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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

It’s October! Which means that it’s my favorite month of the year. I love how it finally begins to feel like Fall, pumpkins are all over the place, and there are tons of fun events going on. It’s also the month of my husband’s birthday and my rainbow baby’s birthday! On top of all this, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I love that there is a month dedicated to talking about our experiences with loss and our babies that were gone too soon. In the last few weeks, I’ve been bombarded with reminders of Hope, so I figured it would be fitting to celebrate October with a blog post all about my sweet daughter Hope.

 Did you know that I took 9 pregnancy tests before I found out I was pregnant with Hope? I just had a feeling that I was pregnant, but it was so early that all the tests kept coming out negative. But I retested every day (sometimes twice a day) until it became positive! I was so excited to be pregnant with her. About a week after that positive test, the doctors (in Mexico) were concerned that it might be an ectopic pregnancy because they couldn’t see anything on the abdominal ultrasound (it was way too early to be doing an ultrasound, but medical practices are different there). So Will and I were very scared that we were going to lose the baby. As we prayed that night, we nicknamed the baby “Hope” because we were hoping for good news the next day. And we got great news: my HCG levels were perfect and they were able to see the baby in the uterus though a vaginal ultrasound. After that scare, I asked Will if we could name the baby Hope if it was a girl. It had become such a cute nickname and I didn’t want to let it go.

 At 14 weeks, our doctor in Mexico said it looked like the baby was a girl. We were over the moon! I had always dreamed of having a daughter and I couldn’t believe it was coming true! We had a gender reveal at Christmas with our families; it was so exciting to begin planning for Hope’s arrival. I remember buying so many adorable Mexican dresses for her. I just couldn’t resist getting her an outfit each time we went to the market. I remember she loved when I ate Italian food and chocolate; she would have been a girl after my own heart. She was very mellow in the womb, much much calmer than her older brother. One of my favorite memories is that she would go crazy when she heard Will’s voice. That was the only thing that would consistently make her move. She was already a daddy’s girl without ever seeing him. I like to think that maybe she felt how much I loved Will and that’s why she was so attached to him.

 I wish I remembered more of her pregnancy and life, but the trauma of her death has erased a lot of my memories. But I don’t want Hope to only be defined by the tragedy of her loss. I want to talk about who she was and how much I love her. I want people to know how much I prayed for her and wanted her. I want them to know how special she was, both to me and to the world. Every time I walk my son into preschool and see the 3 year old girls going to class, I feel a gut-punch as I wonder what she would be like. Would she be obsessed with Moana and Trolls? Would she insist on wearing dresses every day or be a tomboy? Every time I am asked ‘How many kids do you have?’ and I have to explain that I have a daughter in heaven, I am reminded of the awfulness of this reality. Every time someone says I am a boy mom, my heart hurts as I ache for the daughter that existed yet no one can see. As I begin to wean my rainbow baby, my aching chest reminds me of when I was at Hope’s funeral, dealing with the pain of milk coming in without a baby to feed. Every day, I am hit with moment after moment, reminder after reminder, of my beautiful daughter. I am so thankful that October gives me the chance to talk about her on a broader scale.

 What are your memories of your babies that have passed away? This week, try to focus on the good memories and wonderful moments of their lives. Remember who they were. Rejoice that they were here, even though it wasn’t long enough. And if you feel comfortable, share those memories with the ones around you. Let’s break the silence this October and share our babies with the world.

Lauren Young is a wife to Will and mom to two beautiful boys on earth (Matti and Sammy) and three precious babies in heaven (Hope, Jonah, and January).  She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing, reading good books, cooking new recipes, and playing piano.  She lives in central Texas now but was born and raised in Georgia.  She and her husband are now in the adoption process and can't wait to see what God has in store for their family.  

Catherine Hartel

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