Friday, February 19, 2010

Baby Loss & Healing

The tears. So many tears. Gut wrenching. I could feel my heart being torn from me.

No. No, not my baby. Please, no. This can't be happening.

That was mid-August 2006. I was bleeding. Just at the end of my first trimester.

My heart knew for weeks something wasn't right, but my body was slow to accept the reality. Then the bleeding started. I called my midwife, and an ultrasound confirmed that my sweet baby had stopped growing, was lifeless. No heartbeat.

No heartbeat.

My little baby. Max.

A few weeks earlier I had experienced some spotting, which hadn't occurred in my two previous pregnancies. An ultrasound at six weeks gestation, a new experience, I had never seen my babies that little before, showed a thumpy little heart. A precious moment I will treasure always. It was MY moment with my baby.

Knowing my baby was no longer alive, I had choices. Let nature continue or have doctors step in surgically. It seemed nature was already taking care of things, so I went home. The following 24 hours were the worst of my life. After crying all night, the morning of August 15th I began to bleed. I was informed by my midwife the bleeding would increase, and be heavy for a time. However, I bled beyond the norm. With each contraction, yes miscarriage is a birth, my heart, my soul had to say goodbye to my baby. It was physically painful. It was torture on my innermost being. I would never wish this on anyone. To say goodbye to your baby is the most excruciating pain I could ever fathom.

I ended up in the emergency room after fainting from extreme blood loss. I was on the borderline for needing a transfusion. The doctors and assistants were kind and gentle. My midwife held my hand while I sobbed. A D&C was done, and I woke up empty. So empty.

My oldest daughter, Sarah, was three. My husband, John, kept her occupied with painting during the entire morning. I came home, and she showed me this:

She was my light. She understood the pain. She gave me hope.

The days following were a blur. I had never hurt so deep. How do I do this? What do I do? I scoured the Internet for information, grasping at everything I read. I couldn't seem to find an all inclusive resource that had the answers I needed.

So, I took my pain. I took my anger. I took my grief. And I created Baby Loss and Healing. I didn't want to hurt. I wanted to heal. And that's where I had power. I had the choice to let this kill me or to let myself grow. I felt that if I could find just one person that I could help that was living this same nightmare I could find peace in my loss.

And now, three years later, just days before Max's due date, the tears flow. Not everyday. It's not haunting like it was at first. But they flow. And when they do I let them. I feel them, and for me, it's my little Max saying hello right from where he will be forever. Inside my heart.

By Susan Horn

Susan, and her husband John, both originally from Michigan, live in Oregon with their three daughters, Sarah, Ellen and Anna. John travels around the Northwest as a CNC Machine Service Engineer. Susan runs a home based business, Sweet Pickles, focused on promoting babywearing, a passion she discovered thanks to a wonderful friend. Susan is also the founder of a new non-profit organization, Tingly Toes, which provides a lending library of baby carriers to families of children fighting cancer.


  1. This is beautiful and poignant. So few people treat miscarriage as a true loss, and I can only imagine that most mothers feel deeply alone and perhaps even ridiculous for feeling so heavily for a their unborn child. How brave and strong of you to give your child a name and to let yourself feel the pain and to create something positive from it.

    My mother experienced a miscarriage at about 20 weeks with her first pregnancy (in 1978). At the hospital, they of course did not think to show her the fetus, and told her that it was "too young" to know the sex, which is a lie. Then, for her recovery they kept her in the maternity ward where she could hear the cries of all the newborns. To this day she seeks answers to what happened and feels anger for how the loss was treated and thinks often of her child that did not come into this world.

  2. Lindsey,

    I am so sorry for the trauma your mother went through. When I lost Max, my mom shared her horror stories of two siblings of mine she lost prior to my birth. I will light a candle to honor your sibling tonight.

    Please extend your mother an invitation to share her story on Baby Loss and Healing. Perhaps she could find peace knowing she is helping others that have traveled a similar path.

    Much love,

  3. Wow, did I ever need this today.. thank you. Today is my due date for the twins I lost at the end of July. I was 10 weeks.

    I've heard of Tingly Toes before, I was going to send in a carrier. Still plan to.


  4. Making it through the days we find significant to our babies is so hard. You did it, mama. (((hugs)))

    Thank you so much for your offer for Tingly Toes. That would be wonderful!

    I'll keep you in my thoughts. ~Susan

  5. In October I miscarried very suddenly and unexpectedly at 16 weeks. It has been a rough ride since then.

    As the first commenter said, sometimes I do feel ridiculous or like I'm carrying on about this. After all, it's not like my baby had ever lived. . . but really he did, he had just not been born as we expected.

    Friends and family were very supportive at first but after time, life goes on. I feel like I should have been over this by now. The past few months have been hard; February so far miserable, and I am dreading next month with my would-have-been due date.

    I keep looking for something to make it all better, or make it hurt less, or at least something that will explain why but there is nothing that makes it better and there are no answers to the whys.

    I will have to check out your site. Thanks for posting.

  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. Grief is such an individual and unpredictable journey. (((hugs)))

    I found journaling to be very helpful for me. I was able to get my thoughts and feelings out of my head, which helped me process my grief. I could also go back and see how far I'd climbed out of the pit. Maybe this would be helpful for you, too?

    One thing I learned was that although I will never hold Max like I do my girls, I never have to stop loving him. Coming to that realization helped me immensely.

    I hope you are able to feel peace in your heart, and enjoy happy memories in the days to come.

    You'll be in my thoughts.


  7. Oh mama, you are so brave and kind and beautiful and so much more. Thank you for your story and with all my heart I hope you can heal and maybe even help others to heal. It is unimaginable pain to go through...

  8. Dear Vira,

    I am thankful to feel that the majority of my deepest grief is behind me. I'm in a good place where I can share my story to help others. I do feel that I have healed and have grown so much because of Max. I cannot imagine my life without him, as brief as it was.

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Today was a day I needed to hear them.


  9. I lost my first child at the end of my first trimester as well. Like you, I decided to let nature take it's course and passed the baby at home. Everything you described is exactly how I felt. It was the most excruciating pain I have ever gone through-physically and emotionally. My heart goes out to you.