October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, and we know so many of you have endured heartbreaking experiences. Part of our passion and mission behind our #WeAreWeCan campaign is sharing the stories of the collective struggles that we as women face, and to recognize that we are not alone. This month, we're sharing the stories of women who've experienced pregnancy and infant loss in an effort to create awareness about the issue and to help other women who may be in similar situations feel supported, inspired, and less alone.
Today we're sharing the story of Brittany Daneals. Brittany recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl—her rainbow baby—following the loss of her son during pregnancy. Below, Brittany shares her emotional story and her advice for other women who may be struggling with pregnancy or infant loss.
COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY/INFANT LOSS STORY?
We got pregnant with our son, Greyson Jay, when my daughter was a little over 1 year old. We were so excited to give her a sibling and were even more excited he was a little boy. We found out at around 10 weeks that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, which is blood in the uterus. It was a medium size hemorrhage and my doctor wasn't concerned at all so I didn't change anything I did as far as the day to day stuff. The hemorrhage was shrinking which was a good sign. My doctor stopped checking since it had shrunk to a small enough size where he really didn’t feel we needed anymore follow up on it.
At 17.5 weeks, we went in for our normal OB checkup and the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat on the doppler so he brought in a handheld ultrasound and didn’t see anything on there. We were pulled in to an ultrasound room and that's where we found out we lost our little boy. He was measuring between 16-16.5 weeks so we had lost him about a week prior without knowing. I had what's called a "missed miscarriage." I had no signs, no bleeding, nothing—and that's why we were in complete shock thinking everything was just fine.
Due to his size, we had no other option but to deliver him. The following day, we were induced. Six hours later, we met our sweet boy, Greyson Jay. He weighed 3 oz. and was 7.5 inches long. We buried him a few days later in a cemetery next to other babies. We had tons of tests run on me, and the placenta and baby, and everything came back 100% healthy. The doctors don't have an explanation other than they think the hemorrhage came back.
We were lucky to have gotten pregnant with our second daughter a few months following Grey’s delivery. We had the same hemorrhage with her pregnancy which was so scary, and later we had issues with placenta previa, which resulted in a planned c-section at 36 weeks. We just had her on September 21. She was in the NICU for one day but she is doing amazing now. We feel so blessed to have a rainbow baby.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS THIS EXPERIENCE OF LOSS SHAPED YOU?
It has changed my life. Every pregnancy following Greyson's, I will be holding my breath until I hold that baby. Every day, I think of him and what could have been. What he would look like and be like. It’s also brought to light how many women this happens to. It breaks my heart for everyone who has gone through a miscarriage/loss of a child.
HOW OR WHERE DID YOU FIND SUPPORT, PEACE, AND COMFORT FOLLOWING YOUR EXPERIENCE?
I found support in my husband, daughter, and family. My daughter is the funniest kid and she really picked me up everyday. Also, there's peace in knowing I will see him again.
FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED PREGNANCY OR INFANT LOSS AND MAY BE STRUGGLING, WHAT ADVICE OR WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU OFFER THEM?
It gets better. I know that doesn’t help at the time because I hated when people told me that. But I felt as if the pain would always be excruciating and I couldn’t go on or get up. The pain is always there and you will always want them here with you, but time helps. In the moment, I would definitely say communicate your feelings as much as possible. Let people know what you need or how they can help. I would also say, take care of yourself. Shower, get ready for the day, get your nails done. Do things that make you feel good about yourself.
WHAT'S ONE THING ABOUT PREGNANCY AND INFANT LOSS YOU'D LIKE OTHER PEOPLE TO KNOW?
There are 1 in 4 woman who experience this. If you have been through loss, know that you’re not alone and that your baby is very much a loss no matter the gestational age/age. If you know someone who has been through loss, offer them help, dinner, or babysitting.