Saturday, June 23, 2012


Miscarriage and stillbirth are not interchangeable terms.

Nothing irritates me more than when I hear someone describe a full term stillbirth as a "miscarriage".

Especially when a woman says it.

While one is not necessarily more pleasant than the other, to those who are not part of this life it seems that calling a loss a miscarriage is their way of glossing over the horror that is a stillbirth.

It is horrible. Probably the most horrific thing one could ever experience. Imagine having a dead person inside of you. Imagine having to endure hours of physical pain to deliver a child you know is already dead. It is unimaginable to most people.

I was "lucky" enough to be spared many of the horrors of stillbirth (I was unconscious when my dead child was delivered) but I still bear the scars from my experience.

Maybe that is why even now, more than four years after my daughter died and was born, I still feel my pulse raise when I read something that insults those of us who have suffered a stillbirth.

There has been a shit-storm here in Michigan because two female legislators dared say the word "vagina" on the House floor. The whole thing is ridiculous, and actually embarrassing to our state. While I was reading a column about this issue I was surprised disappointed to read this: (I underlined the offending passage)

"The bill that passed the House last week would shut down most abortion providers in the state. But the GOP leadership tabled other legislation that outlawed abortion past 20 weeks, which could mean mothers who miscarry would have to deliver a stillborn baby..."

Would you believe a woman wrote this?

I wrote the author a scathing note, which she has yet to rely to. Part of my note said:

"For the record, a miscarriage is defined as a spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. A pregnancy loss after the 20th week is called a preterm delivery. Miscarried and stillborn are not interchangeable terms.

A woman who miscarries has options for delivery, even under the proposed legislation, because a miscarriage happens before the 20th week. A women who experiences neonatal death after the 20th week of pregnancy will always have to deliver her child."

and I ended it with:

"You are a woman (and a mother), you should know all of this.

I don't agree with this legislation, but not presenting the facts correctly does nothing to help our cause."

Maybe I was overreacting, but I don't think so. Thousands of people read this column, and they are reading this and are lead to think that miscarriage and stillborn are the same thing, when in fact they are very different.

They are both horrible. But different.

Monday, June 11, 2012


The subject of dead babies is a taboo subject for the most part. It's not something you talk about at parties. It makes people uncomfortable. That is why the baby loss community has become a community in the first place. People (mostly women) who can get together and talk about their babies and their feelings and have people understand. It's important. It was a huge part of my journey to healing.

I am starting to feel like I don't belong in that community anymore. I've felt that way for quite some time, but I feel it even more so lately. There are taboo subjects even in the baby loss world. We only support each other. Speaking against another mother is strictly forbidden.

I can't believe I'm even going to say this.

It will probably get me thrown out of the club.

But, I think some of the baby loss moms are wrong.

If you've lost two or three children to the same fatal genetic disease, I will feel bad for you, but not as bad as I did the first time.

If you show pictures of your dead child at your husband's work party, I don't blame him for getting upset.

If you get mad because your mother in law didn't buy your dead child a Christmas present, I think you are being ridiculous.

If you go ballistic on an old friend because they don't celebrate your dead child's "angelversary", I think you are wrong.

When a new acquaintance asks you how many kids you have, you are not "betraying" your dead child if you don't include them in the count.

Men grieve differently than women. It's not fair to be mad at your husband because he doesn't grieve the way you want.

You are not betraying your child's memory if you are  now happy with your life. You deserve to be happy, whether your child is here or not.

I think parents (especially mothers) tend to be oversensitive when it comes to our kids. Since our babies aren't here we have a tendency to be hypersensitive. Over and over again I hear about friendships lost or family relationships strained because someone said or did something that a deadbabymama didn't like. Or because they didn't say or do something that the mama wanted.

Here's the thing: there is not handbook on this situation. Most people don't know what to say. They are probably afraid of making you cry. They don't want to hurt you, so they mostly do nothing. That doesn't mean they don't care. Yes, it's hurtful. But you flying off the handle about it only make a bad situation worse.

Your mother in law may never buy your dead child a Christmas present. Why does it matter? I'm sorry that your child is dead, but buying them gifts doesn't make them alive. It also doesn't mean that your mother in law didn't love her grandchild. Maybe it just means she doesn't see the sense in buying something for someone who can't use it.

We all want to acknowledge our children. Since they were here only a short time, the only way people will know about them is if we tell them. I get that. I really do. But there is a time and place for everything. Pulling out pictures of your dead child at your husband's office party is not appropriate. Ever. First of all, it's a party and nothing halts a celebration like dead babies. Second of all, it's his place of employment. These are his people. If he wants to share pictures of his child with them he will. It's not your place, and he has every right to be upset.

You have a right to be happy. Just because your baby isn't here doesn't mean your life has to stop. Yes it's shitty. It's especially hard in the beginning. But you are not required to stay miserable for the rest of your life. You will always miss your baby, but being happy and moving on doesn't mean that you love them any less. You are not betraying their memory. Get out of your grief. It's the only way you can move on with your life.

Men and women are different. Your husband may not want to talk about the baby much and that's OK. You can't get mad at him because of how he's grieving his loss. He suffered a loss too. It's not fair to tell him that he's doing it wrong. Think of how angry you get when people tell you that you aren't getting over it fast enough? Now what if they insinuated that you didn't love your baby because you get over it too fast? Just because he doesn't externalize your loss doesn't mean he isn't hurting. You badgering him is only going to drive him further away.

I'm not perfect. I know everyone is different, but I see the same thing over and over again and it just makes me crazy. Of course I would never tell anyone these things (unless they specifically asked me) because we are there to support each other. Maybe if we could say these things to each other instead of just telling each other how right we are, maybe then we could really help each other.

But, for now, saying these things is taboo in the baby loss community.


Friday, May 4, 2012


This poor blog has been very neglected! Last year I was posting everyday, but lately it seems I can't focus.

My semester from hell is over. I overextended myself and let's just say my 4.0 GPA is no more. Oh well, at least it's over.

I didn't take the job. It paid very well and I liked the company, but I'm still under a non-compete contract with my former employer and he won't let me out of it. I have 7 more months.

Sorry this is such a lame update, but it's late and the best I can do for tonight.

I will have something with more substance next time. PROMISE!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I've written before that I was laid off by a nightmare of a boss last year. I've been going to school and have one semester left until I graduate.

A few days ago someone from my field (a competitor of my old company) contacted me and asked me to apply for a position at their company. This is a great fit for me, and I really liked the people. The problem is that my son goes to a private school and we carpool. His school is an 45 minutes North East of our house, and this position is a half hour south. No where near the school. My mom has volunteered to drive carpool at least once a week for me, which helps, but we are expected to drive a couple times a week.

Right now I drive my son to school twice a week in the mornings. No carpool, just me and him. Those are my favorite mornings, and it makes my heart hurt when I think about not spending those days with him anymore. Many times we don't even talk much, but when your 15 year old spends any amount of time with you- you learn to cherish it! Of course I'll still have the 15 minutes each morning that we drive to carpool, but it's not the same.

My husband and I also want to start our own business, and this job would not allow for that.

I'm just so torn what to do. I would be making about 25% more than I made at my old job... decisions, decisions.

Monday, February 27, 2012


No, I have not abandoned you. I just haven't had the time to write. College has me writing (typing) 'til my fingers bleed, and I guess I've been suffering from some serious writers block.

These past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about  Lily Furneaux, who I've mentioned on my blog before. The trial for her murder started two weeks ago. The jury begins deliberations today. I went to the trial one day, and it was horribly painful. There is SO much I want to talk about (You can read about the drama surrounding the trial here, here and here.) but I don't want to jeopardize the case in any way so I'm going to stay silent until the verdict comes in.

Until then, please take a moment to join Justice For Lily.

Edited to add: Her murderer has been found GUILTY on all charges. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


My grandpa passed away two weeks ago.

Let me back up. I usually go to my grandparents for Christmas. I didn't go this year. After all my bitching about Thanksgiving, I didn't even call them. In my defense I had what I thought was a kidney infection, and all I wanted to do was go to bed. But, it's not excuse. I struggled with feeling guilty about not seeing them, but his health was poor the last few weeks and in the end I'm OK with not seeing him like that. That's not how I want to remember him. I don't want that to be my son's last thoughts of him either.

I've always called my grandpa my Papa. Even now, at age 35. Even when my mom called me at 3 in the morning, she said, "Holli? Papa died". People teased me for it, and I didn't care. He wasn't just a "grandpa", he was special to me.

My parent's separated when I was two years old. Mom moved to another city with my grandma and grandpa. My dad visited, but he wasn't exactly a fixture in my life. I saw him on weekends. My grandpa always held a special place in my heart. He was very much the man figure in my life. Some of my best memories as a child are of playing with my cousins at my grandparents house. Sitting on my grandpa's lap eating pickled bologna. Fishing with him. Catching a gigantic fish when I was in kindergarten. Digging for worms in the back yard. He was the timekeeper for a local race club and I spent many Saturday mornings with him at the races. I have so many memories of him, and they are all good.

My grandpa was a good man. He was a lot like me- didn't like to talk about himself, kept his feelings to himself, but wore his heart on his sleeve. He loved us kids so much, and I don't doubt for a second he would give his life for any one of us. I always knew if I needed anything my grandparents would help me, and they did many times.

One of the things that sticks out in my mind about Brenna's funeral is my Papa's face. He couldn't even look up at the pastor. I could tell it was tearing him up inside.

I had 35 years with my grandparents, and I consider myself lucky. My son is almost 15 years old and he has so many great memories of my Papa, and I am so thankful for that.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of my grandpa and my son:

This was taken in 2003. My Papa got my son involved in running the races with the running club he kept time for. Today, track is my son's favorite sport and I think it has a lot to do with those early years he spent running with my Papa.

My life is not going to be the same without my Papa in it. There is one less person in this world who loves me. I find peace in knowing he went to sleep and never woke up. He died peacefully.

That is all any of us can ask for.

(Yes, the first picture is of tiny me and my oldest brother with my Papa.)