Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day



I believe I have touched on this subject briefly but I have been in close proximity with pregnancy loss so today, October 15th, I want to briefly pause and recognize all the babies, infants and their families who have been lost. 

When I was 10, I had the joy of finding out that I was finally going to be a big sister.  I went to all my mom's appointments with her, fantasized about what it would be like to be a big sister and waited for the moment when I would finally have a sibling to play with. 

My mom was due on November 8, 1988 and plans were put in place for my sister Veronica's arrival.  My family and extended family took a beach trip to Litchfield, South Carolina in July of that year and I stayed behind with my grandparents for a second week of fun while my parents went back to Columbia to work.  It was only when my dad met my grandparents that I learned something terrible had happened and my sister had not made it.  Come to find out, my mom's cervix could not withstand the pressure of carrying a child and my sister died at 24 weeks: which, coincidentally, is around the gestation of where I am right now.  To say I breathe a sigh of relief while pregnant when I make it to 25 weeks is absolutely an understatement.   

Because of this, I have grown up feeling like pregnancy and infant loss is all I will ever know.  I saw the Clomid hidden in my mom's closet, watched her cry each month when either her period would come or she would get a negative on a pregnancy test.  I will never be able to fully put into words how I felt the moment I got that positive with Oliver.  I literally could only say oh my god, oh my god, oh my god over and over again.  Same thing happened with Dos.  I have never once taken my blessings for granted because I know just how easily things can be taken away from you.  

My grief, however, is nothing compared to those in the trenches; those women who live through loss month after month or who never get the opportunity to experience what it feels like to carry a child.  I decided long ago that I would make it my purpose in life to at least stay educated and be a shoulder to lean in if I were to ever encounter someone dealing with a loss.

I debated posting the only two photos I have of my sister, Veronica, to show how things have changed regarding loss from then to the present time.  However, I don't want it to seem like I am sensationalizing or using my sister in order to draw more attention to myself.  I will say that it is because of days like today that hospitals and healthcare professionals are more aware of the devastating effect pregnancy and infant loss has on an individual or their family.  Basically, my sister was thrown on a towel, her footprints were taken and she was photographed with a blurry Polaroid camera.  The hospital workers could not even be bothered to clean the blood off of her before they took a picture of her.  She was taken out of the room in a plastic biohazard bucket and we have absolutely no idea what happened to her remains.

Today, I will remember my little sister, Veronica Glynn Jordan, who I have never met but who has been in my memory each and every day since I was 10.  I would also like to dedicate today to my friends, both in real life and bloggy, who have experienced a loss.  Your pain is in my heart each day, especially today.  I hope you find the peace and joy you deserve.  While I do not fully understand your struggles, your pain is real and I for one will never forget you or your precious little ones.

If you are so obliged, would you mind lighting a candle tonight at 7:00 p.m. and burn the candle for an hour to honor the ones who have gone before us?  These babies mean something and will never be forgotten.

Veronica's footprints
 

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing Valerie. I can not believe that the hospital was so insensitve. My heart hurts for you and your family. I think its a great and wonderful thing that you are doing. Thank you for being there for me! <3

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  2. I am so with you...at 10 my 4 month old sister Grayce Elaine died of SIDS (or crib death). Life was never the same. Today happens to be my brother Conor's 21st birthday. He was born 2 yrs 6 days after she died. He was just what we all needed.

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  3. Awww, this breaks my heart, Valerie! I am firm believer that those precious souls lost before they even took their first breaths outside their mommies are in heaven with Jesus. I hate that you and your family's loss was met with such insensitivity by the hospital but rest assured that you can see Veronica again one day. Those tiny little footprints are just precious! No, I hope I would never take my children for granted, and I want to offer nothing but hope and encouragement to mothers out there suffering from such losses or the inability to conceive. Thank you for posting your story!

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  4. I am so fortunate to not know that deep, painful loss. I am so glad you were able to share this with us--thinking of you and your mom, and all the others who have been dealt this blow.

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  5. You would have been an amazing big sister to her (like you have been to me).

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