Shared Stories

Elizabeth's Story

Being both an educator and a woman who lost her baby is mentally exhausting. I anticipated being out from the end of January through the remainder of the school year. Leave was granted and plans were made. Life changed November 30. Not only did I deliver my daughter, Aaliyah, still, but I needed to return to work mid-February. I returned to teaching children, all day long, after I had just lost my own.

Part of being an educator is teaching children how to love and respect themselves and each other- how to create goals, accept and grow from mistakes and realize that if something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to it’s okay, just try again. All of a sudden the phrase “practice what you preach” is almost impossible. I will always make an attempt, but when I think about the fact that I should be at home taking care of my child but instead I’m in a classroom taking care of other’s people’s children, it’s hard to keep going.

While in the classroom you can’t help but think of the milestones your own child would be making in one. Yet here you are, no child, but needing to help other children reach theirs. I became an elementary teacher because I love children, challenging them and expanding their ideas- my love for teaching is still present but it’s changed so much.

Every job needs resources for mother’s after pregnancy or baby loss. Reentering work after such a trauma can be triggering and, as an educator, adding children to the equation can make it much more difficult. I encourage conversations among women in education who have experienced loss to lean on one another during those dark days, of which there are many. We all know how strong our teacher networks can be - as teachers we also need to have a strong community as it relates to pregnancy loss. Remember, you are not alone and this tribe will have your back during your darkest and most challenging moments. We push forward for our children and will no longer accept the screaming silence around our losses.

Diana's Story

I had a hard time conceiving and we decided to try to adopt. The day we were going to have our house inspection I found out I was pregnant. We were over the moon.

Throughout the pregnancy I had bleeding and clots, but my OB said it was normal. He finally put me on bed rest. My paperwork from insurance was back tracked so I couldn’t go back to work for some time afterwards.

Spring Break came and went and I returned to work being 21 weeks at this point. That Tuesday I thought something was wrong as all day; I did not have to urinate. I made myself go and saw pink when I wiped. I was worried and called my doctor he said I might’ve irritated the uterus. That night I felt a pop and now I know my water broke. The bed was soaked. I called the OB again and he opened early to see me. He looked at me and said, “Your fear is confirmed, your water broke and I have to induce labor or you can risk becoming septic. The fetus still has a heartbeat.” I couldn’t do it and he sent me to a high risk doctor. The high risk doctor told me to go home and my body would tell me when I was ready to deliver.

I made it until Friday and began to run a fever and have contractions. We rushed to the emergency room and I delivered my baby boy the next morning. March 24, 2012. I went back to work 2 weeks later. Nobody said anything about my loss. Not flowers. Nothing. It was like my pregnancy nor son ever existed. I knew that I could no longer work there. I have not been able to conceive since then. We will be moving forward with IVF in the hopes of finally becoming parents.

Kelly's Story

December 2019 I was struggling with depression and anxiety. I thought Spring Break 2020 would bring some relief. I was a little shocked to find out we were expecting baby #3 after we gave away all our items. But surprisingly, hubs and I were elated.

I carried that babe during quarantine, exploring what it was like to be pregnant during the beginning of COVID and was working from home like everyone else. On the last day of school 2020, I went to my 12-week appointment to discover our baby no longer had a heartbeat. I was devastated and was scheduled for a D&C the following Monday.

While I was recovering from that, I got the call from my admin that I'd be reporting back to work next week (I am a 12-month employee.) I went back to work the following Monday, still in mourning and cramping from the D&C. Halfway through the day, the AP that works directly over me let me know she was most likely getting reassigned to a new school. It was a promotion for her, but for me it meant doing both of our jobs all summer long.

In June, most day cares and summer camps were still closed so I had no child care for my other two children. I told my principal the tight spot I was in but was essentially forced to take vacation time so that I could "work from home" while using my vacation time, simply to make schedules for my school while having childcare for my own kids.

I told my principal of my loss and my childcare situation but still had to keep it going most of the summer. When I did go back to campus, I was gutted to find that the principal's secretary changed the code to the copier to the last day of school. For everyone else, it's just a day. But to me, it was the day I had to say goodbye. To this day, every time I have to make a stupid copy or scan anything in the mail room, I have to enter the day my baby died as a code to get a stupid piece of paper.

The school year brought much more heartache with a new superintendent, virtual learning, angry parents, budget issues, and a ton of other heartache, including my new AP and our social worker BOTH being pregnant with TWINS with offices on either side of me. Thankfully most co-workers were sympathetic, and my principal now knows how hard I worked to keep our program at our school going during the AP change and the maternity leave of the new AP. But the copier code remains.

...And now this school year is ending. The worst school year ever for so many reasons, including a tragedy for two teachers at my school that will eventually make the news. And I just want my baby to be remembered. I'm still on meds and in counseling for my anxiety and depression. And I'm making huge strides and optimistic about the next school year and the stability I see ahead. But at the same time I'm also terrified I'll relive this trauma at the end of every school year, long after the copier code is changed.

Sierra's Story

It was very easy for me to get pregnant the first time with my son. It only took the first month and I had kind of a rough pregnancy so much that it made me want to wait before trying for a second.

We started when he was almost two and it took us a year to get pregnant again. I lost that pregnancy at 5 weeks. I've never experienced a miscarriage like this and no one else I know has. I go to a midwifery so they wanted me to lose it naturally and it took 10 days. In media it always shows that being this big bloodbath that maybe lasts an hour and it's traumatizing but no one warns you for it taking two weeks.

They say to capitalize on the baby hormones and try again right away so I did and now I am miscarrying again. I work at a charter school, we don't have enough substitutes. It's a pandemic - it's all hands-on deck. Everyone is overworked and it feels selfish to take time to mourn.

In my first miscarriage I lost quite a bit in the work bathroom and would take breaks to go cry in the corner. My first thought when I started bleeding the day before the last day of school was at least I wouldn't have to get a substitute or burden my friends with my body's failing.

I plant a fruit tree to mourn the baby I have only held inside my body and my biggest fear is owning an orchard.

Jenna's Story

I got pregnant with my first child very quickly. Pretty easy pregnancy, though I had some bleeding that put me on bedrest for a week early on.

We waited a few years and got pregnant again, fairly quickly. I had made sure to tell the nurse in my building as soon as I knew, just like I had done the first time. I went to a high risk practice and he had me come in right away for blood work.

Two weeks later I went to work on a Monday. I went to the bathroom and saw blood - a decent sized clot. I immediately went to the nurse and asked what it meant. She looked at me and just said, "Oh I'm so sorry." And hugged me. I was so confused. I knew what she meant but thought she had to be wrong. I ran in to my principal, who also knew, and she asked how I was feeling and I lost it. She called my husband, he picked me up and my doc told me to rest and come in the next day. That appointment confirmed I was no longer pregnant. He told us, "This was a fluke. You can try again after your next period." We did and - boom - pregnant again. Again, the doctor had me come in immediately. Bloodwork looked good. Ultrasound. All good. Heard the heartbeat at 7 weeks. Told our almost 3 year old and bought him a big boy bed.

Two weeks later, no heartbeat. Dr said, "We'll try again next week." For a week, I Googled: "heartbeat then no heartbeat," "how early can you hear a heartbeat," "is 7 weeks too early to hear a heartbeat." I was taking progesterone and I looked like I was 12 weeks pregnant. I talked myself in to, "Everything is fine!" Needless to say, it wasn't.

So, at 9 weeks, we went back and were told that the baby was no longer. I don't remember why but he told me that he didn't want me to do a D&C at that point. I think he expected my body to do what it needed to do. So for the next 3 weeks I waited.

Finally the bleeding started. I expected it to be like the last time, but on the first day of school I finished the day with cramps. I remember texting my husband and telling him, "These are bad. I need a 3rd Advil when I get home." By dinnertime I couldn't stand up straight. The cramping came in waves. I believe my body went in to labor. I was bleeding so much I went through 2 overnight pads in 30 minutes. The pain was excruciating. The practice told me to go to the ER. They were ready for me and got me hooked up to morphine right away. I stayed overnight. The attending gyno checked me and said I was going to pass the clot soon. They gave me a suppository of some medicine and we went home. I put in for two personal days so no one would ask me where I'd been (our contract prohibits HR from asking for proof, etc for personal days).

On Monday I returned to school like nothing happened. No one knew where I'd been or why I'd missed the first 2 days of school. I was very nervous to try again, but we did once we got clearance from the doctor. We got pregnant right away. I cried from fear when I saw the 2 lines on the test. But that pregnancy stuck and our daughter was born in 2016.

Allison's Story

I went through two miscarriages a year apart. The first one was in 2018. We had gotten pregnant unexpectedly when I was 39 after just getting diagnosed with Hashimoto's.

At 6 weeks pregnant everything was fine. Baby was growing well and had a nice heartbeat. By 8 weeks I was having some bleeding and cramping and was seen at the ER of a military hospital. My care there was enough to give me PTSD and switch doctors to a civilian provider. I miscarried at 8 weeks and needed a D&C.

I was blessed to be working as a pre-k teacher at the time and have some of the most understanding coworkers who took care of my students for me while I was out for around 2 weeks. They checked on me daily as well as my principal. When I came back my parents were very supportive too. I had several who prayed for me and offered resources and support.

Almost a year to the date I lost another baby at 5 weeks. Then, in March of 2020, amid all the pandemic craziness, I found out I was pregnant with my rainbow 🌈. She is the biggest blessing and I have the most amazing colleagues who covered for me while I took a month off for maternity leave.

Lashana's Story

I understand the desire to heal through pain of infant loss. I lost my baby girl at 34 weeks, she was born still due to placenta abruption in February 24, 2018.

I woke up that morning around 7:45am. Just saying to myself, I can’t wait to have and meet my daughter Shaniya. Around 8pm I started having contractions. They started to get intense, and my boyfriend drove me to the ER. When I got hooked up to the monitor, my contractions were getting painful. The nurse couldn’t find a heartbeat, and she called in the doctor for an ultrasound. By the look on his face I knew something was wrong. He told me my baby girl didn’t have a heartbeat. At first I was shocked and didn’t believe it until I delivered a beautiful girl born sleeping.

After losing my baby girl, I didn’t know that I could still take my 6 weeks leave because I delivered a stillborn but still born baby. My school principal informed me of the 6 weeks leave and the FMLA leave because she had contacted the CEA of NJ.

Lashana is the founder of Shaniya's Gift, a non-profit organization, in memory of her daughter. Follow her on Instagram: @shaniyas_gift1

Kirstin's Story

I lost my son in 2017 when he was 2 hours old from a birth defect called Anencephaly. We were informed of this diagnosis at 16 weeks gestation. We decided right away to continue with the pregnancy instead of the popular termination due to the zero survival rate.

I ended up needing an emergency c-section after 3 days of active labor in the hospital. I ended up needing to stay 10 days due to a pulmonary embolism post surgery. I had to start my grieving process while going through a horrific physical recovery in the hospital. Luckily the team at Virtua Voorhees Hospital, including Ann Coyle, were amazing and went above and beyond to honor our son.

Memories start to fade and sometimes I have to look at pictures to remember the shape of his lips and chubby cheeks, but he holds a piece of my heart that will always belong to him. We released a butterfly for him in the Angel baby garden at the hospital soon after he passed and to this day there are always butterflies surrounding my family and I. The moments where I watch the butterflies fly and picture my sweet boy are the most vivid and connected moments we share together. I may never know why we had to lose our son, but I am forever thankful for the connection I share with my own little guardian Angel.

Andrea's Story

I had a hard time getting pregnant and when I got that first positive pregnancy test I was overjoyed. I took two more just to be sure. I even left the tests out and filmed my husband coming home to the news. I was so overjoyed. My numbers were really high and I even thought at one point it could be twins.

I went to the fertility specialist and he did not see the cells that should have been present at 6 weeks. I came back the next week and can never erase the image of the empty sac in the ultrasound. When I think of that image it still makes me shudder. I had never felt the despair that I felt in that moment. I was enraged, distraught, and disgusted. Why couldn’t I have a baby? What is so wrong with me? What did I do to deserve this? I felt like less of a woman. My husband checked out just fine and I figured it was all my fault.

I chose to have the pill to speed up the process of getting rid of the embryo. The pain was excruciating and I passed out while trying to contact my husband to come home. I ended up getting an infection from taking these pills and had to get surgery because I could not stop bleeding. Why were all these other women able to get pregnant so quickly and easily and I had to go through all of this physical and emotional pain?

While all of this was going on I still went into the classroom and taught my high school students as if nothing happened, even though I was bleeding nonstop. My dedication to my profession never wavered. My students deserved a quality education regardless if I lost my child or not.

Meredith's Story

My name is Meredith. I never wanted children until I met and fell in love with my husband. I was 33 when we began dating, 36 when we married and 38 when we attempted our 1st pregnancy. I had my IUD removed and as instructed by my OBGYN, we waited for me to have 3 "healthy cycles" prior to our attempts of getting pregnant. We got extremely lucky and became pregnant on our 1st try in December of 2018 and we were so excited!

In February of 2019 I began spotting and was told that it was probably normal, but I insisted on having an emergency ultrasound because I believed otherwise. I will never forgot the sound of not hearing my baby's heartbeat as I did on the previous ultrasounds, nor the look on the ultrasound tech's face when she realized that she needed a 2nd opinion from my OBGYN when we all knew that I had lost the baby. The OBGYN was very sympathetic, compassionate and informative as to maybe why I had a spontaneous miscarriage. She informed me that since I had been carrying my deceased baby for over a week that I have to force my body to expel the pregnancy. I was given 2 choices for that to happen and I opted to have a D&C rather than a medically induced miscarriage at home because I didn't want to pass the pregnancy there and see what would have been our beautiful baby.

We were very nervous and sad the morning of the surgery, but my OBGYN was so kind and assuring, plus the perinatal program at the hospital kindly gave me a pregnancy loss gift, which was a tiny crocheted baby blanket and I held it in my hand up until the surgeon checked in with me again before my surgery to go over my paperwork with me. I thought nothing when she warned me of the possible effects of this surgery, which was potential uterine scarring and infertility.

After the elective D&C my period disappeared and was replaced instead with severe cramping every month for nearly six months. I was told that it was normal due to my D&C. At month nine of no menses, my OBGYB referred me to a fertility specialist who diagnosed me with Asherman's Syndrome which was acquired due to the severe scar tissue that developed after my D&C.

I was referred again to a surgeon in Philadelphia who specialized in the Hysteroscopy that I needed. The 1st surgery went longer than expected and I had complications with the uterine balloon catheter. It gave me a uterine infection and consequently my uterus scarred over again. I had two corrective surgeries to reverse the scarring over the next two years.

I had to us FMLA from my job at school two times for medical recovery. My Director and Principle were amazing supporters of me as was the Head Teacher of our Art Department.

In 2020, my husband and I were given the news that we were good to try again, but this time with the help of fertility medications as it was suspected that my age and a potential sudden drop in Estrogen were to blame for the 1st sudden miscarriage.

We became pregnant again in April of 2020 during the pandemic, but sadly lost our 2nd pregnancy in May of 2020 at the exact same gestation as our 1st pregnancy. I was furious with my body and the fertility doctor because again, I was spotting and was told that it was implantation bleeding, yet I knew what it was.

The check up visit was devastatingly traumatic for my husband and I. Again, I held my breath while waiting to hear my baby's tiny, strong and rapid heartbeat, but the ultrasound tech wouldn't allow me to see the monitor and ignored my questions when I asked her if I had lost this child too. She looked terrified and rushed out of the room. My husband and I were left alone, in shock and sadness over what he didn't want to believe, but what I already knew, which is I can't have children of my own.

We were eventually summoned and brought into my fertility doctor's office. He closed the door and told me what we feared. We lost the baby, he said, which is shocking he said because I thought we knocked this one out of the park. He suggested extensive fertility blood work be drawn immediately to only now find out what is wrong with my pregnancies.

Once again, my body wouldn't let go of the pregnancy, so this time I chose to pass my baby at home. It was very painful and the process took two days to complete. Both the sound and sight of seeing my baby pass is unforgettable. I chose to look at him/her as did my husband. Another baby that would never be.

Needless to say, we didn't cope very well. I knew that I could reach out to my mother's friend, Ann Coyle, who is a nurse that worked side by side with my now retired mom when they were a part of the Neonatal program at Virtua Hospital together when I was growing up. Ann is an amazing Nurse, mother and friend to my mom. She actually used to create hand sewn Halloween costumes for me when I was a child. Ann is the person who organized and runs the perinatal program at the hospital where I received my D&C.

After I reached out to her, she mailed my husband and I information on local support groups and programs. My husband began a grieving father's support group. I resumed intensive individual therapy.

After I "recovered" from my medical miscarriage, we resumed fertility treatments. All of our bloodwork results came back within normal ranges and my husband's sperm also checked out as good to go, so my husband and I under the assistance of even more fertility medications, once again began month of a new pregnancy attempt.

The stress of the infertility kept building and several IUI procedures were scheduled and cancelled because he wouldn't commit to them while we were in the middle of fights or periods of no longer speaking to each other. Because of the infertility issues, amongst other older marital and personal issues that remained in our relationship, my husband requested a divorce and left our marriage in March of 2021.

I now continue my journey towards motherhood on my own and view what it may potentially be one day in a different way. I might be able to conceive through a male donor or maybe even with another partner if my advancing age isn't an issue or perhaps I'll adopt, which is what I wanted to do, but my husband did not. Everything happens for a reason and I finally believe that. I am happy, I am healthy and optimistic for my future of becoming a mother to a human. For now, I am an amazing K9, cat and beta fish mom.

Jessica's Story

I am a special education teacher in a middle school setting. Teaching students with Autism. I’ve learned after the second loss…one chemical and one miscarriage (5 1/2 week loss) to not share with coworkers and friends until my wife and I got to hear a heartbeat…

We decided to announce around 3 months. It’s just so devastating to have to go back and say it didn’t work and then the constant whyyyyy. I’m currently 15 weeks after 3 early losses and two missed (yes, I had another miscarriage at 6 1/2 weeks). Everyone knew I did IVF, so we stopped talking about it after the 4th try.

My wife and I were struggling to get answers. I just wish I didn’t share a lot with coworkers... I was even told it’s ok you can always adopt. Or it will happen when the time is right.

We didn’t give up and kept looking for answers. I was diagnosed with lupus anticoagulant (blood clotting issues that can cause blood clots to the placenta). We decided to try one more time with aspirin and Lovenox (on day of transfer). This time it didn’t take at all.

We went onto a laparoscopy and had tubes removed and little endo removed. New protocol with meds and continue the Lovenox and aspirin (5 days before transfer with higher 10mg Prednisone). This is now giving me my rainbow miracle.

I am currently 15 weeks pregnant and in constant worry. I’m trying not to stress out and go with the flow. I think it’s helping that I’m working back in-person with less staff this summer. In September I will be about 5 1/2 months and hoping I’ll be more at ease to take more freely about it. My guard is up for the most part.

Sheryl's Story

It was May 2017 and prime State Testing time for schools! We were all under a lot of pressure to ensure high test scores from our students. A close friend of mine had a family member related to a top fertility specialist. My friend sent me a text giving me the go ahead and I called the doctor's office after she had called on my behalf. The secretary told me that they could see me in August and my heart sank. 3 months felt like more forever and an entire summer of doing nothing towards achieving our biggest hope and dream. I began to give the secretary my name and information and she said, "Hold on a moment, your name is on a post-it here. Actually, the doctor said he would skip lunch to see you. Can I put you in for next week?" In those moments, nothing else matters. You'll move anything and everything to get those appointments, those retrieval dates, transfer dates, nothing else matters in the pathway to parenthood. And then I realized, next week was State Test Week. The week we had worked all year towards.

I approached the Assistant Principal responsible for state testing schedules. I explained (while holding back tears), that my husband and I had trying to get pregnant for several years but with no luck. We had an opportunity to meet with a top specialist but it would have to be the afternoon of one of the state testing days. She held up her hand and said, "Say no more. Not a problem, I'll figure out scheduling. You do whatever it takes to have a baby, Nothing is more important than family." I went down to the Principal (had to request personal time off), and gave the same explanation. She rolled her eyes. She told me that it was really inconsiderate that I didn't care how my students did on the state test. She told me that it was selfish that I was making doctors' appointments the week of the most important test our students have worked towards. That I was indicating to my students that my life and personal time was more important than their academic success. Tears silently poured down my cheeks. She threw the tissue box towards me and said, "I'll think about it."

I remember standing outside my classroom confused how I'd gotten there. I didn't recall walking up three floors, across the old building to the new wing, past the cafeteria where the after school club was happening. I sat down at my desk and just sobbed. Was I being selfish? Was I failing my students? My family? My friends? Had this become all consuming? Did I recognize myself? 30 minutes later the classroom phone rang, "Fine. You can keep your appointment." Click.

Spencer's Story

I remember finding out I was pregnant for the first time. My husband, Justin, brought home cinnamon raison bagels (which I usually love) and I could smell them from far away and the smell made me so sick. The next morning I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. My pregnancy was smooth (even though the whole I time, something felt off). Every appointment went great. We had a heartbeat at 6 weeks, great growth at 12 weeks, and found out we were having a boy at 20 weeks. The anatomy scan was perfect. Baby boy was coming and he was healthy.

At 28 weeks I had my glucose screening and again all was well. However, at that appointment, they began talking about kick counts. The doctor I saw seemed relaxed about it and even when I mentioned my baby didn't move a lot, she kind of blew me off. Looking back, I will always wonder, what if that doctor had just listened to me. Would that outcome have been different?

That Saturday, I felt baby boy move so much inside of me. I was so excited. This was also the last time I truly last felt movement. I called the doctor early the next week, as movements had stopped. I went to the doctor's thinking nothing could be wrong, only to find out the total opposite. My sweet baby boy no longer had a heartbeat. I went through so many emotions. How does this happen? What did I do wrong? Is this all my fault?

Later that night I was induced and delivered our silent baby boy Spencer the following night on August 10, 2012. The weeks after were a blur. I laid around most days crying not sure how to move forward. Adding insult to injury was when the milk came in and I had no baby to feed. Nobody can really explain that heartbreak.

Spencer was due October 22 and I had planned to take the whole year off. Going back to work on October 1 when I was supposed to be preparing for my maternity leave was devastating. People at work tried to be supportive and sympathetic, but I felt alone in my grief. I was embarrassed, worrying if people were judging me and assuming I caused my child's death. It was hard to work with families who had lots of children, but didn't seem to be able to care for them. I encountered one Spencer and I felt a pull towards that student. Being able to use my son's name even for someone else, helped in a small way.

I was told I could take as much time as I needed, but they would be unpaid leave and my insurance would run out. I also would have to use ALL of my sick days. These were sick days I had been saving to take care of a baby and instead I was being forced to use them, which was a daily reminder of what I had lost. It was insulting. I wasn't sick. I was grieving. If I heard one more doctor call my baby a fetal demise I think I would have lost it. He had a name. His name was Spencer. I wish people felt more comfortable to say his name. He existed. He was alive inside of me. I felt his movements. He was a person. He was my first child.

We never found out what happened to Spencer, even with all the testing done. Some doctors referred to it as a cord accident and other's compared it to SIDs, but in utero. Having no answer almost made it harder to accept.

In late October of 2012, I got pregnant again, only for the pregnancy to be an ectopic one. On a Thursday night in November, I was rushed into surgery after a day of stomach pains, as my tube had ruptured. I was "lucky" as the surgeon was able to save my tube. I remember not telling anyone at work why I was out for a week recovering. I couldn't handle any more pity or any more of those sad looks. Some people still don't even know till this day.

On February 10, 2014 and May 10, 2016, I did deliver my two rainbow baby boys healthy and happy into this world. Pregnancy after loss is hard. It may be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was much more alert to kick counts and even spent a few times at the emergency room. I didn't trust my body. By the time I delivered both boys, I was mentally drained from pregnancy.

Something special is that all three boys were born on the 10th of the month somehow and Spencer is always remembered as he is both of my rainbow baby's boys middle names. Sometimes I even enjoy getting to reprimand them cause I get to say, "Brandon Spencer and Ryan Spencer" out loud. Using Spencer's name reminds me every day of the struggles we went through to get to the end of the rainbow.

Melanie's Story

I just finished my second round of unsuccessful IVF. The fertility doctor has told me my chances are around 8-10% to conceive using my own egg. He has mentioned an egg donor would increase my chances exponentially, but I already have step-children. An egg donor feels like another child that’s half my husband’s and another woman’s, just like my step-children. Today I told the doctor I’m ready to accept my odds are poor and end my IVF journey. :(

Lindsay's Story

I was 9 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I had an ultrasound booked for a Saturday morning. It was the first one where we would get to see the little bean and hear the heartbeat for the first time. For some reason about a week before the appointment, I already had a sinking feeling in my stomach. Something was telling me that there was going to be something wrong with the baby. Everyone kept telling me to stop worrying and to think positive. So I tried.

I decided to book off the Monday and Tuesday following the appointment because in my gut, I still felt like something was going to be wrong and I knew that I would not be able to bring myself to teach if it went badly. The day of the ultrasound I had to go in alone due to COVID. As a high anxiety person, this already made it 10 times worse not being able to have any support system with me. Despite all my positive affirmations in my head, that day I was told the worst news I will ever hear. “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat”.

The following few days I went into what I can only describe as depression. I didn’t eat, didn’t sleep but also couldn’t get out of bed to even shower. Nothing seemed to matter. I’m so grateful that I did take those 2 days off because I can’t imagine having to teach while going through that.

Because it was a missed miscarriage I still had to work that week with a dead baby inside me. It was all I could think about while being surrounded by children at work. I just wanted it out. And working with kids was just a constant reminder of that.

I probably should have taken more time off work, but I didn’t feel comfortable telling my admin what was happening due to the stigma around it. It feels like such a taboo subject and I never wanted to make anyone feel uncomfortable. So I dealt with it all silently.

I am in a better place now. In fact, I had a student a few months after my own miscarriage tell me that her mother had lost her twin babies in her stomach. She then proceeded to ask me if that had ever happened to me. I was able to help that student feel better about what her mother was going through, and little did she know that she also had helped me feel less alone.

Aubry's Story

When I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, I was so excited to tell my students. I work as an Instructional Aide with K-3 Special Education students. I knew they would be excited, curious, and have lots of questions.

I was due on the last day of school, but I was only pregnant from September until March. At 28 weeks I was taken by complete surprise when I heard the words, “There is no heartbeat.” I could not process what had happened. I never even once thought stillbirth was something that could happen to me.

I delivered my son Noah on March 26, 2021. I held him, talked to him, said goodbye, and left the hospital feeling completely numb. Depression set in, and my world went dark.

I took a few months off of work, leaving my staff to tell my students why I was gone: “Mrs. Magoon’s baby stopped growing, and she’s very sad.” When I returned I asked my staff to just treat me as if things business as usual. I didn’t want hugs and words of condolences. My students still asked questions, though. “Where is your baby?,” “Why did your baby stop growing?” It was hard, and I ended up asking my principal if I could just hole up in an office and do prep work for a few weeks. So, I did.

Weeks passed, and it felt like my experience was old news. But that’s what I wanted, right? I didn’t want eyes on me. I didn’t want pity. And yet, not talking about Noah made me sad too. It’s hard going from everyone joyfully talking about your baby, touching your belly, and then suddenly everyone ignoring the topic of babies around you altogether. It made me feel like a pariah.

Kelly's Story

It was the summer after schools shut down due to covid. I started feeling weird and having an aversion to meat. The day I was supposed to be remotely starting grad school orientation was the morning we found out we were pregnant. I couldn't focus, I just spent the whole morning on the call searching baby things on Pinterest. We were so excited and immediately started work on the house, taking pictures every week, and we shared our pregnancy with those we loved just after the first trimester mark. I remember being worried about telling everyone for fear of a miscarriage, but my husband assured me that even if that happened we would then have the love of our families and community to support us.

On Nov. 3rd. Yes election night. I miscarried at 20 weeks, the day before our anatomy scan. And two days before a planned night to celebrate finding out the gender. I was at home, teaching remotely when it happened. My husband had to tell my students to log off and I suffered in the bathroom until it was over.

It still haunts me. I had started bleeding the night before, so I scheduled a visit with the doctor, which was an hour or so after everything wound up happening. Sitting in those offices, knowing it was all over, was the worst feeling in the world. I had my D&C that night.

I still ache that I never saw my child. I wish I'd gone to the hospital sooner. I have so many regrets from that day.

I'm currently pregnant with my rainbow baby now and approaching the 20 week mark. Every day presents new challenges to my mental health. I'm so thankful I have an incredible support system and wonderful doctors. I'm also thankful that I've been able to share my story with my students and hopefully be able to give them some perspective on this not so visible part of life, even if it's incredibly difficult for me to do so.

My son is due right before Christmas, and everyday I pray we actually get to celebrate it together.

UPDATE: Nathaniel Gerald Graham was born via emergency c-section on Saturday, November 21st. He shares a birthday with his mama and the whole family is healthy and happy and we're so thankful for these bonus weeks we get with our little rainbow.

Jessica's Story

We got pregnant in the fall of 2019. I started spotting over a weekend and the bleeding increased on a Monday at a professional development I was attending.

I called the doctor, went in for an ultrasound, and our worst fears were confirmed. We were losing our baby.

I took a few days off of work for a D&C and to recover emotionally, but going back was hard. One day the school newspaper printed a story about pregnancy and the front cover was a picture of an ultrasound. I completely lost it. Luckily my principal saw me and told me to go home. He was so understanding.

Since then, we’ve had a natural chemical pregnancy and started IVF treatments. Our first transfer ended in another chemical pregnancy. Going through Stims during the school year was very difficult. I remember going back to work two days after my egg retrieval and having to lay on the floor in my classroom while the kids were at lunch for 20 minutes to try and ease the pain.

It’s been a long journey and it’s not close to over yet.

Jessica's Story

I’ve always known I was meant to be a mom. I went to school to be an elementary teacher and I loved every minute of it. It was my fourth year teaching at the perfect school for me. I found out I was pregnant before the school year started and kept the secret for months.

I had no morning sickness or symptoms that might give me away. I was so excited to go with my husband for the 20 week ultrasound to find out the sex of our child. The ultrasound seemed to go smoothly until the tech left and said she needed to consult a doctor. We waiting in the room for 20 minutes and I knew something was wrong. Eventually a doctor came in and told us there was an abnormal scan.

We had to go to a bigger hospital, two days later, to find out that our daughter had trisomy 18 and we were advised to terminate. It was the worst moment of my life. I had wanted this baby so badly, and to hear that the pregnancy was not viable killed me. I ended up having to terminate the pregnancy.

I work for an amazing school union who let me take the time off for my termination and recovery. I am so thankful for the staff I had surrounding me during that time.

Since then, I have had a successful pregnancy with a rainbow baby daughter and I am so thankful for my small school community for supporting me through it all. It was a difficult road to go down, but I had my coworkers and admin to support me every step of the way.

Cindy's Story

My story began 18+ years ago. I hope for all of you on this journey now that it offers hope and solace. During my struggles to have a family, the hardest part was never the physical discomforts of endless ultrasounds, needles, laparoscopic procedures and D&C's. The hardest part was feeling alone. When my nephew approached me about this forum, I felt grateful to share. Even if one person feels less alone by reading my story, then it has helped.

At the time I was being treated at an IVF clinic in NY, my closest friends and family, however well-intentioned, never helped me to overcome that loneliness. They had children and without struggle. A good bottle of chianti and a fun night. No injectable medication, no watching your husband trot off to watch bad porn in a cold hospital room. No spending more money on pregnancy tests than Kim K spends on shoes.

It began after just 3 months of unsuccessful unprotected sex. I am a nurse and had become familiar with the IVF process as I administered injectables to women at their work place in an onsite health clinic. I was paranoid I thought to myself, not really thinking we had an issue. We started with the easy enough semen analysis for my husband who thankfully didn't ignore my request to "just get checked and I'll relax."

His count was critically low. The physician called me and referred us to IVF immediately. I was stunned, yet oddly relieved we knew what to do next. It was a genetic issue my husband carried that results in not only a low count but the necessity for pre-implantation screening of our embryos. This disorder could present itself in numerous terrible ways in an unborn child, most often resulting in miscarriages.

Our first round ended with only 1 embryo and they suggested we forgo testing and implant right away and not wait till day 5 and the PGD as it is known. We decided to risk the one embryo failing at testing rather than possibly conceive and face the heart break of a loss further along. We waited at home for the call if the embryo had survived both the 5 days of growth as well as testing. It had! We went in for the transfer. I remember after sitting on the couch afraid to sneeze. The longest 9 days ever passed till I could take a pregnancy test. We had the answer blinking from our answering machine that evening. We were pregnant! The next 9 months were blissfully stressful and my son arrived 7 weeks premature.

Presently, a handsome healthy 18 year old, his story was just the start of our journey. We tried 11 more times unsuccessfully to extend our family. I lost twin baby girls days apart at 12-14 weeks. I lost a son at 22 weeks, born dangerously prematurely, and finally we engaged a surrogate who did not become pregnant after another single embryo transfer.

I am lucky. I am blessed with my son. But I will never forget my long and lonely journey. Hang in there. You are not alone. It will be worth it. However the story ends it makes you a stronger better person on the other side. One that keeps others from being alone on their journey.

Anonymous Story

My story. Where to begin. My husband and I are high school sweethearts. We met at 15 and the rest is history. By 23 we were worried why we weren’t pregnant yet considering we had been trying for 2 years since we wed. We asked our friends who suggested we see a fertility specialist.

Upon arrival I was shocked to learn I was considered a geriatric patient, but yet everyone in the room appeared older then us. After speaking with the doctor and having tests completed we were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility.” After that, the story really takes off.

The roller coaster of emotions, ups and downs, surprises and hopes. Fertility treatments are a full-time job. You have to be dedicated. You are expected to complete bloodwork 4/5 days a week sometimes. I missed numerous days of work prepping, sick from medications, or even appointments. Not to mention your hormones are a mess and the burden of expenses. After about 2 years of treatments and an IVF cycle, we were pregnant with our baby girl.

Decorating joyfully, Planning our future as a family of 3, it was perfection. We achieved our goal. Everyone at my job was aware of our journey and was so thrilled to see my smile of enthusiasm every day. We safely made it to 5 months and we’re over the moon.

At our 5 month check up we checked in and sat. We waited. I wish I could still be naive to possibilities as I was that day. Our name was called and we went in to see an ultrasound scan and we’re informed our child was in harm's way. She was without kidneys. It was horrific. Simply put. I felt numb. Shattered. Defeated. It was all over. I felt broken.

Following the news, my husband stayed home with me for a week. We comforted each other as much as we could but it wasn’t over yet. We knew we had to deliver our baby girl, dying. It was too little of time we had with her. Although I never got to hold her, I will hold her in my heart forever and never forget the joy she brought to us in such a short period of time. She gave me the ability to focus on completing my dream, to be a mom.

After the delivery, I took some time off to find myself again. I was very fortunate that my job knew my situation and was accommodating. Upon returning to work, I remember crying to my husband saying “I can’t explain to everyone what happened,” and he told me I needed to be brave for our daughter and for those who experienced the same situation.

My first day back felt welcoming. No one addressed the loss. Coworkers simply hugged me and would share brief eye contact. We knew it’s not a topic easily discussed. There were some who were not aware and asked me how things were going. I broke down, I was fragile. I even had one coworker ask me, “Did they make you use vacation time or personal?” How inappropriate. My sadness grew to anger quickly.

As time went on I felt everyone becoming “comfortable” again around me.

2 years later, multiple surgeries, followed by IVF procedures, and a second opinion, I gave birth to my healthy son. He is perfect and truly a gift.

I feel blessed to share my experience with others in the hope this topic can be tackled. Infertility in the work place is a growing trend sadly. Although it is no one's business, it is easy to be polite and understanding regarding any topic. You never know what people can be experiencing behind closed doors. Same goes for miscarriage in the workplace. There is a fine line between what’s appropriate and what is not. Discussing topics like these help desensitize the stigma surrounding them, and rather inform others involved.

Alicia's Story

Teaching kids when you’re struggling to have your own is a struggle all its own. This was my third miscarriage in a row in just under a year but the first to see a heartbeat.

My first miscarriage happened before the 2020 school year began, and the second happened in November of 2020 while I was trying to teach in person kids as well as the ones online while I was breaking down inside.

I found out I was pregnant for the third time in April 2021 when I was bleeding abnormally and due to the issues with my first two pregnancies my doctor wasn’t taking any chances. I went from working full-time, teaching 3rd grade science during the day and coaching gymnastics at night to a complete standstill. Once my OB confirmed my numbers were going up continuously and the bleeding stopped I was able to go back to teaching at school but the gym was officially a no go.

During the 8 week early ultrasound I was so excited, my husband and I just knew this was the one, the baby who was going to break the losing streak. We showed up at the hospital, got checked in, and then sat and prayed. We had made it this far before and I didn’t think I could go through another loss. Once in the room and all settled on the table, I watched the screen and like a beacon of hope I saw something fluttering. Overcome with excitement, I asked if that fluttering was the heartbeat to be sure and when the ultrasound technician looked up at me, my heart shattered. She had the same look the others had right before she hit us with the most dreaded phrase, “There’s a problem, I need to go get the doctor.” She said the baby wasn’t in the right place, that it was ectopic and that I was already bleeding internally.

My husband made the calls and relayed information to my parents while I was rushed to the ER to wait to be taken to surgery. It’s still so surreal, to know that even though this blessing inside of you has a heartbeat, it can’t survive where it is and you have to end it. After losing two, it was impossible to wrap my head around letting the doctors “do what needed to be done” in order to save my life.

After the surgery I was woken up and ushered out to the car where my husband waited and started the journey home. The doctor had explained to my husband that they only needed to take baby and the tube, nothing else and that everything else looked good inside.

Me missing school unexpectedly for a week had my students completely thrown off kilter and it was hard to not be able to explain why. The week after surgery I was able to stay home to rest but the first week back was brutal. All I wanted to do was cry and cuss out the parents of my students who I felt like were being horrible parents for neglecting their children in various ways. I broke down during my planning and lunch, gave up on makeup as it would be cried off by lunch but I still went in every day.

School and my team of 3rd grade teachers were the only constant thing in most of my students' lives and leaving them wasn’t an option. My students still don’t know what I was “sick with” for that week or why I looked like I was crying all the time but they helped save me from feeling so empty and lost.

Something I saw on here a month or so after my miscarriage still sticks with me today, “I’m just as scared to get pregnant again, as I am to never able to get pregnant again.”

Emilie's Story

Our school began our distance learning program in August of 2020, and I was very glad to be able to work from home because I was 7 weeks pregnant, and I wanted to keep myself and my baby safe.

At my ultrasound appointment the week after school started, I was told that there was no heartbeat and the pregnancy wasn’t viable. I did my distance learning class the next day because it seemed too soon to have a substitute. I cried while putting on my makeup. A close friend who has been struggling with distance learning told me I could wear my reading glasses, and because of the reflection, the kids probably wouldn’t notice I’d been crying. I had a substitute the following day when I had the D&C surgery.

I was heartbroken, but I pretty much held it together for my students. For months, there would be some sort of trigger during staff meetings, and I would have to turn off my camera and cry.

In December, I had another positive pregnancy test, and there was finally hope that this would be over. My school started hybrid learning in January, and I had my ultrasound appointment on MLK Day. That’s when I found out that this pregnancy wasn’t viable either. I missed the following day for the surgery and then went right back to school.

I cried on the way to work every day until May, when I finally started to talk about it more with coworkers and people who cared. I had some 8th grade students asking why I’d seemed so sad this school year. They’d noticed that I looked like I’d been crying. I finally told them that if they wanted to know, they could stay after class and I would tell them. Four kids stayed, and I told them, and we cried together. One painted me a beautiful picture and told me I’m like a mom to the whole class and that I’m going to be a great mom some day.

I had initially felt like I couldn’t tell my students because they are so young. But once I did, I felt so supported, and it was such a weight lifted off my shoulders knowing how much they care.

I’m still struggling this year, but I’m not ready to tell my new 8th graders. Just before Halloween, I had my third positive pregnancy test. In two weeks, I’ll know if this one is viable or not, and it’s been so hard waiting, but I’ve learned to be resilient through all of this. I can do really hard things.

*Update* - Emilie is currently 21 weeks pregnant with a healthy boy!

Amanda's Story

After a year of infertility, I became pregnant during distant learning in August 2020. On January 14, 2021 I went to my scheduled 23 week prenatal check up and my blood pressure was 170/90. My Dr looked at me with sadness in her eyes and quietly told me I needed to head to labor and delivery.

After 4 grueling, anxiety ridden, scary, mentally exhausting, restless weeks of living in the hospital the night came when the Dr. said, "It's time." Ruby Soho Grace Young was born at 5:45 that morning. She was perfect. She was breathing, her heart was fine, she had 10 fingers and 10 toes. She had a full head of hair. She was whisked off to the NICU, where the next 28 days were both full of pure joy, love, hope, promise, mixed with fear, anxiety, and residual trauma from living weeks in the hospital. When we weren't in the hospital with her, I painted her room, set up her crib, washed and folded her clothes and talked about what her life was going to be like.

On February 28th our lives changed forever, Ruby had come down with an infection. The infection escalated quickly and within 48 hours, she was not going to make it, and they were going to take her off life support. We were escorted to her beside where she was dressed in a gown and looked more beautiful and perfect than the day I met her. A moment later they turned off all of her loud machines and placed her in our arms. We both screamed with terror and sadness. I could not bear seeing her die before my eyes.

I will never not miss my Ruby. She lived exactly one month, but in my heart she will be my baby and child forever. This is the most unbearable pain I could ever imagine.