Reasons Why I Share Emmett’s Story

Some people wonder why I’ve been so vocal and willing to share our story about Emmett this year. There are several important reasons that I’ve made this decision. No, it’s not because I want to be that annoying person that is constantly filling up your newsfeed with dead baby stories.
 
Some of the reasons are:
 
1. It helps us heal. It validates that my son was real and that I will always love him no matter how much time has passed. I will never forget him or those few months that I carried him as a part of me. I don’t have much to remember him with, very few photos and only 18 hours of time to hold him next to me. I can never get those moments back.
 
2. I am 1 in 4. They say that 1 in 4 women will experience a pregnancy loss. I don’t buy it. It has to be higher. Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn’t record all losses. I’m still so surprised just by the number of women who have reached out to me with their own stories of loss in the past year alone. If you think you’re alone, you’re not. This is the hardest club you’ll ever be a member of. Period.
 
3. It’s helps others. My experience has helped others in the past year deal with their own losses and grief. While it’s painful to share, it’s also comforting to know that you’re not alone in this. There is always someone to talk to. Even if you can’t talk with your family or friends, there are support groups, mental health counselors and other resources available to you.
 
4. It spreads awareness. The sad truth is that not all pregnancies are successful and not all babies survive. I was naive to think that once we made it past the first trimester we would be ok and guaranteed to have a healthy pregnancy. That wasn’t true. By sharing Emmett’s story, I hope my honesty helps dispel this myth that is propagated by the media and we can shift the conversation to make this a less taboo topic to discuss.

Going Full Circle

Tomorrow starts the beginning of going full circle. It will be one year since we first heard the words “cystic hygroma” at our first ultrasound. Emmett had developed a large, fluid-filled cyst on the back of his neck, what doctors told us is usually caused by chromosome issues such as Down’s Syndrome, Turner’s Syndrome, etc.

We went from being perfectly elated hearing our baby’s heartbeat the first time and seeing a bouncing blob on a monitor to being completely petrified and devastated in the matter of minutes.

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At that appointment, we were instructed to get a follow-up ultrasound later that week at a different medical center to see if the findings were true. They were… but the news got worse. The advanced u/s machine also detected he had developed fetal hydrops, a condition where his organs were filling up with fluid. This causes them to work much harder and in a fetus that can be difficult to do for a full-term pregnancy.

The chances of Emmett making it the full 40 weeks was going to be a long shot since he had developed the cystic hygroma and hydrops so early. The chances of him ever making it outside a hospital was even lower. The chances of him celebrating his first birthday, lower than that. There was also the risk that I could develop maternal hydrops, putting my health and life at risk. It was a lot of news and information to absorb in such a short time.

They gave us the option to end our pregnancy that day or wait it out to see if things would improve. We did the latter and it was the longest April of our lives.

Continue reading “Going Full Circle”

Video: An Update on Our Fundraising

Here’s our recent Facebook Live video to check-in on our walk fundraising:

Here are the links we mentioned in the video and how you can get involved:

All April: Emmett’s Birthday/Angelversary is April 26. Please keep us in your thoughts, send us texts, emails, calls, hugs, whatever. It really helps.

Walk Website (To join us on June 25 or to donate): www.crowdrise.com/emmettsolemates
Emmett’s name can be engraved on one of 3 memorials if we raise at least $500; the team at the walk with the highest fundraising total will be able to carry the Banner of Hope and start the event

Pampered Chef Sale (now through 11:59 March 31). 15% of sales and purchases of $75 or more will earn a free gift from Rhonda Dick https://pamperedchef.com/go/IMHEgV

Pure Barre North Andover – Sunday April 23 – Free Classes at 9,10:30 and 12 p.m. Register: http://purebarre.com/ma-andover/

Live Band Karaoke – Monday May 22 7-10 p.m. – If you can help volunteer (event planning, marketing, ticket sales, raffle ideas/items: please send us an email). Tickets will be available in April.

Our Story and Blog: https://missingemmett.wordpress.com/

Facebook Page: Missing Emmett

The Tears Foundation: www.thetearsfoundation.org/

Massachusetts Chapter FB Page: Massachusetts Chapter of The TEARS Foundation

Online support through a “closed” FB Group: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support – TEARS Foundation

Connect With Us

Just wanted to take a sec to let you know some other ways you can stay in touch with Missing Emmett:

  1. Email notifications. On the right side of the site, under the search field, click “Follow” and enter your email address. Then, anytime we make a new post, you’ll be notified straight away! (If you have a WordPress site, you can also sign-up by using the “Reader” tool.)

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  2. Facebook. Follow our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/missingemmett. Receive updates of new blog posts plus other useful resources and information from the interwebs.

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  3. Instagram. Follow Emmett’s mom, Christina, on Instagram @xtinarelacion, where she posts random different photos not just about grief and pregnancy loss, but about Emmett’s fur brother, food, her massive love of all things Disney, and more.
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  4. Crowdrise. Join Emmett’s Sole Mates, a team to support the Massachusetts Chapter of The TEARS Foundation’s annual Rock & Walk Event.

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You can help by “Joining” the team as a participant. Even if you can’t attend the physical event, you can join as a virtual walker and help fundraise along with the other members of the team. You also can “Donate” to the team. Make a gift to help us reach our $5,000 fundraising goal by June 25, 2017. (If you’d like to become an event sponsor, please let me know by using the “Contact” page and I’ll reach out with more info.)

We hope you will connect with us on some of these other channels or share with others who may benefit.

Thank you again for all of your love and support on this journey.

♥ Christina

Happy Anniversary

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Tomorrow is our 9th wedding anniversary. This past weekend, Brett’s been sick so while he was napping, I noticed our wedding album sitting under the coffee table. I took it out and was flipping through the memories from a cold, icy night in Milwaukee back in 2008, as we were surrounded by our family and closest friends.

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Brett (in black) with his groomsmen enjoy a celebratory drink during the reception.
Our wedding was held in the rooftop party space at a small boutique hotel in downtown. We only invited about 40 people since we were paying for the entire night ourselves. We didn’t want to start our marriage off going into wedding debt.

Continue reading “Happy Anniversary”

Sex and Intimacy After the Loss of a Pregnancy or Child

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Note: this topic may be unsuitable for some readers.

Oh snap! Did I just write that? Are we really going here?

Yes.

We all know how babies are made. Still, our society is still very prudish when it comes to openly discussing the topic but we should be able to talk openly about sex and intimacy…and, how both change physically and mentally after the loss of a pregnancy or child. I’ve been dabbling in my mind of writing this post for some time now so I figure the week of Valentine’s Day seems appropriate to publish it.

I was in no way prepared for how hard it would be to become intimate again with Brett after our loss. I craved for physical contact – to be hugged and to have someone hold my hand or caress me in a supportive manner. However, kissing and sex were very difficult for me, and still are.

We couldn’t have intercourse while I was recovering after the delivery as well as the infection that I developed from the retained pregnancy tissue, which was about 6-8 weeks. When the doctors told us that, in the back of my mind, I wholeheartedly thought, “Ok, that’s not a problem. We’ll be back to trying to get pregnant again in no time once my cycle gets back on track.”

I was entirely wrong.

The first time we just tried making out I was in tears within minutes. Hormones raging inside me. Massive amounts of guilt. The deep hole in my chest became ever more evident and I realized I wasn’t ready yet for this type of activity with my husband, a man who I have been with for more than a decade and who I trust with my life and my heart. I felt like such a stupid idiot. This is an entirely natural action and part of life but there was that part of me that felt it was wrong and abhorrent.

Continue reading “Sex and Intimacy After the Loss of a Pregnancy or Child”