“I’m so sorry but there’s something wrong. Can you come in to the office tomorrow?”
Hearing those words, as I sat on the phone in my boss’s office, was when I really understood the expression “blood ran cold.” My hands and legs felt numb as I tried to process the enormity of what the nurse was telling me. After years of trying to conceive, from the initial excitement of wanting to start a family to the crushing disappointment that each month brought, I was finally pregnant. The countless tests, invasive procedures, medications, and heartbreak had all instantly become worth it. I remember rubbing my slightly bloated stomach, still covered with bruises from injections, and thinking “This is it, it’s you and me, little guy.” With one phone call, that all came crashing down.
Objectively I knew that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, but naively I thought we’d already paid our dues. And while our story did eventually have a happy ending, it was several more years, and heartaches, down the road. At the time however, I felt shattered and at the same time surprised at this strong gut reaction over the loss of someone who I’d never even met. I had no idea where to turn or what to do or how to talk about what I was feeling or if what I was feeling was even valid. I struggled to grieve the loss of a whole lifetime of experiences I had dreamt of- the first time I held this child, their first day of school, their wedding day. I had no idea that every new attempt at getting pregnant and eventually every day of my successful pregnancy would be haunted by that phone call. It was a very anxious and isolating experience; I was constantly waiting for the bad news, the “worse-case scenario” that we seemed to solidly hit every time, for everything to go wrong in the blink of an eye.
When I became a doula, my biggest desire was to ensure that all families received the support they needed, not just those who had the ideal pregnancy/adoption/birth/postpartum experience. I wanted to make sure the families who kept being dealt “worse-case scenarios” still felt that they had someone to walk alongside them in their journey, providing support, resources, and encouragement regardless of what got thrown their way. All of the trainings, certifications, and continued education that I’ve done has been for the explicit purpose of ensuring that I’m equipped to support each family’s unique path to the best of my ability, however rocky it may be. This week I am beyond honored to add the credential of Stillbirthday Birth & Bereavement Doula.
As a Birth & Bereavement Doula, I commit to providing the highest level of respect and unconditional, non-judgmental support to every birth, in whatever form or outcome it may take. In the multiples community, families may find themselves facing the heartbreaking decisions around selective reduction, the stress of a high-risk pregnancy, birth, and NICU stay, and at times the unique challenge of welcoming a new child while simultaneously mourning the loss of another. My goal is to provide every family I serve, at every point of their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, with the information, safe space, and dignity they deserve and to help them honor the memory of their little ones, however they chose.