBS??????   What in the world and I doing?She got a good laugh which made me laugh.   It felt good to laugh! Anyway, I am about to go take my daily bath and get out of my pj's.   Taylor and I are going to attempt going to dinner with some of our friends tonight.   I haven't had much of an appetite since all of this has happened.  Smoothies have been my meal of choice.  I am not kidding.   I have had 1-2 smoothies a day but thinking of Bone Fish is making my mouth water right now.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mamie's Obiturary

TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2009 AT 2:16PM POSTED IN FAMILYEDIT Mamie’s obituary was in Sunday’s paper. I am sorry this is such late notice. Here is a copy. -Britney Mamie Katherine Adams, infant daughter of Sarah and Taylor Adams, of Little Rock, was accepted into God’s loving arms on June 25, 2009. She brought much love and joy to her parents and their family as they prepared for her birth. Her memorial service was held on Monday, June 29th. Sarah, Taylor and their family thank all who attended the services, Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, St. Vincent Infirmary, and all who continue to pray for them. She is survived by her parents, Sarah and Taylor Adams; maternal grandparents, Penny and Bill Bussey; paternal grandparents, Cissy and Kenneth Adams; maternal aunt and uncle, Britney and Jason Spees; paternal aunts and uncles, Ashleigh and Brian Adams and Ashley and Drew Heiple. In lieu of flowers Sarah and Taylor would like for donations to be made to the Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church Foundation-Children’s Ministry Endowment in memory of Mamie Katherine. www.ruebelfuneralhome.com.

Alyson - I didn't get to see this in the paper. Thanks for sharing!

July 7, 2009 - 5:56 pmrobin thibault - Sarah, you, Taylor, Mamie & your families have been on my mind so much the past week or so. I am praying so hard for comfor & peace for each of you...but, especially for you & Taylor. A journey like this isn't easy & it's not fair. At all. And, I wish there was something I could say or do that would take all your pain away. Because I would say it & I would do it. Whatever it was. Please know that you are not alone in this. There are so many of us who know what you're going through right now, so don't be afraid or hesitate to reach out to any one of us. We'll do whatever we can for you! Love, Robin

Article/Bill for Mamie and Others

TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2009 AT 10:14AM POSTED IN FAMILYEDIT Please pass this along to anyone you think it will help. Let’s take a stand for our babies. Click here to read THIS STORY Even Doctors Avoid Talking About Stillbirth By Alan Goldenbach Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, July 7, 2009 About a month after our son died, my wife and I made our first visit back to her obstetrician's office hoping to get answers to some of the questions that haunted us. We had already learned why he died a day before he was supposed to be born; an autopsy showed his umbilical cord had become knotted. What we were left with was a helpless feeling, exacerbated by the fact that our son's death blindsided us. Over the previous year, we had absorbed countless pieces of pregnancy literature and fiercely adhered to our obstetrician's guidelines for a healthy pregnancy. While we knew that stillbirth is possible in every pregnancy, no book nor our doctor ever mentioned the term. So we asked our doctor: "Why not?" "Pregnancy is a happy time," she told us sheepishly, from behind her desk. "Nobody wants to hear anything about something bad, much less death." We left her office with a sense of betrayal and frustration. We had done a little homework since our son's death and were stunned to find how common cases like ours are -- yet how rarely people talk about them. There are about 26,000 stillbirths annually in the United States -- one in about every 160 pregnancies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is 10 times the number of deaths attributed to sudden infant death syndrome, which has been identified as a key public health issue, and four times the incidence rate of Down syndrome, for which prenatal testing has become almost ritual. Domestically, there are 2 1/2 times more stillbirths annually than deaths from AIDS. Several doctors told us that they don't see any point in discussing stillbirth, that it's a catch-all term for an event, and one that is frequently unexplained. If doctors knew the causes of stillbirth or its telltale signs, they say, they'd warn parents -- and take preventive action. But if you don't talk about an issue, you'll never learn more about it. Take SIDS: Awareness campaigns triggered research that showed babies were suffocating when they slept facedown. Consequently, such measures as ensuring that babies sleep on their backs and on firm mattresses have become fundamental orders for parents of newborns. What if similar research had been done on stillbirths? Might increased fetal monitoring during the final trimester have spotted my son's tangled umbilical cord? While we marvel at sonograms and their ability to show a fetal heart beating, they are as yet unable to detect an umbilical cord in utero. We can't know if improved technology or more stringent standards of monitoring can lower stillbirth rates unless we do the research. "It's the trade-off -- you are going to frighten a lot of people" by discussing stillbirth, said Ruth C. Fretts, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School and chair of the scientific committee for the International Stillbirth Alliance, a nonprofit collaborative that seeks to increase the understanding and prevention of stillbirth. "It seems like a lot of intervention. We spend about an hour during the first visit talking about screening for Down syndrome. We don't spend any time at the end talking about [stillbirth] . . . . We haven't framed the question appropriately enough to draw attention to stillbirth. People didn't count them [as deaths] for so long." Jason Collins, a Louisiana obstetrician who heads the nonprofit Pregnancy Institute, which promotes improved fetal monitoring for full-term births, says there's little talk about stillbirth "because doctors are afraid of the repercussions." According to Fretts's research, the leading cause of fetal death after 28 weeks is an unexplained source, dwarfing such culprits as fetal malnutrition and placental abruption. In other words, the most common result after a stillbirth is a doctor telling grieving parents, "I don't have an answer for you." Several doctors told us privately that many OB-GYNs fear charges of malpractice following a stillbirth, leading them to avoid citing a cause of death. Discussing stillbirth is made all the more difficult by the term's lack of clarity. While the clinical definition in the United States for stillbirth is the death of a fetus after 20 weeks of gestation or weighing 350 grams or more if the age is unknown, I can't count the number of times I heard my son's death referred to as a miscarriage, which is usually defined as occurring before 20 weeks and seemed to us to diminish the loss of a baby at full term. According to the World Health Organization, stillbirth rates in the United States are greater than those of every European nation, Canada, Australia, Japan and Singapore, yet some experts say it is inappropriate to compare them because there is no single definition of the term. For example, in Sweden, a stillbirth is a fetal death after 28 weeks. Other nations use a 16-week definition. "You really can't compare stillbirth rates in certain countries," said Wes Duke, a CDC medical officer who has spearheaded a program in metropolitan Atlanta to improve data collection of stillbirths for the purpose of determining causes. "It's really apples and oranges." While there is disagreement over the meaning of the term "stillbirth" at the administrative level, a few people at the grass-roots level are determined to raise awareness by talking about it. Jeanine McGrath, a registered nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring who has been serving on the hospital's Perinatal Loss Committee for 12 years, remembers meeting a woman who had twins. One was stillborn, and the woman's inability to come to terms with her situation inspired McGrath. "She told me, 'I don't know how to feel,' " McGrath said. " 'Everyone says I should be happy because I have a baby, but I also have a baby who died.' " In January 2006, McGrath launched a weekly perinatal loss support group at Holy Cross. She said that each group averages about a half-dozen families and that by the end of an eight-to-10-week session, people want to discuss the death of their baby. "I start and end the group the same way every time [by telling everyone that] you are very brave," McGrath said. "Why in the heck would you want to cry in front of strangers?" McGrath has not had trouble filling each session. She said there are about 125 to 150 stillbirths annually just at Holy Cross. She said she also mails invitations to families who suffer stillbirths at other Washington area hospitals. "As a society, we're told just to deal," McGrath said. "There's this idea that you can just have another one, that they're disposable. "We have a very limited ritual around death. In this country, it's 'Have funeral and get it over with and move on.' But when it's a baby, we don't even have a word for what to call it." McGrath said she has heard countless times in her support group from parents who received no guidance from their doctors about stillbirth. One woman, she said, told a story about receiving a hand-written note from her veterinarian following the death of her dog. "But when her baby died, the woman heard nothing from her doctor," McGrath said. There was another woman who called her obstetrician's office after the stillbirth of her daughter and heard the following prompts: "Press 1 to make an appointment, press 2 to make a payment, press 3 for prescriptions." "I have a dead baby," the woman told McGrath's support group. "Which button do I push?" McGrath said part of the problem stems from large obstetrics practices, which encourage women to visit each doctor in case that one is on call the day of delivery. It becomes a classic case of groupthink, where none of the doctors wants to deviate from the tried-and-true workflow. "For many of the [medical] groups, they're huge," McGrath said. "It's seven or eight doctors and they all want to see you. Where is it in the prenatal plan? Somebody is going to talk about it, but they just expect someone else to do it." Now someone is trying to talk about stillbirth, and it's a most unlikely source: Congress. Last June, then-Sen. Barack Obama introduced the Preventing Stillbirth and SUID Act of 2008, but it was unable to gain much traction. ("SUID" stands for "sudden unexpected infant death.") Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has picked up the cause and is crafting similar legislation that, according to sources familiar with the bill, will be brought to the Senate floor before the August recess. "We need to know more about stillbirths to help increase awareness and prevention," Lautenberg said. "We are crafting legislation to improve data collection so we can better understand what's causing stillbirths and help parents looking for answers." The bill, which is more policy- and data-oriented than research-driven, will expand upon registries of stillbirths already in place in Iowa and metropolitan Atlanta. Lautenberg and the bill's other sponsors hope to have as many as a dozen states participating in the registry and providing a standard protocol for data collection following each stillbirth. Among the bill's other provisions is a campaign to increase public awareness and grief support services. "This bill will at least raise the awareness," said Fretts, who has consulted with Lautenberg's staff on this bill, "and that's a big start." My wife and I could have used that. Comments: goldenbacha@washpost.com.

Cissy Adams - Sarah & Taylor I am so proud of you both for researching sudden infant death. We do need to have public awareness and more grief support groups. I can't get over the statistics of SUID "sudden unexpected infant death." One child in one hundred sixty births -- unbelieveable. I hope that the SUID Act of 2008 represented by Senator Lautenberg is passed in August. Thank you for having your friend take pictures of Mamie. I look at it everyday -- many times. I love you both very much. It is such a blessing to know that Mamie is with our Lord. Cissy Adams - Mima

July 7, 2009 - 7:29 pmAmanda - I lost our baby boy, Sullivan, June 22, 2009 at 23 weeks. There are no words for our loss. Please know I am thinking of you and praying for you during this time. Amanda

July 7, 2009 - 7:39 pmShawna - I was going to bring this you your attention when I read it in the Post...I'll make sure to start following this for you guys and keep you updated on its progress. Love you both!

July 7, 2009 - 11:09 pmDebbie Pennington - What a beautiful baby! My heart breaks for you both. Just wanted you both to know that you are in my prayers. May God give you both the strength that you need to make it thru each day.

A Good Morning

This morning I woke up bright and early along with Taylor. We decided to go for a walk in the neighborhood. What a beautiful and peaceful morning it was. There was even a little bit of chill in the air when we walked outside for the first time. With me not leaving the house the past couple of days it felt a little strange stepping out of my comfort zone. We met a few people out that were also taking advantage of the cool air and quite morning. I guess everyone knows what happened around here because they all stopped to say hello and say how good it was to see me out. Taylor and I talked during the entire walk and I only teared up once. I feel bad not crying sometimes but I know it is just a matter of time before my breakdown hits me. I am now sitting on my quiet deck drinking my hot cup of coffee :) I really feel like today is going to be a better day. I know we couldn't be getting though this without all the prayers from our friends and people we don't even know. - Sarah

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The way to treat a Mother who is grieving

THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2009 AT 5:53PM POSTED IN PERSONAL, PRAYERSEDIT I was sent this poem by a dear friend who also lost her baby not to long ago. I wanted to share it with you all.
The way to treat a Mother who is grieving
Please Be Gentle
By Jill B. Englar
Please be gentle with me for I am grieving.
The sea I swim in is a lonely one
and the shore seems miles away.
Waves of despair numb my soul
as I struggle through each day.
My heart is heavy with sorrow.
I want to shout and screamand repeatedly ask ‘why?’
At times, my grief overwhelms me
and I weep bitterly,so great is my loss.
Please don’t turn away
or tell me to move on with my life.
I must embrace my pain
before I can begin to heal.
Companion me through tears
and sit with me in loving silence.
Honor where I am in my journey,
not where you think I should be.
Listen patiently to my story,
I may need to tell it over and over again.
It’s how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss.
Nurture me through the weeks and months ahead.
Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable.
A small flame still burns within my heart,
and shared memories may trigger
both laughter and tears.
I need your support and understanding.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
I must find my own path.
Please, will you walk beside me?
Don’t worry about making me cry.

robin thibault - sarah...thank you for sharing this. as someone who has also experienced loss, i know just how true this poem is. when we lost our baby(ies), i didn't want to talk to anyone. if i wanted to cry, i'd cry. if i wanted to lay in all day, i did. the one constant in my life was/is my husband. i couldn't be more than one room away from him or i'd go crazy. i would not have survived had it not been for him. he & i (along with our families) helped each other get through some of the most difficult times. and, i know you & taylor have such a strong bond & such a great family support system to survive this. and, the poem is right...there's no wrong way or right way to grieve. you have to grieve in your own way...whatever that might be. but, i have faith that you'll find your way through this loss...with God's help. i have been praying, am praying & will continue to pray for you, taylor & your families.

July 3, 2009 - 6:25 amStephanie Thornton - Sarah, I checked your blog this morning because I knew that time was drawing near for your precious one to arrive. How deeply saddened I am to learn of your loss. As I watched the slideshow, my heart broke for you and your husband. I know that as a firm believer in our Lord, you are leaning on Him for your strength and understanding. I pray this morning that you find comfort with Taylor and feel His mighty presence this morning. I will continue to pray for both of you so that the sun will shine again in your eyes. It is such a blessing to me to see you praising the Lord in your storm. Thank you.

July 3, 2009 - 8:49 amCrystal Goss - How beautiful and perfect. I'm so glad you shared this.

July 4, 2009 - 9:38 pmlauren clark - Sarah! Oh my goodness, my heart is aching for you right now. I will be praying for you that God will show His mercy through this heavy season. Let His face shine on you and bring you peace.

July 5, 2009 - 8:32 amsarah - Sarah- You did pictures for us a few years ago, but I heard about your loss through Heather Owens and Just keep thinking of you and praying for you. I mentioned a site to her and don't know if she had a chance to pass it on. It's silentgrief.com. I hope this helps. We are praying for you and hope today is a good day!

July 5, 2009 - 11:26 amCynthia - Hello Sarah, I am Crystal's aunt (Her father, Lacey, is my brother). I have just logged in to her blog today and discovered the sad news. I wanted you to know that I am praying for you and your family and I extend my sincere sympathy.