Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

Sharing My Story During Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

This October is not supposed to be this painful for me.

This October I should be holding a sweet baby in my arms and not writing this blog about pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. 

This is My Story

I should be sharing so much love and support with mothers this month as the focus is pulled so acutely to their babies that they have lost- I feel like I shouldn’t be one of those mothers.

We all think “that couldn’t happen to me” until it does. I should be worried about how I could sneak in a few more hours of sleep this week with my baby and toddler instead of wondering when the nightmares might stop. 

I should be one of those moms unaware that many loss moms envy their naivety as they continue to shamelessly share pictures of their babies on social media during this month – as those happy mothers should. 

It is just another reminder that just because mine and other mothers’ worlds have completely stopped spinning so many others continue on without ever knowing our pain. 

April 5th at 2:30 am my world stopped spinning.

I was in active labor at home with my second child- 40 weeks pregnant. My husband was in the shower getting ready to fill up our birth tub for the birth and my midwife had just walked into our room.

I smiled at her so excited that we were finally going to meet our mystery baby. We did not know the gender and that moment was finally about to happen!

She had me lay down on the bed – watched me breathe through a contraction then squirted that freezing cold goop on my belly to check for the baby’s heartbeat.

Silence…

Our second midwife walked in a few minutes later and she also began to look for a heartbeat. They tried to reassure me that sometimes the heartbeat is hard to find while you are in labor. 

But I just knew. 

They were able to find her heartbeat immediately before, so something was wrong. My husband walked out of the bathroom and saw the concern on my face. He sat with me and held my hand. 

Finally, they looked at me and said that they could not find the heartbeat and that they were very concerned. My midwife checked my dilation and communicated that she could feel the baby’s head, my bags were in tack but that she couldn’t get the baby to move. 

My husband called my mother to come and stay with our 3-year-old daughter while we went to the hospital… undoubtedly one of the most painful calls my husband had to make and for my mother to receive but it certainly was not the last he made that day. 

I stood in my closet staring at my bag wondering what I needed to take to the hospital… I didn’t know. I shouldn’t be packing this stupid bag. I even wondered if I should take the onesies for the baby…. I thought we would just come back with the baby… maybe and then it would all be ok. 

When my mother arrived I couldn’t even look at her because I knew I would completely fall apart. My heart was breaking. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. The baby was so healthy the whole pregnancy – 

I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT!

Pregnancy and Loss Awareness Month Quote

The Hospital

I cried the whole way to the hospital begging God to make this ok while I breathed and cried through long and strong contractions. I was having this baby. 

We arrived at the hospital, it was the longest and shortest ride of my life. I walked to my hospital room straight through my contractions without even stopping. I was so scared. There was such a rush around me and I just wanted to hide in a dark room and give birth alone. 

God had told me it would be ok, I knew the baby was gone so why do we have to do the ultrasound?

Regardless they did the scan and told me what we knew in the depths of our heart was true – our baby had no heartbeat. 

I don’t know if it was just minutes or hours that I laid sobbing on that stupid hospital bed wondering what I did wrong to deserve this. My husband and midwives tried to desperately encourage me to move as I was painfully trying to cope with double-peaking contractions at this point. 

My body was going into overdrive with the rush of such deep pain and shock. I finally moved and continued to labor. 

They offered me a bunch of different pain management options but I didn’t want anything, I knew I needed to feel this labor. I needed to feel my baby. I needed to be with my baby for as long as I possibly could. 

I fought my body as I tried to resist the contractions and once they broke my water I fought so hard to not let my body push my baby out but in the end, my body did its job and my sweet baby was born. 

Blog Post Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

A perfect beautiful little girl.

We named her Rainey Dee. I had loved the name forever but it wasn’t fitting for our first daughter. 

I had told my husband when I was pregnant that if our baby was a girl and it happened to rain on the morning of her delivery we would name her Rainey. 

My husband told me her gender, I cried and he said to me, “I guess we know her name.”

I looked out the window and to my astonishment, it was raining and there was a huge beam of light shining into our room. I believe it was the heavens opening up to welcome our precious daughter home. 

Rainey looked exactly like her sister, almost the same exact size but a whole inch taller. She was perfect. Her cord was not. One knot in her cord that had tightened in labor effectively cutting off her blood and oxygen flow from me. 

My midwife told me over and over again that it was only two minutes. I have worked in the birth world for about 4 years now helping to educate women about their bodies and birth. 

I know that true knots only cause “problems” with about 1% of birth. How that verbiage irritates me now. I am part of that 1%. My baby suffered and died in that 1%.

Our daughter opened her eyes to Jesus instead of me. I didn’t get to receive her into my hands first. She was held by three other people before I held her. I didn’t get to see her gender first. I didn’t get to see her eyes first. I didn’t get to do anything that I imagined for her birth or my family’s life once she finally arrived.

Grief.

Now I spend my days trying to cope with the overwhelming grief. The pain of knowing that if there was a reason or even the slightest indicator of her distress, I could have had a c-section and she would be in my arms right now. 

I am teaching a three-year-old how to also cope with her grief. The loss of a sister she only knew in my belly and lifeless in a hospital room. 

Navigating Daily Life

My husband and I are learning to navigate our relationship and find deeper meaning and let go of all of our regrets so we can learn to live with our beautiful angel in our hearts instead of our arms. 

I hate that each month I account for my personal recovery rather than the new cute things my daughter is doing. I hate that I snap at my three-year-old more often than I want to admit. 

Then I need to explain my behavior to her so she knows that it isn’t her but my heart is shattered and I am trying to live a normal life after loss is so much harder than I knew. 

It has been six months since I lost my baby. I try to remain present in conversations. I’ve had to stop working with my clients who I love so much, I was so proud of my business. I’ve prayed asking God what my path will look like now in the wake of our loss. 

He is guiding me now, here, as I write these words about our precious girl. I spend time connecting with other loss moms and it has shown me that I am still needed in the birth world which has inspired me to work on a program for stillbirth mothers. 

I still cry in the shower, when I open my eyes in the morning, and often while cooking meals. There are so many amazing resources and supports out there for mothers who had stillbirths. It makes me feel so much less alone. 

This pain is so deep that it can often feel painfully isolating. Simply knowing that another mother walked into a hospital room smiling because she was in labor but then her world was shattered when they couldn’t find a heartbeat.

She then had to labor and deliver her dead baby makes me feel less alone – which is such a mixed feeling because it’s terrible knowing that she is suffering the same heartbreak as me. 

But we both are surviving and are in this together. 

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Wave of Light

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. A month marked by President Reagan in 1988 to honor loss families and their children who have tragically died too soon. 

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This day is for families to participate in the International Wave of Light by lighting a candle at 7pm to honor their baby or babies who may have passed before them.

Just in the United States 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and 1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. 

These statistics do not include other losses that many women and families experience. This just brushes the top of a very painful reality that many women and families face when wanting to start a family. 

Be Aware

As you move into your day today, please think of the mothers around you who may have lost babies. I have found that many women do not talk about loss like I do. 

Be aware of how you speak about babies and loss and even when asking seemingly harmless questions like “when will you have another baby” “how many kids do you have?” “Do you want more?” 

So many women have more children than we see. 

Breaking The Silence

It’s time to break the silence and the stigma. It is ok to talk about really sad things and it is ok to share them with others.

I understand that it might be uncomfortable for some to hear about my baby who died but I will share about her endlessly and I pray that other mothers will feel comfortable sharing about their loss babies too.

Say their names.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month may be one month out of the year, but the grief, the silence, the unknown, and the loss is still here year-round.

Breanna Naccarato

Breanna Naccarato is an entrepreneur, a mother of two, and owner of Loved Momma Fitness. Sadly in the spring of 2021, she lost her second daughter at birth and has since transitioned her business from working directly with pregnant and postpartum mothers into bringing more awareness to stillbirth and sharing her knowledge of pelvic floor health and exercise through different outlets. She loves the outdoors and camping with her family in their Adventure Van. Sharing her adventures, joys, and pain with others in hopes to also allow them to find their voice and the words to boldly share their own lives is something that she is very passionate about.