Pregnancy before preterm birth

Sharon’s Story: Transforming the Grief of Loss into Joy Shared with Others

The Loss of a Preemie is never easy. A parent is a parent no matter how long their child lives; the love is there. When a child is born prematurely, the confidence moms and dads commonly have concerning the expanse of time they will get to have with their offspring is denied. Although no parent knows for a fact the exact number of days or years a son or daughter will live, problems with a baby’s health can shorten all estimations.

As Bianca Seidman of CBS News reported, 1 in 9 of all babies are born prematurely, which has translated into approximately 450,000 preemies being born in the U.S. yearly, yet pre-term birth is the cause of as much as a third of infant deaths.

While it is happening that the survival rates for preemies is improving, however gradually, too many parents are being left to cope with the loss of a preemie. Even years after being born, children born prematurely are more susceptible to perishing from health issues than those born full-term. Many preemies only get to live for a few short hours – the grief is often just as devastating to their parents as to the parents coping with the loss of a child who lived for many years.

What Helps Parents Cope with the Loss of a Preemie?

Light still shines in any dark place – you just have to want to see it; the death of a baby is never easy, but some parents transform the sadness of the loss into a celebration of love and life. Consider, for example, April’s story:

 

Sharon, Mike, and Their Preemie Son: A Love to Remember

 

Pregnancy before preterm birth“My husband and I found out that I was pregnant with our son in March of 2015. For the first trimester and part of the second trimester, everything looked great with our son and my pregnancy was going smoothly.

Around 18-20 weeks mark, we were excited to find out that we were having a boy. Unfortunately, we also learned that our sweet boy was not growing as he should. The shock and hard news came that our son had irregular multicystic kidneys and he most likely wouldn’t make it to birth. Quickly our joy over having a first baby, a son, went to confusion and grief.

   However, as the months progressed, my husband and I decided that it was best to continue on with our pregnancy with the hope of hearing, holding, and seeing our little boy. One of the effects of our son’s kidney problems was that he was not able to create any amniotic fluid. The lack of amniotic fluid prevented him from being able to properly develop. This hindered his ability to live outside of the womb.

   At around 29-30 weeks in the pregnancy, my body went into labor and my son was born prematurely. We had been told by different high risk doctors that there was a good chance that our son would be stillborn. However, we had been praying that God would help him survive the birth and allow us time to hear him and hold him.

Preemie Birth

    God definitely heard that prayer. Our son was able to maintain a very strong heartbeat throughout the long labor. After three hours of pushing, we heard the sweet cries of our baby boy. Unfortunately, his lungs were underdeveloped and he rejected all treatment to save his life. We did, however, get to spend almost two special hours of bliss, holding and loving on our son, before he passed away into Heaven.

   Even though we only had a few hours with him, I am blessed that God helped my son to make it through the pregnancy and deeply appreciate the time that I had. I love our little boy and my husband and I think of him often. Despite the loss, I am still blessed and thankful to have had the opportunity to have my son and spend a little time holding him.”

I look forward to the day when we can all be together again. My sweet baby I miss you lots and will always love you.

    -Your Mommy

Sharon and Mike have a story that is filled with both love and pain. At The Gift of Life, we are thankful that they are open in sharing their story and experience with us. Although there is much sorrow here, there is also much joy. Here are just a few of the points we’ve found in their testimony that can be helpful for other preemie parents:

Grief to Joy: Lessons from Sharon and Mike’s Story

April and Her Husband with their preemie son

  1. A foundation of real love:

From the moment Sharon found out she was expecting, she and her husband filled with love for their baby. Of course, at that time everything was going smoothly with the pregnancy. They could not foresee the coming troubles, but when the adverse health started setting in, Sharon and Mike’s love never turned around.

  1. Hoping on despite confusion and grief:

The sorrow didn’t wait until the passing of their son; for them, it came with the news that something was wrong with their son. Despite how dim the outlook was, Sharon and Mike continued to press on through the pregnancy, hoping that at least they would get the chance to have some experience of their new born son – their hopes were realized when he survived the birth and they got to see and hold him, and hear him cry.

  1. Showing grace and giving back:

Sharon and Mike could have let the pain of the loss spin their lives out of control, letting depression, guilt, regret, and sadness rule over them, but it didn’t happen that way. Instead, they are now connected with The Gift of Life.  They openly share their experience so that others can learn from it, and that those going through the same thing can know that they are not alone. Moreover, Sharon’s employer has organized and an event   – The 2016 Creative Inspiration Journey School’s Journey Showcase & Extravaganza. The event will take place on April 2, 2016 in Winter Springs, Florida. In honor of Sharon and Mike’s son, a generous 10% of the proceeds will go to support The Gift of Life. We welcome you to attend.

Journey Showcase in Winter Park, FL April 2016

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