Reaching 100,000

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The instant I saw my baby on the ultrasound monitor, eerily still, bobbing gently as the ultrasound technician pushed into my abdomen, I prayed for God to perform a miracle. 

I prayed for Him to breathe life into my child, for my child to wiggle a leg, turn his head, for the silent form to suddenly stir, for his heart to flicker and begin beating once again.  Anything.  Just, give me one tiny sign of life.

It never happened.

My baby layed there – his form layed there, still.  He, was already gone.

I wept.  I wailed.  I panicked.  I was heartbroken, in agony, and in total shock.  Nothing could have prepared me for the realization that I would live the rest of my life knowing that one of my children had died.

You can read more about my experience here.

My husband planned the funeral.  In fact, he arranged everything.  I had no idea what we would do, or what options we had.  He called the funeral home, set appointments, negotiated pricing, and planned all of the details.  Oh, how I needed him.

The morning of the funeral, I picked out flowers and decided to buy a plain angel food cake and zero candle.  The cashier joked, “Somebody isn’t very old, are they?”  I called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photography, but had to call more than one photographer, as I was told that they generally don’t provide service for babies under 20 weeks gestation – our baby was 12 weeks.

My experience began with feeling extremely offended by the approach the doctor took, by referring to my baby as “debris that needed to be removed”,  it continued as I called the nurses and they told me things like “you probably already flushed it…you’re just having a period…” and continued as even a bereavement organization couldn’t validate my baby.

I say all of these things not to discredit the value of the doctor, the nurses, or the photographers.  Doctors do have limits to the things they can say.  The nurses weren’t here in my home with me, seeing what I was seeing.  The photographers are generous.

I say these things to show you how invalidated and alone I felt.

It was while I was even still laboring, that my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Something needs to change.  People should not feel this alone.”

We knew we were going to build a website to provide support to others, but we thought we’d have to wait to pay for a nice website and a nice design.  So, we simply waited.

My only hope – my only desire – was to help the next mother in line experiencing loss to not feel as totally overwhelmed and alone as I felt.  I figured I would put some things together, and then walk away (you can read the original Introduction I put together at the launch of stillbirthday here).

Waiting for the time to do this was aching on my heart.  There was something very undone about everything.  My healing was in limbo, and I felt that, in some ways, even the purpose of my son’s very real life had not yet been fulfilled.

One July night, I woke up to a voice that said, “What are you waiting for?”  So, I rubbed my sleepy eyes, started a pot of coffee, went to the computer, and drew up a WordPress site.  I paid the domain fee, and typed in the name of the site: stillbirthday.

And, for hours, until my other children woke up in the morning, I typed…..and typed….and typed.

The next night, I awoke again in the wee hours of the night, started a pot of coffee, sat in front of the computer, and typed….and typed….and typed.

For five days, I did this.  On the fifth day, it was finished.  Stillbirthday was ready.

Feeling very overwhelmed with a mix of nervousness, sadness, and even excitement, in the first week of August, 2011, I sent stillbirthday out into the online universe – hoping that what my son had taught me could prove useful to just one mother.  That I could reach her – that my child could help her.

The first three months, from launching until November, stillbirthday averaged a little more than 10,000 views a month.  Mothers submitted photos and stories of their precious babies.  Doulas from around the world aligned with the importance of providing support through loss and listed their names, standing with me as advocates and validators of birth.  Radio stations, online media, and newspapers shared information about stillbirthday.  And, it kept growing.

We added a mentorship program and a Love Cupboard program.  We added an online private group (see our Facebook group for details).  We added a prayer team.  We added even more comprehensive resources and support for all of the different aspects of the pregnancy loss experience: prior to (preparing), during, and after the birth.  We added emotional support for professionals involved in loss (OBs, midwives, etc.) with our Provider Care section.  We just, kept growing.

Starting in December, we began reaching double the amount of people – more than 20,000 moms, dads, families and providers a month.

And last night, March 4, 2012, we reached 100,000.

In the online blogging world, reaching this number in a little over 6 months may not seem like a big deal.

It is huge to me.

All I wanted was to help the next mother in line not feel as alone and as overwhelmed as I did.  I only wanted to reach one.  Just one.

100,000.

Together, the doulas, the mentors, the Love Cupboard coordinators, the prayer team, the generous mothers and fathers who’ve shared their very personal and special stories and photos, and all of the people who believe in stillbirthday, have made it possible that last night, a mother, or a father, or a loved one, found stillbirthday, found the love here, and realized, as the screen said

100,000 moms have been here

that they are not alone.

Thank you, so much, for allowing that mother to know that she is not alone.

Thank you, so very much, for allowing me to know, that I am not alone.

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for all you have done. Thank you for helping me find my voice for my babies.

  2. I thank God every single day for Stillbirthday. For an organization that recognizes the reality of children who die and are born before time. So very glad this care is available for families who lose their babies…

  3. Karen McClintock says:

    I thank God for all the fire He did put me though as now my still born babies are happy in Jesus’s arms and every year I remember my babies bithdays.and I still cry.
    K

  4. A MILLION thank you’s! I come here every day to read a story and find encouragement.
    I am so glad that you listened to that still small voice and got out of bed. You have done a AMAZING job!!!!! I so agree about people dismissing the life of our babies. Even mom’s seem to compare there loss and feel there pain is more valid based on gestation age. My prayer is…. let me never compare my pain to another just to accept their pain is as deep and real as mine.
    The only thing I wish you would add (maybe it’s here I just haven’t located it) is a blog roll.
    I know I can click on some mom’s names and find there sight but I would loved to see a list.
    You are doing a great job keep it up!
    With much love and thanks,
    Tehsha

  5. Tesha, you’re right about the blog roll, that it could be a neat way to connect with more moms. I have been very guarded with the idea of leading newly bereaved mothers to other blogs, though, only because our blogs are our way of expressing ourselves, and I would not want a mom to be led to a particular blog on a particular day when a particularly negative post may be up. I might end up changing that at some time in the future…

    And, thank you everyone, for your lovely comments.

    • Good point, I understand your concerns. I have searched hundreds of blog’s looking for friends to connect with, but if there not Christian I leave right away. I was just wanting to find other christian blogging moms that have lost babies.
      Thanks for the reply!

  6. immigrationassist says:

    It is obvious that God prompted you to get up out of bed and begin working on this life-changing and life-saving site. When I read your story, I thought of the lepers in the scripture who sat sadly alone; scraping their sores. Then suddenly, one of the lepers got up and said ‘Why sit we here until we die?’ You came to the same conclusion as the leper. Not only did you not die (in spirit) through all your grief, you reached out to others who were dying in similar grief. The number of people who have visited your site in such a short amount time is a testament to the fact that God has a divine plan and purpose for your life. This site and the thousands of mothers who have been helped thus far is, no doubt, a huge part of that plan.

  7. kayleigh says:

    Thank you for having the strength to do this. I lost my son Tristian 6 months ago, I’m not in such a dark place as I was but stumbling across your blog while remembering my son, I feel as though I’m not alone anymore. I have avoided talking to people who ask how many children I have and I hope to do my son the honour of telling people about him in the future. Your blog has found me at the right time and I will be forever grateful <3

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