Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Earlier this month, I wrote that on this day, I will take part in the Wave of Light celebration that is taking place worldwide at 7 p.m. I will light a candle in memory of my son, Gabriel.
I will never forget the day he was born. It was the morning after Halloween and I had an appointment at the hospital for a Non-Stress Test. I woke up that morning and had orange juice and a waffle and waited to feel my baby move. I had read somewhere, during my first time mommy reading craze, that you should do a kick count to make sure that your baby moves enough. When I asked my doctor if I should be doing kick counts, he said it isn't something I should worry about. On the morning he was born, he didn't move much. In fact, I remember telling him to, "move more for mommy." Since I had an early appointment, I put it out of my mind. Hours later, when the nurses didn't see enough movement, I was rushed into an emergency c-section. You can find the rest of my story here.
Almost 6 years later, I have 2 healthy daughters in preschool, and still struggle daily with trying to heal from the loss of my son. It has gotten easier, we have moved on and accepted that our son is waiting for us in heaven. But, I still have my days when I see a young boy his age and wonder what he would have been like.
I hope that while sharing my story, it will not only help me to heal, but I also hope that I can help another mother out there reading this, who is struggling with their own infant loss. I hope that they know, it will get better, it will always be hard, but it will get better. I've shared before that almost 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in a loss. It is heart breaking, but unfortunately in the Mexican community, miscarriage is something that we are not encouraged to talk about. It is something we are taught to get over quickly and deal with quietly. It does not need to be this way, there is a huge community of support out there.
I wanted to share and help take part in the Count the Kicks campaign. CTK helps to spread the word that by simply measuring fetal movements or counting kicks, thousands of babies' lives can be saved. Many expecting mothers do not realize 1 in 160 births results in a stillbirth and that kick counting has been scientifically proven to save lives. This campaign originated in Iowa, but this year, we are planning to take it nationwide with the help of Count the Kicks Ambassadors, seven women (Shawn Soumilas of Arizona, Kari Davis of Ohio, Meghan Petty of Tennessee, Karina Bennett of New York/California, Stacey Gripshover of Kentucky, Sapphire Garcia-Glancy of Kansas, and Sarah Firianni of Florida) from across the country who will be spreading the word about the importance of tracking fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy. In fact, Florida's Sarah Firianni saved her baby's life by kick counting and noticing a change in his movements. Sarah's baby had a true knot in his cord.