TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
I am 32 years old, born and raised in Olean, NY. Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I graduated from St. Bonaventure with a Master’s Degree in Special Education. I am currently a K-6 Emotional Support Teacher in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. My husband and I got married Oct 7th, 2017 and it was everything I ever dreamed it would be. We bought a home in the small town of Rixford, Pa where we can enjoy the peace and tranquility the country has to offer. I enjoy reading, gardening, working out, and spending time with my husband and our rescue dog, Gretchen.
TELL US YOUR STORY OF LOSS.
My husband and I experienced infertility for two and a half years. We ended up seeing a specialist 2 hours from our house that was able to shed some light on our situation. There we went through four medicated cycles of intrauterine insemination, none of which were successful. We started planning for our first round of In Vitro Fertilization. There were many early morning trips before work to our doctor’s office. Finally, we were ready for retrieval.
After our successful retrieval, we decided to transfer 2 embryos. I became very sick with Ovarian Hypertension Syndrome. I was off work for five weeks and was put on bed rest. Throughout my struggle with OHSS, the doctors ran extra bloodwork and we knew very early on the transfer took based on HCG levels. At 5 weeks we saw on a scan that both embryos implanted. At 7 weeks 4 days we were surprised to be told that embryo B split and we had a set of identical twins as well. The Graham Triplets. I remember hearing and seeing the beating hearts like it was yesterday. I remember crying, because I was so scared we were going to go in and see nothing; My husband squeezing my hand and the look of shock on his face when they told us there were 3. In the following days we began preparing our hearts and minds for three miracles.
At our next appointment we were told they could no longer find baby B and baby C’s heartbeat. Baby A was slightly bigger than them and was growing strong. My body hasn’t recognized the loss and the other 2 babes are still in there while baby A continues to flourish. I didn’t know how to feel, I saw baby A moving on the screen, and yet I no longer felt pregnant. So many things changed after that. My ravishing appetite and cravings subsided, I was no longer waking up for hours at a time due to the high hormones, my belly no longer looked pregnant. I grieved, and I grieved hard.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT GRIEF?
Infertility is loss and grief in itself, but I have never experienced this type of grief, a grief of this magnitude. This was my first miscarriage. I never thought I would have to learn to balance such devastation and mourning while teaching myself to be excited for the growing life inside me. I was consumed by the loss of Baby B and Baby C, some days it was all I could think about. I didn’t feel pregnant anymore, I felt lifeless. It was definitely a paradox of emotions. It is an emotional challenge that doesn’t just go away.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEANINGFUL THING DONE FOR YOU DURING YOUR GRIEVING?
The most meaningful thing was when people made time to be there for me, checking in on me, even just a simple text to let me know they were thinking of me. I had a few close friends who gifted me items with inspirational quotes and bible verses on them. Our friends and family know that our faith has gotten us through this tragedy and those gifts of strength will always be remembered. My husband has been my rock, he holds me when I am upset and listens to me when I need to let it out.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE WOULD ASK YOU?
“Would you like some company?” or “do you want to talk about it?” When you are grieving there isn’t much you even think to ask for. People ask “do you need anything” but for me I didn’t like feeling more vulnerable having to ask someone to come sit with me while I was sobbing. Having someone offer makes a world a difference. Sometimes I just wanted to talk about it, I just wanted someone to listen and say “I’m sorry you are going through this”.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO HAS A FRIEND WHO IS GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A BABY?
WHAT RESOURCES HAVE BEEN THE MOST ENCOURAGING OR HELPFUL TO YOU IN YOUR GRIEF?
I am a part of infertility groups and many of the woman have experienced loss in one form or another. Having a safe place where I can post my feelings to women who understand my pain has been tremendously helpful. Sometimes I felt like I was being ungrateful for the blessing I was still receiving. Having a place to go to with my thoughts and not feeling judged gives me strength in knowing I am not alone.
WHAT VERSES HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE BIGGEST SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT AND/OR COMFORT?
“He shall cover you with His feathers, And under his wings you shall take refuge” Psalm 91:4
“I made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” Isaiah 46:4
“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer” Psalm 94.19
WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANOTHER MOM WHO IS GRIEVING?
WHAT IS ONE FAMILY TRADITION THAT YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED TO REMEMBER / CELEBRATE YOUR BABY?