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It's Hard to Believe You'll Survive Baby Loss, But You Will

Photo Credit: Ana Vick

Dear Ana,

This is you, 6 years after Owen was born still. That’s right, you made it this far, so have faith and keep going.

You may not believe you could survive your son’s death, but somehow you will. I want you to know that none of this is your fault. I know you will feel like it is for a long time because we weren’t given a cause, and because you were callously told that “sometimes healthy babies just die." There is always a reason, they are just not trying hard enough.

We did finally find out just this year what happened. It was through additional research about the placenta by Dr. Kliman. Owen was stillborn because of cord compressions that occurred several days before he died at almost 32 weeks during your crash c-section. So, there really wasn’t much you could’ve done to stop this from happening, unless somehow you might have noticed a change in his movements much sooner and your OB had the sense to do something about it.

I’m so sorry, I know it still hurts. But they tell me that our baby would not have noticed as he slowly drifted off to sleep. So please don’t think he suffered. All he knew was your love and the love of his daddy and big sister who were so eager to meet him. Your little family will find ways to honor him. You'll include him in your traditions and even his little brother, who’ll come later, will feel connected to him.

As the days go by, you’ll languish over the fact that no one says his name to you anymore. You’ll be heartbroken because you think they’ll all forget him one day and you just want him to matter. This year, when you become part of founding PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy and take on a leadership role as the Co-Director of Awareness, you’ll get to say his name and share his light every day if you want to! Our middle child should still be here, but know that in his own “little warrior” way, he continues to make a huge impact on the world.

But until then, it’s not going to be easy for you to get out of bed or put on the mask of feeling “okay” for the sake of others. You’ll hide your pain and stop mentioning him for a while because you’ll notice people in your everyday life don’t show any interest in acknowledging what you share. But one day you’ll find your people—other loss parents who get exactly how much your child means to you. They’ll be honored to talk to you about him. In fact, together you’ll remember all your babies gone too soon and change the world in their memory! (Well, we’re not quite there yet, but we are certainly working hard on that!)

As Owen’s birthday approaches on October 3, your heart will be just as broken as it is today. You’ll feel the weight of your loss as you spiral downward. But don’t worry, you have a parachute; your community is here to pull you back up. They’ll help you celebrate your boy and keep you from feeling alone.

We coincidently have planned a huge awareness event this week that will make sure none of our babies are forgotten. Your son will help you find your voice and you will no longer recognize the meek woman you once were. You’re here for a reason—other families need you, and your family does too. Keep living for them and don’t let this break you. You won’t ever stop missing your son, but there will be so many gifts that he will continue to send your way so you’ll know he’s always with you.

Forgive yourself. Your body did not fail him and there was nothing more you could’ve done with what you knew then. Rest assured, we will not be silenced and there will be no stopping how far you’ll go to create change in Owen’s sweet memory.

With love and lots of hugs,

Ana Vick

P.S. Give our boy some extra kisses! Tell him mommy misses him and please try to make more memories with him if you can. Take a lock of his hair, then bathe, change, sing, and read to him. I know it’s scary and you’re so confused, but he is yours and you are his forever. It’s okay to fall in love with him even though you’ll have to let him go. Our love is eternal and unconditional. You’ll still always wish we could’ve had more time with him because it’ll never be enough, but I know we’ll be together again, and I hope he’ll be proud of his mommy when that time comes.

Thank you Ana Vick for sharing a piece of your story and of your heart. For more on Ana's journey, find her @stillmyson and @pushpregnancy, a non profit. More information on the campaign for stillbirth awareness can be found @stillcountsorg

Pregnancy and infant loss can leave grieving parents feeling isolated and unsure how to navigate the heartbreaking circumstance of living without their precious baby. Unexpecting delicately helps grieving parents navigate the complexities and heartache of life after loss.

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