This is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Every year, about a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. Ten to 25% of all "clinically recognized" pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the American Pregnancy Center. Also, 1 in 160 pregnancies end after 20 weeks, and are considered still births.
Lilly was not an infant when she died. She was 17 months old! But I still think of her and include her during this time. Last October, I had a miscarriage, and nicknamed that baby "Blueberry" because that was about the size of the baby when it died. (You can read my "letter" to Blueberry here.)
|Lilly - 16 months|
Years ago, Tabby and I started putting together different donations for a group called MAMA Project. (See donation kit ideas here.) I don't remember how I first learned about them, but they are doing a great work in helping very poor families. They are a Mennonite based group in Pennsylvania that do a lot of work in Honduras and Haiti.
In MAMA Project's recent newsletter, I learned that one of the things they were in need of was a pulse ox. There are hospitals in Honduras that hardly have any medical equipment at all. I started thinking about Lilly's pulse ox and decided I was now ready to part with it. (I still have a lot of her medical equipment in a closet.)
|Lilly - snoozing away and hooked up to her pulse ox|
Even though I really was happy with my idea, when I actually got out the pulse ox box and opened it up I just wanted to cry. (In the grieving process - you never know when tears will take you by surprise!) So I distracted myself and remembered with a smile this old blog post and how Hunter, as a toddler, was so fascinated by Lilly's medical equipment. He had me make a pulse ox for him that he could hook up to his dog Sam:
When the medical team at MAMA Project is examining and treating children, they like to give them a little stuffed animal or toy when they can. So I decided to buy two beanie baby type bears off of Ebay to include in my donation. A Lilly-colored bear who's tag says she is named "Spangle" and blue bear who's tag actually says "Blueberry."
|the donation between LillyBear and a bigger sized "Spangle bear" that I got as a gift ... AND ... I just noticed Hunter's washing machine Christmas ornament snuck into the picture! WHAT????!!!!|
Even though I believe the pulse ox and little bears will help others, I think that just the act of donating them in Lilly and Blueberry's names blesses me the most.
Frank gave me a copy of this article from BreakPoint titled "Dealing with Miscarriage & Stillbirth." The article included an interesting quote from a book called Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver: "A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven't. Most don't mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn't happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had. But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she'll know."
My two children would be 5 years old and 5 months old. How old would yours be?