Update: Many of you asked about the church memorial service. I found out about it through Parent Support of Puget Sound. I know that Resolve also usually lists such things. The memorial service at this particular church is actually on Monday at 7 PM, although I know another local church that is doing one as part of their Sunday service. This is another site that I have used for various ways to memorialize my lost babies. I hope this is helpful to all of you as we approach this special day. As always, thank you for your support.
Monday is October 15th, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. Last year, I found a local church that did a memorial service for parents who had suffered losses. It was a candlelight service, so as you walked in, they asked you how many candles you wanted. Last year, my miscarriage count was at four on the 15th.
I asked for four candles, which since my husband was with me, was no problem. One candle for each hand. However, I felt a little guilty asking for four, especially when the lady's eyes widened when I gave my request. She handed me four dixie cups with little white candles poked through the bottom and then walked around the table and gave me a big hug.
"You have been through so much sadness," she said softly. "May God bless you and bring you peace."
I was comforted by her condolence, but I felt like I had asked for too many candles. This year, I am again faced with this question, and now, my loss count is at six. Or is it? When they ask me how many candles I want this year, I don't know what to say. And it isn't because I am running out of hands.
The reason for my trepidation in asking for candles for all of my losses is this: How do I count my losses? You see, only one of my pregnancies has ever made it past the chemical into the clinical state. Three of them were long enough that had I had an ultrasound, it might have shown something. The other three all ended so very early, barely before a period was missed. If I wasn't a POAS-aholic, I might never have known about them.
Doctors have dismissed my pregnancies. Nurses have told me that I wasn't "really pregnant." Friends and family have tried to help me feel better by doing the same. Even I find myself doing it, negating my losses, talking in terms of my "real" miscarriage with Gummy Bear, vs. my chemical pregnancies. I think that part of it is survival. If I really allowed myself to think about how many angels I have lost, I might really lose it.
Another part of it is the simple fact that it was harder to lose Gummy Bear after seeing that beating heart. Seeing the baby flutter and grow, it's little heart beating so strong, then seeing it silent after it had died, was the greatest heartbreak of my life. And that was at 11 weeks. After Gummy died, we went to a local support group and were in the room with three other couples. One couple had had a full term still birth, another lost a little girl at 26 weeks, and the third had a normal birth, but then 24 hours later, the baby was turning blue and they realized that he had a terminal lung disorder. He died at 6 days old. I cannot fathom that pain. To lose sweet Gummy was measurably worse than losing my six week pregnancies. There would be no measure to the pain of losing a baby that far along or after giving birth. I'm reasonably sure that if that happened to me, then my next blog entries would be coming to you via my padded cell and voice activated keyboard, seeing that it is difficult to type while wearing a straightjacket.
Last year, when I sat in that church, with my four candles, I looked around at the other people there. Most held one candle, there was a smattering of couples clutching two or, more rarely, three. There was not one other couple holding four candles. I saw people casting looks of pity our way, and I felt uncomfortable and undeserving of their sympathy. The mother sitting next to me held one candle and a picture. The picture was of a little baby. She saw me looking at it and told me that it was her daughter, who had died at three months of SIDS. When she looked questioningly at my four candles, I told her that I had had four miscarriages. She patted my shoulder, but I felt that my grief was insignificant when compared to hers.
So, my question to you is: How many candles should I ask for this year?