NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– In 1988, President Reagan designated October as Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. News 8’s Anne Craig shared her struggle with infertility and miscarriage. She was blessed to go on to have a healthy baby but the grief women feel in the struggle to conceive and have a healthy child is a pain that’s deep and raw.
But families in that battle should know you don’t have to go through it alone. There is hope after loss, just take it from two brave women willing to share their stories.
“I remember the exact moment I realized I was pregnant. I took the test, it came out positive and I just said thank you, thank you, thank you, all over again,” said Stephanie Byrd.
“I took child birth classes, I ate whatever I wanted to,” said Byrd. “I shopped and I bought clothes and shoes, it was physically very normal.”
In April 2013, at 32 weeks with her shower invitations out, the elephant theme carefully planned, she stopped feeling her active little boy move. Three grueling days went by and she nervously went to the doctor for a sonogram.
“I said to the doctor you feel him right?’ And he looked at me and said ‘not yet.’ As soon as he said that, I knew.”
Stephanie was brought to the labor and delivery floor of Yale New Haven. It would take her 30 hours to deliver her son Jaxon. He was still born.
“I spent some time with him alone. I took in every inch of him. I looked at his hands,” said Byrd. “And we had a beautiful blessing for him and then I let him go.” When asked if her heart is not the same, Byrd said,”no, no it’s not and it will never be.” Stephanie says her family and friends were supportive but she needed something more.
“I wanted to be in the presence of other parents who knew what loss was all about,” she said.
A Google search lead her to Connecticut’s non -profit “Hope After Loss.” She fired off an email to the program director Melissa Kish.
“I had lost my son just 7 months before getting Stephanie’s email. I understand that raw grief can sneak up on you,” said Kish.
“Like many other people, I dind’t think this could happen to me. 37 hours later he died in my arms,” said Kish.
These moms found an instant bond in each other, one they share with other families who have come to Hope After Loss. The non-profit offers support groups to the pregnancy and infant loss community.
Every October, Hope After Loss holds a “Footprints on Our Hearts” remembrance walk to honor the babies gone too soon.
“It’s the love we all have, the loss, unites us all,” said Kish.
“One of the greatest things Hope After Loss has given me, is an opportunity to not only grieve my son, but they’ve given me an opportunity to honor him and remember him,” said Byrd.
This Sunday October 5th will be the remembrance walk for Hope After Loss. It’s at 1:00 p.m. at East Shore Park in New Haven. News 8’s Anne Craig will be there among that amazing and supportive community and would love to see you too.
To learn how you can register, go to http://hygeiafoundation.org/. You can also support Stephanie Byrd’s Hope After Loss fundraising efforts at http://footprints.dojiggy.com/ng/index.cfm/9958/regPages/pledge/teamjaxen.