Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month: Phyllis’ Story: Tears for Baby Adam & Fears in Her Next Pregnancy
This week in recognition of pregnancy and infant loss month we’re sharing powerful personal stories of amazing women who faced unspeakable circumstances–losing a baby–but are talking about it and empowering other women with their experiences.
Phyllis Baldwin, of Chicago, lost her second child, Adam, at the 22-week mark in her pregnancy. Doctors couldn’t tell her why she was losing the baby, but her water broke and she had to deliver a son who didn’t have the lung capacity to survive.
“Why was this happening to us? What sins had we committed together or separately that we were being punished for? We were both healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. Both of us grew up in loving families and we were high school sweethearts. We were great parents to our eight-year-old daughter, Blair. So why wouldn’t God bless us with another child? We loved children and had always planned on having a large family.
My obstetrician could not provide us with a reason for my late-term miscarriage. Her only advice was for us to try again. I felt confused, sad, defeated, and empty. Try again? I couldn’t. I thought maybe God was trying to tell me something; like maybe one kid is enough. Besides, I knew that getting pregnant again could not replace the loss of Adam. Lives are not interchangeable. My husband and I decided to put that part of our lives behind us.
Less than a year later, in August 1998, I was pregnant again. I was shocked and scared. I decided right away not to get emotionally involved in the pregnancy… My obstetrician suspected I might have a weak cervix and began to monitor it. Sure enough, my cervix began to dialate and I was rushed into outpatient surgery to have a cerclage, a surgical procedure to stitch the cervix closed. The news of my weak cervix, often called a incompetent cervix, answered my question as to why Adam died.
I still held in my emotions as my baby and belly grew. I was afraid of geting hurt again and I wasn’t confident that the pregnancy would be a success… The day I delivered my healthy, full-term, eight-pound, four-ounce baby girl was bittersweet. I felt blessed and overwhelmed with grief. The entire pregnancy was overshadowed by Adam’s death. Having a healthy baby after the death of another baby doesn’t ease the feelings of loss, but it is a constant reminder of how fragile life is and how good God has been to me and my family.”
Families that have pregnancies that end with loss will have a hard time if and when there is another pregnancy. Making sure your doctor is aware and sensitive to these concerns is important.
Phyllis’s full story is featured The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy (Amistad/Harper Collins).
Read Lela Rochon’s story of Pregnancy and Infant Loss here.
Read Erica’s Story: A Near-Death Experience With HELLP Syndrome & Losing Baby Grace.Read about coping: There’s No “Just Getting Over It” & 8 Other Things You Need To Know After Pregnancy And Infant Loss.