My Pregnancies Ended but My Love Lives On
I waited in eager anticipation. I’d taken numerous pregnancy tests. I had a blood test. I had a very confirmed pregnancy and now it had come to the moment where we’d see/hear the heartbeat. The technician was a little quiet and spent a lot of time measuring things on the screen. Something didn’t feel right but I couldn’t bring myself to just ask if there was a heartbeat.
And then came the hated words, “I’m so sorry but there isn’t a heartbeat.” We’ve experienced this scenario twice in the last six months.
I lost my second child Breelyn to SIDS when she was nearly four months old. Her loss was very public and the world mourned with us. Since then we’ve had two pregnancies with no heartbeats. In just 14 months, I’ve lost four children (pregnancies were twins and a single). It’s devastating. I so appreciate the love and support that we’ve been given in the loss of Breelyn, but it’s so hard that the world doesn’t really know about the others. They don’t miss my unborn children because they didn’t get the chance to know them. But I did.
I knew my children, I had hopes for them. I loved them. They were real.
After my first pregnancy loss, I reached out to a friend who had sadly also experienced unhappy endings to pregnancies. I asked her for suggestions/what she did to cope and she told me that she’d named her unborn children.
And I realized that I needed to name my lost children too. A name matters. A name makes them a reality. “Names have power” says Rick Riordan in The Lightening Thief. “A good name is more desirable than great riches….” -Proverbs 22:1 (NIV).
I didn’t know the gender of my children so I chose names that were non-gender specific and that made me smile. I named the twins Rye and Shay. My spouse named the youngest Skye. I hope that we won’t need to name any more losses but we’ve noticed a theme to our naming- we use the letter “Y”. All of our offspring have the letter “Y” in their name, it connects them and I love that.
As I mentioned, our daughter Breelyn died. She is buried and has a butterfly shaped headstone. We can visit Breelyn whenever we want to. I like that. But, when we had our other losses, I realized that I didn’t have a place to visit when I was thinking about them. It bugged me. And so I took action. I commissioned a stone to be painted with three butterflies- one for each of my sweet babies that weren’t born. The rock will rest in a butterfly garden that we are building in our yard.
I wish that I was the only- the only one who had a loss, the only one who had reason to name unborn children. But I’m not. You’ve had these losses too.
You had dreams for your children and those dreams included a name. I encourage you to choose a name- define your child as more than a pregnancy that didn’t work out. Embrace that they existed- get something tangible that connects you to their memory (a painted stone, jewelry, a memory garden, a star, etc.).
I suspect that it’ll always hurt- I’ll never not miss my children- but naming them helped just a bit. It doesn’t really change anything, but it matters. And knowing that others have had similar losses matters too. I feel less alone. We can share in each other’s pain. I would love to hear your baby names and what you’ve done to honor and remember your sweet children…