SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support My*Our Experiences

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"Sharing" Our Stories/Thoughts - Along this Path

Newborn loss between 20 and 32 weeks of Pregnancy-since 2004

Remembering our babies...
Newborn loss between 20 and 32 weeks of Pregnancy

I expected to hear you cry or wimper

but nothing was heard.

And that's when I knew I truly loved you.

Angel Thelma Dianne
7 May 2001

Poems and Letters

Charles Jeffrey Shoemaker, July 18, 2004 by Crystal (Newborn loss Between 20 and 32 weeks) Forest Park, GA

"Zackary Rashod Small ~ 10/13/03" by Maya (11/21/04)

"Madison Sloan Ward ~ Nov. 4 2005" by Jessica (12/24/05)

"Some People Only Dream of Angels, We Held One in Our Arms" by Shannon (10/10/07)

Charles Jeffrey Shoemaker, July 18, 2004

Well, I guess I should start by saying that I am not sure if this would be classified as a second trimester loss or shortly after birth because it is both. My darling son, "CJ" to those who loved him, was born at 23 weeks, 4 days and lived for only three hours.

He was the fourth child I have lost. The first was through an ectopic loss, the twins were a miscarriage at 9 1/2 weeks and 11 weeks consecutively and then there is CJ.

I feel so lost and alone. I can't sleep because I miss my baby.

He was a miracle child anyway. I had been told just the year before that I couldn't conceive naturally and then I did. According to the doctor, this pregnancy was perfect and so was my son. That is one of the reasons I think that this is so hard to deal with. My stupid body couldn't hold him in. I have an incompetent cervix and I am angry that I didn't know.

I feel like I failed my son and everyone who was so happy to know I was pregnant. I feel so guilty and even though everyone says "It's NOT your fault," I still feel as if it is. My husband gets mad at me but what else am I supposed to feel. It was my body that kept us from having any of our other three children and now this.

I just don't know if I can take anymore losses. How am I supposed to heal when I can't even do this right? I can't have a baby that lives so how does anyone expect me to "get over this"? It's been 3 weeks and I just want to hold him once more.

I gave him a beautiful service but all I wanted to do was crawl in that gaping hole with him.

Why do I keep losing my babies??? My thoughts are racing and I am sorry if this is confusing but that is me right now: CONFUSED!!!

Crystal Mother of: Angel #1: Jan. 2000 Angels #2 and #3: Oct. 2000 Charles Jeffrey Shoemaker "CJ": July 18, 2004

Second Entry: August 9, 2004

After nearly four very long and trying years, I found out I was pregnant on April 6, 2004. That day is ironically enough my mother-in-law's birthday. What a present for her! I was scared as anyone could be after losing three other angels and yet still, there was joy and hope as well.

My first doctor's appointment was on the 26th and I waited with bated breath to make sure that everything was okay and I was so relieved when my doctor showed me the most beautiful thing I think I have ever seen, my baby's heartbeat. I was past the time i had lost two of my angels and almost felt as if I could breath easily, almost. When I heard his/her heartbeat at 15 and 1/2 weeks, I was in tears and feeling as if God would make everything okay, Finally.

I had waited so long and ached for those years anytime I saw a woman with a baby It was my turn and I was on top of the world. When I was told that everything was going PERFECT, my heart swelled with joy and love, as did my husband's.

I found out my baby was a boy on July 1, 2004. I was slightly disappointed b/c I had thought he was a girl but then the joy at giving my husband a son to carry on his name (he's an only child) quickly replaced that feeling. I was so happy and pretty pleased with our little man. I announced his sex to my Daddy in a fun way... "Meet your namesake, Jeff!" and for the first time since he had found out he was going to be a grandpa I saw tears in his eyes.

My joy was short lived though... I remember the 15th of July as if in a daze... My husband and I had been in a car accident in November and had been in Florida tying up loose ends with our lawsuit until July 2004 and I had not seen my Nanny, my mom's mother, since before then and I really wanted her to see her granddaughter pg and showing... She was so pleased with her great grandson's kicks, movements and hearbeat.

We went home and I took a bath, to relax as was my routine, but something was different. I felt a little pressure in my lower abdoment and I reached down and felt something there at the opening... UH OH!!! I screamed and my husband and his mother took me to the hospital where I was immediately rushed to Labor & Delivery.

I was so scared and worried that my baby was coming way too soon. But I prayed and put my life and my baby's in the arms of the very sympathetic midwife who told me that i was dilated 6 cm and that what I had felt was my water bag. The doctors, nurses and neonatal staff were not very optimistic but my family and I were. I just felt that if God had meant for me to lose this baby, he would have allowed me to miscarry again... There was NO way he would do THIS to me!!!

Well after a super strong dosage of Magnesium Sulfate, my contractions stopped and the bag went bag up inside for a little while. I was without contractions and my baby was being monitored and was doing very good. I relaxed, thinking I would not leave that hospital without my darling son. I guess I didn't want to face what they (the hospital staff was saying).

On July 18, 2004 at 6:00 a.m., I was awakened by the worst back ache in my life. I didn't know I was in labor and I was terrified when I found out I was. I didn't think I could do it... My CHILD's NOT READY I was screaming silently. I felt so horribly betrayed and let down by God, the doctors and myself.

I listened in disbelief as the midwife said it was time to push and altough I did everything as she said, I was silently saying NO NO NO, it is NOT time; he is too early and then at 10:60am, my very beautiful CJ was born.

The neonatalists started working on him right away and Al was watching them like a hawk. HE was so proud of his little man and I felt like I was dying inside as they worked on him silently. Then all of a sudden, the neonatologist said, " I have a heartbeat and he's trying to breath," I watched as they continued to bag him to help him breath but then Al was asked if he wanted them to continue. He was not going to make it... My heart stopped and I started wailing... I WANT MY BABY....NOW!!!

5/2"I SURVIVED..." by Crystal (1/10/05) Grief: Month by Month 4th to 8th Month; GA

"How do I move forward?" by Crystal (9/8/04) GA

Charles Jeffrey Shoemaker
July 18, 2004
Second trimester loss, Charles lived for three hours. /Incompetent Cervix/
, Forest Park, Georgia


Marcia's Comments: Please know that you are not alone in this tragic loss. At my group meetings and on this site we discuss the confusion, the guilt, and pain that we move through after our losses. We also talk about secondary losses...the loss of self-worth, faith, hope,etc. They are all normal and expected responses to our tragic experiences when our baby dies. We share ways to 'get through the pain and grief' and that though we never will like the fact that our child has died (or children have died), they would want us to survive and give their presence in our lives...some meaning. Together we work through what all of this means for each of us. Please consider joining us at one of our meetings.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Zackary Rashod Small ~ 10/13/03

Trying not to mourn I realize today that I have been lying to myself for a while now.

My first pregnancy happened in September 2002, I was engaged to be married and wasn't "trying" to get pregnant but was happy when I found out. That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage on my wedding day November 30, 2002.

I was upset about the situation, more because it happened on my wedding day than because of the miscarriage. I figured this happens to women frequently and I'll just get over this and get pregnant again and everything will be alright. I'm fine I thought.

In April 2003, I found out that I was expecting again and my husband and I were very excited. I had an uneventful pregnancy. Not much sickness, no pain, everything was going as planned.

I was due on January 13, 2004 and was busy planning for my baby shower and doing my gift registry. We found a great bedroom set for sale in August and even though it was early in some peoples opinion(I was 5 months pregnant) to be buying the crib, we couldn't pass up the great price. So we bought the crib and dresser and painted the room. I had just found out that I was having a boy. Everything was great.

On September 25th I had a regular day at work, went grocery shopping with my husband and then went over my mom's house. We were laughing and talking about the baby and how we wanted to start planning for my shower in November. I was feeling fine.

On September 26th(the next morning) at about 2:30am I awoke to some "gas like" pains and thought nothing of it. I just decided to walk it out and drink some water. I layed back down but couldn't stay down for long at about 3am I went to the restroom and noticed I was bleeding. In a matter of seconds, I started bleeding very heavy. I had to get in the bathtub and there was blood everywhere.

I woke up my husband and we called the doctor, she told us to go to labor and delivery at the hospital and they would call her from there and let her know what was wrong with me. I was 24 weeks pregnant, and kept thinking this can't be happening, I can't be loosing my son.

At the hospital they did ultrasounds and couldn't figure out what was wrong but said my water had broken and my son's heartbeat was getting weaker every moment. They had to do an emergency c-section. Zackary was born at 5:23am on Friday September 26th.

After I awoke from the surgery, they told me my son was doing well, he was breathing on his own when he was born and was in NICU. After I recovered I went to my room and wasn't able to see my son until 12 hours later.

He was beautiful. He was very active and fiesty to be so small. He weighed 1 lb 4 oz and was 12 inches long. Day by day he began to do better and they said they had no doubt he would make it. He begin to open his eyes and would get excited when he heard my voice. We planned on him being home by Christmas 2003.

On October 8th, his doctor called and said they had been monitoring his heart ductess. It is supposed to close once a baby is born but in some babies, especially preemies, it may not close. It was close when he was born but reopened and they gave him some medicine to make it reclose, it only worked briefly.

They wanted to do a surgery to close the ductess, so they transferred him to a childrens hosipital on Thursday October 9 2003 and on Friday October 10th, he had his surgery. He did great and was improving fine. On Sunday October 12th we went to visit him and he was fine but after we got home we got a phone call saying to come back to the hospital because his health was declining and that they almost lost him.

We went back at about 11:30 pm and stayed until Monday morning at about 5am...they told us they weren't sure what happened but we could go back home, he was fine.

On Monday afternoon when we came back to visit him, they said he wasn't doing well anymore. He had gotten a sepsis infection and in the doctors words "this is a very sick baby and he will die tonight". I think she could have used a better choice of words but I guess she was right..Zackary Rashod Small died on Monday October 13, 2003 at about 6pm.

I cried of course that night and the next day, we buried him on Friday October 17th, I cried then, but then I thought I was alright. Like before during my miscarriage, I said I'm fine.

I have to return to work and still keep up my house and not loose my mind. I know everybody at work said they cared but I figured they really didn't want to hear my sad story every I was fine. I could handle it.

Another co-worker was pregnant and due the same time I was, so I didn't want her to feel bad about talking about her pregnancy in front of me, so I pretended to be alright and never dealt with my feelings.

We waited a while to start trying again because of my incision from the c-section. In July 2004, I found out I was pregnant again and this time it was twins..what I always wanted. And third time is a charm so I would be fine.

On September 2, 2004 I had an ultrasound, there were no heartbeats and I had to have a d&c done on September 3rd. We already had a trip planned to California to visit my husbands family and we were leaving September 4th, we couldn't cancel the trip, so I felt I had to suck it in. I didn't want to be sad around them for 10 was my first time meeting his extended family. I never got to mourn and when we got back from the trip, I had to go back to work and had no time to mourn. Plus it happened 2 weeks ago, I'm fine, right. Yeah I'll be fine is what I told myself..we'll just start trying again.

Today I realize that I am not fine. I just started crying uncontrollably and realize that I have been holding all these feelings in this whole time.

I don't feel like I can talk to my husband cause I don't think the miscarriages really bothered him as much as me and he was sad about our son, but its been over a year and I think he is better like I guess I should be. Plus he never felt him kick and didn't bond with him like I did.

Now that it has been so long, I feel stupid that I am just now really mourning over my son but I can't hold it in any longer. Everyone kept telling me to go to support groups..but I was "fine", so I thought. Now I think I need one.

Sorry this is soooo long but does anyone know of a support group in the Atlanta area that is for women who have miscarriages, stillbirth and infant loss. I really want to join one.

miscarriage 11/30/02; Zackary Rashod Small 09/26/03-10/13/03; miscarriage 09/02/04 d&c 09/03/04

Zackary Rashod Small
Died soon after birth
Atlanta, GA


Marcia's thoughts: That IS what SHARE Atlanta is...for parents who have experienced a pregnancy or newborn loss (ectopic, miscarriage, stillborn or newborn death). That is all we do and we are all parents who have experienced such a loss. We are here for each other. I only wish that you had emailed me last week. We just had our candlelighting and it would have been very special for you to be a part of that.

Please know that we understand your grief and are so sorry for the death of Zachary, your twins and you other baby. It is never too late to remember and to grieve - I have parents join us after 2, 3 10 - 15 is when you are ready..we are here.

Please visit the "Father's Grief Menu" and it will help you better understand the difference between the grieving process for fathers and mothers. You are very wise...fathers bond differently than mothers so they grieve differently. This is very hard for many couples to understand. But, if they can come to a place where they give each other "permission to grieve" in their own way, healing can happen and is "doable."

I will put your story online and hopefully people will email you. Please, send me your address and phone number and I will have our Parent Packet sent to you. That will tell you all about our group here in Atlanta. We would love for you to be a part of "us." Everything that you shared has been shared by other moms...your thoughts and reactions are very normal and we often want to deny our pain. But, healing can happen...when you decide to take the energy to do so! You are heading in the correct direction.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Madison Sloan Ward ~ Nov. 4 2005

Madison, if I could find the stairway to heaven, I would climb them to bring you back down to your Daddy and I. I miss you every day. You are my angel. I love you.

21 weeks pregnant on November 3rd, I went to the bathroom and saw that I was bleeding. There is nothing more terrifying to a pregnant woman than the sight of blood. I called my Doctor's nurse and she said it sounded like I had a bacterial infection(which I did and was on medication for)and not to worry unless the bleeding didn't stop or i started to have contractions. I was so scared. I knew in my heart something was not right.

That night around 3am I started to contract about every 30 to 20 mins(this being my first pregnancy I didnt really know what was happening or why i was in so much pain). By 7am the contractions were every 2 to 3 to 4 minutes apart. I woke up my fiance, Michael, because I was crying and and in so much pain. I called the hopsital and told them what I was feeling and my doctor wanted me to go to the OB right away.

I called my mom right after I hung upwith the hospital, and I kept having to put her on hold every time I contracted. She said "Oh no baby, I KNOW youre in labor." My Fiance went on to work because we were so unsure of what was going on. My close friend who was 7 months pregnant rushed me to the hospital. I knew I was in labor.

By the time I was seen by the doctor, I was already dialated to a 5 with a buldging bag and he could feel a hand or foot. I'll never forgot those words or these, "I think we're going to have this baby." My best friend and i just balled.

I was only 21 weeks pregnant. There was only a 13% chance that Madison would be normal at all. Because the left side of her brain was not developed she would have cerebral palsey and brain damage. Michael and I had to decide if we wanted to keep her alive or just let her die. That was the hardest decison I ever had to make.

My doctor was going to try to stop labor and send me to another hospital and see if i could be on bed rest and make it to 24 or 25 weeks then Madison would have a better chance at life. I said I would try it, but I know that was going to have her very soon. I was in so much pain even with the Stadol I was practically begging them to induce me.

I could lay in the hospital knowing what was going to happen. Knowing I was going to lose my baby girl that I was so happy and excited to have.

My doc ended up breaking my water and about 2 hours later I went into full labor and had her that night at 7:45 pm.

I didn't want to see her. I was so afraid she was going to be so tiny and scary. I wouldn't bare it. We thought it was a boy, and I wanted a girl so bad.

After I delivered her, and I heard the words "Its a girl," I don't think I have ever cried so hard in my entire life. Michael looked at her and told me it was OK to see and hold her. She was just a baby, just small.

She was beautiful. The prettiest thing I have ever seen or held. It was amazing at 21 weeks she was 1 lb and 7 oz and she was 12 1/2 in. long!!

The reason we decide to just let her pass away was because I knew she would feel no pain and she would be innocent and in heaven, an angel. I thought it selfish of me to try to keep her alive and the rest of her life(if she survived) she would be mentally retared. I couldn't do that to her. This is the hardest thing I have ever gone through.

It's been almost 2 months and I still long for her so bad it hurts every day. But I do know that I made the right choice. I will see her again when its my time to pass.

We later found out I had an infection in my placenta that caused the membranes to rupture and I have an incompetent cervix. That's what pushed my body over the edge.

We will try again someday, but I need a few years for my body to be very healthy.

I feel for everyone who had lost a child. It's so very painful. But eveything happens for a reason. I don't know the reasons, but I do know one thing, i sure am strong as hell. This has made me so strong I will be able to deal with and face the many other sad things that are to come in my life. But I will enjoy the good ones as well!! Jessica
Madison Sloan Ward
Nov. 4 2005
Died soon after birth
Llano, TX


Marcia's thoughts: You certainly did some special things for your daughter, Madison. You tried to give her life, you held her, you named her and you loved her. I think our parents go through so much parenting in such a short time - it is so very confusing and difficult to do so much.

You are strong. I have seen many women and men become stronger - a gift from our babies. We would NEVER choose to loose our baby, but finding the gifts and the special meaning for their presence in our lives helps us. They each are important to us. My husband has often said that our babies' lives have made us both stronger and, as you have shared, we have been through a lot and we continue to survive because we were tested and hung on. Our love is everlasting! I have said, that I have had five children...three in heaven two on this good earth and each one has helped me to become who I am today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Some People Only Dream of Angels, We Held One in Our Arms

My second son, Maverick Thomas was born at Kennestone Hospital when I was only 24 weeks pregnant. I had an emergency appendectomy and that sent me into pre-term labor. They were unable to stop it...

Maverick was born on Saturday, June 16th at 11:25am by c-section as he was sideways. He weighed only 1lb. 14oz. and was 13&1/2 inches long. When I awoke (they had to give me general anesthesia because they couldn't get the needle in for the epidural) and they told me he was alive, I was very surprised. I knew the odds of him pulling through that early were very slim.

Five days passed and they transferred him to CHOA when they discovered that he had a bowel perforation or NEC. He was too tiny and unstable to operate on so they inserted a penrose drain to help the bowel that had leaked from the perforation drain out. They gave him a 50/50 chance at that point. Yet, he pulled through.

Eight days later he had surgery to close his PDA valve. Again he pulled through and seemed to improve. They ran numerous tests which were all very promising. There were no signs of brain bleeds or fluid, ROP, cerebral palsy, etc. The NEC healed itself which is a rare occurance, and they had begun galvage feedings of breast milk. But Maverick was on a ventillator and his blood work showed signs of infection several times. They would administer broad spectrum antibiotics and he would improve yet again. Slowly, but none the less. They would culture everything - his blood, urine, ET tube, etc. and nothing ever grew. Until the morning he passed away...

The Dr. told us that his STAT blood culture has begun to grow an infection which was either staph or strep. They administered four doses of antibiotics in a very short period of time but it was too late. His body had started to shut down and his renal system was the first to be affected. It was not the first time he had renal failure or the edema (or swelling) or even the low blood pressure problems, but it was the first time he had all of those together. It was just too much for him.

They let me hold him for the first and the last time as he died in my arms. Maverick struggled for 10 weeks in the NICU as it was Saturday, August 25th at 10:54am. I would have been 34 weeks pregnant.

Needless to say, I have had a very difficult time. Over those 10 weeks, I built up hope and I believe that hope has made it even harder for me. I visited him every single day and stayed for hours and hours. I was pumping breast milk as well so then I had to wean that even after he was gone.

It has been a rough few months.

On top of my own experiences, I had to tell my 5 and 1/2 year old, Colton, that his baby brother had gone to heaven. He was devastated. He was so very proud to be a big brother and had visited numerous times - talking to and reading books to Maverick. I don't know how much he understands, but he is definitely affected by the loss of his brother. I suppose we all are...

Memorial Candle for Maverick

Maverick Thomas Nicoletta
Died soon after birth
Shannon, Mike and big brother, Colton
Woodstock, GA


Marcia's thoughts: I am sorry about the loss of Maverick. It is a mixture of pain and blessings when we are given time with our baby. If our baby has life, there is usually some hope. By our very nature, we take our hope and allow ourselves room for believing that in today's world a baby born too soon will survive. We know that many do thanks to the research and support of groups such as March of Dimes. Maverick, you and his caregivers worked really hard at keeping him here. I am sure that hope and the love for your baby carried you through it all.

The love you feel for Maverick will continue to carry your through your grief of his death. He knows that love and felt that love. As we share in our group, it is what you do with that love that is important now. I believe that our children want us to grieve them...we have too much pain not to. This grief can take us along a bumpy road, but with support we can survive our grief and find ways to bring peace back into our lives. Reaching out for support is the beginning. Finding ways to make Maverick's presence in your life meaningful now that he is an angel in heaven can give you a place to put that love. Those of us here at SA wish to support you in that effort.

My son, Joel was very aware of the death of his brother, Seth. Joel had held and kissed his brother. He had talked to him before and after birth. Those of us who have siblings at home suffer because of the loss of providing a living brother or sister for our living children. What I have seen over and over again in our group is that the siblings are open and honest about what has happened. They move along the path better than we do because they have this openness. On our sibling page: Sibling Grief...there are many stories and ideas about helping our other children. It hurts us for them to be so direct at times because it brings us to the full reality of what has happened. But we are really blessed when they as direct because we know that they are sharing their heart with us. Oddly, if we could follow some of their openness, we would probably grieve differently and maybe with more ease. What is painful for us is our failure and our deep desire to have all of our children present in person. What I have learned from our siblings, is that they can love "their" babies and doing special things in their memory helps them, too.

I hope that you and your family will find some support and comfort from our group and our events. We each have walked this journey and hope that some of what we have learned with be helpful to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Return to list of Letters and Poems



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Return to list of Letters and Poems



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Return to list of Letters and Poems



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Return to list of Letters and Poems


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