One in Four: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

Updated: Dec 6, 2019



Before this summer, I had no idea that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I actually didn’t know there was a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month at all – just like I didn’t know that 1 in 4 women will lose a baby during pregnancy, delivery, or infancy.


That means that if you know 4 women, there is a good chance that one of them is currently grieving the loss of a child – a child that they had so much hope for.


Until May 2019, I was blissfully ignorant of all of these things. Then suddenly, my seemingly healthy triplet pregnancy became an emergency situation that led to me delivering three baby boys at 23 weeks and 1 day.


Preterm birth (before 37 weeks) is the leading cause of infant death in the United States. Thirty-seven weeks is 15 weeks more than my 23-weekers – roughly 3 ½ months more. The odds were clearly not in my babies’ favor being born so early, but they fought as hard and as long as they could. And, while they were in the NICU, we met the most amazing people (doctors, nurses, chaplains, and our Family Navigator, Mallory) who took amazing care of not only our baby boys but my husband and I as well.


Throughout our grieving, my husband and I have always known that we wanted to do something to help others going through similar situations, so we’ve been talking with the hospital foundation about the hopes and future plans for the NICU, and we’ve decided that we’d like to help them achieve their goals by raising funds for them.


One of the things they would like to accomplish is to add additional staff to guide families through the difficult events and decisions to be made while they are in the NICU. While we were there, our Family Navigator had such a major impact on us. She helped us with everything from wheeling me around the hospital and communicating with other family members to helping us find outfits for our babies’ last moments and assisting us to select and coordinate grief counseling services and funeral services. She also helped us take photos of our babies that, at first, I wasn’t sure I wanted, but now love looking at. If the hospital were able to have additional people in this role, even more people could be helped the way we were – even more people would have an additional hand to hold and someone to advocate for them during their toughest moments.


They also hope to add at least one designated room for bereavement at the NICU so that families have a comfortable place to spend their final moments with their babies away from the beeps of the respirators, the shuffling of medical staff, and the cries of other babies. As someone who collapsed out of grief in the middle of a hospital floor, and as someone who was jealous every time she heard a baby cry, I can say without a doubt that having such a place to be with my babies in our final moments would have been a blessing.


Our babies weren’t in this world very long, but, during their short lives, they inspired my husband and me to work with the hospital to look at their current bereavement programs and processes and find ways to make them even more impactful for future NICU families. To do this, we are looking to raise at least $25,000 for WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, NC. Now, $25,000 won’t be enough to provide them with everything they want to do, but it will be significant in helping them accomplish these wonderful goals and help us look into naming a room or new program in the memory of our sons: Wright Anderson, Graham Franklin, and Ford Austin Holley.


 

How can you help?


Interested in helping other NICU families? Donate to our fund through WakeMed here.

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