“Sometimes love is for a moment.

Sometimes love is for a lifetime.

Sometimes a moment is a lifetime.”

— Pamela Adams


Fetal Deaths

According to our research to date, there is a great need for support and change in the way our communities deal with miscarriage, stillbirths and neonatal death. Unfortunately, stillbirths occur more than people realize.

In a 1998 study by The Connecticut Department of Public Health there were 43,742 births in Connecticut and 295 fetal deaths and 305 infant deaths.

Our National Center for Vital Statistics show 3,941,553 births in the United States and reflect a 7.2 infant death rate per 1000 lives. And, 3.5 late fetal mortality rate per 1,000 lives.

What is being done?

Of course, fetal and infant death can't always be prevented but we do have people working on what might prove to help save some of the babies.

Normal babies are dying needlessly during maternal sleep," says Jason H. Collins, M.D, "and I truly believe that half these babies don't have to die." Dr. Collins is an obstetrician of twenty years and has been researching Sudden Antenatal Death (S.A.D.)Syndrome for a decade.

More than 39,000 babies are stillborn in the United States every year. Research by the Pregnancy Institute indicates that S.A.D. Syndrome, secondary to umbilical cord accidents, of full term infants accounts for more than 4,000 of these deaths. Yet the cause of another 50-60% of the 30,000 stillborn babies is unknown. "This is a devastating event because the babies are normal but died," says Collins. The autopsy findings on S.A.D. babies usually result in a diagnosis of undeterminable, leaving the family with many unanswered questions. "This results in unrelenting guilt and anxiety," says Joanne Cacciatore, Director of a group dedicated to providing counseling and support to the survivors of S.A.D. Syndrome. Research is being done to lessen this devastating occurrence.

A dedication for miscarriage:


Darkness fell upon my soul
My heart punctured with a hole.

There is nothing the doctors could say or do
There's no other way, but to rely on You.

I began to pray with all my might
That You'd guide me through the darkened night.

With the first loss, I thought I'd be okay
That I would be pregnant again someday.

The second loss, it was so much worse
I carried the ultrasound in my purse.

The baby was so real to me
Something others could not see.

In my mind, I had a picture
Of this baby in the future.

My heart was stabbed with a sword
When I lost my baby to You, Oh Lord.

I cried and cried in devastation
There would not be a celebration.

The baby was gone just like that
The doctor, so matter of fact.

The emptiness engulfed my whole being
I could not understand its true meaning.

With the third loss, I truly crumbled
I felt angry, hurt, lost and humbled.

In my whole life, I'd never felt so low
I gave You my heart - I had to let go.

In your Word, I searched for meaning
Through your Word, I have been healing.

I'm still not sure of you plan for me
But, I do know that one day I'll see.

For now, each and every waking day
I count my blessings in every way.

For my two young boys, my husband and more
It is time for me to shut a door.

To get on with my life filled with love
To let you guide me from above. ©2000

Surviving the Loss of Twins

By Rachel

My husband and I found out that I was pregnant with twins in July 2000, it was my 30th birthday. We had been dealing with infertility issues and on our first artificial insemination we found out we were pregnant. It was the greatest news we thought we would ever hear. We had at the time a 3 year old at home.

My pregnancy progressed as a normal pregnancy and the only additional care I had was level 2 ultrasounds that I did not have with our daughter. I was not high risk and this was supposed to be an uncomplicated pregnancy. At 17 weeks we went for our level 2 and found out we were having a girl and a boy. This was great, we wanted to start to plan for their arrival. At this point we told our daughter about the pregnancy and the twins, Hannah and Michael we would call them. She was very happy as well.

At my 20-week check up at my ob-gyn my measurements of baby A, Hannah were difficult to find. They wanted me to have a level 2, so on Monday I went. I thought it would be routine ultrasound like the others but that was not the case. My mom came with me and we both looked at the screen as the radiologist said he needed to get the doctor. Before he walked out he asked if I had felt less movement. I knew something was wrong and just cried. Hannah had no heart beat; she passed away over the weekend. They told us at that time we may never know why. We were sad we lost Hannah but looked at the other side of this, we had a little boy who needed me so it was a very hard time to grieve and be happy but we did the best we could. The doctors said that there was nothing special I needed to do or that things could go wrong. It was unknown what could happen but that most likely the pregnancy would go on and Hannah's demise would go back into the placenta.

At 26 weeks I was having cramping, I thought I was dehydrated and the doctor sent me to the local hospital. Dehydration was not the case I was in labor and 3 cm dilated. I was transported by ambulance to a hospital where they were better equipped to help us. In labor and delivery they were able to stop my labor, what was happening was Hannah's demise was being pushed into the birth canal by Michael's growth. The next day I delivered Hannah, she was just over 1 pound and had decomposed already. I was too scared to look at her. I regret that know. I do not have a picture of her either. I just know that in my heart she was a beautiful little baby. The one problem with her delivery was I never delivered her placenta and they did not want to force it because labor had stopped.

I had 2 days of 100% bed rest. I was taken of bed rest, I was only allowed to use the bathroom and back in bed. Michael was doing really well. They were giving me steroid shots to help his lung development. The doctors wanted a few more weeks, the more the better. We only got 2 days. I had got an infection in my uterus and needed to deliver Michael. He was born vaginally on Dec 14th 2000. He was taken immediately to the NICU where they worked on him for what seemed like hours. They took us in to see him once he was stable. He was hooked up to all these machines, beeping and making sounds. He was breathing a little on his own. The NICU doctor told us that the first day or so would be touch and go. Once we felt that there was nothing for us to do I was taken to my room. We called family to let them know he was born and to pray.

At 5 am we received a call from the NICU that Michael had taken a turn for the worse and to come. We rushed downstairs and Michael was septic with infection, his lungs were paper- thin and he was fighting a battle that he would not win. He would never breathe on his own. His lungs would never grow. We made the heart-aching decision to take him off the machines. They brought his 2.5-pound body all bruised and red from machines and tape to us and we held him. He looked just like Megan and he had blond curly hair. We talked to him about us, his mom and dad and his sisters and told him to take care of Hannah. It was the hardest thing we ever had to do. He lived 45 minutes with us in our arms and died with us.

We had Hannah and Michael cremated and are home with us where they should be. We asked why? We wanted to put blame, we wanted some answers. The autopsy (we received months later) gave us answers. Hannah died from a cord accident; she did not have Whartons jelly on her umbilical cord. Whartons jelly is a protective covering on the cord to protect it. So her life- line was severed. Michael died officially from" extreme prematurity". He was just born too soon. We do not blame anyone for his or her death. We were angry for a long time. Why this happened to us and why both children? But once the anger was gone I know that getting pregnant and having children is like rolling dice. You are taking two people and mixing things together and you are just praying that in the end that it is all ok.

Many people told me to wait to try again for a year or longer. I thought if I wait too long to get pregnant I might never do it again. I felt my loss was two-fold. We struggled 18 months of trying (infertility pills and shots and living at the doctors and then being pregnant for 6 months I could not wait. I needed to know that there would be a sibling for Megan and we would have other children. I knew that no baby or babies would replace Hannah and Michael. I knew my heart would always be in pain for them, so why wait to at least fill the want of having a baby in this house.

We decided to try again in March, it had been 3 months since the twins died, going back to the infertility clinic which was part of the hospital was a nightmare. I cried and felt like I just wanted to run and go home. The staff there was a huge help in understanding our pain. We knew we had to find out why Hannah had died before we tried again, it was on this visit that our Doctor had the autopsy results, it was not genetic but a freak cord accident. Did this make me feel better about trying again? Yes, because I know we produced healthy children but it made me so sad to hear him read how perfect her body and her systems were. I was now grieving differently for her then when I had first thought we lost her because I assumed it was a development problem. I had not lost two healthy children. After talking to the doctor about our feelings we decided to go forward. The clinic gave us medication that was donated for our first month so the financial burden was taken care of; all that we had to do was pray and hope. It was my husbands 40th birthday and I had planned a surprise party for him, I was hoping to give him the news I was pregnant but the cycle went a lot differently then we wanted. I only had one follicle and the insemination did not work. We decided to try one more month.

We found out in April that I was pregnant with twins, but one of them would not make it. I can say with out feeling guilty I was ok with that. Being pregnant again was going to be hard enough. I had to keep going for blood tests to make sure my levels were going up, it was scary, I had not had to do that before. I was afraid it would be a blighted ovum or something else. Now being part of the grieving community I had learned all sorts of things that can go wrong with pregnancy. Not just in the first 12 weeks but at delivery o soon after.

We only shared with our immediate family and very close friends that I was pregnant. I was too afraid to have to tell people all over again about a loss so I figured the fewer people who knew the better. I was 4 months pregnant and needed maternity clothes. My sister took me shopping. I did not want anything that looked like maternity clothing. I remember with Megan and Hannah and Michael I could not wait to have to wear maternity clothes. I kept trying things on and saying no.. The sales lady looked at me like I was crazy. While I was changing my sister told her what had happened to me, well she found me some things that worked really well in "hiding" my pregnancy. People started asking "are you pregnant" I would say yes, but there was not smile or happiness about it. I was going to my routine appointments and any other time I freaked out to the doctors. I got an ultrasound when I really needed one for reassurance but that did not last too long. I was a constant worry… waiting and waiting for something to happen.

I talked on the support boards and it was a help knowing other moms who have had successful pregnancies after a loss were out there and they helped me through support and love. In the house we did not talk about the pregnancy. I told my doctor this, I felt so unconnected. I was afraid to love this baby for some chance it would be taken from me. I could not handle another loss. If I did not love it then if something happened I thought it would not hurt so bad. The doctor suggested finding out the sex and naming the baby. It would be a big step in acknowledging that there is a baby in there. So we did at 20 weeks, a girl. We would call her Allison, Alli for short. It was a turning point for me. I started slow, but with the help of a friend bought Allison an outfit. It felt good, scary but good. I picked out the furniture for her room and the pattern for her bedding. It was getting to a point that I thought this would be ok. We had passed the dates I had lost Hannah and Michael and passing those made it a little easier. One day I felt really bad. I went to the hospital and they hooked me up, they all knew about what had happened to us and were so caring and comforting to my worries. I was dehydrated. I did not have to stay but it was a reassurance and a wake up call to take better care of myself.

The doctor had scheduled for me to be induced in January so she could be there for the delivery, for she knew what an emotional experience it would be. On the weekend of our first anniversary of Michael's birth and death I needed to get away from the home. It was hard because it was December 14th and 15th, with the Christmas thing up. We went Christmas shopping. I was walking a lot and started counting the contraction, 7 minutes apart. I was not going to have Allison on the 15th; I would stand upside down if I had to. I went to the doctor on Monday and she did an internal and I was 4cm dilated. She said, You are not going to make it to Jan. I was going to have this baby 3 weeks early. I was scared with the early part of that. I was scared her lungs were not going to be developed or something else would be wrong. We picked the 20th. She would be home with us for the holidays. My husband finished up her room. During the next few days I would sit in the rocking chair and think… this would have been Hannah and Michael's room. I felt guilty that I would be bringing another baby in their room. I missed them so much everyday. I hurt for them everyday, but no matter what nothing would bring them back to me. I just felt that this was so unfair. I knew I should be happy and excited about the next few days but I could not get myself beyond Hannah and Michael. It was like I needed to grieve them intensely because once Allison was here things would change.

The morning of my induction I kissed Megan good -bye, my sister in law was here and soon would be the rest of my husbands family and mine, they were all so happy for us. I remember driving to the hospital and thinking about how life would change for us. I was admitted and put into my room. The head maternity nurse came in and made sure I was comfortable. I did not want to be in the room where my nightmare started and they were very accommodating with my emotional needs. We had our own Labor and deliver nurse that had been with us the night I went to the hospital who had become close to our heart. She was so happy to be there for us. The induction started at 8:30 am and Allison Emma Steigleder was born at 10am with no pushing. She came all on her own. I went from a 6 to a baby coming out. Our doctor just made it to deliver her. I just lay there waiting for her to cry, and when she did, I just knew she was coming home with me. I knew that I had made it and that this was a big step in my healing process.

The weeks that followed were hard. I had little sleep and a 4-year-old to take care of. I did not know where Hannah and Michael fit into my day. They were there every day in my thoughts but less and less. I realized one day that just like I figured out months before. I would have a new normal in my life; I would know when it is "normal" when things felt right. I let go of the quilt I had about not "grieving every second of everyday. I knew that I will always have Hannah and Michael and they will guide me through. I would look at Allison and think. She would never be here if not for them, she is a blessing to us. She has helped me so much. I know that is a lot for a little girl but she has. I have filled my empty arms and know and have accepted that my heart will always be broken and that has made life livable and with that I have a new normal.

I am so blessed to have had support and love from other moms who have lost babies. There is no pain like losing a child. I have now become a stronger and different person because of Hannah and Michael. I look at their life and what it has brought me. I have a life now that I can say I am happy with. I have made changes and can deal to the best of my ability the pain that I have daily. There are still those days that hurt like hell and that I want to just stay in the closet and cry but I find an inner strength that I get from them( my angels) and say I can do it for them. I would have another baby in a second, but for us infertility is a finance we can not take on. I am home with my girls and loving it. I am a support person on-line and to friends I know who have a more recent loss. I even planned a candle light ceremony for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I was proud of myself. It has been less them 2 years but I look at life… what life brings to me. Yes their death has left me empty but I can do something because of their lives. no matter how short lived. I am a survivor. I fought like hell to get here. I make a conscious effort every day to live. I could have curled up and died with Hannah and Michael but chose to live for them…   



Shelly’s Story

Book: Tiny Hands Change the World


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